It was December of 1994, right around Christmas. I was nine years old at the time, and that weekend I was extra excited. Not because school was closed or Santa would bring me my next batch of video games, but because the film adaptation of my favorite video game was being released that weekend. This Christmas, Santa was bringing me Street Fighter.
Up until that point, every movie I had seen was great. I don’t know if it was because I knew how to pick movies or because I was easily entertained in my youth, but I loved every movie that I ever saw. Even the year before that, the film adaptation of Super Mario Bros was released and I found a way to love it (I still argue till this day that it wasn’t THAT bad, but I digress). However, this was Street Fighter, THE MOVIE! Jean-Claude Van Damme and the father from The Addams Family! Fireballs and sonic booms galore! The soundtrack had hip-hop juggernauts like Nas, The Pharcyde, Ice Cube and even Deion Sanders (ok, not so much Deion Sanders)! This couldn’t possibly go wrong, could it?
So my parents drive my sister and I to the local Cineplex. With my Ryu action figure in my hand, I sat in my seat anxiously waiting for the trailers to end so I can experience the greatest cinematic event to ever happen in the nine long years I had been on this Earth. Little did I know I would lose my innocence in that dark movie theater.
Wait a minute, where are the fireballs? Why are Ryu and Ken two bit hustlers? Why are all the heavies (Zangief, E. Honda, and Balrog) reduced to nothing more than large clowns? Why is Dhalsim a scientist working for M. Bison? Charlie is Blanka!? Why are you touching me in my bathing suit area Street Fighter? I don’t want to put that in my mouth. I need an adult! CALL SVU!
This isn’t easy for me to say guys, but I was raped that day. Despite my cries for help, nobody in that theater did anything to help me.
As we exited the theater, my father looked down on me and asked me how I liked the movie. After letting a resounding sigh while looking upon my Ryu action figure, I replied, “That movie sucked”. I remember him looking into my eyes, hugging me as if to say, “It’s going to be ok, this wasn’t your fault”. But it was my fault. I fell for Street Fighter’s awesome windowless van and empty promises of candy. I trusted Street Fighter and it took advantage of me.
Before then, I was naïve enough to believe there was some sort of standard or quality control that wouldn’t allow a bad movie to be made. Not only did I realize that a movie could rape the source material for profit, but that the world around me wasn’t as virtuous as I thought it was. My life of pizza parties and puppy love was shattered as I came face to face with the real world. I’m pretty sure that was the same year I stopped believing in Santa Claus.
But from tragedy came rebirth. After watching Street Fighter, every movie I saw afterwards was watched with a critical eye. I began to appreciate the amount of work that went into making a good movie. I finally realized that film was more than entertainment, it was a form of art that took legitamate thought and creativity.
So in turn, I forgive you Capcom. I forgive you for shilling out my favorite franchise and breaking this little boy’s spirit. No, seriously:
When I play Street Fighter 4, I sometimes go into panic attacks due to the trauma, but my therapist says that will pass with time. At least I can sleep at night knowing that a Street Fighter movie can never hurt someone the way they hurt me.