Verdict: 4 / 5
Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist actually started out as a Live-Action Web Series and was later transformed into a feature film. For the purposes of this review, I will be referring to the web series which was aired on Machinima Youtube Channel last month.
This series was the brainchild of Joey Ansah and Christian Howard, both well renowned martial artists/directors/choreographers/actors that take up the roles in this series.
In 2010 Ansah came up with this concept out of his sheer love for the Street Fighter franchise. Street Fighter Legacy was released on Youtube in 2010 directed by Ansah and produced by Christian Howard. Two years later Capcom would grant these Fanboys the rights to use their franchise and its characters in order to create their vision. What started as a Kickstarter project soon received private backing from investors and the series was wrapped up in August of last year. This series follows Ryu and Ken as they master the art of Ansatsuken. After learning all that there is, they believe that they are ready to take their Ansatsuken to the next level and they convince Gouken that they are ready to use the Hado. They begin their advanced trained but are unaware of the secrets that they are yet to uncover.
This story travels back and forth in time as we learn how Ryu and Ken ended up at Gouken’s Dojo. But this is not the only tale being told. A strange aura known as the Dark Hado is ever present during the pupil’s training and this leads to the origin of Akuma as Gouken reveals his past to his protégés. Ryu and Ken both have the same goal, even though they could not be more different in character. While Ryu holds back and believes he has no point to prove, Ken lives for the fight and to be better than Ryu at Ansatsuken. Ryu is more attuned to his Ki and his surroundings whilst Ken is fueled on competition. Whilst Ken is busy fighting on the outside, Ryu is facing a different battle on the inside… a battle against the Dark Hado.
The acting in this web series is great. They have gone through the effort of casting martial artists that have acting ability, so they are not coasting along on fly kicks and punches only. The acting is believable and is reminiscent of their videogame counterparts. Mike Moh takes up the mantle of Ryu whilst the producer Christian Howard acts as Ken Masters. Both actors suit the role well. However, Christian looks more like the Street Fighter character he is portraying. The way in which Goki (Gaku Space) turns into Akuma (Joey Ansah) is believable, so the switch in actor is not a major issue at all. You couldn’t ask for a better casting. This fan series gives us a Street Fighter film that is better than its big budget predecessors.
The web series will be re-released as a 6 episode mini-series before it will be released as a full length feature – which will have both a director’s cut and uncut version. The uncut version will be over two hours and will retain the cussing that is present in the series… mostly thanks to Ken. Whilst this series is good, it would be great to see more of it. With Joey and Christian’s passion for the franchise showing fruitful results, we can expect a follow up that will focus on another two Street Fighter heroes. And one of them might be portrayed by the great Scott Adkins, as he makes his Street Fighter debut with a SONIC BOOM!