Published on May 30th, 2023 | by Tim Chuma

Here Comes A New Challenger Review (2023)

Here Comes A New Challenger Review (2023) Tim Chuma

Summary: A comprhensive look at Street Fighter II and everything that went into making it a worldwide sensation that still continues today.



NB: I missed the Kickstarter on this but backed it on the Indegogo campaign after.

The early 1990s where a big time in the arcades at least from what I remember in Australia. It may have been different overseas but the 8bit consoles and computers were still king and you had to wait 4 months for the video game magazines to arrive by boat from the UK.

The only place with an arcade machine was the video rental store in town. Somehow a town with less than 5,000 people had four different stores at one point. The main games were Violence Fight, WWF Wrestling and Final Fight but one day a game called Street Fighter II turned up and kids started hanging around there all the time to play. Was even one kid who would say “What am I?” just before the machine said “PERFECT!” to annoy everyone.

I can remember the game being huge in the gaming magazines too and Mean Machines had their own machine they kept in the office and would have bands come in to play. I also remembered they dragged it out with every version under the sun before they would release Street Fighter III which ended up killing it in the end as it went on for too long. As is explained in the game there were bootlegs which I do remember one of turning up in the same video store.

The documentary covers the rise of the game and its influence on popular culture through merchandising through the Hollywood release of the movie and the anime. They do mention the parody scene in Jackie Chan’s City Hunter but not the entire movie FUTURE COPS which is an entire movie ripping it off. Most likely a bit too niche even for this documentary. I thought it was a bit of a long bow to call the movie “retroactively good” it was what it was. I enjoy stuff like the Canon-Globus movies and have read two large books on them but would not call them “good”.

There are a range of people interviewed from some of the people who worked on the game to editors of gaming magazines C+VG and Mean Machines at the time and retro enthusiasts and Youtubers. I wondered why they could not have gotten more women but they seem to think “women were not into Street Fighter II at the time”, surely they would be now though?

It is pretty exhaustive in the coverage, not sure if they are going to do shorter versions as some formats only allow a certain length. It was getting on a bit towards the end, I would have skipped over some of the later stuff like the 30th anniversary as that is now and surely you don’t need to remember that it is now?

Even though there are lot of talking heads in the documentary, the animations and various screens break it up so it does not look visually boring. Reminds me of the Ken Burns earlier documentaries which were just slow pans across photos with narration. It is a lot more visually involved here though.

They do cover the tournament scene but it does not really go fully into it or stuff like Lets Plays and Twitch these days. I can remember getting one of the those Mean Machines VHS, was told “It’s too expensive you can’t buy that magazine any more”.

A great one to pair this one with would be the documentary The Lost Arcade about and the Chinatown Arcade and community that developed around it in New York. They feature a custom-built Street Fighter IV cabinet in that one which was never actually officially released.

I would recommend this one if you are a fan of the Street Fighter games and also retro gaming as they go fully back into all the systems the game came out on which is a lot.

I also recommended this one to some Hong Kong movie and action movie fans due to Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, Jackie Chan and Billy Blanks being featured.

Movie details:

Director: Oliver Harper

Writer: Oliver Harper, Timon Singh

Featuring: Joey Ansah, Stuart Ashen, Peter Betti, Paul Davis, Steven E. de Souza, Michael D. French, Stephen Frost, James Goddard, Ryan Hart, Steve Hendershot, John Linneman, Mick McGinty, Yoshiki Okamoto, Julian Rignall, Yôko Shimomura, Audun Sorlie, Skip Stellrecht, Benny Urquidez, Jeff Walker

Music: Damon Baxter, Si Begg

Cinematography: Christopher Stratton

Animation Department:  Peter Bruce – background artist, Christopher Stratton – animation director

Length: 141min

Genre: Documentary

Country: UK

Language: English




About the Author

Writer, photographer, artist and music fan from Melbourne, Australia.

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