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Street Fighter Alpha The Movie (15)

Manga Entertainment 102 minutes
The Street Fighter license still has life in it yet. With a plethora of games available, a live action film, an animated film, and the Streetfighter 2 V television series currently being released on video, fans have a lot on their hands (and probably not much cash in their pockets). With all these sources, there is a whole bunch of contradictions, so a definitive background is impossible - just accept this film on its own merits. You also have to bear in mind, that unless you are totally up on your Street Fighter backstory, this film will be really confusing.
Street Fighter Alpha focuses mainly 'The Dark Hadou', a great power within Ryu which he must constantly battle to keep in check. Fans of resident baddie Akuma will know all about the Dark Hadou, and Star Wars fans will find it very similar to the Dark Side of The Force. It appears that a mad scientist has also heard of it and would like to add its powers to his collection of fighting abilities. Cue one tenuous plot to get a bunch of fighting characters all in the same place.

The fights are the star here, and there is plenty of bone crunching, sickening violence here for the fans. All the SFA players are here - Chun Li, Dan Hibiki, Birdie, and even the Japanese wannabe Sodom in his Kabuki truck - though the script writers have snuck in a character from Street Fighter 3 (see if you can tell who). In between the scraps there is some character development from Ryu's long lost kid brother, and some Ryu stalking from the ultra cute Sakura - watch for the flying trainer. Though I'm sure she's older than her voice suggests.

This is a little short, but I suppose this way it doesn't seem stretched. I would have liked to see some more of the side characters though. The art style also bears a mention. The characters are all very tall and thin (bishonen/shojo for those in the know) and the poses and stance are all very stylised. I don't know if this is Bandai's influence, but I've seen this style in their Digimon series too. It's very easy on the eye but does make Chun Li and Rose seem quite alien.
Definitely worth a look.
Also available on DVD with a host of extra features.
•Review by Peter Barnard
Rating   .

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Chow Yun-Fat is probably one of the most famous people in the east, a film star for many years there he has cut his trade in Chinese movies. Only recently has he burst onto the international scene via Hollywood, mainly aided and abetted by Director John Wu.
Chow Yun-Fat's latest starring role takes him back to China and the origins he started in. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is an old Chinese tale of romance and fantasy played out with a Kung-Fu twist. It is a fairly stereotypical mixture for Chinese movies, but on a very grand scale.
The story focuses on two fighting monks, whose master was killed some time ago by a mysterious character and now seek to avenge his death. These two monks are also male and female and have a simmering romance they both deny, complicating matters somewhat.
Also in on the action is a nobleman's daughter set to married in an arranged affair, but she hankers after an exciting lifestyle of fighting and general swashbuckling adventure glamorised in fireside chat. The young girl crosses paths with the two warriors who try to convince her they are not free at all, but to no avail.
The plot thickens as quickly as the action takes place, with fight sequences that the Matrix made famous, but have really been happening in Chinese movies for some 30 years! With close up action and a better budget than most Chinese films this movie loses no charm from the story and only adds to its seamless story with superb action.
The movie is subtitled which may put some off, and can distract from the action and complex storyline. But the alternative being dubbing it is probably more natural this way. The film is probably best suited to those already aquatinted to this particular genre, but there is no better opportunity to become familiar with it than this.
Director Ang Lee has produced a modern masterpiece with breathtaking martial arts and a classic storyline of love betrayal and tragedy. It is a rare occurrence for any Chinese movie to make a large impact in the west, but this one deserves as much success as it is allowed.however
Rating   .

Dude, Where's My Car

A certain type of movie reaches our shores with regularity, and has a rather fickle
result in success. Stupid, crazy stories such as Dude, whereís my car sometimes hit
gold and sometimes flop - badly.
Over the years we have seen Bill and Ted, Waynes World and Austin Powers bring
fame and fortune to their stars whereas countless others have come and gone
unnoticed. The storyline is largely inconsequential in this type of movie, the stars and comedy make the movie and the quirky atmosphere induced by a small budget helps.
In Dude, whereís my car the story is quite a bizarre, far fetched tale involves two young ìmenî whoís life consist of laying about indoors and smoking contraband substances. The morning after the night before Jesse and Chester, wake and remember nothing of their exploits in the past 24 hours. Their only lead is lifetime supply of yoghurt in the fridge and a missing car.
As Chester and Jesse try to piece together their exploits, they discover a number of bizarre people that seem to know them and talk of ì last nightî. Furthermore they seem to owe a large sum of money to a stripper and have three parties asking for an intergalactic device they have never heard of.
The two principle characters seem to be a cross between Bill and Ted and The pair from Dumb and Dumber. Unfortunately, the formula is a little too much and Chester and Jesse, it becomes very difficult believing two people could be that stupid, and starts to get on your nerves after five minutes.
Aimed at a definite audience, those who can identify with partying the night away and remember nothing the next day, this type of person will enjoy it most relating to the in-jokes of the film. The direction is fairly quick and snappy, but with a superficial storyline this is not hard.
Overall the film is stupid fun, no less and no more. Anybody wanting riveting plotlines and polished acting should stay well away. Anybody having just finished a night of drink induced fun may however find this on their level.
Rating   .

Film Reviews By Ralph Mcgregor

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