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The 5 worst things about Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

Videogame movies are, with a few exceptions, awful. This is not news. It’s not surprising. It’s a sad fact, which gamers with any sort of taste in movies resigned themselves to years ago. And yet, every time an announcement of a new game movie comes down the pike, we foolishly think it might be good, forgetting the brazen, burning contempt that Hollywood harbors for games and those who play them.


Above: STREET FIGHTER!

The latest cinematic abortion to briefly get our hopes up was Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, which promised to redress the wrongs of the original, comically wrongheaded Street Fighter movie from 1994. After stomping into theaters earlier this year and onto DVD a few weeks ago, however, it proved to be so bad that we couldn’t even give it away. And if you’re curious to find out why, the following reasons are a good place to start.

Oh, and: SPOILERS AHEAD.

 

5. Chun-Li

When you say “Chun-Li,” the fifth thing Street Fighter fans usually think of is that she has gargantuan thighs. The fourth thing is that she’s a martial artist, the third is her blue dress and the second is her hairstyle with its dumpling-like buns. The first thing, however, is that she’s Chinese. And while actress Kristin Kreuk is of half-Chinese descent (according to her Wikipedia page, at least), she looks about as Asian as Hugh Jackman.


Above: Then again, the in-game version isn’t exactly Michelle Yeoh 

Also, she doesn’t so much throw herself into the role of Chun-Li as she hurls herself at it, gurning and mugging through the same four expressions for most of the movie.

 

Kreuk’s ethnicity isn’t the only liberty taken with the character, either. Gone is the tough, confident policewoman Street Fighter fans have come to love, and in her place is a quavering, overprivileged concert pianist who also happens to be a Wushu master. She lives in a mansion, but leaves her cushy digs because a strange old lady told her that an ancient-looking scroll said she should go to Bangkok. Once there, her idea of “becoming one with the people” of the city is to wander aimlessly through the streets, talking to as few people as possible and generally looking like she doesn’t have a clue where she’s going.


Above: “Can anyone tell me if this is where the scroll said to go?” 

In combat, she tends to reserve her worst punishments – some of them lethal – for enemies who are already down and mostly incapacitated. She also never wears anything that even vaguely resembles her familiar costume (unless you count the diaphanous blue club dress she wears to beat up one of Bison’s lieutenants) and, blasphemy of blasphemies, her father hasn’t even had the decency to die at Bison’s hands.


Above: Yet 

To be fair, the filmmakers at least tried to throw fans a bone with the inclusion of Chun-Li’s signature move, the Spinning Bird Kick, although its execution left something to be desired.


Above: Meh. Jackie Chan did it better

Also, this is the adult Chun-Li’s mother, just before dying of Movie Cancer. Note that she looks to be the same age as Kreuk, apart from the tiny, makeup-enabled wrinkles around her mouth:

 

That doesn’t have a whole lot to do with Chun-Li herself, sure, but it’s a weirdly awful thing in a weirdly awful movie, and therefore worth drawing attention to.

 

4. Bison

For the record, this is M. Bison:

 

And this is M. Bison as portrayed by Neal McDonough:

 

No, he never puts on the red suit. No, he never lights himself on fire and flies across the room screaming “PSYCHO CRUSHER!” And he’s not a stocky, butt-chinned monster who could crush a man’s head between his enormous pectoral muscles. But surely mature fans can understand that, on film, a grown man prancing around like a flamboyant, cherry-red third-world dictator would be difficult to take seriously, right?


Above: Surely! 

Unfortunately, the problems with Bison go a lot further than quibbles over wardrobe or his supposed faithfulness to the videogame character. Transformed from a diabolical conqueror into a more pedestrian criminal mastermind, this version of Bison nevertheless has an unnecessarily complicated, non-game-related backstory that makes little sense and has even less impact on the plot.

Despite being played by an American, for example, he has a distinct Irish accent. This is later explained away during a flashback that reveals him to be the child of Irish missionaries.


Above: Grrrr! Random street violence! 

However, we immediately learn that said missionaries died in Thailand when young Bison was a baby, leaving him to grow up a criminal on the streets of a Bangkok slum, and leaving the audience to wonder exactly where he picked up his lilting, wafer-thin brogue.

This same flashback tells us that he later got married, brought his young wife to a dark, evil cave somewhere, and murdered her in a really gross fashion just so that he could magically transfer his conscience – his conscience, for Christ’s sake - into his unborn daughter, Rose.

Because, see, his conscience was holding him back. So now Rose has two consciences, and she probably feels extra-guilty about every little thing.


Above: The girl with two consciences 


Above: …who, like every other character, bears little resemblance to her in-game equivalent 

This somehow makes Bison invincible, and makes Rose “his only weakness." And that leads us to the next point.

59 comments

  • drummerbear - March 27, 2010 8:37 p.m.

    I give you my solemn promise here, Mikel, in front of everybody, that our new live action series, "Street Fighter Reunion", which is a spin-off of our hit series, "Street Fighter: The Later Years" will, in spite of the fact that it's a comedy, be extremely faithful to SF canon, even as the story takes place in the present. We're not Hollywood and we have the utmost respect for the fans. We will not attempt to re-invent or chronologically "update" the franchise. We've promised the very same to Capcom before proceeding with this venture. In fact, you will see even more attention to canon in this series than you did in SF:TLY. I give you my word on Zangief's famous bulge (while some of you say, "Geez, couldn't he have said, 'Mohawk'?")
  • nicorage - October 16, 2009 11:20 a.m.

    totally agree on this one one of my goal is to create and direct a movie worthy for the street fighter legacy so we could all have a proper reference of this world projected in a movie simple as that
  • JoeTrio - October 7, 2009 1:18 a.m.

    Chris Klein was HORRIBLE. I punched my tv multiple times in an attempt to bludgeon him the way he bludgeoned Charlie.
  • Xplosive59 - July 23, 2009 11:14 a.m.

    i love it how he is shouting on the helicopter like he cant hear what she is saying and then he almost whispers "i guess we need to find her" that is just terible voice acting
  • GMAN2 - July 22, 2009 11:17 p.m.

    This has got to be one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I kept on laughing at how stupid Nash was.
  • alicevampire - July 21, 2009 8:29 p.m.

    hasn't come out in europe yet... thanks for warning me off it!
  • Shane1403 - July 18, 2009 12:23 p.m.

    great article! if they said that it was a comedy it would probably do better. reCAPTCHA: its Graham! WHAT?!! WHERE?!!
  • alfonso.hdez - July 17, 2009 6:05 p.m.

    May I comment that besides Chin Li's movie (thank God it hasn't arrived to Mexico yet, probably due to its HUGE success...) I also loathe the Windows advertisement on the embedded videos? About the topic, Hollywood just recently found how to make good Superhero movies, still sucks big time at Videogame movies and my worst fear, now attempts to adapt Cowboy Bebop, Voltron and Robotech/Macross?
  • afroninjakatana - July 17, 2009 5:19 p.m.

    Sadisticgrizz I seen the Dragonball movie and it was way better than this crap.
  • sadisticgrizzz - July 17, 2009 3:56 p.m.

    why n how does hollywood get their hands on good licenses n just sodomize the hell out of it. did anyone have the stomach 2 see tha new drangonball movie i bet it sucks sausage even worst than this crap!
  • GrantG - July 17, 2009 2:45 p.m.

    i didn't know bison performed abortions
  • ELpork - July 17, 2009 9:43 a.m.

    Mikel... why do you do this to yourself?
  • curly_jefferson - July 17, 2009 8:05 a.m.

    that suit is hardly appropriate for riding the saddle of the world.
  • waynski1457 - July 17, 2009 6:54 a.m.

    Jeez, it seems like you just keep coming up with bad things to say about it (I haven't seen it, and don't intend to). This reminds me that you haven't done a "___ Makes ___ Better" article in a while. Maybe SF to SF music? I don't know though, you guys are the comedy geniuses who get paid for it.
  • solsunforge - July 17, 2009 5:29 a.m.

    Cyber Ninja kinda pisses me off. I never liked his post never knew why. Once you read the article about people yelling first!!! he is in it a lot on different articles and he is never really first. I never had so much disdain for someone that I never spoke to before or seen.
  • noobmasteroftehworld - July 17, 2009 5:21 a.m.

    @JizzyB= arguing on the internet is like running at the special olympics, even if you win ,your still retarded there you go have a cookie
  • Doomwaffle - July 17, 2009 5:15 a.m.

    Bet you guys were happy to give that fucking copy away, huh? Recaptcha: Reaching 99%
  • ricangamer28 - July 17, 2009 3:30 a.m.

    SCREW YOU GAMESRADAR,CHRIS KLEIN IS MY FAVORITE ACTOR!!!!JK
  • Tyrant2009 - July 17, 2009 3:28 a.m.

    Some guy who's drunk goes over the movie lol... http://kimeracomics.weebly.com/street-fighter-movie.html
  • ricangamer28 - July 17, 2009 3:19 a.m.

    WOW!!!!!I DIDNT THIK THIS MOVIE WAS DAT BAD,BUT THEN AGAIN I DIDNT SEE IT....ILL B GLADLY TAKIN TIS OFF MY NETFLIX.

Showing 1-20 of 59 comments

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