In the waning months of 1994, fans were packed in at theaters across North America waiting to see the Live Action adaptation of Capcom’s Street Fighter. Me, my mom, and my 9-year old brother were just three of these fans that were packed in at one theater ready to see what was sure to be a silver-screen celebration of the arcade fighting action that we enjoyed for years. What we got instead was a cinematic clusterfuck featuring Jean-Claude Van Damne, Kylie Minogue (before she was hot), and Ming Na (before anyone knew who she was), along with a host of no-names helping the directors obviously cash-in on the host of Street Fighter fans. Although Raul Julia’s performance helped to redeem the film. I’m not saying this out of respect for the deceased mind you (Street Fighter was Raul Julia’s last role as he died before it’s release), but out of all the actors on the screen, his was the most enjoyable to watch. That, and the awesome MC Hammer/Deion Sanders collaboration “Straight to My Feet” helped keep the film from being a total failure. Enough about that however. A few months earlier, on the other side of the Pacific ocean, our Japanese cousins were also gearing up for their own Street Fighter movie. Unlike us, the Japanese were treated to a cinematic masterpiece that bought the characters that we loved into a whole new light, and gave them voices and personalities in a way no other video game adapted work has done before and few have done since.

The criminal organization Shadowloo is abducting martial arts fighters and brainwashing them into assassinating world leaders. One of these unfortunate souls is Cammy. Guile and Chun Li are investigating the incidents, both of them having personal reasons for hunting down Shadowloo and it’s leader M.Bison. Speaking of Bison, he has his eye on Ken and Ryu. Many of our other favorites show up, and things get intense as the action of Street Fighter 2 is bought to life in an even better manner than the live action film. Many themes in the movie have been introduced into the games as well. Bison wanting to brainwash Ryu is a major subplot in in the Street Fighter Alpha games, and you can even relieve that climatic final battle with M.Bison fighting against Ken and Ryu in Alpha 3’s Dramatic Battle mode.

In short, if you’re a fan of Street Fighter, you owe it to yourself to watch this movie. It’s one of the few good examples of video game inspired cinema, and the incredible story will have you hooked from the first Hadoken to the last Sonic Boon.