When was the last time you saw a really good Street Fighter-themed faux documentary? Never, you say? That’s about to change.
Created by Chubby Boy Films, Balrog: Behind The Glory could pass as an hour-long special on the E! Network, sandwiched in between a block of Joan Rivers ragging on Hollywood couture and a retrospective on Leif Garrett. Or, that is, it could if it wasn’t only 12 minutes long and centered around a fictional Mike Tyson analogue.
As you may have guessed from the title, the short film tells the tale of Street Fighter’s raging boxer Balrog. Or is that Mike Bison? If you’re the sort of Street Fighter fan who understands why that kind of naming confusion even exists, this is the film for you.
Not that it spends precious minutes explaining Capcom’s localization woes circa 1991, but it does cover these sorts of minor, trivial issues with a plausible coat of humor. In sum, it’s really phenomenal fan service with just enough hardcore geekery to make Street Fighter devotees snicker to themselves conspiratorily, without alienating those viewers who can’t tell the difference between a Shoryuken and a Hadouken.
Most impressively however, are the production values on this mini-movie. This thing looks and sounds very, very good. From the actors portraying the various characters, to the graphical effects, to the opening text scroll patterned after the Street Fighter II copyright listing screen, Balrog: Behind The Glory screams professionalism and attention to detail.
The film premiered at this past weekend’s EVO fighting tournament, and from all the reports I’ve seen, it was very well received. Of course, EVO attendees are the perfect captive audience for a movie based on an underappreciated Street Fighter pugilist, so that was to be expected.
Still, I can see Balrog: Behind The Glory appealing to anyone who has ever dropped a quarter into a Capcom fighter. Even beyond the geeky premise, it’s just a solid little film. Humor, pathos, young boys shaving while wearing boxing gloves; this flick’s got it all.
Unfortunately, due to the sorts of licensing issues that crop up around fan films, this movie will never, ever see theaters. Ever. Just forget about it. That said, Capcom seemingly finds this project endearing, and if it’s good enough to avoid a corporate cease and desist, it’s good enough for you to spend the next 12 minutes of your life watching.
Source: Capcom Unity