Chun-Li is a character that's near and dear to my heart, and to see such terrible things done in her name makes me feel like I'm being stabbed in chest. My sister and I would fight over who got to be Chun Li while playing SF2, because, well the roster was pretty thin and she was the only girl. It also didn't escape my notice that Chun Li was essential to beating my cousin's Ryu.
Either way, the movie's out this week, and I would be remiss if I didn't end up previewing it at all, simply because you have to chronicle the good and the bad or history is doomed to repeat itself.
So let's all take a deep breath, down a Xanax and go.
The first sign that something was wrong with the movie came when Kristin Kreuk was cast as Chun-Li. Considering I just said that that you have to remember to remember the past to not repeat it, it's a bit ironic that the dismal 1994 Street Fighter movie has Ming Na Wen, who actually looks Chinese, play Chun-Li. Apparently the producers of this movie decided to stray so far away from the 1994 Street Fighter that they cast someone who doesn't even look Chinese. Despite being half Chinese, she doesn't look a thing like the character and she's so skinny I doubt she could string together more than three kicks (much less 100).
Either way, her acting looks extremely one-note in the trailer. What about the happy girl who would leap up and down, shouting, "Yatta!" and flashing a V-for-Victory sign whenever she finished pounding you into the pavement? Save the ice queen attitude for a Soul Calibur movie.
Little did I know, her problematic casting was only the tip of the iceberg.
After watching the trailer, I went straight to the movie's IMDB page because I had no idea what characters were supposed to be in the movie. The only clear cut one was Vega, and that's because you'd have to be blind to miss the mask and claws. Robin Shou is far too young to be Gen. Michael Clarke Duncan seems to be the only man capable of filling the role of "Enormous Fighting Antagonist", so I wasn't too surprised he was Balrog. But Neal McDonough as M. Bison? I can't think of anyone who looks less like the intimidating megalomaniac.
Aside from Chun-Li firing off a kikouken fireball at the end of the trailer, there's absolutely nothing in the trailer that connects the movie to the Street Fighter games. For a movie professing to tell "The Legend of Chun-Li", there's no hint of a plot besides "do what's right." We see tons of guns (weapons? Please.), generic fighting that could be attached to any other action movie and no attempts at staging any of the other characters' signature moves. I'm also guessing the trailer is so short (1:30 as opposed to 2 minutes) because they've already used up all of their best shots.
There's no marketing around this movie, aside from releasing it around the same time that the venerated, highly anticipated Street Fighter IV video game is being released. In fact, it's not even being screened for critics, and with that, the surest nail in the coffin has been driven home.
Skip the movie. Just watch this video instead. I have a feeling it's closer to the actual game than this movie, and five times as entertaining.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li opens on February 27, 2009 Visit the official site for...absolutely nothing. Forget it. Just pretend this doesn't even exist.