Saturday, July 15, 2006

MOVIE REVIEW - Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie (uncensored release)

* As usual, I begin by stating that my only qualifications as a reviewer extend no further than my love of comics, television and film. I'm not an academic, when it comes to this particular topic. I just talk about what I like and what I don't like. *

Any potential spoilers in my reviews must be highlighted to be visible.
(The actul animation/art looks better, in my opinion. The above is from the case inserts/covers and is more like the animation style from the Street Fighter II episodes.)

Plot Outline: "Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie" is based on the wildly popular Street Fighter video games of the past decade and a half. This particular movie has been available before, but this particular release, according to the case, is an "all new unedited and uncensored version [which] now boasts a stunning new 5.1 surround sound mix of the equally popular soundtrack."

"In the not too distant future, civilization is under attack. Leading the forces of darkness is the evil mastermind Bison, who is determined to capture the minds and bodies of the world's greatest fighters for use in his manic plan to conquer the world. The only people on Earth with the potential to stop him are Ken and Ryu, two powerfully legendary martial arts warriors.
Together they face the fights of all fights. The final batter of good against evil is about to begin!"

The Good-
* the story, character rendering, and fighting styles are very consistent with the video game

* It's on dvd (finally?).

* Unedited/uncensored additions
* Great voices and acting.
* Fantastically dramatized and stylized
* PG-13

The Bad-
Somewhat simplistic, predictable, and mildly odd ending
* poor marketing
* PG-13
The Story
It's an expanded-upon version of the classic Street Fighter story given form and substance that leave the source material well-represented.

It probably helps to have a familiarity with and possibly a fondness for the source material, but rather hard for me to divest myself of what feels like twenty years of history and connection with these characters. So, from that perspective, it's a good, solid adaptation of what was a very simplistic story.

The Acting
The voice-acting was of the type one ought to expect from anime, which offers a bit of the melodramatic, but I didn't find it distracting, at all. Solid stuff.

The characters' physical expressions (both in face and body) well were-matched to the emotions they were supposed to be experiencing.

The characters were distinct and well-defined and part of their charm (with some of them) was in their overacting and simplistic nature, so keep that in-mind.

The Storytelling
Very well-done.

The progression of the story was rather natural. Character introduction and motivation was cleanly integrated into story continuity.

Strong ensemble "casts," particularly those within or very close to the super-hero genre, often result in poor development and representation of each character. In this case, the core characters were given the most face-time, then there were second- and third-tier characters who were introduced here and there - adding their own flavor, but without diluting that of the whole.

The previously-edited material added a nice amount of spice (and a little sugar) to the mix. They worked by having added a bit of an edge to the characters and provided another level of tittillation to the mix.

I was told that it's common for unedited anime to contain profanity and nudity that was absent in the original. Although I wasn't told this until after I'd watched it, this example kept that rule firmly intact.

Yes, absolutely.

If you're a Street Fighter fan, you've got to see this. I didn't see that live-action van Damme flick with Raul Julia, but if it was as bad as they say, this movie more than makes up for it.

If you're not a Street Fighter fan, but enjoy anime I think you'll get a kick out of this (no pun intended).

The company that sent this dvd to me asked for an honest review and that's precisely what I've provided here, without concern that they will or won't approve of the opinions presented here.

If your opinion differs (or even if you agree), please feel free to share your perspective in the comments section (which may contain spoilers).

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