After recently discovering the E Honda dialogue I’d written [link] a few years ago, I was up for watching Street Fighter 2. I hadn’t particularly enjoyed the film when I first watched it, but I blamed that on me taking the easy option and switching on the dubbing. I’ve never heard a good translation into English. I realise that now, and so I went for the subtitled version. It still wasn’t very good.
Thankfully I read the back of the box and realised that there [was] a Japanese version with English subtitles. My DVD copy has two disks, but there’s nothing to tell you what’s on each. Disk 1 has the English version, disk two is the ‘Japanese master with never before seen scenes’ (that doesn’t roll off the tongue). Label your disks, Manga DVD.
Speaking (badly) of language not rolling off the tongue, some of the English dialogue in this film is horrible. SF2 isn’t the kind of film which requires a degree of accuracy in the translation. Anyone with a good ear for English could’ve improved the dialogue. Without doing any research, I choose to blame Manga again.
I was a fan of SF2 (the game) on the SNES but I haven’t kept up with the series since. I guess I’m not the target demographic for the film. Maybe hardcore fans will geek out at simply their favourite characters appearing on-screen, but I needed more than that. I didn’t engage with any of the characters and the film is too slow, despite only being 1 hour 40 minutes long.
SF2, understandably uses the Japanese names for the characters. So the character I know as M Bison (red uniform, cape) is Vega here. The character I’d know as Vega (mask and claw) is Balrog. The boxer I’d call Balrog is M Bison (if you can’t see why a boxer would be called Mike Bison, well, there’s no hope for you. I still love you. But you must be locked away).
Vega is a bad motherfucker. In the games anyway, dropping his cape at the last second before he attacks, stomping you with those big boots. Despite the film’s attempts to make him gangster, he never came across as intimidating. Maybe that’s because his fighting technique was mostly being an illusion. It’s hard to respect a guy like that. I should know.
Not to stereotype Japanese animation, but hey there’s Chun-Li naked. Here’s the shots from that scene:
Exterior shot of a street
Chun-Li in the shower
Pan along the street
Shot of Chun-Li’s apartment
She gets dressed before battling Balrog, but puts on just underwear and a loose shirt. There’s a disturbing sense of sexual assault to the scene: within seconds Balrog has sliced her shirt open, revealing her bra. She pulls every move possible so we can see up the shirt (if this was live-action, imagine a cameraman on the ground pointing up and Chun-Li running over it again and again).