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Street Fighter: Extreme Edition – DVD Review

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Has there ever been a genre with less success than video game movies? We’ve been getting video game movies two decades now and we’ve yet to see a single good movie. Sure, there have been a few decent ones, and ones that have worked as goofy and/or mindless entertainment, but there’s literally not a single success story to tell.

Back in 1995 though, video game adaptations were still a relatively new concept. Who didn’t get excited at the prospect of seeing their favorite video game characters make the crossover to the big screen? Sure, the first few video game movies hadn’t turned out so well, but that wasn’t enough to stop us from getting excited when we heard they were making a Street Fighter movie. Silly 1995 versions of us.

Street Fighter is, of course, based on the Steet Fighter II games. General Bison (the late Raul Julia in his final role) has taken some Allied Nations workers hostage in his Bisonopolis. He’s demanding a $20 billion ransom for the hostages. While it’s never actually stated, presumably he will use this money to aid in his quest for world domination.

Leading the Allied Nations effort to rescue the hostage before the 48 hour time-limit is up is Colonel Guile (Jean-Claude Van Damme). Complicating matters, Chun Li (Ming-Na) and her colleagues are also trying to take down Bison and Ken (Damian Chapa) and Ryu (Byron Mann) soon get ensared in the goings on. Sooner or later, everyone makes it to Bisonopolis and much fighting is to be had.

A lot of people complain about how Street Fighter doesn’t adhere very closely to the story of the Street Fighter II games. And while that is true, it’s not like Street Fighter II had some scintaliting story that would make for a great movie.

The story in Street Fighter is clearly designed to do two things. One is to try and fit the characters of Street Fighter II into a more realistic world. There are no sonic booms or hundred hand slaps here; everyone is limited to more humanly possible fighting powers, and the only person who has any seemingly magic ability is Bison (and in his case, it’s powered by hover boots).

The other thing the story is designed to do is ensure that everyone’s favorite character has lots to do. While most video game movies of this sort (like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li) try to pick a handful of characters to push to the forefront, Street Fighter gives lots of time to all the characters.

Even though an attempt was made to make the franchise more “realistic,” this is not a movie that can be taken seriously. Everything, from the dialogue to the action to the acting, is over-the-top (Raul Julia, in particular, does a great job of chewing the scenery). But its cheesiness is Street Fighter‘s greatest asset. It’s

Here’s the bottom line with Street Fighter. If you are looking for the ultimate adaptation of the Street Fighter franchise, you’ll be disappointed. If you are looking for a gripping story or compelling drama, you will be disappointed. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a so bad, it’s good movie, Street Fighter will provide you with a lot of entertainment.

The video is presented in 2.35:1 and it looks great; it’s a definite improvement from the previous DVD release. The audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1.

There are quite a few extras to be had here. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few trailers for Street Fighter IV and the anime series, just about everything can be found on the previous DVD release, and even back on the original laserdisc release.

Trailers – There’s a Street Fighter IV game trailer, a Street Fighter IV teaser trailer, and a trailer for the Street Fighter anime series.

The Making of Street Fighter – This piece seems like it was made as an extended preview for the film. On that level it is fine. But as a “Making Of” this six minute video is completely worthless. There’s no talk about how anything was done, very little in the way of behind-the-scenes footage and none of the cast or crew contribute more than a few lines.

Outtakes – Normally when you think “outtakes” you think of bloopers. In this case, the “outtakes” are just a little over three minutes of behind-the-scene footage before and during a few scenes. You can learn more about the making of the movie from this random footage than you can from the “Making of.”

Deleted Scenes – Two deleted scenes. One just establishes that Chun Li, Balrog and Honda have managed to get some explosives. The other has a very brief fight scene between Cammy and Chun Li shortly before Chun Li attempts to blow up Bison.

Storyboard Sequences – Storyboard sequences for the boardroom scene and the prison break with the finished product shown as well.

Video Game Sequences – The final battle between Bison and Guile is played out in Super Street Fighter II and the Street Fighter:The Movie game. While this an amusing idea for a DVD extra, the execution is flawed as the battles aren’t even remotely exciting.

Cyberwalk – This is actually two separate extras. First there is a Recruiting Center. This is basically various training materials for Bison troops including propganda posters and some handy English to Shadoti (actually Esperanto) phrases.

Then there is Crisis in Shadaloo which is the full version of the opening news report from Chun Li without all the music, credits, and cuts to other footage (mainly of Bison at the Bisonopolis).

The Recruiting Center is an amusing extra, but the Crisis footage doesn’t really add a whole lot.

Archives – This section has a lot of Publicity Stills, a trailer for the arcade game based on the movie, Concept Drawings by Nikita Knatz, a good number of On the Street Fighter Set stills, Ad Campaign images, Trading Cards and Toys and Tie-Ins. Aside from the trailer, it’s all just images.

Feature Commentary with Director Steven E. De Souza – This commentary was actually recorded back way back in 1995 for the movie’s laserdisc release. I’m not sure if it’s because audio commentaries were so new then, or if De Souza was worried he’d run out of stuff to say, but he’s clearly had a whole bunch of notes in front of him as he recorded the commentary. On the upside, that means that there are no lulls and there’s quite a bit of useful information, but the downside is that at times it also sounds like he’s just reading directly from his notes.

While the video quality is greatly improved, there’s little else to recommend picking up this “extreme” edition of Street Fighter if you already own the previous DVD release. It’s still a fun, and incredibly cheesy movie though, so if you don’t already own it, and you enjoy nearly toxic levels of cheese, you should definitely add Street Fighter to your DVD collection.

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Universal Studios presents Street Fighter: Extreme Edition. Directed by Steven E. de Souza. Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, Ming-Na, and Kylie Minogue. Written by Steven E. de Souza. Running time: 102 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on DVD: February 10, 2009. Available at Amazon.

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