To clarify, I’m talking about the 1994 version that was, tragically, Raul Julia’s last, and which almost as tragically was not Jean-Claude Van Damme’s last.
And it was awesome.
I mean, by any reasonable standard of filmmaking it’s terrible. The special effects are awful, the plot is dotted with pointless action sequences and makes no sense, and nobody can understand a damn thing the hero is actually saying. (This is because Guile, who is so American he has the US flag tattooed on both biceps, was played by a guy with a Dutch accent you can use to break up small rocks. That is the kind of logic we are dealing with here.)
And yet, somehow, this doesn’t matter. It has real charisma, mainly on the back of Raul Julia’s awesomely over-the-top portrayal of M. Bison, and while very little thought went into the script or even the casting, there are still moments of genuine humour and hints of competence.
All in all, I’m glad I own it (admittedly on VHS), and when the VCR gives up the ghost, I shall probably try to find it on DVD.
– OSM out