Sunday, October 28, 2007

KEN MASTERS versus FEI LONG
Hot-Blooded Fei Long: Super Battle Action Movie (Group TAC/Capcom/Manga)
Where:
Street Fighter II V Ep. 5 When: May 1995
Why: GisaburĊ Sugii How: Kenji Haga/Jimmy Theodore, Kazuki Yao/Sean Mitchell

The story so far...
After years apart, the martial arts brothers Ken Masters and Ryu are reunited when the wealthy Ken invites his Japanese friend to stay with him in the United States.

It's not long before the two martial arts enthusiasts find their way into trouble, clashing with a group of young Air Force cadets. After their drill sergeant, Guile, manhandles Ryu and Ken both, the pair find inspiration to develop their techniques. Thus, Masters charters a plane to Hong Kong where they will hone their skills within one of the world's martial arts capitals.

Having survived the martial arts underworld of Kowloon Palace; Ryu and Ken, accompanied by their guide Chun-Li, come in contact with the legitimate face of Hong Kong's fighting stars -- Fei Long! With a visit to the set of his newest action picture, Ken and Ryu get a taste of the big time.

Previous Form:
Ken Masters (#61): Victory over Sodom, with sparring ties with Ryu.
Fei Long (#125): Victorious over a group of gangsters.

Tale of the tape...
Strength: Ken Masters 3 (Athlete)
Intelligence: Ken Masters 3 (Straight A)
Speed: Fei Long 4 (Olympian)
Stamina: Draw 4 (Athlete)
Agility: Fei Long 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting Ability: Draw 5 (Martial Artist)
Energy Powers: Ken Masters 3 (Explosives)


- Ken Masters is a practitioner of the same unnamed ansatsuken martial arts technique mastered by Gouken, Akuma and Ryu.

The style is heavily identified with the mastery over ones ki energy, allowing them to summon powers by methods of hadou. Ken has mastered the hadou-ken fireball and sho-ryu ken rising dragon punch, with a particular flair for the latter.

Ken is a well respected United States tournament champion, having won many tournaments and gained many accolades in his native America. It is this encompassing success that drives him to seek new challenges across the world.

- Fei Long is an accomplished martial artist and film start in Hong Kong.
His mastery of the Hitenryu Kung fu style earned him great attention in the film industry, with his performances best known for fast, furious and genuine fight scenes. At his heart, Fei Long is an honorable fighter who does not wish to compromise his integrity of spirit, despite a flair for showmanship.

The character, quite obviously inspired by the late film legend Bruce Lee, does not typically possess chi based attacks, best known for his prowess and speed.

The Math: Draw The Pick: Ken Masters

What went down...
Having escaped the murderous criminal underworld of the decrepid sectioned off part of the city known as Kowloon Palace; Ken and Ryu look forward to meeting famous Hong Kong film star Fei Long, an old friend of their tour guide, Chun-Li.

When the gang arrive on the set of Fei Long's latest film, they discover the set in disarray as Fei Long struggles to work with stuntment with insufficient skill and training to keep up with him in fight scenes. Ken and Ryu's newly established reputation proves to be the perfect curriculum vitae, and Ken is hired on the spot for a scene as a slumlord on Chun-Li's recommendation.

Forced to watch from the sidelines, Ryu watches his friend encounter Fei Long's fast moving fists and elaborate kicks. Ken provides minimal resistance to the skilled offensive, much to Ryu's vocal chagrin.

Having suffered through kicks and hits, Ken evades a series of jabs before being instructed by the director to amp the action up. Challenged to give it everything he has, Ken leaves behind the role of costumed actor, and begins to view Fei Long as an opponent to be beaten.

Ken quickly establishes an offensive, successfully landing a strike on a closing Fei Long, before evading the return attack to finish with a throw. The move sends Fei Long hurtling out of control into a golden decorative wall with a thud.

WOOTAH!With Ryu egging him on, Ken makes his first out-right offensive, charging with his own combination of punches and kicks, all of which Fei Long manages to avoid. From the duck position he launches his own attack, a devestating kick!
Ken rolls with it, and narrowly avoids a descending flying kick from the Hong Kong star. Ken puts distance between the two of them with his own push kick.

As the director prepares to call a cut, an impressed Fei Long expresses a stoic respect for Masters. Ken returns the compliment in kind, noting Fei Long's skills, but backs himself to win the cinematic showdown.

The two fighters renew their attacks, launching into a familiar exchange of stiff punches, kicks and blocks. Each fighter connects with a range of maneuvers.

The two fighters pull out all the stops to impress one and other, launching into massive airborne assaults. Fei Long flies with a kick that breaks part of the ornate gold wall, while Ken misses his target to shatter a chunk of decorative stonework along the garden path.

Director and fighters alike show wanton disregard for the invaluable scenary of Hong Kong's famous Tiger Balm Garden. The raging bulls barge through film equipment and leap their way to higher levels of the garden.

Ken gets the edge over his opponent with a stiff set of punches, but Fei Long manages to turn things around abruptly with a knee to the head. The move knocks Ken's ridiculous slumlord wig off, again prompting on-the-fly changes, as the director and film crew struggle to keep up with the action.

Perched like statues of two ancient, warring gods, Ken and Fei Long continue to destroy priceless scenery, before coming to another stop. Deeply entranced in the heat of the fight, the pair plays for keeps as Fei Long launches into a string of high flying kicks, coming back to earth with a 360 flurry.

Ken survives the onslaught and unleashes his own, taking advantage of Fei Long's open torso with a barrage of body rips that end with a spectacular dragon punch! The devestating blow sends Fei Long airborne, leaving him wide open for a flying roundhouse kick, much to the horror of the director and his aid!

While Street Fighter II V does not sport high end animation, it is not devoid of moments of anime brilliance, such as this dramatic white-background shot!For but a moment Fei Long appears finished, but he leaps back from his fall ready to continue. Alas, despite the fight's initial integrity, Hollywood rules prevail as the director calls a cut after Fei Long's face is struck.

Fei Long is unwavering in his integrity, decrying the director's imposing "pretty boy" treatment. Even so, the director wins out, leaving Fei Long to express his honor and admiration for Ken and his impressive fighting skills.

The hammer...
If the fight had continued Ken had definitely earned himself a strong position, but with Fei Long still match-ready, it's impossible to call it either way. So, after all of that, we wrap this one up to call yet another draw! Bummer!

So, if you're one of the few readers who salivates for their weekly Street Fighter fix, yeah, apologies for the lateness. No sooner than I dedicate some assemblance of daily posting than I get wrapped up in other obligations, and energy draining activities. Hopefully we'll keep the ship steady as we come in to dock at the end of the month on Wednesday.

Thursday's Punch-Up will feature a round-up of the Marvel Ultimate Alliance Monday posts, which will conclude with "tomorrow's" final entry of Doom!
That'll also feature the latest Super Stock update where you'll be able to assess the progress of our Sunday sponsoring of the Street Fighters. The challenge is for one Street Fighter character to beat out their Marvel contemporaries to reach a spot in the coveted Infinite Wars Top Five in '07. Will it happen? Stay tuned!

Being that I'm running late now, I probably don't want to loiter too much, but this feature casts a prime example of something we've been talking about, in regards to Street Fighter.

It's my opinion that the most epic of failures in more recent Street Fighter endeavours has been the design and widespread infiltration of new characters who resemble very little that makes the Street Fighter mould so great.
We talked a bit about the fight culture that exists in Street Fighter in our last instalment [Sadler's Tournament], and this kind of emphasises that to a degree.

Working hand-in-hand in the original Street Fighter II successes are a lot of real world reference points that build on professional competition, street fighting, and cinematic influences on martial arts culture. Here we see the Bruce Lee/film influence, which is presented throughout Street Fighter history in a slightly cartoony manner, but helps anchor the asthetics in a stylized realism.

The film aspect, along with things like Ken's status as an official US organization champion paint a stark contrast to later additions that featured wacky robots, mutated experiments, ancient wargods, and wannabe superheroes.

Likewise, basing this fight in the realworld location of Tiger Balm Garden (not coincidentally Fei Long's in-game background in SFII) again helps provoke that sense of realism, and the intrinsic connection to a characturized international flavour. The world stage has always been a big part of this, and as much as fight culture has been crucial to shaping the characters and franchise, so too has world culture. Yes, especially for the more closetted students, there is a shred of teaching to be taken from this beat 'em up series!

That about wraps it up here, as I type desperately to close things up as the clock ticks later and later. I'll make a closing reference to the Amazon paraphernalia that's popping up around the website.

You'll probably have noticed that, despite the distraction of my lengthy rantings, this site model is far better lent to assessing and encapsulating the zeitgeist of the year through weekly new comic reviews. Unfortunately that just isn't a financial burden I can meet, and while this probably won't help things, I get a small percentage credit from Amazon any time you make a purchase via one of these links. So, if you've read a review and fancy checking it out for yourself, keep an eye out for an Amazon plug at the bottom of the page!

That's about all the pitiful dirt merchant whoring I can stand for one night. Stay tuned for "tomorrow's" post of Doom, and marvel at how bad one man can draw with "today's" earlier cartoon post that people almost certainly won't get, or won't think is funny. More of that kind of diversity to come.

The Fight: 6.5 The Episode: 5

[If the Infinite Wars have sufficiently prepared you for a whole lot of dumb fun, and you want to check out these episodes in full, then you can't pass up the value of the Street Fighter II V complete twenty-nine episode box set! Only on the DVD will you be able to catch the complete showdown in Kowloon Palace, and all the in-between stuff we don't show you! Mmm, sales!]

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