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Deconstructing Chun-li's Legend: a Movie Review

Street Fighter is one of the most popular video game among the fighting genre. Ever since the release of Street Fighter II in 1991, fighters like Ryu, Ken, Guile etc. became instant household names among gamers. Through the years, gaming experience had evolved and so as the gamers' interest. They became more attached to their favorite characters. That is why most video game companies had decided to incorporate back stories for every characters. Since then games are transformed into semi cinematic experience including animated and cgi cut scenes for better visual presentation.

Because of too much spin offs and sequels, the story of every character still appears very cloudy leaving them inconsistent and blurry. Now is the dawn of fighting games turned in to movies and Capcom is joining the bandwagon. Even after the production of almost 3 animated films like Street Fighter II, Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter Alpha Generations, and one live action flick back in 1994, the Street Fighter Mythos remains incomplete and lacks proper architecture. That is why they decided to make again a live action movie that will retell the Street Fighter franchise' tale from the very beginning. Starting with one of the best character ever created Chun-li.

Chun-li is considered as one of Capcom's most popular and highly influential character that already appeared in different Street Fighter movies. But despite the popularity her story is never told in any known media. Her game endings just show that Bison killed her father and the rest just shows her on her daily work as an Interpol Agent (SFII) or Hongkong Police Officer (SFAlpha). So in celebration of Street Fighter's 20th Anniversary, Capcom produced a movie that will narrate Chun-li's roots prior to what we all know.

The Story

Chun-li is born from a chinese father and a caucasian mother presumably from San Francisco. They are living a good life between their travels from different nations. But everything changes when her father is abducted by Bison. She then live the rest of her whole childhood without her father. Years past her mother dies in Cancer. One day Chun-li found a mysterious scroll. She then looked for a way to read the scroll and found out that she must go on a journey to find a certain man named Gen. She left her house in Hongkong leaving her riches, and traveled to Bangkok and that is the start of her Legend.

From here, we can say that most original elements are changed. From her ethnicity and the nature of his father's work. Though we can also assume that her father is secretly working as an undercover Interpol agent, under the guise of a businessman. But that is besides the point. Chun-li's story varies in every game and never been told clearly. So altering it a little will not really be a big deal. There are less fanfare but more details. This could be the reason why the movie flunks among gamers.

The Costume and Hairstyle

People are disappointed because they don't see Chun-li wearing her Qipao. Yeah it is a little depressing but if we will just take the time to digest the title of the movie, "LEGEND OF CHUN-LI". This is movie tackles Chun-li in Year One. Chun-li first use the Qipao Costume (SFII) when she is already working in Interpol. Her Unitard costume (Alpha) is first used during her Hongkong Police years and worn it in her first years in Interpol. Chun-li left her riches in the movie and travelled to Bangkok to look for Gen. She became nomadic and literally homeless. Even after finding Gen, obviously they still can't afford to buy a Qipao unless they will steal which is I think Gen will not approve. The same goes with Bison, Balrog and Vega. On Charlie's case, the video game hairstyle is so unrealistic so I believe that is tolerable. Most game costumes are worn during the tournament and we all know that there are no tournament scene in the movie.

The Actors

Kristin Kreuk looks like Chun-li. But most people find her performance inappropriate, because she to them she doesn't look like Chun-li enough and physically she doesn't have Chun-li's enormous legs. To answer that, Kristin Kreuk is indeed rightful for the role. She is half chinese and she can handle all the fight scenes in the movie. Regarding the thunder thighs, Chun-li is considered a rookie here, so it is forgivable that she still didn't have those kind of legs everyone is expecting. She is still under Gen's training and eventually in future sequel we can see the Chun-li we all want. Other actors such as Mike Clark Duncan (Balrog) and Neal McDonough(Bison) played their parts very well. On the other hand Taboo's performance as Vega is so distracting, maybe because I'm not expecting him to be a suitable Vega. He doesn't look Handsome compared to what he must. But a friend of mine pointed out that in the movie his face is scratched and he is beaten by Chun-li. There is a possibility that Vega will come back in the sequel after undergoing a plastic surgery. Feeling insulted by Chun-li, Vega could have swore a grudge to Chun-li making them mortal enemies in the future.

Movie Quality

Though I find the story very logical. It ends up very boring specially to people who expect more for this movie. This is an action flick and you will not expect most people to analyze the story. The movie overall has a strong plot but didn't deserve a theatrical release. Resident Evil Degeneration who is a DVD release CGI movie by Capcom deserves a movie release compared to this flick.

Now most of my analysis are pure theoretical and it is for the readers to accept it or not. But the quality of this movie lies on the sequel. If the sequel fails to support most of the events in this movie, then I don't think the franchise will last that long.

However compared to the Street Fighter movie back in 1994 with Van Damme as Guile. This latest movie is way much better. From fight scenes to plot though we can say that the 1994 movie tried their best to provide fan service specially through costumes but still they failed because they changed the Street Fighter mythos all in all.

For now, we wait for the sequel and let's see how far the franchise can go.

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