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Street Fighter II - The Movie (Blu-ray Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000155500
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 4/5/2013 15:25
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    Review for Street Fighter II - The Movie

    5 / 10


    I never was a fan of Street Fighter II. For one thing, I never played an arcade machine long enough to get good at any particular game, and I was always out of my depth trying to pull off the special moves in SF2. You’d think it would be easier given that my best friend had a SNES and got the game with the console. The trouble was that he spent a good amount of time mastering it, and only invited me around to whup my arse in increasingly imaginative ways. I got my revenge. I got Mortal Kombat for my Amiga, which I liked more anyway because of its comparative realism, and I practiced for hours, mastering all the special moves. I was ready, I invited my friend round, loaded up the game... and he whupped my arse.

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    It’s less personal, more objective when it comes to the movies. Who can forget the Street Fighter feature, mega-budget, and weighed down with star power, Jean Claude, Raul Julia, Kylie!? I preferred the Mortal Kombat movie once again, boasting only Christopher Lambert as a marquee name. But it was more fun, and more focussed on martial arts compared to its rival. By the time it came to the anime, I’d given up on the whole beat-em-up genre, games, movies and TV, so the Street Fighter II anime, released back then by Manga Entertainment on VHS and then DVD never was a priority for me. Even then however, anime and games fans alike lauded the Street Fighter II anime feature film as the best transition from game to movie, and while Manga had its license, it was always a sure seller. That must be a key reason why it now receives the HD treatment from Kazé Entertainment, apparently the first proper HD presentation for the film, fully restored, and it says on the box, uncensored.

    Note that this time, there is no DVD re-release for this restored version, and Street Fighter II will be Blu-ray only. If you want it on DVD, you’ll have to go looking for Manga Entertainment’s deleted release, and your best bet for that is second hand.

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    The Shadowlaw criminal organisation, as led by M. Bison plans world domination. He’ll accomplish this, for some reason, by finding and recruiting the world’s best street fighters, and brainwashing them with his Psycho Power. It’s already begun, as MI6 Agent Cammy White has been subverted, and used to assassinate the UK’s Justice Minister. Investigating this is Interpol’s Chun-Li, and the US Air Force’s Major Guile. Reluctantly they wind up working together, and learn that the world’s best street fighter, and Bison’s next target is the elusive Ryu. Not so elusive is Ryu’s fellow student in Martial Arts, Ken Masters, and if Bison can’t get to Ryu directly, he’ll use Ken instead. The race is on.


    Street Fighter II is presented on this Blu-ray disc at 1080p resolution, in the original 1.85:1 widescreen ratio. The image has been cleaned up a treat, as signs of print damage and the like are wholly absent. It’s a transfer from a film source that hasn’t had a lot of digital trickery applied, other than a general clean, and you get a bit of wobble in the film, and a nice consistent layer of grain is apparent, as it should be. It’s a clear, crisp transfer, with gorgeous lines, great detail, bold colours, and one that brings the artwork and especially the backgrounds to life. The sheer intricacy in Shadowlaw’s secret base makes this HD release worthwhile alone. The animation too is really special, with the character designs reflecting their videogame origins accurately, and the fight sequences and action set pieces choreographed to a degree that you don’t normally see in anime. This is great stuff for martial arts fans. If I do have a nit to pick, it’s that darker scenes lose detail, and particularly the opening sequence between Ryu and Sagat is indistinct. This may be through design though.

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    The audio options for UK fans are PCM 2.0 Stereo English and Japanese, with player locked English subtitles for the Japanese track, and a signs only stream with the English dub. French fans get PCM 2.0 Stereo French and Japanese, with French subtitles and signs. The Japanese audio is streamed at 2.3Mb per second, while the English and French tracks are at 1.5Mb. I went with the original language track first of all, and found it to be rather dull and muted in comparison to the English dub. There’s a lack of clarity and high frequency response that doesn’t do it any favours, but there’s enough low end response to make the action sequences feel meaty and effective. The dialogue was clear throughout, and the subtitles accurately timed and free of error. Thankfully, Kazé’s usual inability to display dialogue translations and screen captions simultaneously wasn’t an issue here. When there is Japanese text on screen in this film highlighting the next globetrotting destination, no one speaks.

    One issue that had me scratching my head for a minute is that the names are different in the Japanese version, M. Bison is Vega, Vega is Balrog, and Balrog is M. Bison. A quick bit of research revealed that this is a nineties film, and indeed videogame, and having a boxer named M. Bison might have invited lawsuits, or devoured ears from Mike Tyson. In the English dub, this confusion remains, as the English text in the video for the fighter stats retains the Japanese naming conventions. I gave the English dub a try next, and despite the lower bitrate, it is a crisper and brighter track, and the stereo is a little more effective. This film is from the era where dubs got some money thrown at them, especially for guaranteed sellers like this one, and not only is the dialogue localised, so is the film’s music soundtrack. There’s a whole lot more in the way of guitar for the English version of the film. It’s not the most appealing of dubs and fans of the original video and DVD releases will be disappointed to learn that it has been sanitised.

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    One disc in a thin red Amaray style Blu-ray sized case, the French menu autoplays with a trailer for Tekken Blood Vengeance, and KZTV, while from the menu, you’ll be able to access trailers for the French Blu-ray releases of Bakuman, Patlabor 3, and Tiger & Bunny. The UK menu autoplays with a trailer for Bleach The Movie 4: Hellverse, and that’s your lot. The disc presents its content with an animated menu, and a pop-up menu is available during the film’s playback. After the film ends, there is an extra minute-long English language credit reel.


    Uncensored my arse! Or rather Chun-Li’s arse, for it is a fine, shapely arse with greater audience appeal, and indeed the whole point of the ‘Uncensored’ claim on the front of the case. The video may be uncensored, the audio is not, and that should make this a case for Trading Standards. Imagine it, you’re in the mood for a classic action movie, go to the DVD shop (probably the last one left on the planet), and purchase for yourself Die Hard. It’s all there while you’re watching it, the uber-violence, the gratuitous cocaine abuse, the random appearance of breasts as was normal in eighties and nineties action movies, but all through the film you get the inkling that something isn’t right. Then, the climax, the bit you’ve been waiting for, the iconic scene, cue Bruce Willis and... “Yippee Ki-Yay Monkey Fiddler!

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    Let’s face it, you would be peeved, you would be seething. You’d be complaining about just why the dialogue had been censored. And that’s what we have with Street Fighter II: The Movie as presented by Kazé Entertainment. The blood, the violence, it’s all there, and with Chun-Li’s arse, and indeed breasts, you can be assured that the video is uncensored, but the dialogue, the profanity and fruitiness that so typified a Manga Video dub of the early nineties has been replaced with a kiddie friendly version. No effing or blinding here, all bitches become witches. The main appeal of an HD upgrade for a vintage film like this is the nostalgia value. By substituting the kiddie friendly dub from the censored version, you’ve killed the nostalgia value for a whole bunch of teenagers that grew up with the Street Fighter II anime feature.

    Of course I never had that nostalgia, and I’m not a fan of those Manga Video dubs, unless I’m watching Angel Cop. Last night was my first time watching Street Fighter II: The Movie, and I have to say that animation aside, it really didn’t appeal to me, in Japanese or in English. It is as faithful an adaptation of the videogame as you’re likely to find, and nonsensical though the plot is, it does hang together in a way that doesn’t put the viewer to sleep. But the film is really about giving each of the Street Fighter II game characters their moment to shine in the movie, and that they do, no matter if it’s a fight sequence that is necessary to the plot, or just shoe-horned in. They also make sure that their special moves are put to use as well, so you get your full Street Fighter II value from the film.

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    Where the film excels is in its fight choreography, which is up there with any live action martial arts film, and doubly impresses given that this is a traditional cel-animated feature. You also get a different perspective than the video game, and seeing a victim’s eye view of Chun-Li’s spin kick gives it a whole lot more intensity and energy. When all is said and done though, it’s really just another video-game tie-in, designed to appeal to young male audiences, and mostly those below its age rating. Had I seen this on its original release, I would have enjoyed it almost as much as I did the live action Mortal Kombat. Watching it now, twenty years down the line, it feels like a waste of time. It is infinitely better than the live action movie though, the one that it ironically advertises in its final frames. This is one best left for nostalgia fans, but those fans also need to be aware that they won’t get all that they are nostalgic for with this release.

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