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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is based on a well-known martial-arts video game (albeit one not infamous for gruesome violence, as the Mortal Kombat line was), and consequently, there's a lot fighting (believe it or not). Characters are kicked, pummeled, shot at, slashed at, electrocuted, and so on. Almost all of it is bloodless and not taken terribly seriously, though a few seconds of genuine war-atrocity news stock footage are worked into the fantasy. There's no need to be familiar with the game to enjoy the movie, but it helps with character recognition. There's some scattered swearing, smoking, and drinking, and a reference to the drug trade.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
STREET FIGHTER derived from a popular Capcom video game in which players could choose a gallery of martial-arts contestants to go up against each other. Screenplay-wise, this translates as high-tech warlord General Bison (Raul Julia) wreaking havoc in the mythical Asian nation of "Shadaloo" and holding relief-workers hostage for a $20 billion ransom, while forcing a captive scientist turn a prisoner into a Hulk-like monster soldier. His main opponent is Col. Guile (Jean-Claude Van Damme), stalwart leader of international military forces, who tries to find Bison's hidden base. Other two-fisted characters ultimately brawling in Bison's temple of doom include Chun-Li (Ming-na Wen), a TV reporter out for vengeance because Bison killed her father 20 years ago in her border village.
Is it any good?
Though it scored low at the box-office, Street Fighter racks decent cinematic junk-food points for rainy days when the game console won't boot up. Except for unnecessary swearing it's mostly PG-level inoffensive, and even a bit of a guilty pleasure compared to later (R-rated) movies derived from fancier and more savagely gory joystick material, such as Doom and Resident Evil. This, while lacking in plot surprises, still has a self-mocking sense of humor about itself throughout, with some sly jokes insinuated amongst the colorful-gaudy production design (note the clown painting in Bison's bedroom).
The cast acts it up with relish, especially Raul Julia's eye-popping caped villain. Julia died suddenly before the film's release; he reportedly took this untypical part mainly because his children were fans of the game, and the movie is dedicated to him. In addition to assorted tie-in anime cartoons, another game-spinoff live-action movie appeared in 2009
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the idea of basing movies on video games. What are some favorites? What game would make a good movie? Is it more fun to watch if you're a player of the video game or not? Would you rather see a movie based on a simple action-combat game, like Street Fighter II, or a more problem-solving and story-dependent game, like Myst, Riven, or the Seventh Guest?
- In theaters: December 23, 1994
- On DVD or streaming: February 10, 2009
- Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia
- Director: Steven Souza
- Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: non-stop martial arts and action violence