Hello, my friends. Over the years, I’ve delved into various projects ranging from several well-known characters & properties to some independent creations that deserved some spotlight treatment in one way, shape or form. For this entry, it’s time that we bring some notice to a particular material based around a popular media franchise. Not only that, but it’s also celebrating a special occasion for this year. As such, let’s build up to our featured review with a brief history on the famed fighting game franchise known as…
Created by Takashi Nishiyama and Hiroshi Matsumoto, the inaugural game debuted in the arcades back in 1987. It would achieve some modest success, but the series wouldn’t be kicking into high gear until March 1991 when its follow up “Street Fighter II: The World Warrior” came out. With its critically-beloved sophomore entry, it would go on to acquire numerous accolades and help make fighting games a relevant genre. Over the next few years when the sequel would start getting some updated re-releases, the franchise would also start to dabble into other forms of media. While some early entries were less-than satisfactory (Malibu Comic’s short-lived series, the 1994 live-action film, etc.), one particular movie came around and proved itself as a solid entry within the overall franchise. Of course, that would be a particular flick called…
Originally announced by Capcom at a Street Fighter II Turbo tournament held at Ryōgoku Kokugikan (a.k.a. Ryōgoku Sumo Hall) on August 19, 1993, the movie would debut in Japan on August 6, 1994. Directed and co-written by Gisaburō Sugii (who wrote the screenplay alongside producer Kenichi Imai), it would go on to make $16 million (or over 1.7 billion yen) at the Japanese box office before eventually seeing a home video release in the U.S. on January 16, 1996.
From March to August 1996, Viz Communications published a six-issue adaptation of said movie as Takayuki Sakai flies solo on this project, due to him being the writer, artist and inker. As I discovered however, it goes on a different path in telling the film’s story than how its main source material told it. I’ll discuss those differences later on, but for now, let’s dive in and see how this tale goes for broke in my critical eyes.
We open with Ken Masters driving his car through the nature-filled landscape as he contemplates on the best way to ask his fiancee Eliza to marry him. Suddenly, he gets approached by a group of men who call themselves “The Four Kings of Shadaloo”, which turn out to be Sagat, Vega, Balrog and their leader Master Bison (or M. Bison).
While the car is still in motion, the fiendish master demands to know where he can find Ryu. Ken says that he’s heard of their worldwide hunt for various “street-fighters” and that the police wouldn’t be able to help them since Shadaloo is a less-than-noble organization. Even when he’s threatened by Bison’s men, he still refuses to talk as he slams on the brakes.
He then gets out and takes off his shirt in order to fight them, but M. Bison simply discards his cape and attacks with his Psycho Crusher move. This succeeds in bombarding Ken with a barrage of hits as he falls to the ground before he’s confronted by the devilish master and is told to get up before yelling out for his friend.
From there, we flashback to 12 years ago as he and Ryu are in the middle of their training. Afterwards, they’re told by their master (ultimately known as Gouken in the series) that they’ve made a lot of progress in their various exercises and that they’re on their way to learning a certain signature move known as the “Hadouken”. Later, the two young fighters are hanging off of a suspended log by their foot as Ken asks why he was unable to lay a single finger on his friend during their sparring match. When Ryu answers with the fact that he simply considers his next moves far more carefully, Ken gets angry and strikes back at his friend in frustration. However, his foot loses its grip on the log as he beings to plummet to the ground.
Just then, Ryu wakes up from his nightmarish recreation of the flashback as he wonders why he dreamed of said moment from his past and what it has to do with his longtime friend. Just then, he sees a crowd of Indian natives overlooking a brawl between the famed Russian wrestler Zangief and the Brazilian man-beast Blanka.
While that’s going on, an elder spokesman tells a separate crowd to “meditate” in order to locate their true selves. Suddenly, he’s approached by a familiar figure named Cammy White as she delivers a vicious kick called the Cannon Spike and kills him as a result. As she attempts to escape, Ryu manages to stop her with his signature spinning kick known as the Tatsumaki Senpukyaku (even though the comic erroneously confuses it for the Shoryuken), which knocks her unconscious.
Just then, another woman comes in and proceeds to handcuff Cammy. Just as Ryu is about to head out, she stops him and introduces herself as Interpol agent Chun-Li. Upon learning Ryu’s identity, Issue 1 ends with him getting asked to come with her at once.
Issue 2 opens at Interpol headquarters as Ryu recognizes Ken in a file picture as Chun-Li suspects that his mind is being controlled by the devious group called Shadaloo. She explains that it’s a dangerous crime syndicate run by M. Bison as they look to amass their armada with various street fighters from around the world. She then shows pictures of several agents that were sent in undercover, but were never heard from again. When she then suspects that Ken might be somehow involved, Ryu interrupts by saying that his friend would never get involved with said group.
However, Chun-Li says that Ken wouldn’t even be given a choice since Shadaloo can be “persuasive”. As such, she then takes Ryu to show what M. Bison does with his recently-acquired fighters. From there, they overlook an interrogation room where Cammy is being asked what her name and her identification number is. However, she can’t remember anything. As they look over her, Chun-Li tells Ryu that she’s a member of the British Secret Service. However, M. Bison was able to take over her mind as she became “a one-woman hit squad” to him. Because of that, anyone could be bent to his will.
Back at Shadaloo headquarters, Ken is hooked up to a specialized machine as M. Bison looks to break his mental strength and put him under his control. Back over at Interpol headquarters, Ryu is about to head out and give himself up since he doesn’t know how he’ll find his friend. Chun-Li then proceeds to escort him as they access the outer door.
Upon its opening however, they’re suddenly approached by Ken as Ryu recognizes the same brainwashed state in his eyes, which is in a similar fashion to Cammy. From there, the mind-controlled Masters proceeds to attack while Ryu tries to reach out to his longtime sparring partner. During the scuffle, Ryu starts to realize that Ken is using fighting moves that he never used. The full realization comes when Masters attacks with a “Sonic Boom”, which hits Ryu in the face with enough force to knock him down.
Chun-Li then draws her gun and orders him to surrender, but Ken warns her not to intervene. Fortunately, this gives Ryu enough time to recover and fire a Hadouken (misspelled here without the ‘u’) which knocks his foe down. The attack also shredded the adversary’s mask as it turns out to not be Ken at all, but a previously missing agent named Guile.
Chun-Li explains that he was also working for Interpol and that he disappeared while he was undercover. Not only was Guile brainwashed, but his body was injected with steroids. Just as he starts to come around, his muscles begin to convulse and explode in a bloodied mess as a result. As Chun-Li calls for an ambulance, Ryu grabs the fallen agent and demands to know where he can find Ken. From there, Issue 2 ends with the mind-possessed Guile telling him to arrive at Mt. Soryu tomorrow morning at 5 am right before he passes out.
As Issue 3 opens with a medical team carrying an unconscious Guile away, Chun-Li proceeds to ask Ryu if their agent told him anything. Although Ryu heard him loud & clear, he decides to keep that piece of information a secret from her. Just then, a floating technological sphere secretly hovers above them as M. Bison was overlooking the scene, even recording the recent tussle. Meanwhile, Ken is continuously subjected to his machine as his mental strength keeps on dwindling.
Later, a street fight is taking place between a martial artist/movie star named Fei Long and a yogi Indian warrior named Dhalsim. As Ryu runs past them, they sense his chi and stop their brawl while he continues to dash towards his assigned destination in order to save his friend.
Back at Interpol, Chun-Li learns from her team that they’ve lost track of Ryu, to the point where not even their tracer is able to find him. Just then, Guile bursts in demanding to see the recent security footage. She scolds him for wandering out of bed despite his injuries, but he states that he has to see the tape since he believes that he said something while he was being controlled, but he can’t remember what it was.
From there, they playback the footage and begin their search. After a while, Chun-Li states that she’s already seen it, but Guile wants to keep checking since he wants to know where Ryu went. However, he addresses her in a hurried and harsh tone as she tells him not to boss her around. Not only that, she mentions that she and her team aren’t entirely sure that he’s completely free from M. Bison’s control. Worried that Shadaloo’s leader could still be using him as a pawn, several officials swarm Guile and drag him away as he tells her to check the footage again since it’s all that they’ve got right now.
Meanwhile, Ken continues to get mentally assaulted by the wire-filled contraption. With the procedure nearly complete, M. Bison sends Vega out on his assignment. Shortly afterwards, the process has finished with Masters’ mind now bent to Shadaloo’s will.
We then cut to Chun-Li’s apartment where she’s taking a shower. With Guile’s voice ringing in her head to check the tape again, she ultimately gets out and decides to analyse it once more. This time around, she’s able to get a good look of Guile mentioning something to Ryu as she makes out the words “five tomorrow”. Stunned that she didn’t realize this before (especially since she was summoning an ambulance at the time), she calls Interpol and asks for Guile. Just then, Issue 3 ends with Vega having successfully crept into her apartment as he leaps down in order to attack her.
Issue 4 begins with Guile berating an Interpol official for giving him the phone with no one on the line. After being informed that it was Chun-Li who was trying to call him, we immediately cut over to her apartment as she attempts to fend off Vega. Back with Guile, he takes the official’s car (which turns out to be a Ford Mustang, nice!) and speeds off towards her apartment.
Meanwhile, Chun-Li is badly struggling as Vega is able to beat her up, especially when he drives her onto the floor with a suplex. As she lies bloodied and beaten, he takes off his mask and prepares to finish her off.
Just then, Chun-Li gets a subconscious message from her deceased father (known in the series as Dorai) who tells her that it’s not her time to die yet and that she must get up right now. Fortunately, she awakens in time and fends Vega off with her signature Spinning Bird Kick.
With Vega distracted by the fact that the attack damaged the look of his face, she manages to finish him off by firing her signature energy projectile called the Kikoken. This blasts Vega through the wall as he falls and lands on a tree where fellow street fighters Thunder Hawk (or T. Hawk), Dee Jay and Edmond Honda (or E. Honda) are standing nearby.
They go to check on him, but Vega yells at them to stay away and he even insults them. As such, they proceed to comically beat him up off-panel while Guile finally arrives at Chun-Li’s apartment and finds her lying unconscious. Fortunately, she managed to write a message on the wall with her own blood mentioning where Ryu went and when he’ll arrive. As such, Guile gets her to a hospital before heading towards an air field in order to rendezvous at the destination.
Over at Shadaloo headquarters, Sagat and Balrog are hanging out in the restroom just as they get the call to head out. Just then, they’re approached by the mind-controlled Ken as Balrog tells him that he’ll be joining them on the upcoming mission. We then cut to the air platform as M. Bison asks about Sagat and Balrog’s tardiness, to which Ken exclaims that he can take care of Ryu by himself. Impressed with his process, the fiendish master then proceeds to board the plane. From there, Issue 4 ends with the reveal that Masters had beaten up Balrog and Sagat in the restroom as he and M. Bison fly out towards their destination.
Issue 5 opens with Ryu waiting at the top of Mt. Soryu. From there, we transition into a flashback as he climbs down a cliff in order to check up on his friend. Fortunately, Ken has survived his fall as he exclaims that he landed on “something soft”. They soon discover that it was a bear that had the misfortune of saving Masters from plummeting to his doom as they soon realize it’s the same being called “One-Eye” whom their master took out with a Hurricane Kick.
Just as they’re about to head out, the bear wakes up and strikes Ryu on his head with enough force to cause excessive bleeding. Ken manages to step in and removes a strap that he used for his hair as he proceeds to wrap it around his friend’s injured forehead before he runs in to attack the bear.
We then cut back to the present as M. Bison flies in on his plane and gives the offer to join his organization. When Ryu exclaims that he’s only here for his friend, the mind-controlled Ken emerges and proceeds to jump down in order to attack.
Ryu strikes back in defense as he attempts to help his longtime friend break free from his mind-controlled state before he goes for a pair of pressure points in Masters’ neck. However, M. Bison says that while that would normally paralyze an adversary, it’s not going to work here. As such, Ken strikes back while the devious Shadaloo leader exclaims that his machine called the “Mind Sweeper” has turned Masters over to his side as he looks forward to doing the same thing with Ryu.
From there, Ken proceeds to beat his friend up, culminating with a Hurricane Kick. He soon discovers that Ryu isn’t fighting back as he demands for him to retaliate. Fortunately, Ryu simply exclaims who he is as his bloodied headband triggers a memory within Ken’s mind. This allows Ryu to headbutt his friend before Masters has an internal struggle between his mind-controlled state and the memoirs of his past.
Over with M. Bison, he begins to notice that Ken is slowly breaking free from his mental grasp before ordering his soldier to use the plane’s guns in order to take Masters out. Just as the lackey is about to open fire, a fighter jet comes in and crash lands on top of Shadaloo’s plane. From there, Guile pops out and prepares to fight the fiendish leader.
Meanwhile, Ryu checks up on his friend as Ken tearfully asks to be killed. From there, Issue 5 ends with Masters uncontrollably fighting back while exclaiming that he’s unable to stop himself.
Issue 6 begins with Ken beating up his longtime friend knowingly and against his will. While Ryu develops an idea as he takes off his headband and starts to wrap it around his hand, we cut over to M. Bison who managed to defeat Guile.
Suddenly, he senses a great energy surge from afar before it explodes with the familiar phrase of “Shoryuken” ringing out as well. Ryu emerges from the dust cloud as he reveals that he used his headband to tie his hand up with Ken as the massive attack has freed Masters from the villainous mind control.
With the two longtime sparring mates reunited, they team-up and prepare to engage the fiendish master whom they see as their bear. We then have a flashback as the youthful Ken is about to confront the famed grizzly known as One-Eye. It’s then discovered that he and Ryu defeated the beast with a combined Hadouken.
Back in the present, they do the exact same move and manage to blow up a good portion of M. Bison’s body. However, the malevolent master had played a trick on them since they attacked his dummy. From there, the climactic battle gets underway as the heroic duo withstands the vicious Psycho Power.
In the end, the fight concludes with Ryu and Ken each performing a Shoryuken at the same time as M. Bison gets hit with enough force to get flung back towards Guile’s jet as he gets impaled by the nose of the plane. With his body ruptured, he’s not able to control his own Psycho Power as he starts becoming unstable.
As his body rapidly deteriorates, Ryu and Ken wonder if they’ve finally defeated him before a demonic face appears laughing within the surging energy before M. Bison’s own frame gets engulfed in a massive explosion as our heroes (including Guile) ride out the great blast. Afterwards, the series ends under a peaceful sky as Ryu gives Ken a friendly fist-bump before taking his leave.
As I mentioned earlier, the comic delivers its plot in a different way than how it was presented in the movie. As such, let’s give a brief rundown on how our main characters were handled in the film, starting with our main World Warrior himself: Ryu. After beginning the film with a fight against Sagat, we cut to him years later as he practices his Shoryuken on a rocky peak. From there, he flashes back to his training days with Ken. Afterwards, his travels throughout Southeast Asia ultimately take him to an underground fighting ring where he meets, fights and ultimately defeats Fei Long with a use of the Tatsumaki Senpukyaku. Later on as they walk together, he learns from Fei about Shadowlaw’s deviously global sales. From there, Ryu takes his leave before showing up again in Calcutta, India where he accidentally bumps into a little girl who was running back to her mother with some milk. This causes her to spill it onto the ground before he gives her some money in order to buy another batch. After watching a bit of E. Honda and Dhalsim’s fight, he eludes the Monitor Cyborg by suppressing his ki. He then intervenes in a Shadowlaw assassination scheme when a mind-controlled agent assassinates the same elder spokesman (who’s named Jahan here) that Cammy killed in the comic adaptation before ramming into the same little girl from before (who was only trying to give Ryu his change for the milk), injuring her in the process. A fellow gunman shoots down the brainwashed assassin, only because an official managed to wound his leg with a shot. Ryu jumps in and takes out the gunman while the driver manages to escape. Afterwards, he gives the little girl to a medical team before being approached by E. Honda who wishes to give half of his prize money as a meaning of thanks for being around. Later on, Ryu is climbing a rock formation where he then flashes back to his training. With Ken’s roundhouse kick causing his forehead to bleed, he stumbles and falls down some adjacent stairs. Masters then removes his ponytail wrapping and secures it to his friend’s head in order to stop the bleeding, thus giving him his signature headband. Afterwards, he’s in the Thai Mountain Range as he continues with his lifelong training. However, he’s not alone as E. Honda has joined him. Just then, he’s approached by Guile who tells him that Ken has been kidnapped and brainwashed by Shadowlaw. However, they’re then approached by M. Bison who comes out of his plane with the mind-controlled Masters. Ryu constantly tells his friend to break free from his current state, but Ken doesn’t comply and beats him up. Fortunately, memories of their past training are ultimately able to help Masters break out of his mind-controlled state. However, M. Bison uses his Psycho Power to send Masters flying before Ryu is forced to confront the fiendish leader. Initially, Ryu is unable to land a single strike by himself. Only when Ken is able to rejoin him do they slowly begin to stand up to M. Bison. Eventually, Ryu manages to connect a series of strikes upon the vile foe. When Ken jumps in, he helps out by grabbing onto M. Bison’s leg where they proceed to perform a signature strike of their own. From there, they combine their Hadouken shots and take out the fiendish leader. Later on, Ryu is given a proper farewell by Ken before they go their separate ways again. From there, the film ends with a semi-truck barreling down on him. After noticing that M. Bison is alive and behind the wheel, he turns and leaps towards his foe in anticipated combat.
Next up, we have Ken Masters. The first time we seen him here is in a flashback during his training days as he spars with Ryu (even landing a few hits unlike the comic adaptation). We then meet his present day self within the greater Seattle area as he meets up with his girlfriend Eliza (whom we actually see here instead of having a single mention at the beginning of the comic adaptation) at a lakeside restaurant. Later on at a dock in Northern Seattle, he’s met upon by Thunder Hawk and is forced into fighting him. While this is happening, they’re unaware that a Monitor Cyborg is scanning them from afar. Masters isn’t looking to brawl, but T. Hawk exclaims that he seeks honor in defeating skilled fighters, thus refusing to take “No” for an answer. After exclaiming that only Ryu has been able to beat him, Ken ultimately engages the mighty Native American before ultimately taking him down with a Shoryuken. He initially considers finishing him off with a Hadouken, but decides against it and spares his adversary. He then ponders about his pal Ryu and his whereabouts since he wants to spar with him again before he drives off. We then catch up with him and Eliza as they drive through Washington Lake en route to her countryside home. After mentioning his intentions on marrying her, he then flashes back to his training where Ryu managed to jump from one cliff to another. Masters tries to follow suit, but he slips on his launch and nearly plummets if not for a timely grasp from his friend. Back in the present, they reach the house as night falls where he drops her off before heading out with the eagerness to rematch his friend deep in his thoughts. Just then, he’s approached by M. Bison who offers him to join Shadowlaw. When Ken rightfully refuses, the fiendish leader proceeds to beat him up with his Psycho Power and ultimately captures him. From there, he’s hooked up to a machine in order for M. Bison to take control over his mind. Later, he’s flown out to the Thai Mountain Range where he begins his assault on Ryu. After delivering a vicious beatdown, Masters has his friend at his mercy. However, he notices Ryu’s headband as a memory plays out in his head. In the end, past images of his friend ultimately help him out of his brainwashed state. Suddenly, M. Bison approaches and disapproves of this before blasting him away with his Psycho Power. Later, Ken regains consciousness and tries to help Ryu. However, he’s not able to stand. As such, he has to concentrate in order to regain his center and discover what lies beyond his fist: his fate. From there, he teams up with his longtime friend and engages M. Bison. Thanks to a timely leg grab by Ryu, Masters performs a familiar spinning kick. After Ryu performs the familiar uppercut, they combine their Hadoukens and take out the vile being. Later on, Ken gets picked up by Eliza as he bids farewell to his friend after exclaiming that they’ll have their rematch someday.
Moving on, we have the first female of fighters in Chun-Li. We first meet her at Interpol headquarters where she explains about Shadowlaw’s growing malevolent grasp and that in order to stamp this out, she sets up a joint investigation with the U.S. Military. She tries to recruit Guile over at Patterson Air Force Base, but he initially turns her down. Later on, she catches up with him at another base and tries again. She ultimately wins him over when she says that he can’t go running off on his personal vengeance quest. After all, her father was also murdered by M. Bison, but she puts her job over revenge. From there, they team-up and fly off to Los Angeles before they ultimately arrive at a local disco owned by Dee Jay. As Guile warns him about Shadowlaw, she helps prove his point by kicking off the head of a nearby Monitor Cyborg. However, another one was watching them from the rooftop as she unintentionally gets M. Bison’s attention. Later, she’s back at her NYC apartment for the famous (or infamous, depending on your viewpoint) shower scene. Afterwards, she finds out too late that Vega has broken in and proceeds to fight her. She takes several brutal hits & cuts before getting the drop on him while he takes off his mask and gloats. After tossing a sofa at him before striking back with her Spinning Bird Kick, he slams her foot down on his face and twists it, leaving a scaring burn on his face. As the fight rages on, the battle scars are starting to take their toll. With survival instincts driving her, she ultimately defeats him by using the Hyakuretsukyaku (or “Lightning Kick”) before ramming her feet into him with enough force to drive him through the wall and seemingly plummet to his death. After Guile arrives, she quickly mentions who attacked her before she slips into a coma and winds up in a hospital. Later on, she stages a fake-out death for Guile as she says that she heard about Shadowlaw’s destruction.
Now, we’ve reached our main man of American military might in “Captain” Guile (who was known as “Major” Guile in the adaptation). After meeting Chun-Li as part of the joint investigation, he rejects her help since he wants to take down M. Bison by himself. After a while, we catch up with him entering another base as Chun-Li continues her attempt to join forces with him in stopping Shadowlaw’s scheme. It’s here that we learn that Guile is attempting to get revenge on M. Bison for the murder of his “friend” (which is Charlie Nash). In the end, he ultimately agrees to work with her. From there, they fly off to L.A. and drive up to the familiar disco to meet up with Dee Jay. With Chun-Li’s help, Guile is able to warn him about Shadowlaw and their current plans. Later on, he’s in New York City as he attempts to call up Chun-Li. It isn’t until Vega attacks her in her apartment does the phone get knocked off the hook and he overhears the confrontation. He speeds over to her place and arrives just as she’s defeated Vega before getting her to a hospital. Guile then contacts Interpol and informs them about Chun-Li’s condition before learning about Shadowlaw’s interest in Ken Masters with Ryu’s whereabouts unknown to them. By the time he arrives in the greater Seattle area, Guile arrives too late to prevent Ken from getting kidnapped. After eventually arriving at Interpol’s NYC office, Guile and the head officials deduce the location of Shadowlaw’s headquarters to be somewhere within Southeast Asia. Afterwards, Guile learns from an associate that Ryu is currently over near the border between Thailand & Laos and that he was heading towards the nearby hills. Even though there are Monitor Cyborgs planted in the general vicinity, Ryu hasn’t been discovered by Shadowlaw. As such, Guile plans to head out there in preparation for a confrontation with M. Bison. He also learns that the location of Shadowlaw’s base has been discovered and a full-on assault squadron is on standby. Before he embarks on his mission, he visits an unconscious Chun-Li and vows to get back at M. Bison for his actions. Later, Guile arrives at the Thai Mountain Range and manages to warn Ryu. However, M. Bison arrives since he was able to follow him. From there, Guile attempts to fight the fiendish foe, but Shadowlaw’s leader easily evades his strikes. In fact, the most he ever does is shred his foe’s cape with his signature Sonic Boom. Afterwards, he gets taken out by a blast of M. Bison’s Psycho Power. Guile is then left alive as a final insult before he gets rescued by E. Honda offscreen. Sometime later, he’s back in NYC as he gets a urgent call from the hospital. He rushes in and believes that Chun-Li has succumbed to her wounds, but gets faked out by her ruse since she heard about M. Bison and Shadowlaw getting taken down.
As we switch sides, we now reach the shady side of Shadaloo (or Shadowlaw as it’s called here). Early on, it’s explained that Sagat, Balrog (originally named Mike Bison in Japan) and Vega (originally named Balrog in Japan) have been recruited into the organization, which I assume was of their own free will since they seem eager to do their master’s bidding. After M. Bison and his men arrive back at their headquarters in Thailand, they learn from their top scientist named Senoh of his latest creation: a Monitor Cyborg. The devious leader is looking to recruit Ryu into his cause, but he hasn’t been found yet. Later on, Senoh informs M. Bison about the assassination in Calcutta before also exclaiming about the Seattle-based Ken having a similar fighting prowess as Ryu. As such, this convinces the fiendish ruler to fly out to the Pacific Northwest. During this, Senoh has a Monitor Cyborg discreetly within Interpol as it manages to catch Chun-Li’s interrogation on Cammy. After catching a glimpse of it, M. Bison prepares to go after Ken himself. During his flight, he watches the footage in L.A. and takes notice of Chun-Li as he orders Vega to go kill her, especially since he remembers killing her father. Following a brief moment in Las Vegas where Balrog is among a gathered group of the world’s crime bosses, Vega has broken into Chun-Li’s apartment and proceeds to fight her. He manages to score some successful strikes and even some vicious cuts before he takes off his mask to gloat. This distracts him as she retaliates and even damages his facial appearance. In the end, Vega gets defeated when he gets assaulted by barrage of swift kicks before getting smashed through the wall and seemingly plummets to his death. Later, M. Bison arrives in the greater Seattle area and approaches Ken with his offer to make him stronger than Ryu. When Masters refuses, he proceeds to use his Psycho Power and defeat him with ease before kidnapping him. Once he’s back at the base, he hooks Ken up to a machine where he combines it with his Psycho Power in order to gain control over his mind. Afterwards, he learns from Senoh that Guile in en route to the Thai-Laos border. As such, he takes Balrog and the mind-controlled Ken with him, but orders Sagat to travel to New York City in order to kill Cammy & (if he’s still alive) Vega. Over in the Thai Mountain Range, M. Bison catches up with the heroic group and proceeds to engage them as the mind-controlled Ken attacks Ryu, Balrog engages E. Honda and the fiendish leader engages Guile. While M. Bison easily defeat the good captain, Balrog and E. Honda’s duel culminates in them charging at each other where they ultimately roll off the side of the cliff. Later on, it turns out that Balrog was bested offscreen. Afterwards, M. Bison approaches Ken and discovers that he’s broken out of his brainwashed state. He proceeds to punish Masters with his Psycho Power and sends him flying before engaging Ryu. M. Bison is easily able to evade Ryu’s strikes while dishing out some of his own. When Ken recovers and teams up with Ryu, he’s initially able to fend them off. Following a series of successful strikes by Ryu however, M. Bison’s downfall begins when Ryu grabs his leg, thus giving Ken the chance to perform the Tatsumaki Senpukyaku on him. After M. Bison gets hit by Ryu’s Shoryuken, he gets blasted by a double Hadouken and gets hit towards his plane. The craft gets hit with enough force that it proceeds to blow up. Afterwards, Shadowlaw headquarters gets attacked and destroyed by the joint-helicopter strike force. During the final scene however, it’s revealed that M. Bison is still alive as he drives a semi-truck towards Ryu who leaps towards him in preparation.
As for the rest of the fighters from “Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers”, they have their variations on their roles in the movie. Cammy White does assassinate an important figure while under M. Bison’s mind-control, but it’s on her native soil of England (London to be specific) where she takes out a British Justice Minister named Albert Sellers by leaping on top of him and fatally twisting his neck. From there, she’s ultimately captured due to the team of bodyguards having to dogpile onto her. As Chun-Li explains this to her Interpol officials, it turns out that this incident occurred three years prior. When she interrogates her, all Cammy exclaims is “I can’t remember”. Over with Fei Long in Suzhou, China, he neglects his duties towards the making of an action movie and heads into the underground fighting ring. He ultimately faces off against Ryu before getting defeated. Afterwards, they walk through the streets before Fei informs him about Shadowlaw before they go their separate ways. Next, we have T. Hawk who tries to fight Ken in order to claim honor by besting the most skilled fighters. He only appears in this scene as Ken defeats him, but gets spared from a killing strike.
Next up, we have E. Honda and Dhalsim popping up to have a street fight in Calcutta (which also has a quick cameo from Akuma). Dhalsim starts to gain the upper hand when he begins to disorient E. Honda with a yogi indian mind trick before he senses Ryu’s ki from within the crowd. Despite that, the Monitor Cyborg isn’t able to find its target due to him suppressing his own ki before slipping away. This distracts Dhalsim and allows E. Honda to retaliate. From there, Dhalsim calmly surrenders the match. Much later on, E. Honda is with Ryu in the Thai Mountain Range. Shortly after Guile’s arrival, M. Bison and the mind-controlled Ken show up as well. E. Honda attempts to charge at them, but they evade him as he gets redirected towards Balrog. They fight for a bit before they roll off the cliffside. Following the climatic battle, he reemerges while carrying Guile and the defeated Balrog. In Dee Jay’s lone scene, he beats up and kicks some ruffians out of his disco on the grounds of them not liking his music choices, apparently. From there, Guile arrives and warns him about Shadowlaw’s scheme involving Monitor Cyborgs. Finally, we have Zangief and Blanka as they only get their lone moment where they fight each other for a wealthy group of gathered global crime bosses in Las Vegas.
Even though I briefly mentioned it, Akuma does has a quick cameo during our time in Calcutta. He just sits there before we pan away, but it was a nice surprise to see him if only for a brief moment.
So as you can see, there’s been some alterations in story progression between the film and the comic adaptation. While the comic changes some character interactions from the movie, the base plot is still prevalent. One major difference between the two is that Ken gets captured early on and is subjected to brainwashing for several issues before he gets put under M. Bison’s control. While we do get some flashbacks and see what he was like training alongside Ryu, this pretty much guts his present-day development since that’s somewhat truncated into the very first page. Fortunately, the comic mainly focuses on Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li & Guile and their struggle against M. Bison’s Shadaloo might. Unlike the film where Ryu was more of a wandering nomad who constantly hones his fighting craft, he’s within the public eye of Interpol as he learns about his friend’s fate before he ultimately slips away once he learns where he has to go in order to save him. During this, Ken spends the first half of the adaptation subjected to M. Bison’s mind-controlling mechanisms before succumbing entirely. Prior to his capture in the movie by comparison, he gets some on-screen relationship time with Eliza with a fight against T. Hawk thrown in. The latter part makes sense there since a Monitor Cyborg was observing him from afar and thus explains how his similar fighting style attracts M. Bison’s attention, unlike the comic where Masters is approached by Shadaloo’s finest right out of the gate. With Chun-Li, she interacts more with Ryu and serves as our main informative within Interpol. The only time she converses with Guile is after he’s recovering from his brainwashed assault, which actually gives a point towards the comic adaptation since she’s told to check the security footage again. In her apartment later on, she’s able to discern where Ryu has gone to unlike the movie where it’s some fan service nudity of her and some relaxing down time before Vega strikes. However, the movie gets its own point since her conclusion sees her awoken from her coma and reveling with Guile on Shadowlaw’s defeat while she straight-up disappears from the comic following her fight with Vega. As for Guile, his appearances are also light fairly early on. However, the movie gives him more to do once he teams up with Chun-Li since he takes part in the operation and even does a little investigative work with Interpol once she’s been taken out of the equation. In the comic, he doesn’t become a prominent figure until after he recovers and learns from Chun-Li’s bloodied message where to go. As far as M. Bison and the rest of Shadaloo is concerned, not much is changed from the main four members. The main man pretty much plays out the same way in both versions (especially since both give a piece of strong evidence that he survived his climatic defeat), Sagat still gets to be in the opening scene despite the differences in fighters & locales and he’s kept out of the final fight (though for different reasons), Vega gets a tiny bit more to do outside of his duel against Chun-Li & it’s confirmed that he survived his fall (only to get beaten up by familiar fighters taken out of their movie scenes) and Balrog gets slightly more to do early on, yet slightly less as the comic goes on in comparison to the movie. Also, the Monitor Cyborg is replaced with a hovering camera sphere and Senoh is omitted entirely. The other notable fighters are either swapped around to other scenes or only given one page entirely, though it still works for the comic since they’re not the main characters of this story. As for the narrative, the somewhat-limited dialogue and energetic anime/manga artwork helps it move at a brisk pace. Sure, it gives some necessary downtime to allow some proper explanation to occur and to help the plot progress as fluently as possible. However, it’s not a bad thing since if you’ve seen the movie, it’s not a tricky narrative to follow. It gives out the general basis of the movie’s story, even though it does take some alternate paths towards the finish line. Despite its narrative differences, it doesn’t radically change the overall story. It’s still coherent throughout and feels very respectful to its source materials, especially since its combined with some nice artwork. Despite Viz Comics’ independent comics resources in terms of delivering quality art, Takayuki Sakai balances his writing with a style that emulates the movie, but gets a nice representation in black-and-white. As a whole, it makes for a breezy read and makes for a proper introduction to anyone who may not be allowed to watch the movie yet, especially since it does contains some swearing and said noted Chun-Li shower scene. It’s a read that never gets too extreme, but isn’t neutered for the older fanbase. Despite its six issues, it isn’t bloated in any particular way and can be completely read in a fairly short time. In the end, it’s not a one-to-one translation from screen to page. However, it’s very pleasing to the eyes, it paces itself at a fluent clip and the entire cast of characters (whether major or minor to the story) are engaging to both look at and get behind in terms of their individualized & expressive personalities as they help you get through the narrative on an entertaining note.
Overall, it’s a light read that’ll make for a respectful sit-through. The artwork is very solid, the main fights are dynamic, the pace is fairly streamline and the characters get a fair amount of things to do without ever feeling overstuffed. While far from a direct adaptation of the film, it tells its own version of the story in a very confident manner and provides a sizable taste to anyone who’s either interested in the series, a casual fan or even a dedicated fan. It shouldn’t be too tricky to track down all six issues and all together, they’ll come at a fair-enough price. As such, I recommend this and the movie as it makes for a respective video game-to-film experience. So if this peaks your interest, then there’s only minor lengths to overcome to see it. Trust me, there’s no Shoryukens to pull off along the way.
Street Fighter (created by Takashi Nishiyama & Hiroshi Matsumoto) is owned by Capcom. Comic published by Viz Comics.