Street Fighter IV: The Ties That Bind (Japan 2009)

Rating: **
Review Date: 3/14/09

A prequel to the highly anticipated video game "Street Fighter IV," this hour long movie reintroduces the core characters from "Street Fighter II" and brings us up to date with what they've been doing during their long absence. Unfortunately, it's all rather silly and really only serves to remind us of how incredibly good the original "Street Fighter II" (1994) movie was. Martial arts masters from all of the world are disappearing and some huge criminal organization known as S.I.N. is involved. Or has Shadoloo made a comeback? The movie introduces two new characters, Crimson Viper and Seth, and their goal is to capture Ryu and extract his deadly Satsui no Hado power. It takes all of Ryu's concentration to contain this murderous force that lurks within his soul, and he'll need help from his friends Ken Masters, Sakura, Cammy, Guile, and Chun-Li to emerge victorious. The film ends with the stage set for another world fighting championship to bring down Seth's evil plans.

Unfortunately, the film is high definition and only playable on the Xbox 360, so if you're watching it on a regular TV the aspect ratio is off and the subtitles are nearly unreadable. They clearly expect you to watch the movie on a 50" widescreen HDTV set. Technical issues aside, the animation is sub-standard and the character designs are uninspiring. Sadly, the animated cutscenes in the video game are higher quality than the movie is. Everything about the film indicates a small budget and feels like a rushed job. I suppose it's not surprising, since its real goal is to promote and generate excitement for the game, but it's still disappointing.