I knew this was going to be fun when I got my hands on it. I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be good, but I WAS pretty sure that it was going to be a laugh riot. It was going to be so lousy that I couldn’t help but laugh myself stupid at it. And indeed, I got what I expected.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is pretty much what it says on the box. It’s the legend of Chun-Li, going back to her childhood and growing up as a concert pianist before becoming the global crime fighter we all know and love. (Special note for those of you who’ve played the game and know this is almost totally a crock, I know, I hear your cries.) She’ll take on the nigh-mythical Shadoloo crime syndicate in a bid to free the people of Thailand from oppression, and also recover her father from his captivity in Shadoloo’s clutches. She’ll run into several of the game’s biggest names, including M.Bison, Balrog and Vega.
And it’s pretty much as I expected for a variety of reasons:
One, I’m sorry, but this new Bison–Neal McDonough–is a complete tool alongside the sheer over-the-top glee of Raul Julia. Julia KNEW the role was a complete joke and he played it like a comic martinet gone insane, like Gilbert and Sullivan in the depths of a crystal meth haze. Meanwhile this Bison is trying to be some kind of lunatic badass, and it just doesn’t match up. It especially doesn’t help that McDonough can’t quite manage to lose his original accent, and thus leaves M. Bison sounding more like M. McBison. Sure, they’ll concoct some ludicrous backstory about how Bison was the son of Irish missionaries, and an even MORE ludicrous backstory about how he got his powers from evil spirits, but frankly, this is all essentially window dressing and neither makes sense nor feels right.
Two, the plot’s logic is like some kind of madman’s logic. For instance, does anyone want to hazard a guess how the clearly Asian little girl that was Chun-Li turned into the clearly Caucasian Kristin Kruek in just a few short years? Or how Balrog managed to look exactly the same despite the fact that about twenty years passed between the first time he saw Chun-Li and the NEXT time he saw her? Or how M.Bison did, for that matter? Why is the Bangkok Business Times’ website printed in English? All these and many, many other questions will be part of your Street Fighter experience.
Three, the depth of the cliches in this movie is just astonishing. Just purely astonishing. Pat Morita is rolling in his grave right now (assuming he’s even dead, I’m not totally sure on that one) thinking of all the wax-on-wax-off style kung-fu drollery that’s involved in this. For instance, one great scene involves Chun-Li training with a former criminal named Gen, who informs her of such great kung-fu movie wisdom as “Anger does not guide”, “Believe in your true self”, and “You are only hurting yourself”.
And this is just the beginning. Rest assured, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li will only get more aggressive in its sheer senseless lunacy. The farther in you go the less sense it makes. Some might enjoy this–I’m not one of them–and unless you do, chances are you’re not going to get much fun out of this one either.