Christian Howard (Green Street 3)
Mike Moh (Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight)
Togo Igawa (The Last Samurai)
Hal Yamanouchi (The Wolverine)
For the past 2 decades, pretty much every movies based off a video game; flops. Usually, this is due by the complete disregard to the original creation. While some comic books and novels did get a great feature film, Street Fighter has always been stuck on the short end of the stick. Hollywood latest attempt to monetize the franchise was nothing short of extremely bad. From terrible casting, bad fighting scenes to a genuine lack of passion and respect to a franchise that has impacted our world in more ways than we could ever imagine. So why is Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist any different? Why is this particular series able to break the vicious circle of failures?
Well, for a starter, Street Fighter: AF was produced by passionate fans for the fans, but passion is only the starting point. While it is a great driving force, a good script is required and that’s where SFAF shines. For new comers to the franchise, the series presents a well written story that carries an intriguing lore, which gradually reveals itself through each episode. The premise is simple and focused on two iconic characters; Ryu and Ken. Both learning a mysterious martial art in a secluded part of Japan in the mid 80s. Through each episodes, we get to discover and learn about past students and the darker secrets behind the art.To reinforce the script, we are presented with an incredible selection of actors that really poured their hearts into this production. For fans, the characters were authentic and as real as they could get. Mike Moh and Christian Howard are pretty much the perfect Ryu and Ken. Both can act the part and perform physically. Togo Igawa and Akira Koieyama really felt like masters of an ancient art while still offering a very human side. The careful balance between being a surreal character with a human touch is very hard to maintain but these actors did and it payed off. The intensity of certain scenes could rival some of the best triple A productions out there.
Speaking of authenticity, Street Fighter: AF nails it in pretty much every possible way. From choosing the right shooting location, to the fighting style of each characters to the incredible costumes. Ryu and Ken are in simple words, perfect. Even through the action scenes, the combat stances, special attacks and general movements were simply jaw dropping. As a huge fan of Street Fighter, I couldn’t stop reciting the sequence of every moves such as Ryu performing a great focus attack.
As for the music, usually in independent productions, the music is often very generic and unoriginal. However, I got to say that in this case, the soundtrack is quite good and in most situation, it strongly delivers. For the fans, there’s a few pleasant surprises. In the end, Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist is an incredible independent production that values and respects both fans and new comers alike. It has heart and knows its own limits. The story is focused, the actors are well balanced, the action is short but intense and the overall production is strong.