Since its announcement in San-Diego comic Con 2012, Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist has been a huge mystery for many fans. After two huge letdowns from the prior live action street Fighter adaptations, fans have every right to be skeptic of how their favorite characters will be portrayed in this series.
Last September, during my first visit to London, i was lucky enough to be invited to the editing room of the series, accompanied by Series creator/director/actor Joey Ansah and Ken Masters himself Christian Howard. Needless to say (as seen in my series preview) i was very impressed. However i did not see a full episode at the time, and special effects were still absent, music was temporary as well. I was almost sure it would be good but i had to see it for myself. Fast forward to last week where, while in London for a second time (lovely city) i was invited by Joey to his house to watch, not just one episode, but the entire series from beginning to end. So how did i find it? Keep reading to find out.
You have to keep in mind that since the series has not yet an official release date, i will not be spoiling anything. I will barely touch on the plot to not ruin it for you guys when the series goes live in the near future.
Street Fighter Assassin’s Fist has been described by the producers as a multi-generational story, which really sums up the setting. The story, while is an origin for Ryu, Ken and Gouken, is also an origin story for Akuma and Goutetsu. The two stories are told in parallel to each other using flashbacks either told by Gouken or remembered by Akuma. Not only that the story gives us the visual story of Gouki/Akuma’s fall into the Satsui no Hado, but we also learn and see many of the Street Fighter lore we only read about in Capcom’s publications. The story is so well thought that it really explains everything you would imagine: what is Hado? Check. What is the power of nothingness? check. How is Hado channeled? Check. What is shun goku Satsu/Raging demon and how it works? Double check. And this i am afraid is as much as i can delve into the series story, but what i can add is that from the script and story it does feel that Joey is not only adapting the early years of the franchise but also building the Street Fighter universe for live action from the ground up.
As far as the format goes, and for those who were disappointed by the non-connected Mortal Kombat Legacy series, i am happy to say that Street Fighter Assassin’s fist is one coherent story that will be split into episodes. what this means is that you could watch the whole series in one setting (this is how i watched it) and it will be like watching an epic 180 + minutes movie. As far as episodes length and number i will not be able to divulge that, nor i can give you an exact running time, what i can say though is that episodes are longer than Mortal Kombat legacy and there is no annoying 3+ minutes of recap at the beginning of every episode. In fact there is no recap, which i great as i always thought that recaps for an online series is pointless as you can watch the previous episode whenever you want at the expense of just one click.
The cinematography and directing of Street Fighter assassin’s fist is mesmerizing. The Japanese setting (although filmed in Bulgaria), the beautiful nature, the eerie feeling in the presence of evil, the whole mood is just perfect for a street Fighter movie/series. I can’t stress enough how beautiful the sets are, a real work of art. You would really forget that you are watching a webseries, as i have seen big budget movies that are not even close to how good Sf AF is. The series also marks the directing debut of Joey Ansah, and if SF AF is any indication of Joey’s directing capabilities, the Marvel should definitely lock mr Ansah for a future action movie.
While i have seen glimpses of the great acting in my previous visit, watching Street Fighter Assassin’s Fist from beginning to end makes you wonder why you have not heard of some of the actors before this adaptation. Let’s start with the Street Fighter poster boy, Ryu. Portrayed by Mike Moh who not only looks the part but has nailed the role of the serious martial artist orphan who considers Gouken a father. I can already hear people wonder if he speaks Japanese or English in the series and the answer to that is both. In fact many times Ryu would speak in Japanese to Gouken but in English to Ken. A logical explanation is given why Ryu can speak perfect English early on in episode 1 or 2. Maybe my minor grip is that ryu’s english is a bit too perfect for my liking, but it really is not a bother. Gouken does speak Japanese and an accent-heavy English when speaking to Ken and Ryu at the same time. Speaking of Ken, as you know, the character is portrayed by Christian Howard, who also did a good job showing the cockiness of the american fighter. We also discover an emotional side to Ken when it comes to his father. Old Gouken is portrayed by Akira Koieyama, who does a tremendous job portraying the Mu no Hado (power of nothingness) sensei. His younger version is acted by Shogen Itokazu. Famous actor Togo Igawa portrays Goutetsu, one of the original Hado sensei and boy does he deliver. And last but by no means least, Gouki is portrayed by the extremely talented, and unheard of, Gaku Space. whenever the actor enters a scene he literally owns it. When Gouki later embraces the “Dark side” he becomes Akuma, portrayed by Joey Ansah, and you would not believe how accurate the look is. There is also a very awesome unexpected cameo that i will not speak of. Let’s leave it at that.
What would a Street Fighter movie/series without special moves be? (the answer to that would be Street Fighter legend of chun-li but let’s not tarnish this article by bringing up the movie that which we shall not speak its name) Gladly Joey Ansah knows that you cannot have a SF adaptation without showing Hadokens, shoryukens and even Shun Goku Satsu. While CGI was used for the special moves, Joey and Co tried to include as many practical effects as possible. The result is breathtaking, and by miles better than many high budget movies you have seen in theaters. The way the producers also approached special moves is very interesting. watching the series from beginning to end makes you realize that shooting a hadoken is not easy, as you are there when the two students try hard to learn the secrets of the ansatsuken. The shoryuken is one of the moves that i found myself loving to see over and over again. The tatsumaki is there but more realistic that the rest. and finally you will get to see the shun Goku Satsu(Akuma’s raging demon super/ultra) in its full glory and…it….is…..BEAUTIFUL!
The soundtrack of the show is also great. Not only that every now and then you would hear your favorite Street Fighter character theme but you will also see the origin of Ryu’s iconic tune.
I would really go on and on about how this series is amazing and that would not be enough. Joey Ansah took a franchise that many believe can never be translated into live action and did so beautifully, surpassing even the animes and books out there. I wish i could talk about specific action scenes (which are all amazing) or strong plot points but that would be ruining one of the best things i have watched recently. So for that reason we will have a full spoiler-filled review once the series goes live.
So to sum it up, Street Fighter Assassin’s Fist is not only the best Live action Street Fighter movie but it is also at the top of any Street Fighter adaptation ever made. A very strong script, great acting performance, awesome directing and cinematography and beautiful music. I have absolutely no doubt in mind how successful this series is going to be. Now mr Joey i believe it is time you start planning the sequels to Street Fighter Assassin’s Fist, because, as fans, we really cannot wait for the sequels!
what I liked:
– Great script
– A faithful adaptation
– Great acting
– Mesmerizing cinematography
– Great action
– Great soundtrack
What i did not like:
It has not been released yet so i can watch it with the Mrs over and over again
Final Score: 10/10 Perfect!
(It is not often that we find something so perfect, so a well deserved perfect score for Street Fighter’s first REAL live action adaptation)