The result is just like a videogame come to life wall-to-wall chop suey, explosions, comic-book heroes and comic-book villains. It is entirely mindless fun. The public hated Street Fighter, although it is not entirely bad, just average. On the other hand, while one could hardly criticize Street Fighter for being exactly what it sets out to be, that unfortunately is the sum total of the film. The action moves but it is mindless popcorn, hardly breathless excitement, nor does it contain the dazzling style of say a Hong Kong action film. [A far better film version of the game, albeit uncreditedly based, was the Hong Kong screwball comedy Future Cops (1993)]. It is a comic-book film but it is only a comic-book, it fails to dig into deep psychological recesses as Batman (1989) did or even enervate the action the way that the Mortal Kombat film did.
Street Fighter is more interesting for the subtexts that one can read into it it plays like a rewrite of then-current headlines. For Shadaloo, you could translate Bosnia; for the AN, read the United Nations; for General Bison, read Saddam Hussein. It could read as a wish-fulfilment for an ass-kicking comic-book approach to world politics, one where an identifiably larger-than-life hero on the side of right would get into the arena and kick the asses that clearly need to be kicked rather than allowing wimpy United Nations diplomats to rule the day.
Raul Julia has a ball, giving a performance of rafter-rattling egomania. Julia died two months before the films release it was an entertaining coda to go out on and the film is aptly dedicated to him. With every film up to that point, Jean-Claude Van Damme seemed to be improving his acting abilities and gaining an idea of what made Arnold Schwarzenegger appeal to people. Here he seems suited to the role, having almost gotten the idea of tongue-in-cheek delivery. The rest of the cast are not too bad best is Ming Na Wen, later to become a regular on ER (1994-2009), who comes across lithe, fiercely determined and having put everything she has into the performance as Chun-Li.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009) was a further cinematic attempt to revive the series, although functions more as a sequel. There have been a number of animated incarnations of Street Fighter, including the anime film Street Fighter: The Animated Movie (1994) released to coincide with this film; two anime tv series Street Fighter II: V (1995-6) and Street Fighter Zero/Street Fighter Alpha (1999); and an American animated series Street Fighter: The Later Years (2006).
Steven E. de Souzas only other venture into the directors chair so far has been the abysmal demonic possession film Possessed (2000).
Other films adapted from videogames include Super Mario Bros. (1993), Double Dragon (1994), Mortal Kombat (1995), Wing Commander (1999), Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001), Lara Croft, Tomb Raider (2001), Resident Evil (2002), House of the Dead (2003), Alone in the Dark (2005), BloodRayne (2005), Doom (2005), DOA: Dead or Alive (2006), Silent Hill (2006), Hitman (2007), In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007), Postal (2007), Far Cry (2008), Max Payne (2008), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), Tekken (2010), Angry Birds (2016), Assassins Creed (2016), Warcraft (2016) and Rampage (2018).
(Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Mina-Na Wen) at this sites Best of 1994 Awards).