Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Fatal Fury The Motion Picture

Genre: Martial Arts
Parental Guidance Recommended
1994 Directed by Masami Obari
1994 Viz Videos and Capcom

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Cover Description:
According to legend, the person who collects all six pieces of the 'Armor of Mars' becomes invincible. Unless Terry can stop him, the descendant of the armor's original owner will don the final piece of armor!

The Hungry Wolf gets EPIC! >>> by TypicalIdiotFan

At last, the payoff! This big picture acts as a conclusion to a very short series about life, death, the eternal struggle within, and big blazing explosions of energy! What more can I say? When you have two OAVs that are pretty good in their own right, what's the logical next step? Make a MOVIE of course! What you end up with is a feature too big for the direct-to-home market and just explosive and intriguing enough for the silver screen. It may not win any Oscars, but damn is it fun! Lets begin!

First, if you haven't seen Fatal Fury: Legend of the Hungry Wolves and Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle yet, go watch those first! You'll miss way too much if you go into this movie without knowledge of the main characters and events that have bearing on this feature.

Where do I start? First let me say that while Fatal Fury is based off a video game, NONE of the villains in this motion picture appear anywhere in any Fatal Fury game. What this means is that while you may want the challenge of fighting these powerful foes one day, you never will, and that kind of sucks! But hey, considering that most video-game-turned-anime don't take a lot of creative liberties with characters, I think this show's director Masami Obari really had his finger on the vein of the Fatal Fury world. The villains here follow the "street fighter" type mold perfectly to the point where you could see them in the video game. Each character has their own techniques and unique attacks and, like most SNK fighting game creations, their own personalities. I wish more anime directors could be this bold and actually create new aspects to an old genre, and I don't mean minor side characters. I mean some real creative storylines and characters that truly expand the universe. What I want is kind of like how fan fiction writers often bring a new "zing" to an already established story, so too does Obari make this show seem like his own, while still staying in the facet of the SNK world.

But I'm gushing, lets move on!

The central story of this movie revolves around Laucorn and Sulia Gaudeamus; both of which are ancestors of an ancient clan of warriors that bore the "Armor of Mars." According to legend, the 6 pieces of the Armor of Mars were scattered so that the terrible godlike powers could never be used again. Laucorn seeks the armor as part of a lifelong dream of their father, and also to avenge his murder. Along the way, it becomes obvious that the Armor of Mars carries with it great power, and the more pieces he dons, the stronger he gets. At the same time, the power of the Armor corrupts his soul and twists him into a power mad villain hell-bent on domination and destruction. Sulia, seeing his brother has lost control, flees from his side to seek help. Naturally, she finds the Big Three (Four, if you count Mai).

From there, its globe trotting time! And this is where the movie starts to really shine. During the search for the last few pieces of the Armor of Mars, we find that two important eras in history have had a hand in scattering the Armor to the four winds. Not only that, but those pieces of Armor were instrumental in the development of the special "ki" techniques that most martial artists in this modern world use. This sense of factual history blending to fantasy really adds a sort of Indiana Jones' feel to the show, making it seem like a grander and more epic an adventure. The areas that the heroes travel to also get authentic cultural background music, such as while they're in the Middle East, and when they venture deep into China.

Obari doesn't skimp out on other features either. This movie, like its two OAV predecessors, has lots of drama, action, romance, and comedy. SNK fans will have fun seeing how many characters they can spot from other SNK games, including a subtle cosplay Nakaruru in one scene!

This movie really is fun to watch, from start to finish. You'll be dazzled by wonderful animation strengthened by gorgeous backgrounds and authentic settings. The animation of the characters themselves can get a little weird at times, especially towards the end. Sound wise? Turn up the volume! When Terry does a Power Geyser, it should shake your butt if you got the bass turned up enough! The characters are all lovable and dynamic -- old characters showing new facets to themselves, and the tragedy of the ending alone should bring some people to tears. Overall this movie is highly recommended for fans of the games, fans of action anime, and all anime fans in general. Fans of anime music will hunt down singles of the ending credits theme. It's that catchy!

-------(SPOILER ALERT!)--------------
Favorite Moment
: I have two in this one, both involving Terry. The first is when he and Sulia are in Germany, Terry uses his Power Geyser to make a desperate escape. The power of his force is so great he blows the top FLOOR of a parking garage to smithereens!

The second is during the final battle. After Terry experiences another tragic loss, the Hungry Wolf turns and sheds tears of blood before leaping into the fray. Tears of blood = COOL!

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 8; Story 10; Characters 10; Sounds 9

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