Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
I remember seeing the first live action Street Fighter movie based on the video game series of the same name when I was a kid. It came out in 1994, so I was about 9 or 10 when I saw it. Of course, I loved it. It was campy, action-packed, and starred Jean-Claude Van Damme, who, at the time, I could have sworn was the best actor. Since then my tastes have changed. I’ve been told I’m too critical of movies, and my adoration for Van Damme is long gone. Nonetheless, it was a typical mid-90s flick. The campy, action film has fallen from grace (not that it was every completely in anyway) and is looked down upon now. Grittier, darker, origin stories have become popular since Batman Begins. That’s what Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li was supposed to be: a darker look at one of the many characters in the Street Fighter world.
Obviously, the film follows Chun-Li as she learns martial arts from her loving father at a young age, watches him beaten and taken away and grows up still searching for him and vowing vengeance. That is the basic set up that takes the film less than twenty minutes to show. The other eighty are her training and attempting to find the man who took her father away: Bison, the villain from many of the video games. For those who know the games, the story is changed almost completely. Chun-Li is an Interpol agent in the video game; here she’s concert pianist. In the games, Bison is an army commander bent on world domination; in the movie, he’s a powerful businessman who also runs an underground crime group about to takeover Bangkok. Other characters make an appearance and their stories also change. This is one of the many things I don’t understand. If this movie, and potentially a string of others, was created for Capcom (the creators of the game series) and meant to tie-in with their games, why would they drastically change the story from the video games to the movie? It separates the two very distinctively and changes their storylines, the little bit that is established in the games. It makes no sense to me and is a good indication for the quality of this movie.
I just spent the majority of this article not reviewing the movie because it is just that bad. Everything was awful from the basic story, the editing, directing, acting—even the fight sequences are dull at times. And not only is it a bad movie, but it thinks it’s a good movie. At least in ’94 they knew they were making a bad movie, so they made it campy and fun. This one attempts to be serious and ends up being a bigger joke than the first. ½ Star