We all know film adaptations of video games blow goats. There is yet to be a hugely successful and generally well received video game adaptation. The closest thing we have is the Resident Evil franchise but really, who remembers their Resident Evil gaming experience being like that?
Luckily the future looks bright with films like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time attracting huge interest and assembling a well-known cast. Even so the Prince of Persia movie isn't a perfect adaptation as I'm sure you've read one of the many fanboy rages over Jake Gyllenhaal's casting as Prince Dastan. So where will you find an accurate adaptation of a video game into a film?
Well, it couldn't hurt to look Joey Ansah's way. The actor, action choreographer, and filmmaker has put together a short film called Street Fighter: Legacy. Now I know what you are thinking, I've already sat through some terrible Street Fighter films like the god-awful Legend of Chun-Li (why, Michael Clarke Duncan, why would you do that?) why should I give a short film from some guy a chance? Well, for one, Ansah is a huge fan of the video game series, which is always a good start. Two, he has experience working on Hollywood films like The Bourne Ultimatum, where he played the assassin Desh, and was a stunt worker on Batman Begins.
While his acting experience is minimal, he has used his time wisely to cultivate a variety of contacts who have helped him with this project. Australian director Owen Trevor (Top Gear) co-directed, Jacqueline Quella produced, Anthony Waye executive produced (producer James Bond series and assistant director Star Wars IV: A New Hope) and it stars relative newcomers Jon Foo as Ryu and Christian Howard as Ken.
Howard, a longtime friend of Ansah, also co-wrote the production, assisted with the fight choreography, and drew up storyboards. The two went to Streetlight Films with their design brief and, after securing their support, received Capcom's blessing to make the film. Now Ansah is preparing to release the film this Thursday, on the Internet, and in preparation for that he has released a series of photos for the film and two teaser trailers on his site that really live up to their teaser title.
As an actor, filmmaker and a fan, I have been repeatedly disappointed by the many diluted, unfaithful and outright butchered movie adaptations of fighting video games. It was clear to me, that given the way the movie industry worked, we would never see a super faithful, darker toned and more adult themed (or just plain good!) incarnation of Street Fighter unless a die-hard fan director or filmmaking team with the game canon knowledge, filmmaking know how and connections stepped up to the plate to helm such a project…
My Team and I have strived to make a beautiful lil’ film that hopefully non-fans will really appreciate, but ultimately this is a love letter to the fans and the brilliance of the game. As a result I’ve gone to every length to be as faithful as possible down to the smallest details of the costume, the choreography, the narrative, the original music themes and of course the special moves!
What I really like is his attention to detail. It's those little things, like Ken's hair being blonde but his eyebrows being thick and dark or Ryu's pant legs being shredded, which a Hollywood production glosses over and doesn't realise fans care about. I also think the short film medium is perfect for this production. Ansah has made it with the express desire to please fans and if non-fans are won over then that's a bonus. He doesn't have to draw people in by dumbing down elements of the game so it will appeal to the masses. He is free to be as faithful as he likes which, hopefully, will only benefit the production. There is no word on the story but judging by the trailer it looks like Ken and Ryu aren't exactly friends at the moment and Akuma looks like he'll make an appearance. I wonder who else will show up? Possibly they fight then Akuma shows up and they team up? Who knows and who cares, because we'll be able to see it on Thursday. And that's your Dose of Awesome.