Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture
I've been disappointed by anime titles like Street Fighter II and Red Hawk, which emphasize fighting over story. This Fatal Fury title was supposed to be different, mainly because it was said to contain a coherent plot.
The story begins with the armor of Mars, the Roman god of war, which is said to bestow great power unto its possessor. So, naturally, somebody is going to try to obtain it. In this is case, it's a badass named Laocorn who is attempting find each piece of the armor and become a god. Terry, Andy, Joe and Mai band together to prevent Laocorn from fulfilling his plans for world domination. The story *is* actually decent, and even expecting this, I was still a little surprised. It's got an Indiana Jones flavor to it, and the balance between action and story were pretty good. It does get a little predictable in spots, but the ending came as a bit of a surprise.
The fights themselves were fast and furious. While some of them were pretty exciting to watch, others were hard to follow because of some awkward camera angles. I haven't played the Fatal Fury games, but I'm sure that anyone who has played them will get a kick out of watching these martial artists do battle.
What really bothered me (and what accounts for my low rating) was the dialog. A lot of it was incredibly corny which lead to a lot of eye-rolling on my part. I sort of expect this from a martial arts movie, but here it was downright annoying. The characters had the irritating habit of stating the obvious and this truly got on my nerves. The voice acting was generally decent, but I expected a little bit better of Viz. Myriam Sirois, who plays Akane from Ranma 1/2, played the voice of Sulia in this movie. Every time she and Terry spoke I kept expecting to hear her cry, "Raaaaanma!". It was unintentionally amusing, but wasn't that big of a distraction.
Something else which was amusing, but which might bother some people, was Mai. She deserves special mention, but only because of her ability to, um, "bounce". There was very little actual nudity on her part, but the cheesecake factor was still pretty high. I don't know who designed her, but they probably watched a few too many episodes of Baywatch (or its Japanese equivalent).
In the end, what could have been a decent martial arts movie, ended up marred by lousy dialog. If you can look past the irritating lines the character's constantly spout, then you'll probably enjoy this, especially if you're a fan of the video game. If martial arts isn't your thing, then steer clear of this title.
The Verdict: * * 1/2 (below average)
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