Super Mario Bros (1993) vs Street Fighter (1994) – Face Off

What’s the better vintage video game adaptation – Super Mario Bros (1993) or 1994’s Street Fighter with Jean Claude Van Damme?

Last Updated on April 28, 2023

Joblo’s lively blood may be in movies, but we love our video games too! Shameless plug be sure  to check out Playing with Fear with Tyler over on our Horror Originals channel! Anyways, the topic of  video game-based movies is always a touchy subject. Sure…. They usually have the reputation of being  just so bad. However thanks to the recent success of The Last of Us on HBO Max and we saw some good  box office returns with the two Sonic Movies, It feels nowadays Hollywood may have FINALLY cracked  the blood code to making good video game adaptations. 


But today we are feeling nostalgic for some good solid guilty pleasures. In the early 90s in the peak of  the 16 bit console wars, Nintendo was riding high of the success of the Super Mario franchise and  decided to go into uncharted territory and bring the beloved mustached plumber to the big screen with 1993’s Super Mario Bros (recently featured on Awfully Good) starring the late and great Bob Hoskins as Mario Mario…..yes his last name is  Mario and Joblo favorite John Leguizamo as lean green jumping machine Luigi Mario. God, that feels  weird to say! Don’t AT us! The movie was a massive failure, and Nintendo VOWED never to let any of  their I-P’s to the big screen again…..that is until 2023 when Illumination took a second crack at it. The result – a record breaking mega-hit!

so bad, but has gone on to become a cult classic! FUN FACT Bob Hoskins hated the production of this  movie so damn much, he was drunk on set. EVERY. DAY. 

Following The Mario Brothers Movie, Capcom was riding high off the success of Street Fighter 2 in  arcades as well as on home consoles and saw the box office potential with their colorful cast of  characters along with bringing in beloved action star Jean Claude Van Damme taking the lead as Guile.  Yeah….having a super French guy play an All American Militaristic fighter seems odd looking back but  hey, to each their own. Another FUN FACT, Van Damme turned down the role of Johnny Cage in the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie in favor of playing Guile in 1994’s Street Fighter. Yeah….we all make mistakes. 

Look we know these movies are…….not great… but with the Illumination Studios Mario Movie ready for  potential billion dollar earnings, and the long awaited Street Fighter 6 coming out this year why not pit these two so-bad-they’re-good gaming gems in our cinema death match arena! 

So eat a shroom and grow a little higher, and grab that flower and spit balls of fire, ready those  Hadukens and shoryukens! ITS TIME FOR ANOTHER FACE-OFF 

super Mario Bros 1993

ROUND 1: Protagonists 

To kick things off both movies put their beloved video game heroes front and center that carry each  film, so let’s take a look at the MAIN protagonists for each movie to see which film has the favorable  portrayal.  

The Iconic Mario Brothers are portrayed by the late and great Bob Hoskins as Mario and his little brother  Luigi, often questioned by the fans is portrayed by John Leguizamo. As weird and fascinating as the  movie is, you can’t argue that Hoskins, despite his displeasure making the movie, was indeed the perfect 

Mario. He’s got the look and mannerisms down, and we can’t help but be charmed by his performance.  But on the other hand… great as Leguizamo is an actor, he just wasn’t the perfect Luigi to most fans  eyes but hey we can still have fun with it and the Mario Brothers chemistry WASN’T the problem with  this movie. 

Over on the Street Fighter side, Jean Claude Van Damme was at the peak of his career as an action star  when he took on the role as Guile and if you ask us, it was fun seeing him kick ass and take names like he  always does. He was supported by Ming-Na Wen and Kylie Minogue as Chun-Li and Cammy  respectively, whom both looked damn good in the roles if we say so ourselves, and some of the die-hard Street Fighter fans were disappointed that the MAIN protagonists of the Street Fighter games Ryu and  Ken portrayed by Byron Mann and Damian Chapa should have been more impactful in the film. The  other heroes of the film also feature Grand L. Bush as Balrog, Gregg Rainwater as T-Hawk, and Peter  Tuiasosopo as E. Honda 

We understand that Street Fighter has the more colorful cast of Heroes, but they had very little screen  time overall, and Van Damme, outside the action, really was not the greatest when it comes to  portraying a convincing American soldier, so we are going to give this round to The Super Mario Bros movie, because when you look back at Hoskin’s career, just about everybody remembers him  as the FIRST man to bring Mario to the big screen. Winner by a flying turtle shell to the face….the Mario Brothers Movie STRIKES FIRST! 

(Mario 1, Street Fighter 0)

street fighter 1994


Some of the best video game villains of all time have shaped our pop culture. In both movies, two of the  greatest video game villains were brought to the big screen for the first time ever, so which of these  gaming gauntlet films did it better? 

In the Super Mario Brothers Movie, the late Dennis Hopper portrayed the main villain Bowser aka King  Koopa, the ruler of “Dino-hattan.” Not exactly the most menacing portrayal ……ESPECIALLY with that  crazy hair-due bundled with a B-Level hammed up performance.

Also shout out to the goombas…..likely the inspiration for The Lizard in The Amazing Spiderman. Don’t  deny it Sony. 

Moving on. 

Yes, there are supporting villains in Street Fighter but If there’s ANYTHING to stand up and cheer for in  this movie, it was the last performance from Raul Julia who gave it his all for the portrayal of fan favorite  M. Bison. Julia knew the movie was bad going in, but before his death, he wanted to make his children  happy because they were massive fans of the Street Fighter games. What a cool dad. On top of that,  he studied the mannerisms of dictators from world history to make the villain feel more authentic on  screen. Pure Awesomeness. And we couldn’t close this segment with this iconic clip. 

No contest here. Winner is Street Fighter the movie! 

(Mario 1, Street Fighter 1)

super Mario Bros 1993

ROUND 3: Production 

As underwhelming as the stories of these films are, the bizarre production and set pieces definitely  make up for it. 

In the Super Mario Bros movie, instead of a colorful Mushroom Kingdom, we get a dark, cyber-punk  Dino City known as Dino-Hattan. If you think it has Blade Runner vibes, you’re not mistaken because  the production designer David Snyder also worked on Blade Runner. And you have to appreciate the  trippy “Burton-esque” effects of Yoshi and the Goombas. Honestly would this movie be hated as much  if it wasn’t called Super Mario Brothers? 

Over on the flipside, the production wasn’t as heavy on Street Fighter, but the main highlight of the film,  Shadaloo City was filmed in Bangkok with M. Bison’s Hideout taking much inspiration from the James  Bond movies. And the finale is loaded with ass kicking martial arts and explosions straight out of an 80s  action movie which brings the entertainment factor into overdrive. 

This round is a very close round to call, but there’s definitely something visually striking about the look  of Dino-Hatten. So that being said…..Winner by an invincibility star, The Super Mario Bross movie is now in the lead! 

(Mario 2, Street Fighter 1)


street fighter 1994 raul Julia

One thing we always hear from the general gaming audience when it comes to video game movies  is…DID. THEY. GET. IT. RIGHT.  

With Last of Us being the new shining example of translating the source material to screen with a small  number of exceptions along the way, for the most part, that has never really been the case when video  game movies first started in the 90s. 

So between Super Mario Bros 93 and Street Fighter 94. Which movie stuck the closest to the source  material? 

Ok let’s just get this out of the way. Since 1985 the Mario games don’t exactly have a lot of story to  adapt. Plumber stomps on turtles. Plumber grabs mushroom. Plumber Fights Mega Turtle. Saves  Princess. The End. 

But the Mario games are loaded with iconic settings and characters that are beloved to this day! So how did the 1993 movie do? Well we got Mario and Luigi. Check. 

No Princess Peach. Ok. Princess Daisy. Ok fine. Check. Bowser? Check. Toad? Well, I guess that counts.  Check. Yoshi? Ok maybe this version of Yoshi is kinda cool. Check. 

Mushroom Kingdom? Ok we got Dino-Hatten. Yeah Super Mario World on the  Super Nintendo had Dinosaur Land, and in the early 1990s thanks to Jurassic Park, Dinos were all the  rage at the time. Yeah it was a cool time to be a kid…..but come on! You couldn’t give us more MARIO  LEVELS? Think you got the point. 

Street Fighter….look we know its not the most game accurate either, but for the most part they got the  look and esthetic of the main characters right. They did get the basic premise of the story of street 

fighter right with the rivals and relationships of the characters. Obviously, it’s nowhere near as great or  accurate as the Anime from the 90s but clearly there was more effort put it in to capture the game than  Mario 93 so this round EASILY goes to Guile and Friends. WINNER BY A SONIC BOOM! Is Street Fighter 1994! 

(Mario 2, Street Fighter 2) 


The Battle of the Koopas and The Shadaloo is now down to the wire so for this epic final round we will  step back and take a look at the long lasting legacy of these films and how they shaped our movie going culture today. 

The Super Mario Bros movie….again not received well by the general public….currently holds a 29%  on those lousy tomatoes that are rotten. It isn’t so much the movie itself that is fascinating, but all the  stories coming out of the production such as drunk Bob Hoskins, Tom Hanks dodging the bullet, yes  that’s right Tom Hanks was almost Luigi! All the Script changes, and of course this movie mortified  Nintendo so much, that they never let their I-P’s go to movie studios again….until now. Its funny….Super Mario Bros 93 started the video game curse….and thirty years later, the Mario Movie from  Illumination is tracking to destroy the curse…………for now. 

Street Fighter, like Mario before, seems have gained cult status with a so bad its good vibe. Despite an  11% on Rotten Tomatoes, Street Fighter managed a box office haul of $99 Million Worldwide, while  Mario…didn’t even make its $43 million dollar budget back. But with all the crazy one liners, over the  top silly action, colorful characters, crap story, this movie makes a good party night. And like Mario,  there were stories coming out of the production such Van Damme’s drug use, as well as his affair with  Kylie Minogue, and fight choreographer Benny The Jet Urquidez, struggling to train untrained fighters,  and despite all that, the movie is much more enjoyable than Mario 93 in our opinion. Also, the movie did spawn Street Fighter The Movie The Game. Yes, that was a thing.  

And yes this movie was better than the crap that was Legend of Chun Li. But at the end of the day, this  movie was PEAK Jean Claude Van Damme, and a fun and memorable performance from Raul Julia, who  gave it his all while he was ill. And FOR THAT….. 

The winner of this round. And this faceoff….. 




(Mario 2 Street Fighter 3) 

But hey that’s just our opinion. What do you think is the better video game adaptation? Mario 93 or  Street Fighter 94. Drop a line in the comments below.

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