Oh Street Fighter. In a time when video game movies were just starting to hit the screens, Street Fighter graced theaters with its presence, only to completely offend and disgust all those who saw it. The film has since gone down in video game lore as one of the worst game-to-film adaptations and is often the butt of jokes among the video game community. Yet, here we are, fifteen years later, and Universal has given us a new Blu-ray release of the film. Why? Well aside from the marketing opportunities due to the upcoming new film and video game, there’s no real clear reason why this release exists.
Get ready for action-packed excitement in the all-new Street Fighter – Extreme Edition on both DVD and Blu-ray™ Hi-Def! Based on one of the most popular video game franchises of all-time, this martial arts adventure stars international superstar Jean-Claude Van Damme as a commando who leads an elite team of street fighters against an evil general. Featuring a digitally remastered picture and loaded with bonus features including deleted scenes, featurettes, director commentary, outtakes, storyboards and much more, Street Fighter – Extreme Edition is the ultimate way to experience one of the hottest properties of both yesterday and today.
So I’d never seen this film, moreso just because I didn’t want to witness the horror that it was. Yet with the new Blu-ray release I thought to myself, “You know, why not? Surely it can’t be as bad as that Steven Segal movie I watched last year.” And, honestly, there isn’t anything truly wrong with Street Fighter except that it’s such a cheeseball effort. The thing is that it actually knows it’s a silly and goofy film, as it often makes jokes at its expense. On top of that the film is so packed with references to the video game, whether it be incidental characters or sound effects/catch phrases that the characters use, I’m actually surprised that fans hate the film so much.
Granted the only titles of the series I’ve ever played are the old SNES/Genesis titles, but that’s about when this film came out anyway. The series had about as much of a plot as a twenty minute cartoon and the mere fact they made a near two hour long film out of it is impressive enough. Again, the film was crap, yes, but to deserve a 3.1 rating on IMDb? Please. There’s much worse fodder out there and the fact that this film fit in as much entertaining and humorous quips as it did is reason enough to not discredit it entirely.
I honestly found some of the characters highly enjoyable. The hammy nature of Guile and Bison were highly entertaining, Ken and Ryu’s friendship was lighthearted and quippy, while E. Honda and Balrog shared some humorous times together in a prison cell. It’s all very tongue in cheek and shoddily done, mind you, but it’s still entertaining nonetheless. The only character I found to be a bit irksome was Chun Li (who is getting her own spotlight film and is played by Kristen Kreuk. Blegh.), and I’ve no real idea why.
Overall this is definitely something I’d never willingly watch again, but to say it was the worst thing ever made, I’d have to wholeheartedly disagree. There were mildly entertaining elements to all of it and while hardcore Street Fighter fans, especially those of the anime, you’ll likely be nothing more than offended. In fact, even though the film is crap it’s worth seeing once just for the cheese of it all, which makes this one a Rental at least.
Universal’s release of the film on Blu-ray comes in a standard Blu-ray Elite case, with an insert advertising the Blu-ray format and disc art that mimics the cover. No cardboard o-ring is included and all total there isn’t much new here to see if you own the previous DVD release.
Granted the VC-1 encoded 1080p 2.35:1 video transfer is remarkably impressive; plenty of detail can be seen on all of the characters unique clothing and nothing about the film really looks cheesy or hokey (aside from a few of the martial arts effects); in fact I thought Guile’s secret military boat thing was pretty bad-ass looking. The film, despite being fueled by a DTS-HD 5.1 mix is really front driven and only the occasional battle will make it into the surrounds, which was kind of disappointing; obviously there was noise all around in the explosion bits and what not, but very few sound effects were unique to any one speaker or side of the room. Also included are Spanish and French DTS5.1 tracks, as well as English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Extras for this release include Outtakes (3:08), a pair of two Deleted Scenes (2:09), a pair of Storyboard Sequences, a set of Video Game Sequences that show off footage from the original game as well as the game inspired by the movie (which looked like Mortal Kombat). Cyberwalk contains two short videos and the Archives (Publicity Stillls, Arcade Movie Game Trailer, Concept Drawins by Nikita Knotz, On the Street Fighter Set, Ad Campaigns, Trading Cards, Toys and Tie-ins) house a whole variety of things. There’s also a Feature Commentary with Director Steven de Souza; all of these extras were previously available on the 1998 “Collector’s Edition” DVD release. New to this release are a few trailers for the upcoming Street Fighter IV game and anime. Those trailers are the only thing in high-definition on this release (aside from the movie of course).
Overall this is a weak film with a surprising array of extras. Not really worth a re-release considering the only new extras are trailers (which are free online), but I guess it was more of a cash-in opportunity than anything. As with the film, worth a Rental for the cheese.
Street Fighter – Extreme Edition arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on February 10th.