Street Fighter -The Legend of Chun-Li
I’m always intrigued by audience demographics—especially at public performances where people have to pay to get in. I picked up a screening of Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li early on a Friday afternoon. Arriving a few minutes before the lights went out, I had a chance to look over my fellow viewers. Of the dozen or so people settled into their seats, most, by far, were men, not teens, but middle-aged men.
Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li hardly seems like an obvious pick for this segment of the population. And by the end of the film, I was still unenlightened as to why they would be there. Considering the tough economic times we are in, the script does offer some vile, illegal and immoral business strategies on dealing with plummeting real estate values—but hopefully these audience members aren’t that desperate.
On the other hand, Bison (Neal McDonough) is. During dinner in his extravagant home, the head of an organized crime group announces his plans to move into the territory of other corrupt families in the Bangkok slums. When the bosses protest Bison’s outrageous proposal, they are summarily decapitated on their way out the door. Their heads are then put on plates and arranged in similitude of Christ’s Last Supper. After receiving an anonymous tip, Detective Maya Sunee (Moon Bloodgood), the head of Bangkok’s gang unit, and Charlie Nash (Chris Klein), the chief Interpol investigator, come upon the gruesome site.
Nash has been trailing Bison around the world for months. Yet he remains unable to corral the high profile criminal. However, this latest plan, which involves the kidnapping of government officials’ children, the extortion of city leaders and mindless murder, has another opponent eager to shut down Bison.
Chun-Li (Kristin Kreuk) lives an enchanted childhood with her parents in exotic locations. But when her father is viciously attacked and then kidnapped while she watches from the stairs, her whole world changes. On the eve of her mother’s (Emilze Kirukhina) death, Chun-Li receives an elaborate scroll with intricate writing. After the funeral, the young girl takes the scroll to the heart of Hong Kong where she meets a woman who deciphers the hieroglyphics. Chun-Li is then sent on her way to Bangkok in search of the mysterious Gen (Robin Shou). A master fighter and leader of a secret organization, Gen prepares the girl to avenge the disappearance of her father by confronting Bison and his thugs.
An abundance of martial arts action pervades this film as characters fight with everything from saw blades and spiked heels to bamboo sticks and swords. Hoards of faceless soldiers, SWAT team members and innocent bystanders also fall victim to gunshots, explosions and gang violence. While relatively little blood is shown, the scenes that do include it are often gory. With little regard for others, Bison brutally beats his female colleague to death after she reveals some highly confidential information. He also callously breaks a man’s neck in front of his family.
Bison’s biggest fault appears to be his total lack of conscience and his willingness to do anything for a buck. Yet after watching numberless characters killed in this film for the sake of entertainment, I’m left wondering about the state of the movie industry’s conscience as well.