Starring Hank Smith, Ted Richards, Mary Briscoe, Phil Mathews, Donald Lee and David Conrad
Written By: Kenichi Imai and Gisaburo Sugii
Directed By: Gisaburo Sugii
Studio: Manga Video
Buy on Amazon.com link
Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie is arguably the best animated movie that I have ever seen this side of Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door. Being a big fan of the video game series in its’ Super Nintendo days, I bought the original VHS when it first came out waaaaaay back in ’94. Other than having awesome animation, a kickass soundtrack, a great story and some of the best fight scenes every laid to film, Street Fighter II: TAM took what little background was provided in the games and sculpted it into a full blown action movie.
Most of the plot focuses on the two most popular characters from the video games, Ken Masters and Ryu Hoshi and their past together. At a few points in the movie, their relationship seems more like Brokeback Dojo than just two friends and sparring partners who lost track of each other over time. The main villain is none other than the nefarious M. Bison. His criminal organization, Shadowlaw is bent on world domination and is seeking out the most powerful street fighters in the world to carry out his twisted plan, whether that’s by their own choice or due to Bison’s mind control powers. Bison seeks out the most dangerous of all the street fighters, Ryu but has no luck in locating him so he settles for the next best thing, Ryu’s old friend Ken Masters. Destiny brings them face-to-face, but this time it’s not as friends but as enemies and their greatest test lies ahead.
Many of the main characters from the games make an appearance in the movie. Chun Li, Guile, Ken, Ryu, Sagat and Vega play important roles in the movie while others like Zangeif, Blanka, Balrog, Dhalsim, E.Honda, Fei Long, Dee Jay, Cammy and T-Hawk make brief appearances. Chun Li’s hot and sexy fight with the psychopathic Vega is by far one of the coolest fight scenes in existence and not just for the fact that she fights in her underwear for the entire thing. Vega is just plain sick and demented and Chun Li seems way out of her league but Vega underestimates her and she gives him one hell of a beating, taking herself out of commission at the same time. I think that Guile of the most underused character in the movie. He had what seemed like a decent role but ended up being nothing more than a background character. He didn’t fight anyone until the thirty-second battle with Bison that ended with Guile getting his ass handed to him in record time. It would have been nice to see him spar with someone like Sagat at the end of the movie. The same thing can be said of E.Honda, Balrog and Sagat. Their battle at the end of the movie was brief and didn’t show how E. Honda defeated Balrog and Sagat didn’t appear in any battles after the opening sequence and it would have been nice to see him go against either Guile or Ken. We’re also left wondering what happened to Vega after Chun Li dropped him out of her apartment building. I guess that’s just me nitpicking. The movie was more of less Ken and Ryu’s. Having to fight each other and then go against Bison in a weakened state led to some intense moments and some great action sequences.
Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie opened my eyes to the animated world that existed outside of Saturday cartoons. Although I never got really big into the mainstream Japanese anime, this movie as well as the earlier Adult Swim stuff and a friend who did get into anime in a big way really shifted my attention away from G rated cartoons and into some of the more Americanized anime movies and series. Come on now…what anime movie has an Alice In Chains song in it? The first time that I watched Street Fighter II: TAM, I felt like I was watching a really good comic book come to life. The animation was just that amazing at the time and I still fell that it holds up well to this day. The ending to the movie left a lot of cliffhangers that to my knowledge were never wrapped up, as is the case with just about every anime movie and series ever. I don’t think that there was an official sequel and if there is, I definitely have to check up on it.
If you were a fan of the game more than a decade ago or have maybe discovered the fun of 2-D fighters due to all the retro anniversary releases that have been flooding the market nowadays and you want to see what the game would be like if it were to come alive, then you have to check out this movie. If you’re an anime fan that hates Americanized anime, this movie will surprise even your dark hearts.
5.1 English and Japanese versions
Original Japanese Master with never before seen scenes
UK Edition with never before seen scenes and KMFDM Soundtrack
Interactive Player Cards
Exclusive never before seen Street Fighter Comic Book
English/Japanese: 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Surround
English & Japanese
Favorite Scenes: The opening battle between Ryu and Sagat, Chun Li vs Vega, the end battle between Ken, Ryu and Bison.
Running Time: 99 minutes