Awfully Good: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li
Still hard to believe Michael Clarke Duncan is no longer with us. Let's honor the man's memory by revisiting his Awfully Goodest movie.
Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li (2009)
Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Stars: Kristen Kreuk, Chris Klein, Neal McDonough, Michael Clarke Duncan
A concert pianist gets an old map in the mail, abandons her wealthy life and heads to Thailand to beat up the evil real estate tycoon who kidnapped her father.
No matter how the new STREET FIGHTER movie turned out, one thing was for certain…it had to be better than the 1994 version. It just had to, right? I’m pretty sure I could give a camera to a monkey with a learning disability on a crack binge and it could make a better movie than the Steven E. de Souza nightmare that killed Raul Julia. Well, having recently rewatched STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN LI, there’s only one thing to say: holy crap. Jean Claude Van Damme must’ve financed this movie himself, just so he wouldn’t be in the worst Street Fighter movie anymore.
If THE GREEN MILE had been set in a more realistic prison…
THE LEGEND OF CHUN LI gets it all wrong. At least the first one is bad in a goofy fun kind of way. Writer Justin Marks (remember when he was the hot new Hollywood screenwriter before this came along?) inexplicably sets up this version as a serious drama. It’s like he was embarrassed to be writing a video game movie, so he wrote a super generic crime story and just named all the people after Street Fighter characters. Aside from Vega’s mask and a random and unnecessary Hadouken fireball, this is not a Street Fighter movie. It’s just a bad movie.
How bad, you say? It’s even able to beat the previous movie in WTF?! casting. Let’s take a look:
PTA showed the film world how ballsy he truly was with THE MASTER VS. PREDATOR.
Kristen Kreuk as Chun Li: What exactly is legendary about her? Chun Li wanders around the movie having no idea what’s going on. The only reason she gets anything done is her mystical kung fu guide that pretty much does all the work for her. The one thing Chun Li seems to be good at is providing absolutely horrible narration worse than most Engrish video game translations. Golden nuggets like, “Was this mysterious ancient scroll I got in the mail a message? I had to find out!” Or, “I had to forget everything I ever knew. I had to become one with the people of Bangkok! I was getting farther and farther away from who I ever was.” Moments later she has a little dirt on her face and she’s griping about how difficult it is living on the streets. And keep in mind they never explain why exactly she had to live on the streets.
[SPOILERS] And at the end, our heroine gruesomely murders Bison in front of his innocent young daughter, which is ironically worse than anything Bison ever did to Chun Li. The poor girl literally arrives after having not seen her dad for years, and then watches some random Asian chick reenact THE EXORCIST on his neck. [END SPOILERS]
"My Keanu Reeves face. Look at it!"
Chris Klein as Charlie Nash: Nash is easily the all-star of the movie and Klein thankfully understands what kind of movie he should be in. He relishes every bad line, overacts with reckless abandon and sneers with manic glee despite being a good guy. Every time he yells “NASH OUT!” I get all warm and fuzzy inside. Klein’s the film’s saving grace, but his and Moon Bloodgood’s cop characters are completely unnecessary to the story. They serve absolutely nothing except as back up for Chun Li at the very end. That being said, I still pray daily that the guy gets his own spinoff flick.
Would a bad guy awkwardly yet sensually massage your face like this?
Neal McDonough as M. Bison: You can slow that spin in your grave, Mr. Julia. M. Bison in this movie is a sissy businessman who uses women as punching bags and whines about his childhood of being the only white guy in Thailand. That completely explains why his evil plot is to buy up as much Thai land as possible. Scary! My favorite part: The movie was half over before I realized McDonough was trying to speak in an Irish accent as Bison, which makes no sense considering the character’s Irish parents died when he was a baby and he was raised by Thai people. My second favorite part: The bizarre flashback that features Bison mystically “ridding himself of his conscience” by ripping open his pregnant wife’s womb and transferring his evil to his unborn daughter. Why does he do this? To be mean without feeling bad? I don’t know. Then for some reason the end of the movie is about Bison trying to locate his daughter because she’s his only weakness. Apparently he couldn't remember where he put her.
Is…is that rubber genitalia on the table?
Robin Shou as Gen: You may remember Shou as the guy who played Liu Kang in the MORTAL KOMBAT movies. Well, now he’s sucked in two video game franchises! Shou may be a decent martial artist, but he’s just a god awful actor. Like “I can’t believe they kept some of his line readings in this movie” bad. I had a hunch his “mysterious” mentor character was only
stalking helping Chun Li so he could bang her, which was confirmed in the random scene where he gives her a bath in the streets.
When PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE cosplay goes horribly wrong.
Taboo as Vega: That's right; the guy from the Black Eyed Peas plays Vega. Out of all the people in the world, the filmmakers chose someone responsible for “My Humps” to don the trademark mask and claw. Thankfully he’s only in the movie for one scene, playing a badass unbeatable fighter who gets his ass kicked by a 100 pound girl in thirty seconds.
"I'm going to call you Mr. Jingles."
Michael Clarke Duncan as Balrog: As for the late Mr. Duncan, he's solid as always and perhaps tries the hardest out of any cast member. His Balrog is relegated to a glorified henchman, but MCD makes the most of it by giggling evilly in every scene and wielding his massive size to his advantage. Seriously, the man is an unstoppable beast in this movie, so much so that it takes getting impaled by liquid nitrogen just to slow him down.
Through hard work, meditation and buying Lindsay Lohan’s easy to follow guide, you too can possess the power of Firecrotch.
There’s countless bad lines courtesy of Chris Klein, but I stuck those in the clip below. So here’s M. Bison's poor attempt at monologuing.
1) Behold the glory that is Chris Klein as Charlie Nash.
2) Chun Li seduces this woman and then beats her up in a posh nightclub. Sounds like “Street Fighter” to me!
3) The best of Michael Clarke Duncan, kicking ass and laughing at people.
Nada. Although the girl on girl fight scene might do it for some.
Take a shot or drink every time:
- There’s bad narration
- NASH OUT
- Someone says “Schoolgirl”
- Michael Clarke Duncan laughs
- Someone gets upside down donkey punched
Thanks to another Jason for suggesting this week's movie!