Friday, January 29, 2010

You Taught Me To Sit Down When I Stand Up

Jumping 90 pound girl vs man with shovel, guess who's gonna win in Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun Li.

There are movies that are bad. Then there are movies that are so epic in its awfulness that it actually is good. The latter is where Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun Li falls, maybe the most expensive direct to video flick ever. At least it looks expensive, a cast of a thousand extras, multiple exotic locations and recently popular has beens kung fu, wire work flip and shoot guns while running in between ridiculous story line moments.

What's really weird about Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chunky isn't that it's based on a video game that was popular in 1993 but that it has very little to do with the actual game (other than character names). The silly Jean Claude Van Dammaged version (Street Fighter in 1994) is god awful too but at least it was faithful to the source material (and sadly contains one of the last performances of Raul Julia). No, what we have here is a slick, stylish martial arts revenge film that actually had a shot at B movie mediocrity if it wasn't for the hokey Street Fighter elements.

Street Sweeper: The Legend Of Bruce Li's Sister stars that girl from the makeup advertisements and Tv's Smallville Lana Lang as ass kickin' Chun Li (for those who played the video game, she was the girl in a blue dress and hair braids whose special move was an upside down helicopter spin kick). Lana Lang is sad and determined because her father was kidnapped in front of her face as a child and now her mother is dying of I think cancer. Oh yeah, she's a world class pianist too. So she walks with bug eyed determination everywhere she goes because she's sad and mad.

You see, her dad was kidnapped by Lt. Hawk from Star Trek: First Contact for his business contacts that was somehow maintained during the dad's decade plus captivity. Lt. Hawk is Bison, no longer a flying red jacketed muscleman but instead a business man who is pure evil because he killed his wife to put his good side into his newborn daughter (I totally don't remember any of this from the video game). He's assisted by the Kingpin from Daredevil and one of the Black Eyed Peas to carry out his dirty deeds done dirt cheap. Lana wants to rescue her daddy and gets told to find Liu Kang of Mortal Kombat for help. So she leaves her house in the rain wearing shorts to catch a plane. Why? Didn't she have any umbrellas in her house?

So yeah, there's no fight tournament, no Ken, Ryu, Guile or Honda, no "Chi Ru Chen!", just not a hell of a lot to make this Street Fighter except numerous street battles. There she Neutrogena's her enemies into submission including the Black Eyed Pea guy playing clawed adversary Vega. Who she ties up and hangs upside down but leaves his claw hand free. Why the guy didn't cut himself loose I have no idea. Meanwhile, the jock guy from American Pie and a detective girl in every wet tank top imaginable follow the action like they're gonna do something. Ooh, subplot!

It's all a build up to the usual wire work and stunt work fu leading to the showdown between Chun Lana and Lt Hawk. You've seen it all a thousand times and nothing new under the sun here.

To sum up, what we have here is a failure to communicate. A Street Fighter movie that has almost nothing to do with Street Fighter. We got a 90 pound girl thrashing 200+ pound men all day long, we got wire work fu, lesbian bathroom fu, fireball fu, bare hand C section fu, cleavage girl detective fu, Black Eyed Pea fu, upside down spinning handstand splits fu, steam pipe fu, best actor award for Chris Klein for trying to look grizzled but instead looking confused particularly when delivering lines like "I've been chasing this guy across four continents. He walks between rain drops". Bonus award for always having people sit down when they say "You taught me to stand up when it's not easy to." If you like bad movies, you'll love Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun Li!

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