Monday, June 1, 2009

Scolding Review: Street Fighter: TLOCL

Guest starring Jago and Glacius!

You wanna hear something funny? Making a Street Fighter movie is EASY!

No really. They already did a perfect movie template for it years ago. It starred Jean Claude Van Damme and it was called...Bloodsport.
Bloodsport was a movie about real life martial artist Frank Dux, as he fought in an illegal mixed martial arts tournament that has Sumos, African coconut choppers, brainless biker types and all forms of martial artists. This movie was influential on Mortal Kombat, and the movie has various shout outs("You're next", The low blow).

To make a Street Fighter movie, just make a cross between Bloodsport and Dragonball. You'd think at this point someone would get it. But the fact that I'm here to review this movie indicates otherwise. This is my review for Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li.

The movie stars Kristin Kreuk as the first lady of fighting, Chun Li. Unlike most other folks, I thought it was a good move. Chun Li is one of gamings most popular characters, having been in nearly every Street Fighter and in, and this is important, every single crossover game Capcom and everything else, from Breath of Fire to Megaman. Personally, I usually try and choose the girl in fighting games first. The movie follows Chun Li as she roughs it out and tries to rescue her father from the evil M. Bison, his courier Balrog and his on-demand murderer Vega. She will be aided by "old man" Gen, bum/interpol agent Charlie and Maya Sunee, of the Thailand police. Man, that Thai police sure has gone out of it's way for diversity and hotness.

"Bad Boys, bad boys: Whatcha gonna do?"

The movie opens up real nice with a piano and narrative by Kreuk. It is at this point where you should enjoy the narration before it becomes an ear grating, school report-like monster. So Chun Li is enjoying life as the oblivious daughter of some kind of undescribed criminal, when all of a sudden, Bison and his men horn in on on her life!

"Hey! I ordered Psycho Power! I want to see the manager."

It is this way how we meet the living contradiction that M. Bison, played by Neil McDonough. Bison, you see is pure evil. Everytime he walks onscreen the live tiger he ate for breakfast roars from his bellie. He would kill all who oppose him and he is a merciless...

"The next time you move, tell me. I'll bring you a housewarming gift..."

The hell? If that's some insinuation he'll burn his house down, it's pretty weak. Other wise, Bison is one bad Motha...
"I would never fight a Schoolgirl"

Really? Bison, your prejudice against schoolgirls will set you back incredibly the next time Sakura shows up at your door. Now, other media takes on Bison have made him fun by making him quotes you can probably remember, but this movie sadly makes him neither fierce nor memorable. He there. In any case, is this really what Bison would say?

If you're thinking Chun Li's father's importance will come up later, well not really. Whatever he was, is or does bears no relevance on the plot. All you need to know is that he sired Chun Li.

So, since Bison wouldn't fight the young Chun Li, and Chun Li wouldn't fight Bison, they settle on letting him take Chun Li's father. Growing up without a father can be really tough on your dominant racial features, though. Woops! Now, I don't mind Chun Li being half white, but maybe she should be consistent in her race from age to age?

So Chun Li's mother dies(no relevance and no one cares) and she recieves a misterious scroll that offers her the only clue to her father's whereabouts, and decides to find whoever sent it to her. And so she is told she should live on the streets of Thailand, and feed only on free samples from Thai food kiosks, in order to be learn the truth. Eventually, she runs into a gang of thugs preying on an old man. So she beats them and kills one of them. As you will see later, Chun Li is a scholar of the Steven Seagal school of thinking, where being the good guy makes everything you do fine and legal. Or maybe the Thailand Police is incredibly incompetent...

Probably. They have a whole room dedicated to mob work, when Interpol Agent Nash comes in and tells them who, exactly they should be investigating. Dude, you represent an international police force or Miami Vice? Don't the have a dress code, at least? You're dressed like you're about to pick up the groceries. And you just drop in, like nobody's bossiness in a local police office, and start blathering on about bisons and crap? At least Maya is easy on the eyes...

Oh, yeah, several of the characters have no last of first names. Balrog what? Just Bison? Is it a nickname? We never find out. Which, considering this are wanted men, they should have been researched.

So, Maya and Charlie have one of those romances where they act like they hate each other's guts, but they really don't. It's a bit cliched, but so is everything else from here on forward.

Chun Li's street fighting pays of, as Master Gen takes her under his wing. It will take years of training before she can...

I thought it took a lot of training. Only one night?
Allright, Gen! If you're so good, why don't you just Kamehameha the crap out of Bison? I mean, ignoring the fact that you're supposed to be Gen, which means you shouldn't get to shoot fireballs, that must mean that Bison has some unimaginable powers. Gen works for an order called "The Web". The Web is aparentlly him and two stall owners, though, because we see no other members.

Inexplicably, we see Bison's origin as it is told by Gen. Bison was an abandoned Irish Orphan, raised by the Streets to have an Irish accent and steal fish from fishermen. So, this wild child, this modern day hunter-gatherer caveman one day took his pregnant fiance to the Badonkadonk caves and ripped the unborn baby from her womb, transfering all his goodness and concience into the child. I guess it's one of those lessons where you had what you wanted all along!

Somewhere over the Rainbow...POWER! UNLIMITED POWER!

There are many questions about Bison's origins. What sort of loophole do Thailand orphanages have where where they just abandon foreign babies instead of deporting them back to their country? I'm sure there is a procedure for foreign nationals abandoned in any given country. How does a brutal street urchin end up with a beautiful fiance and a nice suit? Do you need conscience to fight schoolgirls? What the hell are those caves all about? They are only mentioned once. Was Gen actually there at any point? All of these burning questions and more are left unanswered. This script needed a few rewrites. But most heinously, Bison sold his "soul" so to speak, for being conscienceless, so he could...not take over the world... not to be powerful but so he could drive up crime in the slums, buy them, demolish them and sell expensive houses for the rich.I guess it makes you a supervillain in Police Academy or Superman Returns, but real estate crimes like this DO NOT require fireballs. Plus, does't regular old mob crime make money as well? I mean, Earlier in the movie Bison had Vega kill his fellow mobsters so he could be top dog. And he's already rich. I mean, at least they could have said he feeds off sadness, that might have made more sense!

So Chun Li, after being told she isn't ready to face Bison and his minions, decides she is, in fact, ready, and able. She dresses in some drapes and heads fo' da' club! There, she lures Bison's henchwoman Cantana into a bathroom with what some experts are telling me, is dancing. Hey, I may not judge Cantana for being a lesbian, but I sure can judge her for being a lesbian with bad taste. After some non-sexyness and getting beat up, Cantana spills the beans! But Bison's henchmen are on to Chun Li! And so is Charlie!

"THIS is why Clark never told you his secret..."

Well, Charlie not so much. See, Charlie, being extremely genre savvy, knows that he should not try to arrest the movie's titular character. Instead, Seagal's law says to wonder aloud who she is, while not looking it up in a computer. I mean, Bison, Balrog and Vega may be off the grid, but Chun Li is a somewhat famout pianist.

So Chun Li comes back to Gen, who has nothing to say of her disobedience. I guess his not the "rough training" kind of master and more of a "do whatever you want" kind. Bison, whoever, does mind, as he's preparing for the shipment of White Rose. What is White Rose? You'll find out soon enough.

So in retaliation for getting info out of his lesbian, Bison sends his henchman Vega on her trail! Now this should be a fight for the ages!
"Tio, Tio!"

What happened? I can forgive Vega not being beautiful or shirtless, but he's not even skilled? This is hands down the worst version of Vega, even worst than the cartoon version. Because this Vega is a pussy.

Finally Chun Li's actions lead to her being captured by Bison, who promised her father he would see her before he died. See, not having a concience has nothing to do with keeping your word. And he would definitively toy around with those who threaten those his plans, because it's not like they can escape or anything...

Except Chun Li decides that the perfect time to escape is after her father's death and not before. Her naive attitude leads to the death of her father and the apparent death of Gen at the hands of ONE BAD LOOKING EXPLOSION!
Doom 2 alpha?

Now, I am an easy man to please. I can forget plot in favor of action and explosions. I enjoyed Transformers and Independence Day. But that, my friends, is possibly the worst explosion that has snuck off into actual cinemas. It looks ripped right out of a game. A game with bad graphics.

Having screwed up everything, Chun Li decides to work with the odd couple, to finally stop the Shipment of White Rose. I'm guessing since they had nothing on Bison, they thought they might catching him trafficking drugs. What else could White Rose be? A ship full of flowers?

White Rose, sadly is Bison's daughter. Remember, the one he transfered all his goodness into? There she is! Described by Bison as his only weakness, White Rose is a beautifull young girl who only speaks in Russian. How is she a weakness to him? Unknown. Maybe she's like Kryptonite to him. But that would make his insistence on bringing her really weird. Still, they seem to know each other and be in fairly good terms (which is very confusing, since he's supposed to be without goodness or conscience, and he doesn't seem at any point to just want to exploit her) . Then why the insistence on SHIPPING HER! Can't Bison catch a plane and see her? I mean it seems like she's just a plot device they didn't know where to take! She's certainly not SF: Alpha's Rose.

So, with no information whatsoever on anything Bison related, Chun Li, a resurrected Gen(The only RPG that can kill Gen is Quest 64. BOOM!), Charlie, Maya and the Thai police finally rush to the scene. This leads to some shooting, flipping, more shooting, sneaking, gunfights, Michael Clark Duncan,some shootouts until finally, it's down to Chun Li vs Bison!

As you can imagine, Chun Li starts losing, until Gen's training comes back to her...

"You must cheat in order to understand true victory..."

So Chun throws a bag of powdered milk on Bison, and uses the full force of Smallville level special effects to Kikouken the hell out of him. Or at least, I like to think it was a Kikouken. It's a strange fireball that looks real crummy. Still, the son of a bitch won't die! So Chun Li decides to take a cue from that other fighting game and jumps down on the defensless Bison, executing an impossible spin that twists his neck back, killing him in Cold blood!
His spirit will haunt you, bitch!

You crossed the line, Miss Li. I guess a hardass like Interpol Agent Charlie Nash would never let you home free without...

"Nice Work"

Nice work? NICE WORK? Are you Interpol, or U.N.? When given the chance, Mr Nash, do you EVER enforce international laws? Swear to God, this exact moment happened to Steven Seagal when he killed a bunch of people to prove his innocence over a murder. It DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY!
>I'm pressin' charges! I'm pressin' charges!<
So, after killing a man in front of his daughter, just like it happened to her, Chun Li completely misses the opportunity to reflect on the nature of revenge. Instead, she and Gen decide to throw a little hinting our way, letting her know of a tournament and that they want to recruit someone else for the Order of the Web. A Rayoo...something.
So, what? No R. Mika spinoff?

Gee, that DOES sound like a good movie, Gen. Hopefully when it's done, it won't have terrible plot gaps, annoying tacked on characters and twisted logic.

But the main problem is, maybe that is the movie they should have done. The one where fighters of different styles fight in exotic locales. And not Batman Begins without any inspiration, Special effects budget, or faithfullness to the source. So if the Hyde Park seriously plans more Street Fighter movies, it should at least recognize that Street Fighter is about fighting, and if the fighting is lacking, the movie is lacking. This movie is rushed and halfhearted across the board, wich is a shame because some elements of it had potential. I give it 3 out of an overall 10.

That will be all.

1 comment:

  1. Take some of that Generic Viagra, and go fuck yourself.