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January 09, 1995 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-01-09

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'Fighter' lacks street smarts
* Van Damme it! The movie isn't as exciting as the game

As one of many movies inspired
by a video game, the makers of
"Street Fighter" faced the challeng-

Street Fighter
Directed by
Steven E. de Souza
with Jean-Claude
and Raul Julia

ing task of turning the famously
excessive violence of the arcade hit
into an action film suitable for kids.
With this in mind, and as a service

to our readers, I debut the Daily's
Film Guide for Discerning Parents
(with apologies to Entertainment
Weekly, the New York Times, De-
troit News and every other periodi-
cal that does the exact same thing).
Where applicable I am using the I-
10 scale, 1 meaning the content is
suitable for children and, 10 being
more suitable for "John Wayne
Bobbitt Uncut."
The actors: As an actor Van
Damme makes a very good kickboxer.
For "Street Fighter" he's been given
the challenging role of Col. William
Guile, the strong, heavily Belgian-
accented leader of the Allied Nations
peacekeeping force. Not since "Uni-
versal Soldier" has Van Damme
scared both children and adults with
his acting "ability;" some of his clever
one-liners were so oddly timed and
badly written they took on an entire
new surreal appeal.
Unfortunately the hope I had in
the supporting cast quickly dissi-
pated. The late Raul Julia might
have been the great award-winning
star of "Kiss of the Spider Woman,"
"Moon Over Parador" and "The
Addams Family," but with "Street
Fighter" as his last film, he's gone
out with a whimper. There is noth-
ing remotely interesting about his
General Bison, a rather generic
Third World dictator type that prob-
ably should have been played by
Dennis Hopper (criminally
underused as a sadistic villian).
In a casting coup that rivals Alyssa

Milano in "Double Dragon" there is
Kylie Minogue, international pop star
turned kung fu warrior. If you en-
joyed bubblegum pop several years
ago you might remember her as the
vocalist behind the billionth cover of
"The Locomotive." Now she's ace
British intelligence officer Cammy
(no last name), whose job is to squint
and look concerned when Van Damme
is in danger. Children and adults will
be happy to know she does not sing in
the film.
The plot: General Bison has
taken several relief workers hos-
tage in the civil war torn land of
Shadaloo. They will all be killed in
72 hours unless he receives 20 bil-
lion dollars. What genius plan does
this criminal mastermind have for
the money? Nothing more than total
control of the land and the develop-
ment of a huge shopping complex,
making him sort of the bastard child
of Sam Walton and Pol Pot.
Meanwhile, Guile heads the
"peacekeeping" forces of the Allied
Nations, which is exactly like the
peacekeeping forces of the United
Nations, but different. As the peace-
keepers prepare to rescue the hos-
tages, he meets up with assorted
forgettable characters, including
tough, vindictive newswoman
Ming-Na Wen and a wacky duo of
street scammers, Damian Chapa and
Byron Mann.
It's not hard to figure out the
rest; there are a million fight se-
quences, kidnappings, a Bay of Pigs

Sadly, the great Raul Julia makes his final appearance onscreen in the dreadful "Street Fighter." There is no justice.

style invasion and the inevitable
showdown between Bison and
Sex/Nudity: 0. Somebody had the
common sense not to have Van
Damme and Minogue hook up.
Violence: 3. How's this for hy-
pocrisy: the video game, which any-
one can play, is 10 times more vio-
lent than the movie, which has a
parental warning. To get a PG-13
rating director/screenwriter Steven
E. de Souza toned down the vio-
lence to an "A-Team" level, with
lots of fists, guns, and knives that
never seem to end up killing any-
body. Except for the final show-
down between Bison and Guile,
there's stronger violence in "Tetris."

Profanity/Language: 1. Not a lot
of swearing, but reasonable adults
might cringe hearing Raul Julia hav-
ing to shout out lines like "Game
Adult Issues: Superpower nations
acting as international policemen in
countries that didn't invite them; vio-
lence is always the best answer, espe-
cially when done in slow-motion kung
fu; why some studio thought spend-
ing $30 million on this was a good
Subtlety: 2. In the one clever
touch, Bison is laying out his plan
of world domination to captured
reporter Wen, and strategically
placed in the background is a clown
painting by serial killer John Wayne

Gacy. Two people in the matinee
audience got this, including some
guy who yelled "John Wayne Gacy!"
a little too excitedly.
There's also a cute little homage
to Godzilla later on. Besides this, the
scenes never rise beyond the clever-
ness of a typical "Mighty Morphin
Power Rangers" episode.
Messages Your Children Will
Leave With: It's OK to take over a
war-torn country if your peacekeep-
ing force is multicultural. Anyone
who puts the island of Shadaloo on
their geography test will probably fail.
Don't plan on dying if your last film
STREETFIGHTER is playing at

kicks some ass.

Wow! Kylie Minogue

Sweet Honey rocks Hill Auditorium

On Friday night, while the rest of
Ann Arbor was being covered in a
heavy blanket of snow, the inside of


Sweet Honey
in the Rock
January 6, 1995
Hill Auditorium

A simple stage set - merely a
group of chairs and microphones with
a handful of percussion instruments
- allowed the audience to concen-
trate on and fully appreciate Sweet
Honey in the Rock's sound. Regard-
less if it was the voice of Bernice
Johnson Reagon, Ysaye Maria
Barnwell, Nitanju Bolade Casel,
Aisha Kahlil or Carol Maillard, or the
complex blending of a combination
of their voices, the sound was enrap-
turing. The members of the group felt
the music as well: by playing instru-
ments or wonderfully using their
hands and bodies while they sang. It
was truly incredible to watch - they
were so involved in their sounds and
pieces, that the audience could not
help but be drawn into the music as
well. Watching Shirley Childress

Hill Auditorium was packed - the
nulti-faceted a cappella group, Sweet
Honey in the Rock, were holding their
first concert of 1995. Founded in 1973
by Bernice Johnson Reagon, Sweet
Honey in this, their 21st year, is still an
unbelievable experience.

Johnson, the sign language interpreter
for Sweet Honey, was a beautiful ex-
perience. Her hands flowed with ex-
pression and her face reflected in-
tense emotion.
Each piece was unique: from a
simple sound to a complex blend;
from a quiet piece to one full of joy
and exuberance. But every piece was
loaded with deep emotion.
Whether it was a part of the "Ser-
mon on the Mount" arranged for voices
or the "Fulani Chant" or "Sojourn's
Battle Hymn," each piece was a unique
combination of sounds: rich, repetitive
and riveting. The various influences
and precise mixture of jazz, blues,
reggae, gospel, calypso and traditional
African music became evident as the
concert progressed. Just as obvious were
the political and social issues dealt with
in each song - civil rights, love, race,
color, ethnicity, celebration, AIDS and
what it means to be a woman, as well as
many others.
Reagon introduced each piece, as
well as giving its background. "Be clear
about who you are," recommends
Reagon. Sweet Honey in the Rock defi-
nitely know who they are and are strong
in their convictions and beliefs.
Called back for two encores, one a
rap about women as minorities and the
othera haunting piece using arainstick,
Sweet Honey in the Rock was very
much appreciated in Ann Arbor on
Friday night.
The group name - from a land
where the land is so fertile and rich that
when a rock is broken, honey flows
from it - is appropriate: when the
members of Sweet Honey in the Rock
sing, their voices are like the honey
flowing from the rock.


How sweet it is: Sweet Honey in the Rock are mighty sweet indeed.

Shaquille O'Neal
Shaq Fu - da Return
Jive Records
Shaq returns with this sophomore
effort trying to slam dunk some lyrics
atcha. But, much like his debut release
"Shaq Diesel," this CD is more of a
flagrant foul than a triple-double. Shaq
is no rapper, and if he spent more time
on his game than on his obviously un-
productive rap career, maybe he'd be
able to do more than just break
Is it just me or does Shaq sound like a
literate version of Shabba Ranks? Who-
ever he sounds like, his music definitely
has a wackness all its own. Cuts like
"Shaq's Got It Made," "Hardcore" and

- appear on one song or another. Their
performances are above average, but even
they don't sound as great as we would
expect. (Why waste their talent on this
lowlife of a CD?)
Unless you're some sort of all-out
Shaq fan who has to get everything with
his name on it, there is absolutely no
reason to buy this CD. From wack
lyrics to wack beats, Shaq has it all.
Anyone who believes that "Shaq-Fu" is
straight probably also expects to see
Chicago in anotherchampionship some-
time soon.
-- Eugene Bowen

guitar work are more polished and re-
fined than ever, but the album lacks the
thrusting and solid power that domi-
nated 1992's "Countdown to Extinc-
tion," and especially 1990's "Rust In
New songs like "Train of Conse-
quences" and "The Killing Road" may
come close to "Symphony of Destruc-
tion" or"Sweating Bullets" on the death
metal scale, but are nowhere close to
much of anything on "Rust In Peace"
such as "Hangar 18." Drummer Nick
Menza's double bass drum pedal must
be broken, and hopefully he'll have it
fixed before the next record.
"Youthanasia" is still filled with
good tracks, just not as good as what
most Meiadeth fans are used to. "Fam-

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