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"For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me... it was Tuesday." -- M. Bison (Street Fighter)Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li is the above quote drawn out into a 96 minute movie. In theory, anyways. Though this prequel/reboot clearly takes place in a different continuity, Jean-Claude Van Damme was reportedly offered the chance to reprise his role.
Andrzej Bartkowiak continues the trend of bad videogame directors putting their fingerprint on more than on videogame property, having previously directed Doom. Though you honestly could've fooled me if you'd put Uwe Boll's name on this one.
The Legend Of Chun-Li is an over-the-top grim-n-gritty reimagining of the Street Fighter movie universe. If the first Street Fighter was the '60s Batman TV show, The Legend Of Chun-Li is DC's New 52.
Bison is a ruthless businessman. After becoming the leading shareholder of Shadaloo – a major Bangkok corporation that specializes in corporate things – Bison has the other shareholders executed, and their severed heads placed on dinner plates laid out on a table for police to find. Because this is grim-n-gritty, people!
It's revealed that in one particularly unpleasant scene that Bison actually had a conscience, but he felt it would hold him back, so he had it removed by mystical means. This involved marrying a woman and getting her pregnant, then bringing her to a magical "dark cave," where he killed her by thrusting his hands into her pregnant stomach and ripping his baby daughter out. He then placed used the cave's magic to place "goodness" into his baby daughter. Are we going by Doom rules here, and Bison originally had the good gene?Chun-Li is motivated to become a hero because her father raised her to be good (or by Doom rules, she simply has the goodness gene). While on a journey to find herself, she witnesses injustice in the streets that leads her to become the Batman of Bangkok – completely with hair buns in place of bat ears, and a loose blue top acting as a cape.
She then commits herself to going after the villainess Bison and his croonies. In the case of Bison's lacky Cantana -- which I'm still convinced they pronounced "Katana" -- this involved first facing off against her in an awkward dance-off.
Furthering the faux Mortal Kombat crossover, Chun-Li is trained to throw fireballs by the actor who played Liu Kang, though everyone in the movie pronounces "Kang" as "Ghen." He inducts her into the Order Of The Web, so that we can now draw comparisons to Spider-Man as well as Batman.
MINOR KILL BILL SPOILERS BELOW
Chun-Li is then shown being trained via a fight sequence that was done much better in Kill Bill. The movie later ends with her killing Bison in front of his daughter -- which was also done better in a subplot in Kill Bill -- no doubt so that the daughter would have become the vengeful enemy if there had been a sequel.Despite a terrible script, Neal McDonough delivers an entertaining performance as the charming scumbag Bison, and Kristen Kreuk (Lana Lang from Smallville) does an alright job as a poorly written superhero version of Chun-Li.
The only other memorable character is Charlie Nash, but for all the wrong reasons. Chris Klein's memorably bad performance as Nash comes across a mixture of a poor man's Keanu Reeves and Jason Lee.
Michael Clarke Duncan also appears in the film, but the most his character contributes is firing a rocket launcher.
There are several other characters mixed in -- mostly taken from the Street Fighter Alpha series -- but their subplots are so dull that I was counting the minutes time until the story would get back to either Bison or Chun-Li. Though during Bison and Chun-Li's scenes, I was counting the minutes until the film was over.