Kung Fu Clubhouse: Street Fighter

Steven E. de Souza · 1994
102min · DCP

Despite its commercial success, STREET FIGHTER was lambasted by critics across the board, but remains one of the most confident video game adaptations of all time while poking fun at action movie tropes and embracing its inherently silly qualities. M. Bison has a John Wayne Gacy portrait of himself on display in his lair! Zangief and E. Honda fight in slow motion with Godzilla sound effects dubbed in! Van Damme calls Bison a dickhead. What more could you ask for here?

The plot, as it were: Civil war has erupted in the country of Shadaloo, ruled by the merciless M. Bison (Raul Julia in his final role) as he works to create an army of genetically modified super soldiers to aid his goal of world domination. Colonel William F. Guile (Jean-Claude Van Damme) leads the Allied Nations to fight back against Bison's tyranny and rescue the prisoners of war he has taken hostage. Guile recruits and assembles a team of ragtag fighters to expose Bison's crimes against humanity once and for all.

“STREET FIGHTER is simply a goof ’em up with a game cast, big colourful sets, and all the characters I vaguely know… doing fun stuff. JCVD gives a rousing speech! The big Russian guy makes jokes! Raul Julia steals the entire show while on the brink of death! As a lover of Steven E. de Souza’s other masterpiece HUDSON HAWK, I should have given this another chance sooner.” Justin Decloux, Letterboxd

“Even knowing what a mess Street Fighter is, I will defend it to the end of time all for what Raul Julia brought to the film.” Meagan Navarro, Birth.Movies.Death

“basically a PG-13 paul verhoeven movie. van damme in this is so coked out of his mind that it feels like he’s acting on a different plane of existence, and all the actors named after the videogame’s characters are stumbling around trying to make sense of what, if anything, are their character motivations/emotions, which half of the time results in them under-acting and the other half of the time results in de souza’s pulpy dialogue achieving this gawky iconic humor that makes this film so incredibly quotable. and raul julia… what a fucking legend. too good for this world. this [is] a luminously special film, an essential 90s text. everyone should be required to watch it in order to truly understand american cinema.” comrade_yui, Letterboxd