Jean-Claude Van Damme takes a career step backward in Street Fighter, a messy, basically plotless big-screen rendition of the popular multi-media game [Street Fighter II]. Film suffers from the same problem that impaired Super Mario Brothers: it is noisy, overblown and effects-laden and lacks sustained action or engaging characters.
Van Damme plays Col. Guile, the military commander of the Allied Nations forces, assigned to defeat Gen. Bison (Raul Julia), the megalomaniac dictator of a country called Shadaloo, in order to rescue 63 kidnapped relief workers held hostage by the psychotic ruler. When the Allied Nations succumb to Bison’s demands for a huge ransom, the protesting Guile is relieved of his command. But the fiesty fighter disobeys orders and leads a commando force of tough street fighters on a covert mission.
The two men, who play archetypes, are surrounded by some colorful characters who add flavor to the proceedings, such as attractive TV reporter Chun-li (Ming-na Wen), who has her personal agenda for wanting to destroy Bison; Sagat (Wes Studi), Bison’s arms supplier, who controls the toughest gang in Southeast Asia; and Dhalsim (Roshan Seth), Bison’s captive biophysicist.
Steven E. de Souza, a veteran of some functional action scripts (the Die Hard movies, 48HRS), makes an unimpressive directorial debut in this misconceived adventure. Van Damme disappears for long stretches, during which the action drags and meanders in too many directions.
[European prints had a brief extra scene, after the end credits, showing Bison coming back to life.]