Street Fighter: The craziest big-budget action movie of the 90s is coming to TVNZ+

Jean-Claude Van Damme is supposed to be the hero, but it's Raul Julia's villain who steals the show in Street Fighter.


Jean-Claude Van Damme is supposed to be the hero, but it’s Raul Julia’s villain who steals the show in Street Fighter.

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Street Fighter (M, 97mins) Directed by Steven E. de Souza ***

Generally recognized as one of the greatest arcade games of all time, Street Fighter II also inspired one of the craziest action films of the 1990s.

What other movie could boast Raul Julia, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Ming-Na Wen and Kylie Minogue, while delivering non-stop action and, often unintentionally, laughs?

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Commando, The Running Man and Die Hard, screenwriter Steven E. de Souza’s first big-budget tale behind the camera, centers on the evil drug lord-turned-dictator M-Bison (Julia)’s plans for world domination. “All I want is to rule the world, is that too much to ask? he says at one point.

The only man seemingly able to stop him is Colonel William F. Guile William F. Guile (Van Damme), an enforcer for the Allied Nations, and only with the help of his eclectic group of team members. assault on the blue berets.

Street Fighter is now available to stream on TVNZ+.

Oddly, while Van Damme gets plenty of opportunities to flex his muscles (while keeping his shirt on, surprisingly for the time, because, you know, this one’s for kids) and gets a few choice lines (” now who wants to stay and who wants to come with me?”), he actually disappears from the proceedings for long stretches at a time, only reappearing for key set pieces.

This leaves Julia to do the heavy lifting, which he does with aplomb — and no small amount of ham — while looking extremely menacing in his shoulder-pad suit. “The temple above us was the wonder of the ancient world. Bisonopolis will be the wonder of my world. But I think the food court should be bigger. All the major franchises will want to participate, one of the many thoughts that Julia manages to sell with panache.

What it isn’t though, is Minogue’s best acting hours. The former Neighbors star struggles with an English accent so awful it makes Keanu Reeves in Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula and Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves look like locals by comparison.

Ming-Na Wen and Kylie Minogue have teamed up for Street Fighter.


Ming-Na Wen and Kylie Minogue have teamed up for Street Fighter.

With the tenuous plot, occasionally tedious action, and its thinly disguised US attack on the UN likely to leave many feeling cool towards its worldview, Street Fighter doesn’t exactly scream quality entertainment.

However, there is just something wrong with style in all farrago. Almost 30 years later, it looks like a cult classic about it, because once you realize how terrible it really is, you’ll embrace and appreciate its innate silliness (which Julia clearly has do).

How else could he have gotten lines like, “For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me, it was Tuesday”, without constantly cracking?

Street Fighter is now available to stream on TVNZ+.

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