Video Game movies have never been successful critically and at times financially, but they have managed to stay around in people’s memory which has that led them to buy a copy of the VHS or DVD and let it have a cosy place on their shelf. A lot of video game movie titles were meant to be made but were scrapped before the film had a chance to get into pre-production. Why do you think that is? There are many factors really. The director may drop out and no one is game enough to take over, the issue of money, or crazy ideas which may seem awesome when you read it on paper but are just far too extreme which cannot be brought to life. Video game movies are hard to make to begin with because they are downright absurd, ‘too futurisitic’ for this world that the audience won’t find it believable. This is the problem you see. An audience is much more forgiving of a shit game, but if you fuck up a video game movie, any actor, director, screenwriter is just criticised from every angle. I understand fanboys getting all uptight and getting their remote control wires in a twist because it hasn’t been done the exact same way as the game. There has been so many films that have been shot down before the film has even graced the screens because it isn’t exactly like the game, or the Special FX are dodgy or the actors are lame. But think of it this way, Hollywood exec’s do not want to give money to a sub genre of film which may have had previous bankable movies because the risk is too great. If action/adventure films like ‘Cutthroat Island’ and ‘Waterworld’ which had lavish sets and massive budgets and didn’t reach their targets, they are not going to think twice about making another ‘Double Dragon’ movie.
There have been two really awesome video game movies which in my mind stand above the rest, and if you are a 90′s kid you should know which ones I am talking about…’Mortal Kombat’ and ‘Street Fighter’. These two movies blew my mind as a kid, and I am not going to lie…they still do. There are so many cool elements about both of these films, and while they are not exactly going with the storyline’s from their respected games, you can’t help but love these films. I think if you had both of these films played in a double bill at your local cinema, so many people would come out of the woodwork just to experience the greatness of violent fighting games come to life on the big screen once more. If you had to pit each of these films against each other, who would win? Who is more worthy of that Flawless Victory title? Well let’s really break the films down and see for ourselves.
Round One: The Story
Here we have 2 video game movies, both about fighting but which delivers closest to the game? ‘Mortal Kombat’ would win this round hands down, because while they don’t spend much time at all in ‘outworld’ there is still a fighting tournament and then some, so I think ‘Mortal Kombat’ Ticks all the boxes. The film also gets to the heart of the story very quickly, it doesn’t mess about because let’s face it you came to see people fighting and to hear someone say ‘Flawless Victory’ at LEAST once, and you got it. While it does have a little bit of sub plot about the death of Liu Kang’s brother, it doesn’t crap on about it and make it a huge sob story about the daily suffering of Liu Kang.
’Street Fighter’ has a convoluted story which they really didn’t need to use because the original game was a fighting tournament, but having said that it was an enjoyable storyline. They had too much going on, and while it was easy to follow each sub plot, it just gets messy and they could have really cut certain things out and put more fighting scenes in it’s replacement.
Winner: ’Mortal Kombat’
Round Two: The Acting
Let’s face it the acting isn’t too good in either of the films, but ‘Street Fighter’ does have one amazing actor and that is Raul Julia. Why? Because even though he is wearing a ridiculous costume and his lines are at times lame, cheesy and just downright bad, he really plays with them. He really puts a new meaning to every line whether he conveys it more through how he stands, or his large collection of facial expressions or the change of his tone and the accent he puts on certain parts of a word. While people may not have noticed that while watching ‘Street Fighter’ Raul Julia has a presence which commands your attention, and he doesn’t have to say a thing. And the fact that he could still have that power in a film like ‘Street Fighter’ proves he had acting chops on him. Van Damme is just playing himself, so he doesn’t win or lose points. But the pink elephant in the room that needs to be addressed is this…WHY THE HELL WAS KYLIE MINOGUE CAST IN THIS FILM! What the hell did she add to it besides sheer boredom and no talent? Sure Van Damme might not be the best actor but shit at least he’s a trained martial artist and knows how to fight…she is just an air bubble with pig tails.
‘Mortal Kombat’ does have it’s moments of semi decent acting. The best actor is by far Cary Hiroyuki- Tagawa. Why? Because he is just so deliciously evil. He remind’s me of a box of chocolates. With each chocolate devoured a new pleasure erupts inside of you, and that’s what happens whenever you see him portray Shang Tsung. With every one liner, or trick he pulls it makes you want to continue watching. He knows he’s evil, and he loves it, so Cary really played with that role and made it his own, and now whenever I think of Shang Tsung, I think of the only man who could portray him and that’s Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa. The rest of the cast of ‘Mortal Kombat’ are so so, Christopher Lambert does play an interesting Raiden, and it’s definitely not the worst portrayal of the character that I have seen. Robin Shou does play Liu Kang with a lot of integrity and honour but the thing is he has nothing really THAT interesting about him, but then again I always felt that with the game. I feel that as major or minor the roles are of everyone, ‘Mortal Kombat’ was a lot less cold, everything seemed to flow a lot better in this compared to ‘Street Fighter’.
The Winner: ‘Mortal Kombat’
Round Three: Fight Choreography
Not much happens in terms of fight choreography in ‘Street Fighter’ until the very end, but even still it isn’t the best fight scene that Van Damme has been in. I think a lot of the reason to that is Raul Julie was dying of cancer during the filming of ‘Street Fighter’ so I could totally understand why they wouldn’t go all out on each other. But I also think ‘Street Fighter’ was definitely more aimed at the kids than ‘Mortal Kombat’. As much as I do love ‘Street Fighter’, it just doesn’t have enough fight scenes for me. Obviously the stand out fighter in this film is Van Damme because let’s face it he is the only one who really does a lot of fighting, there is just little scenes here and there to introduce the characters to the film, to make them relevant to the plot.
‘Mortal Kombat’ has a lot of fight scenes, because well it would be pretty damn stupid if a film about a fighting tournament didn’t have much fighting…I would be pissed off and demand my money back. I enjoy the shit out of every fight scene, my favourite though would have to be the fight between Johnny Cage and Scorpion because well it is FREAKIN’ AMAZING! And while they are fighting you hear Scorpion say ‘GET OVER HERE’…just thinking of that makes me happier than a kid on Christmas morning. ‘Mortal Kombat’ is also a tonne more violent, and when you have a movie about a fighting tournament you should definitely make it more violent, it worked for ‘Bloodsport’.
The Winner: ‘Mortal Kombat’
The Winner of ‘Mortal Kombat’ VS ‘Street Fighter’ is MORTAL KOMBAT…and since it won all three rounds you should know what this is….