So let’s say that you want to watch a movie and either your choices are limited or your mental facilities are somewhat lessened for any of a dozen myriad reasons. I’m not judging, just setting the up the scene. And you stumble across a pair of movies that could provide you with a few hours of mild entertainment and/or significant riffing. But which movie should you choose? Perhaps I can help.
First up, you’ve got a hankering to watch a video game adaptation. Again, I’m not judging. I don’t know what evil lurks in the hearts of men (or women). You want to watch a fighting game adapted to the big screen, and you’re a fan of old-school arcade games. You have very specific tastes, my hypothetical movie-watcher. So it comes down to these two movies, as it came down to these two games in the arcade as well – Street Fighter vs Mortal Kombat. Fight!
This is not a question of which is better, but which one you would enjoy more.
Character Matches –
Round 1 – Shang Tsung vs M. Bison
In defense of both movies, the villain leads were having a lot of fun with their parts. Poor Raul Julia was dying, and he was making the most of the time he had left as M. Bison. Sure, he didn’t look like he could fight, say, a fluffy bunny (because he really couldn’t), but he chewed the scenery with the best of them. And Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa has a pretty fine career of being a thug, villain, mook, or otherwise bad guy. In fact, I once saw him on a ST:TNG episode as a blue-shirt helping out Crusher and I was so used to him being a bad guy (even though at the time I didn’t know his name), I was frankly surprised when he didn’t betray the crew to the bad guys. He didn’t even die. He just helped out like a normal extra. It was weird… But M. Bison’s fantastic megalomania gives him the win.
Winner – M. Bison. Hammy Victory!
Round 2 – Lead vs Lead
This is a bit tricky because the lead in Mortal Kombat was Liu Kang; however, Johnny Cage was also present and that character was actually based on Jean-Claude Van Damme, who turned down the role to play Guile. So while Guile vs Liu Kang is technically the lead, Van Damme would have been cast as Johnny Cage. Let’s just look at both.
a) Liu Kang vs. Guile
Well, Van Damme was trying to act. Robin Shou just looked confused for most of the movie. However, his accent was much less pronounced than Van Damme’s.
Winner – Liu Kang. Stoic Victory!
b) Guile vs Johnny Cage
What could have been… So Linden Ashby was trying to act as well, and did a better job than Van Damme, not that the bar is set too high. Also, he had no accent to contend with at all. And he was the butt of a few mildly humorous jokes.
Winner – Johnny Cage. Technical Victory!
Round 3 – Sonya Blade vs Chun-Li
I paired these because they are the most prominent female characters. Each had a story arc concerning revenge. Sonya finished her arc and killed the target of her vengeful quest, but Chun-Li did not, although not for lack of trying. Also, while Chun-Li got captured by the Big Bad, she busted out and proceeded to kick ass while Sonya had to be rescued. In fact, had the guys not gone into rescue Chun-Li, she probably would have beaten M. Bison by herself. And Ming-Na Wen did a better job than Bridgette Wilson in her role.
Winner – Chun-Li. Kick-ass Victory! Near Fatality!
That’s it for character rounds. I’m not really sure where to fit Raiden in since there wasn’t a mentor-type person in Street Fighter to counter him against. Kitana and Cammy, two secondary female characters, barely did anything at all. Street Fighter had so many extra characters I’m not sure who I’d face Ken and Ryu or Balrog and Honda against. Maybe Sub-zero and Scorpion? But considering Sub-zero and Scorpion had powers (albeit died like a chump and badly animated powers, respectively), there’s no way either of the Street Fighter characters could win. I also think that Sub-zero and Scorpion’s lack of dialogue was probably a bonus.
Technical Matches –
Round 1 – Soundtrack vs Soundtrack
This isn’t even a fight.
Winner – Mortal Kombat. Flawless Victory!
Round 2 – Plot vs Plot
Oh, this is a sorry showing indeed for both. The plot is pretty thin but then again, what else was it going to be? Mortal Kombat held more true to its plot, as such, in that it concerned a fighting tournament and the characters’ back stories weren’t altered. Not so for Street Fighter, which made many changes for reasons that don’t make sense (why did Chun-Li go from an Interpol agent to Plucky Girl Reporter again?). Also, there wasn’t any street fighting in Street Fighter and probably less fighting than there was in Mortal Kombat. And there was at least an approximation of some of the special powers in Mortal Kombat.
Winner – Mortal Kombat. Mediocre Victory!
Round 3 – Riff vs Riff
Oh, there’s so much to riff on for both movies. The poor special effects, the bad acting, the subpar plot, and so on and so on. I think Mortal Kombat technically held together just a little bit better, but since Street Fighter does have a better villain it deals the final blow.
Winner – Street Fighter. Snarky Victory!
Overall winner – Mortal Kombat. Pyrrhic Victory!