This unexpectedly dull flick makes you realize how superior Hong Kong action cinema is, thanks to both is melodramatic emotionalism and its breath-taking physical action. The story of STREET FIGHTER is a mere trifle, but who cares? The real problem is that, for a film depending on excitement, the visceral impact is practically nil, with fight staging and action choreography that waste actors plainly capable of delivering the goods.
The one redeeming feature is the large cast of multi-ethnic characters, who somehow never get completely lost in the shuffle of subplots. Not that there’s much characterization, but some appealing performances from the ensemble definitely help. The late Raul Julia tries (perhaps too hard) to make something out of nothing, and Van Damme deadpans, adequate as usual. (Yes, he is not a very good actor, but he is usually smart enough to stay within his limited range, which sort of hides his deficiencies.) Despite lots of razzle-dazzle, their final confrontation is remarkably unspectacular.
STREET FIGHTER (1994). Written and directed by Steven E. de Souza, based on the videogame. Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, Ming-Na, Damian Chapa, Kylie Minogue, Simon Callow, Roshan Seth, Wes Studi, Byron Mann. Grand L. Bush.
Copyright 1995 by Steve Biodrowski. This review originally appeared (in slightly altered form and credited to Jay Stevenson) in the Summer 1995 issue of Imagi-Movies magazine (Volume 2, Number 4).
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