Street Fighter II Uncut (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Release Date: Wednesday, December 06, 2006
What They Say
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 powerful legendary martial arts warriors. Together they face the fights of all fights. The final battle of good against evil is about to begin!
All the lightening-fisted thrills of the world's wildest combat video game series explodes onto DVD in this brilliantly animated, sensationally supercharged adventure, Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie. This all new unedited and uncensored version now boasts a stunning new 5.1 surround sound mix of the equally popular soundtrack.
The original and still (in my opinion) greatest Street Fighter 2 anime is finally available in region 4 and it may be the best version available.
Having watched the film so many times in English I decided to go with watching the film in its original Japanese language. The soundtrack has a good deal of directionality especially during the fight scenes, punches, near misses, blocks it all sounds fantastic, the first fight between Sagat and Ryu being a highlight. I spot checked the English dub and everything is pretty much the same except for the different musical score.
This release as far as I am aware is the only one that has the film presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1and enhanced for anamorphic wide screen. Madman went the extra mile and went to Japan for the masters and this is also a true PAL transfer. That doesn't mean the video is problem free however, there is a fair amount of edge enhancement and film grain as well as line noise, shimmering, film artefacts and cross coloration. Comparing it to my other copies of the film there are far less rainbows, it isn't perfect but it's the best available as far as I'm concerned. I did notice a few issues with the subtitles a few lines went off the screen during fei long fight and after the Chun li fight with Balrog/Vega.
With this release we have some great artwork on the front cover of Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li and obscured by the Street Fighter logo Cammy. Ryu is the largest character here doing a Dragon Punch while Chun Li and Ken are relatively smaller doing signature poses from their special moves, Cammy however is rather hard to make out but it all comes together on a bright red background and it looks rather flashy, the OFLC logo's bright blue sticks out like a sore thumb but thankfully Madman have given us an alternative cover. This alternate cover is done by UDON comics and quiet different with hand drawn comic artwork. Ryu is again doing his Dragon Punch at the top while Ken is situated to the side kicking, at the bottom is Guile with fists at the ready and next to him is a close up of Chun-Li looking like she is about to unleash an attack, this all comes together on a grey background with lightning. The back cover features shots from the film as well as a group shot in the top right corner. There is also a brief synopsis and a list special features for this release, the Madman technical grid is located at the bottom as per usual.
The menu for this release is fantastic; Madman went to extra mile to give the genuine feeling of the games. From the opening to the main menu mimicking Street Fighter Alpha 3's opening to the main menu itself with Ryu and Sagat's fight in the centre and life bars (that deplete) for each above, they even included the Street Fighter 2 sound effects when either gets hit. Other menus consist of fighting move descriptions as selections and the character profiles look like the "select your character" screen. Everything is quick and easy to access with the exception of the character profiles (probably due to the images involved). The sheer effort put into this makes it one of the best menu's Madman has ever done.
The extras for this release consist of character profiles, a history of Street Fighter and a special comic prelude by Udon comics. It's a shame that its all text based. There was a history of Street Fighter feature on the region 2 Japanese release and it's a shame they couldn't include that, instead we have text based history of each Street Fighter game up to Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo. The comic is only about 10 or so pages long and the artwork is rather nice, it would have been nice to have this as a special insert or something. Rounding out the extras is the original Manga UK trailer and Madman trailers.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Back in 1994 there was one anime that I could not wait to see. I knew very little about the plot but after having played all the games so far I was just dieing to see my favourite characters come to life. It was finally released in Australia in 1995 and I snapped it up. I love this film, it's like an old friend, I have seen it more times then I can remember it's been about 10 years since it came out and I still find myself watching it all these years later.
The plot for the Street Fighter 2 Movie is not going to win any awards, its paper thin and its best. Gisaburo Sugii has adapted the fighting game with little to no plot into something that is a reasonable vehicle for fights, a shower scene with everyone's favourite female Chinese fighter and more fighting.
The story follows Ryu a lone fighter who just wanders about the globe looking for fights and little else. After beating "The King of Fighters" Sagat with a Dragon Punch-Hadouken combo he has become rather famous in street fighting circles. Meanwhile M.Bison or Vega depending on your preference is amassing an army of street fighters to become mind controlled assassins. The first cab off the rank we see is Cammy killing a prime minister and then having no knowledge of where she has been for the past three years. Interpol is investigating this and the agent running up the investigation is Chun-Li in full qipao dress and spiked wristbands. She believes that Bison's/Vega's Shadowloo organisation is behind it all and joins up with the U.S military captain Guile to hunt Bison/Vega down and put a stop to it all.
Bison/Vega is also searching for Ryu as he appears to be one of the most powerful fighters alive and wants to use him for his experiments, to this end he deploys monitor cyborgs to look for Ryu as well as any other strong fighters. While doing this he becomes aware of Chun-Li and Guiles investigation and sends Vega/Balrog to take care of Chun Li which leads to one of the most well know fight scenes within the film that leaves Chun-Li almost dead. Eventually the cyborgs locate Ken Masters instead and noting similarities in fighting style Bison/Vega decides to use him instead as he is easier to find. Everyone then sets their sights on Ryu as he is the next target which leads to Guile finding him on the border of Thailand and Laos with fellow Japanese fighter E.Honda minutes before Bison/Vega shows up. This sets up the final showdown between Ryu and a mind controlled Ken as well as Guile and Bison/Vega.
It's mainly a vehicle for the fight scenes which are rather amazing to behold, all the punches, kicks and special moves are present but they were also overseen by a K1 founder Kazuyoshi Ishii and K1 fighter Andy Hug to add a sense of realism. Every hit seems brutal and bone crushing with special moves given a step up in terms of sheer power, the Hadouken especially. Every fight scene in the film is a draw card for fans, Ryu vs. Sagat, Ryu vs. Fei-Long, Ken vs. T.Hawk, E.Honda vs. Dhalsim and the list goes on.
All the characters from the game are present in some form or another. However some may feel that some scenes are pointless just to make sure that they are all represented in some way such as the Blanka vs. Zangeif fight and characters like Balrog/M.Bison don't really do much at all. Some of the characters appear in their traditional costumes throughout which is nice but one that is jarringly out of place is Chun-li's; what kind of Interpol agent has huge spiked wrist bands? The main male characters tend to suffer from steroid abuse, Guile and Bison/Vega in particular are just hulking messes of muscle in some scenes and it makes me wonder how they ever walked through a normal door. The animation is really a mixed bag at times, fight scenes look really energetic and well done while certain other scenes are not up to scratch, for its time it was good but it still looks like a feature length OVA.
After watching the film in Japanese I have to say that I enjoyed certain parts of the English dub much more. Sometimes Ryu's Japanese VA is just too wooden I did not feel any excitement when he let out his cries of Hadouken and Shoryuken. When originally released in English all of the music was changed to hard rock songs from well known bands at the time, now this seems a little dated but it's probably due to being use to the English version that I found some of the music just lacking in terms of tension building, it certainly gives scenes I have seen a hundred times a completely different feel. I still don't agree with the changing of original music in anime in any form but I feel guilty for liking the hard rock of the English dub over the original score.
The film is still the best representation of the Street Fighter franchise period. If someone would create a sequel to this film instead of re-imaging Street Fighter every single time it gets animated I think it would be well received. It could tie the few plot holes left behind such as Cammy and Vega/Balrog's fate at Sagat's hands as well as Ryu and Ken finally settling things between each other and add who knows what else.
Madman's release of the Street Fighter 2 Movie is the definitive version available. With an anamorphic transfer, being fully uncut, including both languages and presentation that is fantastic you would be hard pressed not to pick this up if your a fan. The film is not for everyone but by now I think you'll know if this is your type of thing or not. As I said before, I love this movie and to finally have a local release that trounces the rest it was a joy to return to the world of Street Fighter 2 with all its nonsense and fun.
English 5.1 Language,Japanese 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Exclusive Reversible Cover (Udon comics),Easter eggs,Original UK trailers,Prelude to the movie (comic),History of Street Fighter featurette,Animated fighter profiles
LG 32LX2D 32" HD LCD TV, Sony DVP-NS50P Progressive scan region free DVD player, Monster component cable, Yamaha TSS-15 Home Theatre Sound System
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: A+
Extras Rating: A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 4 - Australia / South America
Released By: Madman Entertainment
Running time: 97
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Street Fighter (All Variations)