Fighting Game Film Retrospective

With the Tekken live-action film coming hopefully in the near future, I got to thinking about the past beat ’em up movie adaptations that have graced the silver screen. Some have been bad, some have been very bad, and some actually kinda decent. Here they are, as I recall…

Double Dragon. Based on the classic side-scrolling beat ’em up. It starred Mark Dacascos, Alyssa Milano, and Robert Patrick slummin’ after his high point as the T-1000. This was TV movie-bad. No, worse… it was 80s TV movie-bad.

Street Fighter. So bad it’s good! This campy epic tried it’s best to cram in all of the Streetfighter roster into the running time, resulting in lots of abrupt cut-aways to show every fighter’s reaction to every little situation. Hollywood-ized to the extreme, everyone had a new background story to make it all seem more plausible- Chun Li was a reporter, Guile was an army officer in charge of a UN peacekeeping force, while Ken and Ryu were a bunch of hustlers. Oh, and Dhalsim was a pacifistic scientist who only eventually gets to look like he does in the game when he gets burned. Bison (Raul Julia) didn’t have psycho power but instead used gadgets, his ultimate attack consisting of flying around and punching people. Laughably bad now but I have to admit to whoopin’ in the theater when I first saw Cammy do her frankensteiner. Heheh…

Mortal Kombat. Has the distinction of perhaps being the one fighting game/videogame movie generally considered to be ‘good’. Was it because it had Christopher Lambert? Who knows. There was as much exposition and babble about how Mortal Kombat is really about life instead of death as much as there was stunt kung-fu fighting that felt more like lotsa posing than actual impact, and after all this time it hasn’t really aged that well (check out those really funny bright-colored ninja outfits), but this is still a nice watch every now and then.

Mortal Kombat Annihilation. Whatever progress the first MK movie achieved, the sequel tore it all down and shit on its grave. An incomprehensible script seemingly written by a two year old, horrific acting and dialogue, Power Rangers-magnitude costumes and action scenes and really bad CG are just a few of this stinker’s special moves. Master your Animality!!!

Dead or Alive. Despite being sold off on the strength of having tons of sexy chicks with kicks, this actually kinda disappointed in terms of fan service (not hot enough). The story was simple enough and the fighting good enough to make this not a big train wreck and actually be a decent dumb action flick. Still, having a final boss whose power rested in his rad pair of sunglasses was pretty hilarious.

Streetfighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. As if I really needed to add anything other than my exhaustive review on this stinker. The first SF live-movie was a masterpiece compared to this. Nuff said.

With MK, SF and DOA having their movie adaptations, it’s about time that Tekken got a film to complete the fighting game film set (I don’t think Virtua Fighter will ever get a movie). Apparently the T-movie is vaguely set for sometime in 2010, so we may have a bit of a wait till we see Nina and Anna tusslin’ in the flesh. Maybe it’s something to look forward to. Or maybe the PSP version of Tekken 6 is the better thing to look out for. We’ll just have to see.


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