Street Fighter - The Legend of Chun-Li: 3-Disc Special Edition [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Jeremiah Chin (8th September 2009).
The Film

Film adaptations of comic books and video games seem to be inextricably linked in their goals, which are linked to those of most movies: make bundles of money. Here the question becomes a problem of adapting an existing liscence, with constant promises to be true to the fan base that will bring people into the movie and ‘make the fans happy’ by appealing to things that they think fans will like. Sometimes all you need are some great filmmakers to put together good comic or video game movies like the use of Christopher Nolan, Bryan Singer, Christophe Gans or Guillermo Del Toro. Other times you just need the franchise name, something that Marvel has managed to capitalize on (even thought they’ve always brought the big names in addition). It seems like Capcom is trying to copy the comic book model by releasing a film as a known brand with a subtitle. However unlike “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (2009) the origins story of Chun-Li “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li” (2009) misses the huge amount of ridiculously stupid action and dialogue seen in “Wolverine” or the previous “Street Fighter” (1994) film, and doesn’t get at the over-the-top enjoyability that these movies possess.

Growing up, Lana Lang Chun-Li (Kristen Kreuk) had a lot of advantages in a caring wealthy family, especially connected to her father. Unfortunately for Chun-Li, her father was involved in the Shadaloo organization run by the evil Lt. Hawk M. Bison (Neal McDonough). In order to put Chun-Li’s father back in his place, Bison sends Kingpin Balrog (Michael Clarke Duncan) to bruise him up and Chun-Li’s father’s wushu skills are no match. So he’s kidnapped of course. Now Chun-Li grows up and becomes a concert pianist in the greatest CG-arenas of the world, only to have her mother die of cancer. At her last performance, Chun-Li receives a mysterious scroll that demands she leave her pampered life filled with servants to go to the streets of Thailand to find her father and achieve her destiny. There she meets Liu Kang Gen (Robin Shou) who trains her in the mystical art of creating balls of hadouken energy, while Chun-Li tries to track down Bison, Balrog and the evil organization to get vengeance for her father. Oh and Vega (Taboo) is there too, but honestly he’s in the movie for 5 minutes total.

Now if you think my connection between comic book and video game movies was just talk at the beginning, step back and look at the weird connections. There are way too many connections between the two genres, not only because this movie manages to have nearly every single major character be an actor who also appeared in another comic book or video game franchise, but because it tries to copy other comic book movies too hard. Other than going for the whole origins subtitle like “Wolverine” the film tries to turn Chun-Li’s story into some sort of “Batman Begins” (2005) backstory of a wealthy person who returns to poverty after the loss of parents to discover a mad fighting style. Of course this movie isn’t good like “Batman Begins and the silly similarities make the movie a bit more fun, but the film could go a bit more ridiculous.

One of the most ridiculous connections has got to be the actors though. Both “Wolverine” and “Street Figher” seem under contract to have a member of The Black Eyed Peas in their movie, bringing Taboo to “Street Fighter” and Will i Am to “Wolverine.” Like the rest of the movie his appearance isn’t as hilarious, but it features a terribly altered voice effect and really brief action that seems only there to say ‘Hey we’ve got Vega. Right?’ The rest of the cast is fairly unimpressive, they don’t get particularly funny, especially in the jokes that fall flat, and there are no real speeches that can even come close to Jean-Claude Van Damme’s from the original “Street Fighter.” Kristin Kreuk needs to eat something (especially if she’s supposed to play Chun-Li whose thighs are legend), Moon Bloodgood seems to only be in the movie to look good, plus that guy from "American Pie" (1999), Chris Klein plays a major part in the detective subplot of the movie that really doesn’t make any sense, though he does look shockingly like Nicolas Cage in “Bangkok Dangerous” (2008).

I wished. I prayed. I hoped “Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li” would be able to match up to the blindly brilliant over the top original, but it doesn’t quite make it. The movie moves really, really slowly, and the action is so terribly bad it ranges from laughable to frustrating. So much useless CG to laugh at, but this movie is really the definition of a group film. It’s the sort of movie you want to gather some of your close friends, a few drinks then just hate on the movie and have some good laughs. Yeah it’s really really bad. It’s not priceless bad though. The logic doesn’t work, the final battle is over really quickly, and they have some funny references to the “Street Fighter” mythos. It may be a result of Van Damme ‘going up that river and kicking that sonofthebitch Bison’s ass so hard, the next Bison wanna-be felt it.’ Or it may just be a really bad movie. Oh yeah and there’s a really bizarre birth scene that may be the funniest thing in the whole movie, could be an internet meme.

Video

Presented in 1080p 24/fps in 2.35:1 widescreen with AVC MPEG-4 encoding at 28 MBPS, the film looks so shiny and polished it shows where the $50 million budget went (besides the big names in the cast). The big problem with being so polished is that all of the bad CG seems all the more identifiable. The odd green screen background, or the hadouken/chi-energy that Chun-Li uses look laughable in the crystal clarity of the transfer. There’s some noticeable grain in some scenes, but the rest of the movie is almost laughably crisp, it shows that they thought the movie would make a ton of money and just decided to throw caution, and their dollars, to the wind to bring you this high budget clarity on Blu-ray.

Audio

With the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track mixed at 48kHz/24-bit sounds about as good as the film looks. Just like there is some ridiculous CG, there are some hilarious sound effects, like in the birthing scene I mentioned that has a hilarious splatter noise. Also the sound mastering on Vega’s voice sounds like it was done with the sort of Darth Vader voice changer you can get in a toy store. However, the production values on the rest of the sound, in terms of clarity and movement, are obviously big budget. They put their money where their mouth is, but unfortunately the public wouldn’t swallow this load. It’s crisp, it’s clean, but when it’s this bad, it just makes it funnier (and a little sad). Another instance of big budget working against them as the clarity really brings out the bad sound effects, ADR dialogue stands out more heavily, and the fight noises seem a little funnier.
Optional English for the hearing impaired, French and Spanish subtitles are included.

Extras

For a movie that failed so tragically in theatres, $12 million earned WORLDWIDE on a $50 million budget, it has a large amount of special… Wow. It really did fail. Terribly. But maybe that’s why they loaded the Blu-ray with special features, hoping for some home video success. With two cuts of the film, an audio commentary, a trivia track, deleted scenes, three featurettes and three galleries, plus two more discs, the set is more impressive than I would have thought.

DISC ONE: BLU-RAY

This contains both the "Theatrical" and "Unrated" versions of the film. The "Theatrical" cut runs 1 hour and 36 minutes while the "Unrated" runs for 1 hour and 37 minutes. Not much added or subtracted.

The first real special feature is the audio commentary on the "Unrated" version with producers Patrick Aiello and Ashok Amitraj, along with actors Neal McDonough and Chris Klein. The four take the movie surprisingly seriously, Aiello and Amitraj talk about the meaning of the chi sequence of the film, while McDonough chats up his character motiviations and what inspired him to act the way he did in the film. I think they are a little misinformed on what people think the movie is, since they view it as an actual film accomplishment, compared with the trashy comedy piece that it really is.

Next is the “Street Fighter: In-Movie Enlightenment” trivia track that runs over the course of the "Unrated" version of the film, providing little trivia notices about “Street Fighter” with interesting factoids like “Some of the Street Fighter Characters Use Special Powers.” Fascinating.

There are a total of 14 deleted scenes, which run for 15 minutes and 32 seconds total and include:

- “Chun-Li In the Subway” runs for 30 seconds, Chun Li sees signs of her destiny in the subway.
- “Thug Steals Money” runs for 1 minute and 35 seconds, a thug takes some money in Bangkok, Chun Li bumps into him and steals it back.
- “Nash and Maya on Stakeout” runs for 1 minute and 3 seconds, Nash loans Maya some cash and they talk family.
- “Nightclub Bathroom” runs for 28 seconds, Chun-Li escapes the bathroom.
- “Chun-Li and Nash” 1 minute and 59 seconds, Chun-Li breaks into Nash’s apartment and they chat.
- “Bison Confronts Xiang” 1 minute and 25 seconds, Bison confronts Chun-Li’s father about Chun-Li’s manners.
- “Chun-Li Waits” 26 seconds, Chun-Li waits at the airport. Then goes.
- “Chun-Li Researches the White Rose” 17 seconds, Chun-Li investigates.
- “Chun-Li Goes Home” 2 minutes and 10 seconds, Chun-Li investigates infront of a green computer screen.
- “Nash Recieves a Note” 50 seconds, Nash comes in to his office, to find a note.
- “Chun-Li’s shrine for her Parents” 29 seconds, Chun Li Builds a shrine.
- “Gen Counsels Chun-Li” 1 minute and 22 seconds, Chun-Li and Gen have a meal, he gives her advice.
- “Chun-Li Suprises Nash” 1 minute and 58 seconds, Nash pours a drink and gets surprised.
- “Nash Explains to the White Rose” 58 seconds, Nash explains how bad Bison was to Rose.

Next is “Marvel vs. Capcom 2: Sneak Peak” promo which runs for 1 minute and 13 seconds, and is basically a trailer for the game.

“Becoming a Street Fighter” is the first real featurette and runs for 17 minutes and 49 seconds, which acts as a making-of for the film, talking up the video game series and how much they love it. Producers and creators talk about the challenge on adapting it to the film, being faithful to the game’s stories and trying to create an emotional connection into the film. Wow, they really took this movie too seriously for making a movie based off of an arcade fighting game. It sort of explains why there’s no sense of fun in the movie, but that doesn’t stop their seriousness from coming off as laughable as the film itself.

“Chun-Li: Bringing the Legend to Life” featurette runs for 6 minutes and 32 seconds. All the actors and people involved in the film talks about the mythology of Chun-Li, while praising Kreuk. It all adds to taking this character way too seriously, especially long segments about ‘getting into character’ or her wire and martial arts training in the film (though with the number of rapid cuts in the film they could have had Taboo pulling off her stunts and it would have required a frame-by-frame examination to notice.

“Fox Movie Channel Presents Making A Scene” runs for 9 minutes and 26 seconds. This featurette was put together for the Fox Movie Channel, and like many of the featuretettes, is presented in a 1.33:1 ratio letterboxed, making for a huge amount of blank space surrounding the images. The clip just talks up a lot of the previous content in the other featurettes on this disc, but focusing in on the alley fight scene in the film, along with some behind-the-scenes footage that we’ve seen before.

Finally are the three galleries:

- “Recreating the Game: Arcade to film Comparisons” contains 8 images.
- “The Fight in Black and White: Storyboard Gallery” has 14 subgalleries:
-- “Conceptuals and VFX scenes” contains 8 images.
-- “Airbus” contains 4 images.
-- “Limousine Ride” contains 4 images.
-- “Xiang and Chun-Li Montage” contains 38 images.
-- “Kitchen Fight” contains 125 images.
-- “Piano Concerto” contains 7 images.
-- “Mriganka Island” contains 14 images.
-- “Jeanne’s Funeral” contains 5 images.
-- “RPG” contains 8 images.
-- “Rooftop Tryst” contains 100 images.
-- “Giant Crane” contains 31 images.
-- “Harbor Rumbles” contains 79 images.
-- “Engine Room” contains 73 images.
-- “Bison’s Office” contains 133 images.
- “Behind the Fight: Production Gallery” contains 15 subgalleries:
-- “Kristen Kreuk/Chun-Li” contains 80 images.
-- “Chris Klein/Nash” contains 22 images.
-- “Moon Bloodgood/Maya” contains 18 images.
-- “Michael Clarke Duncan/Balrog” contains 9 images.
-- “Neal McDonough/M. Bison” contains 15 images.
-- “Robin Shou/Gen” contains 10 images.
-- “Taboo/Vega” contains 16 images.
-- “Josie Ho/Catana” contains 10 images.
-- “Elizaveta Kiryukhina/The White Rose” contains 3 images.
-- “Ensemble Images” contains 35 images.
-- “On Set with Director Andrzej Bartkowiak” contains 13 images.
-- “Fight Sequences” contains 13 images.
-- “FX Shots” contains 14 images.
-- “Scenes from the Set” contains 21 images.
-- “Prop Design” contains 10 images.

There are also a handful of bonus trailers:

- “X-Men Origins Wolverine” runs for 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
- “Dragonball Evolution” runs for 1 minute and 48 seconds.
- “12 Rounds” runs for 2 minutes and 19 seconds.
- “Miss March” runs for 2 minutes and 24 seconds.
- “The Marine 2” runs for 38 seconds.

DISC TWO:

This is simply a digital copy of the film

DISC THREE: DVD

This disc contains a copy of the animated movie “Street Fighter: Round One: Fight!” which is more of a motion comic than anything else, it can be watched with or without word bubbles, and runs for 66 minutes and 50 seconds.

There is a “Voltron – Defender of the Universe - Revelations – Prologue” motion comic chapter included as well, which runs for 8 minutes and 19 seconds.

Finally there is a cover gallery that plays as a slideshow, which runs for 2 minutes and 12 seconds.

There is also a bonus trailer for:

- “DragonBlade: The Beginning” runs for 3 minutes.

Packaging

The 3-discs are packaged in a regular Blu-ray case with a partition in the middle.

Overall

The Film: D- Video: B+ Audio: B+ Extras: D- Overall: C-

 


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