The Partner In Crime (henceforth to be known as The PIC, as I now find the acronymed moniker of “OH” [Other Half] to be insulting to both of our whole selves) has this desperate habit of making me watch horrific films on Netflix. He’ll choose something suitably B-movie and say, “I’ll just put this on for ten minutes, just to see how awful it is”. I mean, WHY!? Why would you do that to yourself? To me? Fast forward to a half an hour later and I’m completely enthralled by what I’m watching. The black hole of terribleness has sucked me in, and there’s no going back.
Admittedly, sometimes this queer habit of his pays off. Mostly it doesn’t, mind (like the time he made me watch Waterworld, just so we could “laugh at it”), but sometimes, sometimes he gets to turn to me as the credits roll and gloat, “Now, aren’t you glad I turned it on?” And I’ll grit my teeth and nod ever-so-slightly and let him have his moment to be right because, Maker knows, he doesn’t get that opportunity very often with me as his chick.
So when I walked in the door a few weeks ago and sat down to find him with the PS4 controller in his hand, Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist ready to be played, and when he’d begun his usual, “I’ll just put this on for ten minutes…” spiel, I just sighed, told him to put the kettle on and resigned myself to more immersive B-movie hell. Fortunately though, this was one of those times when his blatant attempt to torture me actually came up V, because I secretly really enjoyed it.
“Christian Howard’s ridiculous hair.”
Assassin’s Fist follows the story of Ken and Ryu; their formative years and their training in the ancient fighting style of “Ansatsuken”. Together, and under the tutelage of Master Gôken, they live the traditional warrior life in the Japanese wilderness. They fight together, learn together and stay together, and love each other like brothers. Despite the series being billed by many as this pairs’ back-story, the true essence of Assassin’s Fist is actually the dark tale of their master, Gôken, and his brother, Gôki, and Gôki’s eventual transformation into Akuma.
- During my first watch of Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist, I found the pacing to be somewhat off. It felt unsteady in parts, and frequently lacked smooth flow and transition. However, upon some further research I found that Assassin’s Fist was originally a twelve-part web-series, then a six-part TV mini-series, and then finally a 2+ hours uncut feature release. It makes a lot more sense to watch Assassin’s Fist as a mini-series than it does a feature piece, and as a result I found that the editing really did leave something to be desired.
- Some of the acting here, as you can probably guess, isn’t exactly award-worthy. Christian Howard (Streetfighter: Legacy) as Ken, in particular, was pretty dire. One would presume that the writing and script should assume some blame here, but in all honesty, despite his obvious physical skills, Howard was just bad.
- Christian Howard’s ridiculous hair.
- The fighting! There’s no doubt that all involved had some serious moves. Fans of the Street Fighter games will delight in a lot of the familiar kicks and flicks, even their stances were perfect. In this, Assassin’s Fist wonderfully balances appropriate fan service with genre integrity.
- The brightest stars of this film were Akira Koieyama (47 Ronin) as Gôken, Shogen (Samurai of the Dead) as Gôken’s younger self, Gaku Space as his brother Goki, and Joey Ansah (Streetfighter: Legacy) as Akuma. With their palpable chemistry on-screen, you could not help but be dragged along for the dark ride of their violent pasts.
- Ryu’s Hadouken.
- This was very much a passion project for all involved, and I seriously respect what they’ve accomplished here. Created by, developed by, written by, directed by, and starring Christian Howard and Joey Ansah, you can instantly tell how much love and effort was poured into making Assassin’s Fist. Independently and privately backed, and with no help from Capcom at all, it is, by all accounts, a success. Simply put, this independent production is vastly superior to many of its predecessors, most definitely including the woeful Street Fighter and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.
Recommended for: Fans of the Street Fighter franchise. Fans of martial arts films. Anyone who has ever tried to do a hadouken in real life.
IMDB Rating: 7.7
Do I agree?: It’s a solid 7. I had a lot of unexpected fun with this, and provided you can get over the hair extensions (they proved to be very distracting for me), then I’d safely wager that any fan of the games will most definitely enjoy it.
Verbal Spew Suggestion: Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist is primarily in Japanese, so you’ll need to turn on the subtitles. Neither of us wanted to bother to get up off our hoops and find the controller to activate them, so for approximately the first forty-five minutes we entertained ourselves by guessing what everyone was saying during the flashbacks.