Street Fighter: The most bonkers big-budget action movie of the '90s hits TVNZ+ - bdsthanhhoavn.com

Street Fighter: The most bonkers big-budget action movie of the ’90s hits 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.

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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 acknowledged as one of the greatest arcade games of all-time, Street Fighter II also inspired one of the most bonkers action flicks of the 1990s.

What other film could boast Raul Julia, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Ming-Na Wen and Kylie Minogue, while delivering non-stop action and, often unintentional, 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 focuses on the evil drug lord turned dictator M-Bison’s (Julia) plans for global domination. “All I want to do is rule the world, is that so much to ask?,” he opines at one point.

The only man seemingly capable of stopping him is Allied Nations enforcer Colonel William F. Guile William F. Guile (Van Damme) and that’s only with the assistance of his eclectic bunch of blue-beret-sporting assault team members.

Street Fighter is now available to stream on TVNZ+.

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

That leaves Julia to do the heavy lifting, which he does with aplomb – and no small amount of ham – while looking supremely menacing in his shoulder-padded suit. “The temple above us was the wonder of the ancient world. Bisonopolis shall be the wonder of my world. But I think the food court should be larger. All the big franchises will want in,” just one of many musings Julia manages to sell with panache.

What this is not though, is Minogue’s finest acting hours. The former Neighbours star struggles with an English accent so inscrutably awful it makes Keanu Reeves in Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula and Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves seem like locals in comparison.

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

Supplied

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

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

However, there is just something stylishly bad about the whole farrago. Almost 30 years on, it does have the ring of a cult classic about it, because, once you realise how terrible this truly is, you’ll embrace and enjoy its innate silliness (something which Julia clearly did).

How else could he get out such lines as, “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 up?

Street Fighter is now available to stream on TVNZ+.

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