Some of you have probably seen the trailer for the live-action web series, Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist going around lately. If you follow Actionagogo regularly (as you should!), you would have seen a post with the trailer in April. For those of you who haven’t seen it, check it out below.
In two minutes, this trailer managed to showcase just enough to leave me wanting more. The web series can be found in its entirety on Machinima’s YouTube channel. Premiering on May 23, 2014, just a few days ago, it’s already got close to 1 million views. By the time you read this, I am confident it will be well over.
With talent like Joey Ansah, The Bourne Ultimatum, actor, writer and martial artist Christian Howard and Academy Award-nominated film producer, Jacqueline Quella. Don’t Tell (2006), it’s no wonder this adaptation is a hit. This isn’t the team’s first Street Fighter project either. This is also the same crew who brought us the live-action short fan film, Street Fighter: Legacy, in 2010. Ansah directs this adaptation as well as acts and co-writes with Howard. With the same intention as SFL of being “an accurate depiction of the series”, Assassin’s Fist satisfies the Street Fighter fan and game-to-movie snobs.
I spent last evening watching all 12 episodes of this series eating dinner. Not a bad way to spend my night if I do say so myself. What I really appreciate about this series is that each episode is about 12 minutes long. So it can be watched virtually any time, anywhere, without having to dedicate putting time aside to catch up. That’s convenient, especially for people like me who can’t watch all these hyped television shows because they don’t have the time to commit to them. After watching a few episodes, I could see this making another great short film. As it turns out, Assassin’s Fist is set to be a television mini-series, a TV movie and finally a feature film. Well played.
The opening sequence in episode 1 hooked me right away. Sound, location, character accuracy, cinematography and quality were all things that could be checked off confidently. All of which are important elements that can make or break a low budget, passion piece. Throughout, it was evident that a lot of thought and care was put into bringing this series to life. What’s also evident is that a true fan of the game franchise itself has given us this slice of hope.
Many of you know why I say this. Too many adaptations have been poorly made from one platform to another. Game-to-movie adaptations probably being the worst of them all. With that being said, let us look back at the first attempt at a Street Fighter live-action film. It was 1994 and the video game franchise was hot. In true Hollywood fashion, an opportunity to capitalize on a franchise’s fandom presented itself and while they probably made a buck or two, the movie was just terrible. A lacking storyline, no substance, bad acting and just plain goofy. Then came The Legend of Chun Li in 2009. Need I say more? I would watch Assassin’s Fist 100 times before I ever looked at the 90’s Street Fighter motion picture again. Now forget those silly attempts, forever. Now that we’ve forgotten that they ever happened, let’s take a look at what these guys have brought to the table.
The artistic choices that were made, the cinematography, set location, the use of Japanese and English, was mindful and visually pleasing. The story telling and how they were told was planned well. The fight sequences are superb and captured beautifully. It’s clear to the viewer that the actors are true martial artists with incredible skills. Having said that, they did their own stunts and I for one really appreciate the lack of wires being used. It is refreshing having this live-action genre integrate a good story line and depth alongside it’s action. I laughed, I cried, I was even left wide eyed. These guys have actually set the standard for fan heavy, live-action adaptations of video games. These guys, not Hollywood. This is a good starting point for the future of this genre’s film future. They have shown us that huge budgets and movie magic isn’t always what every movie needs. That with true passion for the material you are working on, you can display more authenticity than those with more resources than you. Yes, Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist > Street Fighter 1994. (If that movie ever happened anyway, wink wink.)
The story tells us of how the relationship between Ken and Ryu began. We also get to see what brought Ken to Japan in the first place. It shows that with the practice of Ansatsuken and control over Satsui no Hado, they learned the signature moves we know from the video games. We also get to go further back in time and learn how their sensei, Gouken, became the master he is and the darkness that came from it. Gouken’s past plays into Ryu and Ken’s present, which may see them having to relive what Gouken had to all those years ago.
While we all would love to see how the entire lineup of Street Fighter would flesh out here, don’t expect to see as many characters crammed into this as possible. Instead, understand that the focus on few characters allows for a better story to be told. Any true fan should appreciate that. And while the acting isn’t the best across the board, it certainly isn’t the worst by any means. I’ve seen big budget movies work with less talent. Remember, this wasn’t made on a Hollywood budget. What little special effects were used, although not mind blowing, were effective. And while a little more emphasis on certain parts would have strengthened the plot/dialogue, (e.g. more on the relationship between Gouken and Ken’s father, how the dark art manifested itself into…. one of the characters), it was enjoyable. I could pick on a few things that didn’t make sense, but they aren’t integral to the story as a whole. They didn’t over achieve or under achieve anything here. I think this series accomplished exactly what it wanted to. For that, I give it my recommendation. Well done guys.
Ahem, I’m available for a female role by the way.
Here is the first full episode.
Personal geek out moments:
Seeing the authentic offensive and defensive moves from the video game in action. Even the ground landings were spot on. The first Hadouken and Shoryuken gave me chills! The gift Ken’s father sent him in episode 10 made me laugh. Where Ryu’s theme came from was pretty cool. The battle in episode 9 was intense! Favorite quote, “How ya like me now you son of a bitch?!”
One last thing, does anyone know if Ken’s dad is seeing anyone?
That’s all for now folks!
Often times referred to as Optimus Prime, Tabatha LeStrange is a machine. A ghost machine.
Catch her if you can on Twitter @BD_Danger
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