What was I- you know what, never mind that. We were getting back into Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, a movie so bad it only sports a 6% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Let's put that into context: DOA has a 34%, meaning one in three people went "eh, it's okay I guess." Out of a hundred people, you couldn't put together a baseball team out of people who liked this movie.
It's rather bizarre, too, because as a character, Chun-Li fits perfectly into a martial arts film.
In the video games, Chun-Li is neither a genius at playing piano or a terrible news reporter. She is, in fact, taking part in the Street Fighter tournament as an undercover Interpol agent, determined to take down M. Bison and his entire organization because he killed her father. Initially, after defeating Bison and bringing his whole organization down, she retires from being an officer to resume being "a normal girl," but a later version of Street Fighter 2 gave you the option to remain a police officer.
Later games in the series would see her continue to be a cop and then eventually retire to teach children martial arts, only joining the tournament again because one of her students is kidnapped. She eventually returns to street fighting and law enforcement to protect others from those who would become threats to the world like Bison was.
That, right there, is a great hook for a martial arts movie, one lone woman's quest for vengeance against the monster who took her father from her, letting her desire for revenge consume her even as she meets new allies and eventually has to learn to let go of her hatred if she's going to succeed in her quest. She's nobody's simple "love interest," she doesn't get kidnapped or used as bait by the bad guys, and at no point is she a "prize" for the hero to win. She's strong and confident, but also kind and compassionate. She isn't "too perfect" by any means, as we know she has a temper, and her pain gives her depth.
In other words, there's no reason a movie called "The Legend of Chun-Li" where a woman determined to take down her father's killer learns how to kick people 30 times in the face and throw small fireballs around shouldn't be a great martial arts film.
Instead, we have this. And I need to finish it.
When we left- okay, actually, I need to address something that's bothering me. So far we know that Chun-Li is supposed to be training under Gen, but she hasn't really done anything even remotely like "training" yet. He beat her in a practice fight, showed off his ability to throw fireballs, and then she failed at trying to make one while meditating. That's it.
But when we left, M. Bison had just bought up the entire "slums of Bangkok" to prepare to bulldoze them and install "affordable housing." There were two cops based off characters who weren't cops doing absolutely nothing to stop him, and Chun-Li was able to pull up all the information she needed to start her investigation by going to an Internet Cafe and searching "Shadaloo," I guess.
We resume outside of Esperanto Corp (hee) headquarters, where Nash (ugh) and Maya (less ugh) are watching for Balrog so they can tail him to his next meeting. Despite being half a block away and across the street, once Balrog comes out of the building Nash thinks it's time to stick his tongue halfway down Maya's throat so Balrog won't suspect they're watching him.
|"Okay, there's the guy we need to focus all of our attention on without getting distracted by anyth-mmmph!"|
Balrog is actually talking to one of the politicians who earlier signed over the slums to him, loudly announcing to everybody within earshot that there's an important package on its way that Bison wants called "the White Rose." He also clearly announces that details about it are "on the shipping manifest" so important people will be able to make sure it gets through customs.
Chun-Li, I'll point out, is five feet away in an adjoining escalator listening, and the guy who clearly knows what "the schoolgirl" looks like doesn't recognize her or spot her.
We finally move to some actual training. Gen blindfolds Chun-Li and has her try to keep marbles he throws at her from hitting her. He also uses some background noises (chimes, a metal bell, and a table saw) to try to distract her. Strangely, Chun-Li has absolutely no problems catching marbles in midair when she can't see them, up until Gen beans her with a ball to the back of the head, making her stumble forward and almost fall face-first into a table saw.
Oh, and then Gen jumps up with a sword and tries to bring it down on Chun-Li, but she brings her hands up over her head and catches it, STILL BENT OVER INCHES FROM A TABLE SAW.
Either Gen is the absolute best teacher in the world, or the absolute worst. Considering we never once saw Chun-Li actually "train" here, she just started to "do it" when directed to, I'd say he's the worst.
We cut to more (painful) flirting between the two cops as Nash shows up to take Maya "clubbing" to follow the woman that Chun-Li researched earlier. I'm willing to give this scene a pass for two reasons. One, Maya's apartment is pretty great, from the motorcycle she keeps six feet from her bed, the pair of golden handcuffs cuffed to her bed frame, and the giant garden right outside her glass door with a large Buddhist statue in it, to...well, when Maya enters the scene, she's in jeans and a bra, and as I said before, I really, really like Moon Bloodgood. I make no apologies.
At said nightclub, the woman who acts as the CFO for Esperanto Corp and is the chief money/business person of Bison's criminal enterprise (and whose name I forgot) shows up, dismisses her bodyguards, and starts looking for the crowd because even important criminal people like to pick up random people at bars.
Oh, and she's a lesbian, something that apparently was also able to be researched on Google, because Chun-Li knows to step out on the dance floor and attempt to seduce (okay, quick look on IMDB...) Cantana with a really award dance. I'm not kidding, it's clear the actress playing Cantana is trying to play the part like she's interesting in Chun-Li, but Kristin Kreuk is really, really stiff on the dance floor. Most of the dancing together involves them standing shoulder to shoulder facing opposite directions and just weirdly gyrating their bodies. It's...it's just weird.
Saying this as a straight male who loves a good seduction scene, this is the worst "girl seducing a girl" scene I've seen in a movie, and I'm including D.E.B.S. in that list.
Chun-Li leads Cantana into a bathroom, because that's where classy people want to make out and/or have illicit public sex is the restroom at a dance clu-
Unfortunately for Cantana, there's a LOT of glass in there, and Chun-Li's plan is to "shatter every piece of it with Cantana's face" until she gives up some answers. She gets information about the White Rose shipment when Cantana's bodyguards decide the best way to figure out what happened to their boss is to "shoot the lock of the bathroom" and barge their way in. The flood of people from who SOMEHOW heard gunshots from silenced guns in a dance club alerts the cops that something's up, and they move in.
Chun-Li starts to escape, dealing with guards in the typical way you'd expect her to. She spins on a stripper pole and kicks one guy in the face, then grabs another one's arm, points his own gun at his chest, and makes him shoot himself. I- there's so much wrong with that, I don't even want to address it in case I don't come back from that rant.
Then comes what might be the best moment of the movie. Surrounded by four guys with guns, Chun-Li decides it's time to make use of what a necklace taught her (?) and bust out an original Street Fighter movie while the song "Street Fighter" by Ace Hood is playing.
|I just want to point out again, Balrog has killed 0 people up until this point. Chun-Li has killed 1.|
Balrog has also shown at least three emotions at this point. Chun-Li has barely managed 1.