Actor, writer, winter coat lover - Justin Halliwell praises the goodness in the bad movie - "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li" the long unawaited sequel-ish to the 1994 JCVD movie - which is available on Blu-ray. Why not?
Here it is!
Shakespeare is dead. Beckett is dead. Even Billy Wilder is dead. Luckily for us, though, Justin Marks is very much alive. As the most bankable screenwriter without any actual movies under his belt, the premiere of Street Fighter: the Legend of Chun Li marks (ha) an important point for the young screenwriter who already has scripts for Green Arrow, Voltron, He Man, and Suicide Squad under his belt . Happily, I can report Street Fighter as a resounding success. But Marks doesn't deserve nearly all the credit; a film this epic truly requires a concerted failure on every single persons part.
Let's begin at the beginning. No, I can't. We'll begin after the 1st 7 minutes of voiceover, the first time we actually see an adult Kristen Kreuk. Because, let's face it, she may be playing, but she's not playing Chun Li. Nor is she playing any other character besides Kristen Kreuk. No, what she is playing is a concert piano. Because she always wanted to be a concert pianist, see? 'Cause she's a real character. She is not, however, the most interesting or the best character. Those appear in the next few minutes as Bison and Somebody Nash, respectively.
Oh, Neal Mcdonough, how amazing you are. Neal's Bison is a white haired, blue eyed irishman, with half an irish accent. That half is most probably due to the fact that his irish missionary parents died when he was born and left him to grow up in the slums of bangkok. So, while there were obviously no irish influences in his life, young bison must have sought out examples of his native peoples speech patterns and mimiced them in an effort to find his own identity. I can only assume this because the genius of Justin Marks knows that we are smart enough that he doesn't have to explain why a man raised in a bangkok slum would have an irish accent.
But the real jewel of this film is the triumphant return of one Christopher Klein. Or, more accurately, the next evolutionary step of the demigod known as Nic Cage. Klein knows the magic of long hair and big foreheads, he knows the truth of hand-shaking emphasis, and he gives such a tremendously commanding performance, a performance so truly, wonderfully bad, that when I tried to think how I would do it differently, I literally could not come up with a single change. He brought the film down to such a level that I couldn't even imagine how anything besides Chris Klein could be possible.
I realize that I've front loaded this review with my most favoritest things, but there really are so many more things to love, from Vega's mongoloid Alien queen face mask to 4 minute scenes that serve no purpose but to make a PG sex joke, this is truly a masterpiece or filmmaking. Perhaps the best way to explain the impact of this film is to quote the film's theme. After taking his family and fleeing america for china, Chun Li's father gives her a necklace of a flying bird and tells her "the bird is to weak to stay and fight, so it flies away to safety," obviously explaining his actions and teaching his daughter the valuable lesson of cowerdice. Not 4 minutes later, Chun Li's father is kidnapped and her mother says "you are just like your father: you stand when standing is hard." Now, besides being a "that's what she said" reach, these two themes are obviously very closely connected. That connection, of course, is that they are opposites. Once again, Justin Marks shows real faith in his audience and let's US decide what the film should be about. In fact, I would not be very suprised if another 80's staple finds its way into his capable hands: the choose your own adventure. I, for one, will choose his movies every time.
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This review is great too.