Shadowlaw an underground organization bent on world domination through drug smuggling, illegal weapons distribution and terrorism. Led by the evil M. Bison (Vega in the Japanese version), Shadowlaw hopes to increase their power by recruiting the world’s greatest street fighters. Their main target: Ryu a master of Shotokan Karate who roams all over the world to test his skills against other fighters. As a means to lure the elusive Ryu, Bison abducts his best friend, former martial arts champion Ken Masters, and uses him as bait. Interpol agent Chun-Li and U.S. Air Force pilot Guile team up to get to Ryu before Bison does and continues his reign of terror.
Watching this again was a bit of a nostalgia trip for me. Based on one of the best arcade fighting coin-op games ever and released just before the anticipated live action movie starring Jean Claude Van Damme (the less said about that, the better!), Street Fighter II : The Animated Movie was one of the first manga films I watched as a teenager. I’ve discovered more since like Akira and Ghost in the Shell since and whilst watching Street Fighter now obviously doesn’t compare to the classics, it’s still an entertaining 101 minutes that will have you smirking with joy when the characters use their signature moves on each other.
Manga has brought the complete and uncut Street Fighter II to British shores at last. The uncut version shows a bit more nudity and establishing shots but that’s all. The violence and action still remains the same.
Street Fighter II – The Animated Movie is presented on Blu-ray in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with a 1080/24p MPEG4-AVC codec. The increase in resolution does throw some of the flaws in the animation (wobbling background plates) but it’s hardly noticeable in all honesty. The clarity of the transfer does show off some of the finer detail that was lost on previous DVD incarnations and there were a few moments where the background shots looked quite realistic. The black levels are pretty much spot on with the exception of a few darker lit scenes where it becomes a bit crushing and facial / background detail is lost. Colours are reproduced strongly and displays the colourful characters nicely. There are a few scenes where any English language text that is presented on screen with be presented with burnt in Japanese subtitles (see more on that below).
Street Fighter II – the Animated Movie is presented with three LPCM 2.0 stereo tracks. The English Dub, the original Japanese dub and a French Dub (the French dub only be selectable from the root menu system). For the review I switched between the English dub and the Japanese dub during my viewing of the film. Quality wise the English dub is the winner as the dialogue is a bit stronger in the mix. There is also a bit more nu-metal rock littered throughout the film, giving it a more ‘American’ flavour and a tad more bass that gives the front speakers a bit more to work with. But for purist reasons, I would have to recommend the original Japanese dub for its superior script that’s not dumbed down and missing the expletives like the English dub. The only downside to the Japanese dub is that it comes across a bit quieter due to the softer dialogue and soundmix. It’s worth noting that you can only toggle between the English and Japanese tracks via the pop up menu. There are a few scenes where any English language text that is presented on screen with be presented with burnt in Japanese subtitles. Depending on what audio track you choose the subtitles will either cover the Japanese text if your listening to the English dub, or just above the Japanese text if you’re listening to the Japanese dub.
Despite showcasing a HD trailer for Bleach: Hell verse on the start-up screen, Street Fighter II has not been given any special features to explore at all. Except for a Kaze credit screen (distributor) that is selectable via the main menu.
Being a huge fan of Street Fighter II the game whilst growing up, I jumped at the opportunity of seeing a film version of it and it didn’t disappoint. Whilst over the years I’ve seen some downright brilliant anime films that have kept my interest in anime alive, watching Street Fighter II was a nostalgic trip that I enjoyed and probably will again in the future. Manga has given us a version of Street Fighter II that ticks the boxes in the right place on the Blu-ray format but falls at the last hurdle for the lack of special features which round of rounded off the disc nicely. Just to avoid confusion with the picture below, Street Fighter II does come with a rather fancy HD-DVD style red aramay case as well.