Street Fighter II: Special Edition - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: N/A
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Manga UK
  • MSRP: ¬£19.99
  • Running time: 90
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Letterbox Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Street Fighter (All Variations)

Street Fighter II: Special Edition

By Dani Moure     February 26, 2007
Release Date: February 19, 2007


Street Fighter II: Special Edition
© Manga UK


What They Say
The Classic Anime As It Was Meant To Be Seen!

All the lightning-fisted thrills of the world's favourite fighting videogame series explodes onto DVD in this brilliantly animated, sensationally supercharged adventure, Street Fighter II: Special Edition. This new version now boasts the original Japanese language soundtrack (with English subtitles) in stunning5.1 surround for the first time. Evil mastermind Bison is determined to attack civilisation and conquer the world. Can legendary warriors Ken and Ryu thwart his manic plans? The ultimate battle between good and evil is about to begin!

The Review!
One of the most successful videogame to anime conversions makes its way to UK DVD for the first time uncut.

Audio:
Since it's never been available to me, I listened to the Japanese 5.1 track for my main review. I didn't notice any technical issues with the track, and it actually sounded very good with some great directionality during the fights and some stonking bass on some of the sound effects as well.

The English language tracks are all on a separate disc, and I spot-checked this noticing no problems. The English dub is very old now by today's standards, but there will always be a place for it in my heart since it's one of the first anime dubs I ever saw.

Video:
My only real problem with the discs here are with the video. Unfortunately, despite an anamorphic, remastered widescreen print being available in Japan (and indeed used by Madman in Australia on their release of the disc), we instead get what would seem to be a transfer from Manga's old masters, and it's presented in letterbox form. This is hugely disappointing, but there are also niggling issues with general video quality, from noticeable nicks and scratches on the print to occasional compression issues, and some rather dull looking colours. This is a real disappointment in terms of video quality.

Subtitles are in a white font which is easily readable, and I only noticed a couple of instances of spelling or grammatical errors in them.

Packaging:
No packaging was included as this was a check disc.

Menu:
The menus are quite basic but in-theme, with the main menu featuring a series of moving stills of several characters from the film, all with a red/orange hue. There's a border to the top and bottom, with the logo in the bottom left and menu selections along the bottom of the screen. Music and sound effects play over this. Sub-menus are all static with different character images to the left and the selections to the right, and none have music playing.

Extras:
The only extras here are "Player Cards", which are basically short character profiles with a bit of video of the character's fight accompanying. There are only ten of these cards.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Videogame to anime conversions have always had something of a torrid time; there are very few that end up with any depth or a good story when they're converted from game to anime. Often they're just downright dire, and fighting games usually spawn some of the worst, with the likes of Tekken and Toshinden being great examples. But there's always been one game that did make a surprisingly good transition, and that is Street Fighter II. Based on one of the most popular videogame franchises of all time, the animated movie manages to create a mostly coherent story populated by all the key characters from the franchise.

As you'd expect, some fringe characters such as Fei-Long and Cammy only make brief appearances (with Akuma only getting a brief on-screen cameo), but several of the more renowned characters become key figures in the plot. M Bison (I'll be using the western world/English track boss character names in this review) is the leader of Shadowlaw, a crime syndicate that is always on the look out for new fighters. Under his command are Sagat, Balrog and Vega, coincidentally the other boss characters from the game.

In the opening moments of the movie, a Japanese fighter " the ever-recognisable Ryu " defeats Sagat, one of the strongest members of Shadowlaw. With his cyborg scouts on hand to assess Ryu's fighting power, Bison immediately takes great interest in Ryu and wants to get him to work for his group. Getting hold of him proves difficult, and also working against Bison is the fact that US forces, led by Colonel Guile and Chun-Li, get hold of some of his operatives and are out to bring his organisation to the ground.

So as we follow Ryu on his travels, an old training partner, Ken, catches Bison's eye as well since the pair have almost identical fighting ability. Given that Ryu won't join him, he instead captures Ken and uses his mind control to force Ken to work for him. This sparks a race for Ryu to rescue his old friend with the help of Guile, and eventually leads to the final showdown with Bison.

Surprisingly given the nature of the games, the story does make a lot of sense and it's hard to imagine the writers being able to come up with much that would be better given just over an hour and a half of screen time and so many characters to fit in. Therein lies the film's biggest problem though; fitting in so many characters to such a short film and trying to give them meaning. For some it works, for some they don't even try and for more still they just end up in random battles for no reason other than to make an appearance.

Take Sagat as a great example. Short of the fight he has in the opening scene with Ryu, all he does is stand next to Bison and say a few words for the rest of the film. Other than being stood next to Bison in pretty much every scene with him (Vega suffers a similar fate), Balrog also only gets the briefest of moments in the final fight. Fei Long has a run in with Ryu but really only to take part in the fight, and even E Honda's inclusion towards the end only really stems from his fight with Dhalsim (who in turn is only there to actually fight with Honda anyway).

But then there are the characters integral to the story who get a bit more time. Chun-Li and Guile don't get a great deal of depth, but they get a fair amount to do in leading the charge against Shadowlaw. Ken and Ryu, probably two of the most recognisable characters in videogame history, naturally make out the best of the lot, getting a fair bit of screen time (especially Ryu since we follow him around everywhere), and even get a nice bit of backstory in how they trained together when they were young, which succeeds in giving Ken's capture, and Ryu's subsequent need to free him, some meaning.

Despite the downfalls with some characters, which would be expected given the inspiration, the production values of the film are generally very good. Character designs are nice and faithful to the games, and the animation quality is high throughout, with some of the fights looking excellent. There's great attention to detail paid to the fights as well, making sure they remain authentic to the games. Music isn't particularly standout, but overall you can tell a fair amount of money was spent on animating this film at the time.

In Summary:
Though it'll never break any boundaries or be remembered for its story or characterisation, the sheer fact that it is Street Fighter, and contains the memorable characters in something of a decent story will be more than enough for most people. That it's not disastrously bad will help a great deal, too. At the end of the day, this is a very enjoyable film that is essential viewing for fans of the game, and would be a lot of fun for people who weren't, too. It's a shame the video quality on the disc isn't as good as it could be, but it's great to finally get the film uncut and with Japanese audio.

Features
Japanese Language (2.0 & 5.1),English Language (2.0 & 5.1),English Subtitles,Player Cards

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Philips DVP 5100 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, Pioneer HTP-GS1 5.1 Surround Sound System.

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