I am coming to an end of my four part extravaganza and I thought I would end it on a low note: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.
I grew up playing Street Fighter games. In the franchise, Chun-Li was the first true female game icon. She was the first character that stood toe-to-toe with the male players in the arena, Chun-Li was both feminine and tough without neglecting either facet.
So it was a bit of a shame that Capcom sponsored this whiney-douche version of Chun-Li’s story, which makes her out to be a wet flannel with the personality of a dead moth. I walked away from this film in disgust. Raul Julia didn’t die, face down in the mud, for this bullshit.
The film starts with a flashback, a bad way to start any film. Worse still, it portrays Chun-Li as a spoilt little rich kid. The opening monologue by Lana Lang from SmallvilleÂ (Kristin Kreuk)Â goes on and on about how parents always imagine something different for their children and how, for example, her father imagined that she would be a concert pianist.
[Before I get any further into the story, I’m going to point out that the director and script writer clearly didn’t bother to watch the scene after the opening credits to see that she actually becomes a concert pianist, thus making the moody voice-over during the opening of the film totally pointless.]
The voice-over monologue continues for a bit and Chun-Li is shown bonding with her father while she learns whatever martial art he does. The only problem with this idyllic and touching father-daughter relationship is that her father seems to spend his free time walking with the wrong crowd, and so the guy from the Green MileÂ shows up at his house to beat him up.
Of course, young Chun-Li bears witness to this and sees her father die at the hands of the main villain, M. Bison.
Except her dad doesn’t actually get killed; he gets dragged off to what is, initially, an unknown location.
Chun-Li grows up to become Lana Lang from Smallville and the story starts to get even worse. Imagine a film like Smallville the TV series, but focusing exclusively on the least talented actress playing the part of the least interesting character in the show. That film is Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li from this point onwards.
Older Chun-Li finishes her piano recital and leaves the house to travel somewhere on a train. As she’s doing so, she sees a guy getting beaten to the ground and rushes to his side only to hold up his hand and stare unhelpfully for a few seconds at the tattoo on it before turning to cry out at the crowds of people looking on with indifference. This whole scene is supposed to show that Lana/Chun-Li has a bleeding heart of kindness, but instead it just serves to point out how much of an arsehole she is.
Sure, her pleading cries of ‘Is anyone going to help this man?’Â may be an attempt to make some sort of point about society being apathetic and uncaring, but she turns out to be just as bad as everyone else, and this scene only serves to make the next 20 minutes of the story pointless (I’ll explain why later).
Anyway, as the plot advances, Lana’s mother dies and she gets all emotional about it in this made-for-TV way that has me convinced that even I could’ve pulled off a better performance as a half-Asian girl in her early twenties whose mother has just died. Oh yeah, there’s some kind of plot point after this that no one will care about: this scroll gets sent to Lana and she decides that she has to go to Bangkok in search of a man called Gen. It is a truly warming moment watching her say goodbye to all the hired help…
And even though the sun was shining in clear blue skies just moments before and there was no urgency for Lana to leave, the director (or the director’s partner) thought it would be a great touch to have her walk off in the middle of a sudden, very unlikely downpour. I’m pretty sure this was meant as some sort of metaphor, but it just comes off as shitty film-making.
After this, there’s a montage of sorts in Bangkok where Lana looks immaculate in every scene, apart from some conveniently placed dirt stains. Her voice spews forth another monologue about how she is living rough, looking for this guy called Gen, and how the Thai are all totally awesome people and shit. She and the casting director come off as massively condescending, to the point of being borderline racists, as every Thai person they show is ugly, destitute or an ‘Uncle Tom’ stereotype that would get them fired if they happened to be of any other nationality.
For a while, the film switches over to show M. Bison getting a member of the Black Eyed Peas to assassinate a bunch of criminals. The view then switches to the guy from American Pie (the singing jock who was in Election and who can’t act) showing up on a motorcycle and being all Mr. Sassy Pants, while simultaneously failing completely at acting.
Turns out that he’s been searching for M. Bison for ages (“Across 11 cities and 3 continents”) but has never managed to even get close. As he explains this, he turns away from the woman he’s speaking to in the shot and looks straight at the camera. This spectacular example of acting ability seems loosely based on a device normally used in films to allow the viewer to see everyone’s face during a group conversation, except the trick is that the actor turns and looksÂ towardsÂ the camera,Â notÂ directly at it. Watching the talentless cast of actors attempt to do this inÂ Street Fighter: TLOCLÂ is just painful.
I can’t remember exactly how (I was drinking heavily at the time) but Lana gets into a fight with a bunch of dudes, providing her with the perfect opportunity to bust out some bad Hollywood-style Kung Fu moves to kick their arses and then, like the useless wank stain that she is, immediately pass out after winning the fight.
She wakes up to find that the person called ‘Gen’ she was looking for is actually Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat. It’s at this point in the film that Lana is finally revealed to be a massive bitch.
You see, Liu Kang was the guy who got beaten up in the train station at the beginning of the film, and he makes a point of proving this by repeatedly waving his distinctly tattooed hand in front of Lana’s face throughout this scene. We’re supposed to conclude that Lana was the only person who cared enough to help him back then but, instead, it just proves how selfish and uncaring she really is. After she wailed and cried outÂ ‘Is anyone going to help this man?’Â at the train station, only to apparently be ignored by everyone as the scene faded out, she presumably must’ve gone on to decideÂ ‘I guess not. Fuck this guy. I have a manicure to go to.’ If she’dÂ bothered to stick around after he was assaulted and check on him, she might not have been so surprised when he appeared later on. More importantly, the audience would’ve been saved 20 minutes of useless plot.
Apparently, the director and scriptwriter couldn’t be bothered making the next scene coherent with the rest of the film, either. Â American PieÂ guy wasn’t able to convince anyone that M. Bison was even a real person earlier in the film, let alone that he was currently in Bangkok. Lana, on the other hand – despite living rough and supposedly having no money (because, apparently, getting rid of your hired help and expensive house means you have less money) – simply trots along to her local internet cafÃ©, looks ‘M. Bison’ up on the interweb and – BAM!
It’s a shame that Interpol don’t seem to have a computer, because it would’ve made it so much easier for them to track down and arrest an international mastermind like M. Bison.
Anyway, things got a little irrelevant and hazy at this point, but I perked up for a few seconds when Lana went to a night club to dance with an Asian lesbian. Unfortunately, the ensuing seduction scene is about as arousing as having your genitals doused in lighter fluid and then getting someone to come along and light a match near the aforementioned privates. Lana looks like an anorexic preying mantis, and the token fan-service ofÂ her hair being styled in the same fashion as Chun Li’s twin buns just accentuates how horrifically thin she is.
There’s another predictable fight scene that makes little sense. Lana runs through the night club and obligingly provides another fan-service moment by performing the equivalent of the <em>spinning bird kick</em>, the only problem with this being that – even if you don’t freeze frame the shot – it’s easy to see that no part of her body makes contact with any of the bad guys around her.
Everything sort of merges together at this point. The guy from The Green MileÂ shows up at some pivotal point when Lana and Liu Kang are bonding. Lana leaves and The Green Mile dude sends a few henchmen to attack Liu Kang. Liu Kang obviously kicks their arses and soÂ The Green Mile fires a rocket at him, causing a big explosion which reduces Liu Kang’s house to flames and rubble.
Lana starts crying, despite the fact that there is no evidence that Liu Kang is actually dead.
The next day, she travels to a harbor to beat the shit out of some random contractor who hasn’t raised even a finger against her and gets him to tell her where some sort of shipment was taking place. This was possibly important, but I failed to see how or why.
After that, she gets betrayed and M. Bison beats her up a bit. She’s finally reunited with her father who subsequently gets killed by The Green Mile guy, who mentions the fact that she beat up Vega earlier (which I didn’t bother covering, because the scene in which she fights the Black Eyed Pea known as Vega is so inconsequential that I’d completely forgotten about it until now).
For some reason, The Green Mile guy doesn’t kill Lana, opting instead to leave a couple of lackeys with instructions to kill her while he escapes.
After Lana finishes beating up the lackeys, she teams up withÂ American PieÂ guy in an unfair attempt to try and take M. Bison down. Oh yeah, and it’s revealed that Liu Kang didn’t die (big fucking surprise). Lana cruelly returns to the harbor and beats up the defenseless contractor who betrayed her earlier, leaving American PieÂ guy to tie him up before they both get ready to attack M. Bison at the docks.
M. Bison sees the attack coming and ambushes them instead, then escapes in a helicopter, having rescued his daughter from the docks. Apparently, he wasn’t there to get any weapons or drugs or anything like that. No, he was just rescuing his kid from a gang of kidnappers.
All the ‘heroes’ give chase, a lot of things that make no sense happen, and the film climaxes with Liu Kang getting his arse kicked by M. Bison. Afterwards, Lana shows up and pummels M. Bison with some inexplicable, newly acquired super powers, and mercilessly kills him right in front of his young daughter.
Now, it’s important to note here that M. Bison’s daughter doesn’t speak English, nor does she have any idea what’s going on and why people are fighting. All she sees is some evil-looking bitch smoke her father; the very same father who’s providing for her and giving her an experience outside of Russian oil tankers, and who apparently put a lot of time and effort into his ‘evil’ plan to rescue his kidnapped daughter from a gang of criminals.
Lana ignores all of that, turns round to American PieÂ guy and says:
‘Make sure she has a better life’.
I mean, what? Better how, exactly? Better than Lana’s spoilt, rich-twat life where she got to fulfill all her dreams by ruining the lives of everyone else?
28 responses to “I watch bad video-game films so that you don’t have to (Pt. 4)”
What worries me is that the bloke who wrote the script to this tat is also doing Shadow of the Colossus.
There is a great idle thumbs podcast where they joke about how they will turn SotC into a buddy-cop film about Shadow and Colossus:
It is awesome, well actually, all of their podcasts are great.
Waaaaaaah Idle Thumbs is back again? Man! I didn't unsubscribe but I didn't know about this.
It is a very old one, I get a podcast drought about halfway through the week and have to relisten to the idle thumbs stuff again.
Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman did a pretty good one as part of a telltale podcast about the Walking Dead. You should check it out.
So…5 stars then?
Out of a hundred?
If I was feeling generous, yes.
Was a great read, made me laugh out more than a few times.
Your writing really has this way of making me want to watch some of these awful movies!
If you watch any of them then DOA is the way to go, and Tekken, sort of. The other two are garbage.
I agree 100% with Gordo! (BTW, hi Gordo)
It makes me really sad that they picked Lana to play Chun Li, because, as a kid, Chun Li was my girl! Whenever I picked her I knew I could potentially kick my brothers ass. Plus she was so cute =D
Lana was the…. well, one of the reasons why I couldn't get passed the first season of Smallville.
Either way, from the sound of it, I don't think that a different cast could'v saved the movie
Also, on another note, thanks for sharing this review, and all the others, with us, I know it must be really, really hard for you. We appreciate the time and sanity that you sacrifice for the good of this world!
Welcome shigzila! I'll be honest I have never really watched much Smallville, I tried the first series and didn't get into it but have heard that for fans of super hero stuff it is worth perservering with.
As for Streetfighter: TLOCL, yeah, that film was an utter dud from the outset, there is one half decent fight scene and the rest is a discombobulated mess. Bison's main evil plot? Renovate a slum area. Now, I know that many would arhue that pushing the impoverished out of one area doesn't really solve any problems but to then decide that Bison is this all evil dude then there are a few other men out there who deserve to be put on the list. That said Segakis (local Montreal businessman) is actually evil… Hmmm.
How the hell did Sergakis find himself in a video game blog? Oh yeah, you were talking about evil men…
I can definitely see him as the villain of a movie, he even looks evil for fucks sake. While we are on the subject; did you see my little interview thingy? hihihi! I was so shy! Even knowing that it won't get more than 100 views, it's still embarassing to find yourself on youtube :P
Arcadian Rhythms is disturbingly Montreal-centric, to the extent that even I know who Segakis is.
Actually, considering that AJ told me about him at the same time as some giant rats, I think Segakis is probably some kind of tutorial level boss character.
Hello, Shigzila, though Shigzila doesn't give me a whole lot to go on to whom I'm saying hellu to!
=D It's Natalia (used to work at Babel)
Was kung-fu master Gen getting his ass kicked at the beginning on purpose? Because random thugs annihilating a character is the opposite of how you establish their mastery of martial arts.
Some things just aren't meant to have real-life representations. As if an Interpol agent that apprehends criminals with supersonic kicks while wearing spiked wristbands and a militarized China dress could ever possibly be rationalized. Yes, even X-Men: First Class had an easier job of being believable than anything based on a fighting game supposedly set in the real world.
The Gen thing, that was the implication as he seems to be following her around as a test of how nice she is. But it would be even funnier if that wasn't the intention. Gen just happens to be hanging out in Hong Kong for no reason and accidentally gets his arse handed to him.
Hey, I am all for them ditching some of the Chun Li stuff for the sake of it not being utterly ridiculous but where they went was worse.
What I'm saying is that all that stuff about her is patently silly, but it's hard to accept any Chun-Li any other way. Making a "real" Chun-Li is to pretty much make a new character that just shares the name- not that game/comic movies have had issues with this in the past.
Tortally agree. But it is pretty easy cut out some of the ridiculous stuff: Chun Li is a martial artist interpol agent whose father is killed by a guy called M. Bison. Go.
Forget the dress sense (although you have to do a little bit of fan service to keep the core happy) and you are golden. Make sure Balrog is greedy, Vega is vain (and not played by arguably the ugliest memeber of the Black Eyed Peas) and Sagat is badass and oddly honourable in contrast to the other villains.
Chun Li and Guile (minus stupid hair and bad brussels accent) team up and join a tournament that seems to be run by Bison. There are numerous other martial artists there with different motivations including two warriors called Ryu and Ken.
Everyone fights and slowly but surely the numbers are wittled down. Regardless of winner (I would probably have Bison actually win it) Chun Li confronts Bison outside the tournament and kills him even though Guile tries to convince her not to.
No need to thank me, I just wrote a better Streetfighter script.
You could even work in the character name changes from the Japanese version to the English version as a final plot twist.
"You mean M. Bison is Vega, Vega is Balrog, and Balrog is M. Bison?! But why?"
"Think about it, Chun-Li. A black boxer named M. Bison? The PR nightmare in the West would kill Shadaloo long before you did!"
I just realized the obvious solution as to how to present it. Find the female Jackie Chan and make the equivalent of a Jackie Chan movie. But with a female.
Also include Jackie Chan as Gen. Most of Chan's roles lack satisfactory facial hair.
Or just get Jackie Chan to dress up as Chun Li, he has done it before
"Raul Julia didn’t die, face down in the mud, for this bullshit." Haha. Grim, but brilliant.
I haven't seen this film, but I would probably like it, because that's what happens when people produce films or TV shows about Street Fighter and I watch them.
This line actually resulted from a conversation between me and Woolie (the guy who wrote the great piece on MvC3 earlier in the year). I said it and went 'oh shit, I have to work that into the article'.
Raul Julia is the only reason to watch that film.
Raul Julia is one of many, many reasons to watch that film.
I went to see the original live-action streetfighter at the cinema. I came out in denial, trying to convince myself that it was good. It wasn't.
The only reason I am fond of it now is that, it appears, that no one can make a better film based on a fighting game.
I gotta concur, that was a fine line and had me pissing myself when I read it.
By the sound of it, The Legend of Chun-Li is the very opposite on many (if not every) levels of Danny the Dog. I'll admit at first I thought the only connection was ''Well look at that, a flashback involving a baby girl instead of a baby boy with her dad instead of his mom around a PIANO''. Then I thought ''… o and the movie was rather good too for one of those drama-fighter movie types''. Then I also thought ''wait… don't all baby Asians know how to play piano before they are taught Kung-Fu? … MAKES SENSE!''
Anyway, in the end I think everything that I found done well in Danny the Dog is seemingly made a joke in TLOCL using what appears to be the same script/concept.
Not to mention the obvious lack of Bob Hoskins doesn't play in TLOCL's favour. :p
All that being said, I'll have to watch it myself. Good job, yet another bad video-game film I'll have to watch after all thanks to you!