Accomplished stuntman Joey Ansah took to YouTube earlier this week to answer fan questions regarding the upcoming series “Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist”. The series, created by Ansah and Christian Howard, is the culmination of the duo’s lifelong fandom of the “Street Fighter” series and the long and arduous process they’ve undergone to do it justice in cinematic form. The “Street Fighter” series has stood the test of time as being one of the most popular, beloved, and enduring fighting game series in history. The first installment was initially released all the way back in 1987. Since the release of the even more popular sequel, “Street Fighter II”, the series has remained a staple of the video gaming world, with it’s acclaim and popularity only increasing through it’s spread into Japanese anime and manga. The series was also one of the major catalysts of the “Marvel Vs Capcom” series, and 2012 even saw the crossover game “Street Fighter X Tekken”, merging the “Street Fighter” universe with the equally popular “Tekken” franchise.
While seemingly every medium of entertainment that Street Fighter has penetrated has been met with widespread critical acclaim, the treatment that the series has received on the silver screen is another story.
1994’s live-action Street Fighter film ranks among the most universally loathed video game adaptations Hollywood has ever produced, and rightly so. Apart from having next to nothing in common with the game upon which it was based, the campiness and unintentional humor of the film left fans feeling more like they had just watched an episode of the 1960’s “Batman” TV Show that happened to feature Street Fighter characters.
2009 saw Hollywood’s second attempt at adapting the series for the big screen, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li, only for the film to become a massive flop and endure even harsher reviews from both critics and fans than its predecessor. The failure of both films seemingly solidified to Street Fighter fans that they would never see a decent cinematic take on their beloved series.
That pessimism would perform an immediate about-face on May 2nd, 2010, when the fan film Street Fighter: Legacy was released on YouTube to an overwhelmingly positive reception among fans. In just three short minutes the fan film, featuring Jon Foo and Christian Howard in the roles of Ryu and Ken, along with a brief appearance by Joey Ansah as Akuma, laid waste to all the damage done to the Street Fighter franchise by the previous two films.
Rumors of a planned continuation of “Legacy” abound online until Ansah and Howard released a video at 2012’s San Diego ComicCon announcing the development of Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist. Production on this began in 2013 with the series set to be released later this year. Ansah and Howard will reprise their roles of Akuma and Ken, with Mike Moh assuming the role of Ryu.
Joey Ansah and Christian Howard are no strangers to either martial arts or action filmmaking. From his days as a stuntman in Ross Boyask’s Left for Dead and Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, Ansah would later get to display his skills as Matt Damon’s chief fighting opponent in The Bourne Ultimatum.
Howard’s background includes stunt work on 2013’s The World’s End and fight choreographer duties on Green Street 3: Never Back Down. His role as Finvarrah in Ross Boyask’s Warrioress, on which Ansah also worked as a fight choreographer, would only solidify how well-suited he was for the role of Ken in the upcoming series.
To hear Ansah describe the challenges that he, Howard, and the entire Assassin’s Fist team encountered in bringing their vision of Street Fighter to masses is to see the dedication of true fanboy having the opportunity to be fully realized. And if the reception by the lucky few who have been given a sneak peek at the series is anything to go by, that determination to truly do Street Fighter justice has hugely paid off.
As the release of “Assassin’s Fist” nears, hearing Joey Ansah describe his passion for the Street Fighter series and the influence it’s had upon him is true joy. For those who still haven’t seen it, check out the original short film “Legacy” for a glimpse at just what Ansah, Howard, and co. have in store for the world!