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March 19, 2009
Street Fighter Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
12/1/199510/3/2009Sony PicturesSteven E. de Souza
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4Dolby TrueHD 5.1MJean-Claude Van Damme

THE MOVIE
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M. Bison Vs Guile in Street Fighter.

Early 2009 was always going to be a big year for Street Fighter. Not this movie, but the entire franchise. Firstly we've seen the release of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li in cinemas, we've seen Capcom release the brilliant Street Fighter IV and now we have a Blu-Ray release of the original 1994/5 movie.

A crack team of Allied Nations forces, led by Colonel William F. Guile (Jean-Claude Van Damme), is sent to a small Southeast Asian port city to quell an armed uprising of rebel militiamen. The mission becomes complicated when it is learned that the rebels have taken 63 relief workers hostage, and Colonel Guile's troops must somehow find and rescue the hostages before they are systematically executed. As the Shadaloo civil war enters its seventh month, Allied Nations Forces, led by Colonel William F. Guile (Jean-Claude Van Damme), secure the Southeast Asian port after a night of skirmishes with the City Militia. The latest casualties; twelve An troops killed, three officers missing and 63 relief workers taken hostage by the renegade General M. Bison (Raul Julia). The ransom: $ US 20 billion. the dead-line 72 hours. Location of hostages: unknown.

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Van Damme prepares to fight.
I do recall watching this movie being filmed on the Gold Coast many years ago, it was just after I moved up here from Melbourne, and then seeing at cinemas when it finally came out here in 1995. Ultimately it was a disappointing movie which lacked, well, pretty much everything. Directed by Steven E. de Souza in his first, and only to date, directorial effort this really is a quite poor effort with a weak plot, some terrible jokes, and a lack of, well, coherency for the most part.

Despite top billing Jean-Claude Van Damme is only one among a great ensemble cast, with Raul Julia the saving grace in his final movie role before passing away. Indeed his portrayal of the evil M. Bison is one of the main reasons for suffering through this movie. Australia's own Kylie Minogue is passable as Cammy, but wasn't she meant to be British!? As for other characters in the movie, well they're all there including Ken, Ryu, E. Honda, Zangeif, Balrog, Vega, Dhalsim, Dee Jay, T. Hawk, Dhalsim and Sagat.

Despite how poorly the movie was received critically it wasn't a total disaster. With a budget of $US35 million - which was moderate at the time - it managed to gross just a few dollars short of $US100 million.

Street Fighter really is a bad movie. If you're not a fan of the video game then we'd probably suggest you give this a big miss. If, though, you're a fan of the Capcom video games then this is a movie which you may want to check out at some stage. Just don't expect anything too special, or special at all really.

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The late Raul Julia as M. Bison.
VIDEO
For such a low budget movie the visuals on this Blu-Ray disc are extremely impressive. In fact with the bitrate constantly hovering around the 30Mbps this AVC MPEG-4 encoded picture really is a great example of what the Blu-Ray format is capable of. The colours are vibrant, and the image quite sharp in places with the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio being retained.

There is the occasional scene which seems to lack some sharpness, but this is rare, and probably a fault of the source rather then the transfer. Overall Street Fighter is better then we expected it to be on Blu-Ray from a visual standpoint.

AUDIO
Also impressive is the English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio transfer on this disc. Dialogue is clear and there is some use of the surround sound and LFE channels. While it may not be the pinnacle of audio on Blu-Ray and at times the audio seems ever so slightly flat - including some of the gun battles towards the end of the picture - it certainly holds up a lot better then many other movies of the mid-1990's. Kudos must also go to composer Graeme Revell for his music which contains a wide range of styles to suit the fighters.

The other audio tracks on this disc include French and Spanish Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks, each of which is quite impressive in their own right, but not quite as clear as the English track. Subtitles are provided in a variety of languages including English and English SDH which seemed accurate from brief samples.

EXTRAS
Street Fighter comes to Blu-Ray with all the extras ported over from the Extreme Edition DVD, but with a couple of exclusives in terms of trailers for the recently released game. So what do we have...

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Classic, Street Fighter move...
Commentary with Writer/Director Steven de Souza: A decent audio commentary in which details of the movie, and its production, are detailed. Worth a listen.

The Making of Street Fighter (5:57): A short, fluffy, promotional piece for the movie. There's little here of any real value.

Deleted Scenes (2:20): Two deleted scenes are presented here. Brief, and with little content.

Street Fighter Tribute Gallery: A whopping 278 pieces of artwork are presented in this gallery which really is a superb collection.

Street Fighter IV Game Trailer (3:41): Sadly not presented in HD this is still a wonderful, and lengthy, trailer for the recently released game Street Fighter IV. Just remember to turn on the subtitles (the game has English voiceovers though).

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M. Bison prepares to entertain.
Street Fighter IV Anime Trailer (3:11/HD): Presented in HD this is a great trailer for the anime movie based on the Street Fighter universe. I might have to check this out actually...

Trailers (6:03/HD): A promotional Blu-Ray Trailer and trailers for Hancock and Don't Mess with the Zohan.

OVERALL
No matter which way you look at it Street Fighter is a pretty average movie. As a fan of the video games I possibly appreciate the storyline and characters a little more then the average movie goer, and Raul Julia is impressive as the villain M. Bison. Surprisingly the Blu-Ray release includes some pretty stunning audio and visuals. This is one for the fans.

Review By: Dave Warner

THE MOVIE
5/10
THE VIDEO
9/10
THE AUDIO
8/10
THE EXTRAS
4/10
OVERALL
6/10

Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Sony Pictures. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.