During my stay in London last week, i had the great opportunity to meet Joey Ansah, the man behind the upcoming Street Fighter live action tv series, dubbed Street Fighter: Assassin’s fist. Joey is no stranger to the action genre, the man made himself known through the awesome fight he had as Desh against Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) in the Bourne Ultimatum movie. Ansah is also one of the biggest Street Fighter fans i have ever met, which was very apparent during my interview with him in the first Hadocast episode.
And so there i was invited to spend some time in the editing room with Joey and Christian Howard(ken masters from the series) while they work on the cut with SFAF editor Oliver Parker. Getting into the room i did not know what to expect, especially that the show has been advertised as a web series, a medium which usually do lack the look of a motion picture movie, and to be frank, most of the times feel cheap.
After getting the series update from Joey and knowing that all filming was done and the team is now in the full post production mode, i was treated to a first look at the Street Fighter assassin’s fist. While i can’t reveal too many details, i will try to briefly describe some of the scenes that i was fortunate enough to see.
The first scene i saw shows Ryu and Ken training with Gouken. The first impression i had was how true to the games the costumes are. Ryu has his white gi and white bandanna, while Ken has his full alpha look, with long hair and all. The crazy part is the outfits do work and look fantastic in live action, even Ken’s long hair looks believable and true to the games. Another scene i saw had young Gouken sparring with his younger brother Gouki (pre-akuma). The heated fight involved an amazing looking Shoryuken and a destructive hadoken (The cgi was not fully done yet, but the team are going for practical effect as much as posisble which makes everything look more real). The final scene i was treated with showed a full grown bad ass looking Akuma (Played by Joey Ansah himself). The raging demon looks as good as his game counterpart, with same gi and same hair, and even attitude.
One thing that was so apparent from what i saw is how much respect the creators of the series have for the Street fighter lore. While they could have taken the easy way and interpret the characters in their own way and modernize their look, Joey and co stayed true to the source material even when it comes to costumes, attitudes and fighting techniques. Something that we all thought would not be possible.
Acting was also a very strong point in what i saw in the Street fighter assassin’s fist editing room. Christian Howard(who was also present with us) pulls out the cocky Ken masters we all love, Mike Moh is a believable, naive looking Ryu, while Gaku Space (seen in the exclusive image below) embodies a young hasty and torn Gouki. The rest of the cast have all done a terrific job as well including veteran actor Togo Igawa as Goutetsu, Akira Koeieyama as Gouken, and Joey Ansah as Akuma.
After watching the few clips i can easily say that all my worries were thrown out of the window. This is no ordinary web series. The show is very cinematic and feels like a big budget movie. And if you think Mortal Kombat Legacy looked good then wait until you see what these guys have done.
Another great thing i realized while talking to Joey is how they thought of everything when it comes to special powers, explaining in details things like how a hadoken works, what is Satsui no hado, and even a full on explanation of the shun goku satsu (akuma’s raging demon super).
Fans who disliked the anthology aspect of Mortal Kombat Legacy 1 will be happy to know that Street Fighter Assassin’s fist is one coherent story that can be watched as a full movie. Could this mean we will be getting a movie version of the series? no one knows yet
Series purists will also be happy to know that Japanese characters do speak Japanese and not English like the previous live action incarnations. So Ryu speaks Japanese with Gouken, but speaks a simplified English with Ken (which is explained by Ken teaching him English since they were young kids). Gouki/Akuma will only talk in Japanese and so does Goutetsu, thus staying true to the source material.
Another aspect of the series that you automatically feel watching the few scenes i saw, is how fleshed out the characters are. Previous Street Fighter incarnations (whether Anime or even games) have always made these characters 2 dimensional in a sense that there is no depth to their personalities. When asked about this detail Joey had this to say: ” we have created a drama with ‘real human beings’ that the audience can relate to and get to know on quite a deep level unlike a lot of 2-Dimensional characters presented in Animes or bad video game to live action fare, the main characters in SFAF are not only extremely powerful but also flawed, in that they all have secrets, fears, inner demons. Once you believe and buy into the characters you are seeing, the action becomes so much more compelling because you care about and fear for them.”
So in conclusion, for those of you who always wanted but lost hope in a good Street Fighter live action adaptation, it seems that your prayers have been answered. And while i also had my worries about Street Fighter Assassin’s fist, visiting that editing room made me a complete believer and made me say, loud and clear, that it looks like we finally have the definitive Street Fighter Live action.
Street Fighter Assassin’s fist is stated to be released in the next few months with no medium announced yet. The series, produced by Jacqueline Quella, is described as a multi layered series that will take the audience back to the formative years of the iconic characters, Ryu and Ken, as they live a traditional warrior’s life in secluded Japan and learn about the mysterious past of their Master, Gouken, and the tragic and dark legacy of the Ansatsuken style.
There will be more Street Fighter Assassin’s fist exclusive news in the future right here on Hadoken.net so make sure to follow us on twitter: Follow @hadokendotnet
* SFAF images by Theo Chalmers