Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

In the interest of full disclosure, the above grade is based on actual film quality—and that’s being rather generous. If I were to grade this movie based on my level of enjoyment while watching it, it would earn a solid B+. I had a serious amount of fun with this tender little asstard of a film. Granted, I know very little about Street Fighter. I’ve always been one of those annoying button pushers who would sometimes beat you serious gamers—without any strategy whatsoever—simply with the speed and dexterity of my little fingers. I’ve certainly never memorized any special moves or back stories to these characters, and I have no real stake in this franchise. So I am here to further annoy the serious gamers among you by giving some major kudos to this motion picture that was a complete and utter abortion of your all-time favorite fighting game. Sorry!

street fighter poster by you.

Let’s get the minutiae out of the way first, shall we? This plot? RIDICULOUS. Ridonkulous, even. Every action is spurred by an entirely preposterous catalyst and then, in turn, results in an entirely preposterous consequence, none of which seem to have anything to do with one another. I’m not really going to get into it, because it makes no sense and matters not a whit. Chun-Li’s looking for her dad, sort of, and gets wrapped up in this Bangkok crime syndicate, sort of, and Interpol agent (andloveofmylife) Charlie Nash is looking for her, sort of, and, you know…that’s kind of it. The dialogue is brilliantly, magically atrocious, the kind of dialogue that makes you pump your fist in the air while delivering a clamorous snort-laugh. At least, if you were Matt or Marla in the theater. No one sitting around us…really seemed to do that.

The filmmakers clearly went to the America’s Next Top Model school of flashing back to events that just happened five minutes ago. Twice. And Street Fighter employed what has got to be the most useless voice-over in the history of narration. I am not shitting you. Chun-Li would say things like, “I had to find out more about the men who took my father. So I went to the internet to do some research on this mysterious Shadaloo,” while staring at a computer monitor bearing the headline Shadaloo.

Kristen Kreuk plays Chun-Li and is probably the main reason I went to see the movie.

chun li anichun li 16

I’m a Smallville fan (although not a Lana Lang fan), and I was curious to see how Kristen Kreuk acted when not playing Lana Lang. The answer? Like Lana Lang. Homegirl has a shtick, okay? But dang, she’s beautiful. More beautiful than Eliza, even. Check it, yo:

kristen-kreuk-3 by you.

Hum.In.A. And anyway, her shtick isn’t bad. She never sluts out (not even in this movie! She wears a LOT of clothes, actually), she has a pleasant speaking voice, she cries well. She’s no worse an actress than Scarlett Johansson and she’s far prettier. So I have a feeling she’ll enjoy the most successful film career of the Smallville alums. Not that that says…anything, really.

So anyway, she did just fine in this movie. And she can seriously fake fight. She’s been doing faux martial arts and wire work on Smallville for the past few seasons, and she’s believable. She pretty much kicked ass here, and I bought it.

chunli4[1] by you.

The fight sequences were all pretty awesome, although short. I wanted everyone to keep fighting! Which is a good sign, because I tend to look at my watch near the end of the typical bloated fight sequence.

So through the most purely nonsensical plot impetus, Chun-Li finds her way to Bangkok, where she honestly walks around for 10 minutes changing outfits. I’m not kidding, there was a 10 minute montage of Kristen Kreuk walking around the streets of Bangkok, looking dirty, in different outfits. Like this one!

docs by you.

And also this one!

badass by you.

Eventually she’s found by kung fu master Gen, played by Robin Shou.

gen 4 gen

Matt maintains that Gen’s sideburns are fake and that he saw glue on Gen’s face. I did not have my glasses on, so I’ll have to defer to him. Gen tells Chun-Li that her father was kidnapped by Bison (Neal McDonough), who has an inexplicable Irish accent, some scenery-chewing issues and an origin story that boasts the most extravagant WTFery I’ve ever known:

bison 3bison 2

Bison’s two flunkies are Balrog (Michael Clarke Duncan):

aaab

and Vega (Black Eyed Peas’ Taboo!):

vega 3vega 1

Chun-Li and Gen embark on your typical kung fun! training montage, tragically missing the opportunity for a Joe Esposito power ballad.

chun vega by you.

After an interminable amount of tedium and drudgery (about 15 minutes, I’d guess?), we are finally FINALLY introduced to Charlie Nash. And then, my friends, this movie takes a turn for the FUCK YES.

aaaabnash

Chris Klein plays this role in the most unfathomably magnificent way. The very instant he exits his car, wind sweeping through his ostentatious hair, superior smirk slicing through his thick stubble, temple veins popping with the force of his own awesome, this movie becomes AMAZING. His husky growl of a Mitchell impersonation delivers such glorious gems as “Oh you don’t want a ticket to this dance, Detective” and “This guy walks through the raindrops” (whatever the fuck that is supposed to mean). He barks into his walkie-talkie “Nash OUT!” not once but TWICE in three minutes. You guys. I LOVE HIM.

He and the lady cop from Bangkok, Maya Sunee, spend the entire movie cozily nestled in a web of the worst sex banter I have ever heard in my life.

maya 3 by you.

That’s Maya. She and Nash engage in a stake-out of Bison; once Bison exits the building, Nash just starts heavy macking on Maya. He pulls back, wipes his mouth and smugs, “That had to be done.” 5 minutes later—still on stake-out, mind you!—he’s completely asleep. YOU GUYS, I FUCKING LOVE THIS MAN. His sleazy bravado is of truly genius proportions. Intentional? I think so. Although I could go either way. If it’s intentional, Chris Klein is a maestro. If it’s unintentional, he’s the most adorably retarded little cheeseball in Hollywood. Either way, I LOVE HIM.

Although 90% of this movie’s badassery is due to Charlie Nash, I have to give credit to the strip club sequence. That was pretty sweet. Chun-Li follows Bison’s mistress, Cantana, into a sordid little establishment and witnesses Cantana’s obvious preference for the ladies. Clad in the only real Chun-Li ensemb of the movie (still not slutty!),

chun li dress by you.

she proceeds to entice Cantana via the most bizarrely sexy dance I’ve ever seen. She’s got this intensely focused look on her face as she jerks and pops tantalizingly. Cantana shoulders through the crowd of people, eyes locked on Chun-Li with infrared homing. They embark on an extraordinary ritual of seduction that could be called a dance, I suppose, although neither is actually dancing or touching the other. (Still not slutty!) By that point, the trappist ale I’d unwisely drunk before the movie was begging me to relieve myself, but I simply could not tear my eyes away from the screen. IT WAS AMAZING. And yet was superseded by something even better.

Chun-Li smooths her way into the ladies’ room, and Cantana follows like the manipulated little prey she is. And Chun-Li proceeds to KICK HER FUCKING ASS. SO! AWESOME! It’s a really, really good fight. And no, it’s not a good CHICK fight. It’s a good fight.

awesome by you.

After taking care of that dirty little problem so efficiently, Chun-Li tries to escape via the stripper room. Bison sends his goons after her, and she looks to be in trouble:

standoff by you.

Good thing four men with guns are no match for Chun-Li’s crazy kicking legs and some stripper poles! (STILL not slutty!)

chun li 7 by you.

Okay, so I know I gave this movie a D. And it is really, really bad. It’s soooo retarded, you guys. I mean, as far as plot, dialogue, soundtrack, cinematography and anything resembling an actual Street Fighter movie are concerned, this baby tanked. But I’m pretty sure I loved it. And while Chris Klein’s abso brilliant turn as Charlie Nash and my quadrupel trappist ale (10% alcohol by volume!) were almost entirely behind my affection, I also really liked the portrayal of Chun-Li. Kristen Kreuk, while mind-bogglingly hot for every second of the film:

prettier by you.

was never tarted up in the least. She didn’t have a love interest, she wasn’t neurotic or needy, and she kicked some serious, consistent ass.

aaa by you.

As simple as these criteria sound, almost every movie EVER fails them. But not Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li! As dumb as this little movie is (and oh sweet jesus, is it dumb), it’s frankly empowering for the ladies. And I’m always a fan of that!

Quick Link Drop:

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Candyman and WATCHMEN next week! See you then!

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4 Responses to “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li”

  1. I also love this completely retarded movie and would see it again. It makes me think of movies like Point Break–one day, Chun-Li could have a special place in my heart too. It’s such a fine line between complete piece of shit movie and complete piece of shit movie that is somehow more entertaining that most Joe Schmoe movies I’ve seen.

    I have to agree that Nash is the best part of this entire film. By the halfway point of the film, I find myself giggling as soon as he’s on screen. He’s just so ridiculous I can’t describe it. My favorite part of his persona is that every time he’s talking to a lady, you can see this look in his eyes that says, “She’s totally hitting on me.” That, I think, sums him up best.

  2. Ohhhh, Bechdel, like Alison Bechdel, author of Dykes to Watch out for and Fun Home. She’s cool! I really don’t agree that Lana is that pretty. I don’t like her nose, it’s too mousy. Mousey? Like a mouse’s nose, that is. I’m glad you enjoyed it, but I don’t think I’ll make it to this one.

  3. “Cantana shoulders through the crowd of people, eyes locked on Chun-Li with infrared homing.”

    I am pretty sure this should be infrared homoing. Oh, ha ha.

    Meredith, this moment, to me, is like when a mother watches her kid take its first faltering steps. You watched a bad movie, and enjoyed it. FINALLY.

  4. you will probably not be shocked when i say that i REALLY WANT TO SEE THIS MOVIE NOW!!

    allow me to introduce you to the poshdeluxe test:

    a movie must have at least two of the following items to qualify as a movie that i want to see:
    1. dancing
    2. kickass fighting
    3. at least one kickass girl
    4. a hot guy
    5. awesome clothes

    obvs, this movie qualifies.

    and i agree, she is SO PRETTY! wow.

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