Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture
The Armor of Mars -- a suit of armor consisting of six pieces. If anyone from the bloodline of the ancient warrior Godimus were to find all six pieces for himself, he would receive power equal to the level of a god. The Curse of Godimus, however, also dictates that this same person would lose all sense of himself and become an insane killing machine.
Laocorn is one of the only ones left of the bloodline of Godimus, and has already obtained three of the pieces. When Terry Bogard rescues Sulia, Laocorn's twin sister, from Laocorn's evil minions one night, he finds himself and his friends inexorably drawn into Sulia's hope to recover the pieces of the armor before Laocorn does and prevent him from fulfilling the Curse of Godimus. But are even the combined efforts of Terry, Andy, Joe, and Mai enough to stop the might of the Armor of Mars?
Oh, boy, another Fatal Fury anime. Yawwwn...
Maybe it's the fact that I've never really cared for the arcade game, or my prejudice towards the Street Fighter series. Or maybe it's my general distaste towards DragonBall Z-style martial arts. Whatever the case, for some reason I can't find myself getting excited about anything Fatal Fury at all, including this movie which many people have told me is the best martial-arts anime there is. Harumph.
I guess I really don't have too much to complain about. The artwork in this movie is not bad at all, and is certainly prettier to look at than in the Street Fighter movie. The animation, while not on par with other theatrical features, is still respectable, and manages to get the job done convincingly.
So what's my problem? I've always been a firm follower of the belief that a martial-arts movie (even animated), should have some real martial arts in it. Despite its video game origins, Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture actually has very little martial arts, choosing instead to employ "special techniques" that resemble heavy munitions fire more than your standard kicks and punches. It's why I never liked DragonBall Z, and it's why I didn't care for this movie, either. I found myself feeling vaguely distracted as I watched Terry and the gang exchange chi-blasts and psionic shockwaves from across the room, explosions and heavy collateral damage resulting. Don't give me any of that crap -- hire a director who actually knows some martial arts instead -- or don't call yourselves a martial arts movie.
Even the storyline, which is admittedly orders of magnitude more coherent than the Street Fighter movie, wasn't enough to save this flick from my boredom. The story was still rather tired and trite (ooh...get the artifacts before the enemy does...think they'll make it?), and I found the interaction between the characters much more one-dimensional and much less compelling than the friendship/rivalry of (here we go again) Ken and Ryu. The movie touched a bit on previous episodes in Terry's life and the choices he's had to go through as a result, which was nice, but it still wasn't enough, and it seemed forced in a lot of places. The ending, too, was unsatisfying and anticlimactic, failing to give any sense of finality or catharsis (but I won't go into more detail for fear of spoiling it). As a drama in and of itself, it doesn't quite make it; as an action flick, it definitely doesn't deliver as promised.
So, you've got sort of a trade-off thing going here. Fatal Fury has a better story but no martial arts; Street Fighter has virtually no story but _awesome_ martial arts. What do you choose? I'll take the martial arts any day.
Recommended Audience: Some rather graphic violence near the beginning when Laocorn offs a couple of red-shirters. Also, Mai is rather revealingly clothed throughout the movie, more than your typical female fighting character. There are a few nude scenes of Mai in the shower, Mai undergoing a transformation sequence, Mai just bouncing up and down... The fight scenes are actually less violent than in your typical martial arts flick since virtually all of the fighting is done at long-range distances. Still, you've got your typical coughing-up blood scenes, so keep this away from young children.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, English dub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture © 1994 SNK / Fuji TV / NAS
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