Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009) - Unleashed and Unrated [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Martial Arts
Fox || Unrated - 97 minutes - $39.99 || June 30, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-07-01


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Writer(s): Justin Marks (screenplay)
Cast: Kristin Kreuk, Chris Klein, Neal McDonough, Robin Shou, Moon Bloodgood, Josie Ho, Michael Clarke Duncan


Theatrical Release Date: February 27, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Theatrical and Unrated Versions
  • Feature Commentary (Unrated Only)
  • Trivia Track
  • 3 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Photo Galleries
  • Sneak Peek at Marvel vs. Capcom
  • Digital Copy
  • Full-Length Animated Movie


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is sort of a reboot of sorts, in movie terms, after the first Street Fighter, starring Jean Claud Van Damm, was a box office and critical failure. This time around, it’s about the rise of one Chun-Li (Kristin Kreuk), a gifted girl whose father was kidnapped by crime boss Bison (Neal McDonough) for the purposes of gaining more power because the father knows the names and locations of powerful individuals.

For years Chun-Li lived out life without her father gaining notoriety as a master concert pianist. But when she receives an ancient scroll that – loosely translated – has bigger plans, she leaves her life behind and travels to Bangkok in search of a man named Gen (Robin Shou), who may have the key to what happened to her father. Well, she eventually finds him (well, he finds her) and apparently Gen used to work in Bison’s organization and did not like what it was doing to his soul and thus he chose to leave and try to oppose Bison’s plans to level a slum section of Bangkok and turn the area into high-end real estate. It sounds as if Bison took some villainy cues from Lex Luthor...

Gen trains Chun-Li to master her fighting skills – which were first developed by her father – and to control her anger for the man who stole her father. She fights some of Bison’s cronies and the more she controls her anger, the more powerful she becomes... I guess. But there’s a new wrinkle, it seems Bison has more plans than just to level the slums of Bangkok, he also has a delivery coming in known only as the “White Rose”.

Meanwhile, Interpol Agent Charlie Nash (Chris Klein) is hot on Bison’s trail as well and enlists the help of a local detective named Maya Sunee (Moon Bloodgood) who are also tracking Bison and his crew and their paths soon cross that of Chun-Li and Gen. There really isn’t much more of a point to these characters other than to provide back-up and keep the movie above 90-minutes.

I’m not really sure what to think of Legend of Chun-Li. I’m not at all a fan of the video game (never played it) so I have no loyalties to how well the story is told or how characters are portrayed, their nationality, etc. I could honestly care less. But one thing that is undeniable about the film is a few of the truly Razzie-wrothy performances, especially from Chris Klein who comes off as a creepy guy the way he gruffs his lines or squints in just about every take (not to mention line delivery and body movements). I know times are tough and he wanted get away from American Pie notoriety, but next time they offer you a part... TAKE IT!

Along the same lines is Kristin Kreuk. I liked her on “Smallville” even when the character, as most on that show had become, was a bit stale in her story arc, but she wanted to leave the show to pursue a movie career and this is what landed on her lap? Sure, she’s beautiful to look at and has the physique to perform some of the fight sequences, but she lacked any real depth to the role. I don’t know if it was the writing or direction but she seemed like she was just playing the same Lana Lang character.

Not much of a surprise, but the movie was directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, the man behind such classics as Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds and Doom. Perfect man for the job, I’m sure. It’s one thing to have a poor screenplay or story (which Legend of Chun-Li has), but it becomes a pattern when you continue to release crap as Bartkowiak has over the course of almost a decade. Even Uwe Boll has shown growth as his past couple flicks, or so I’ve read, haven’t been that bad.

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li co-stars Neal McDonough, Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation, “Burn Notice”), Taboo (from the Black Eyed Peas) and... Michael Clarke Duncan? I realize he’s not an A-lister and has participated in many, well, less than stellar flicks over the years, but how in the world was he cast basically playing second-fiddle to McDonough’s main bad guy? This is the same man who wowed us in The Green Mile, right?



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Note: The menu system on this Blu-ray was a bit choppy. For instance, when I click on a feature or move from one menu item to another, it would take an extra second or two and even a bit longer for the feature to begin. Also, if you wanted to get back to the menu (when watching a featurette), you had to use the skip button as the pop-up and regular menu buttons did not work on my player (Panasonic BD35).

Theatrical & Unrated Versions – Just like they did with 12 Rounds, Fox has provided both versions on one disc. The difference in running time between the two is only 47 seconds so I can’t imagine that it offered more character and/or story development.

Feature Commentary includes Producers Patrick Aiello and Ashok Amritraj and actors Neal McDonough and Chris Klein. The commentary is filled with behind-the-scenes info on shooting locations, casting and generally there wasn’t much dead space. It’s not the best track I’ve heard but for fans of commentaries, you should enjoy it. Available with the unrated version only.

Street Fighter: In-Movie Enlightenment is a trivia track that covers various aspects about the video game (first appeared in arcades in 1987, Chun-Li first appeared in “Street Fighter II”) and just other tid-bits about the movie or locations. It’s nothing extraordinary but maybe for those who know nothing about the video game might find it interesting, otherwise fans probably already know everything about it anyway. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Deleted Scenes (15:32) – 14 scenes, in SD and non-anamorphic widescreen, that vary from short pick-up shots to a little more character development for Nash (Bison killed his family).

Becoming a Street Fighter (17:49) – This ‘behind-the-scenes’ featurette covers the origins of the video game dating back to 1988 to adapting it to a feature film. It features interviews with the cast and crew. It’s a pretty basic featurette where they tell us what the story is about, not sure what the purpose is especially if someone just got done watching the movie...

Chun-Li: Bringing the Legend to Life (6:32) covers the background of the character from her video game beginnings to her big screen formation and why she was chosen to be the center of the movie.

Fox Movie Channel Presents Making a Scene (9:26) – A FMC featurette on how a scene was filmed, the stunt work involved and how it was filmed. Some of it is yet another set-up on exactly what the story is about. It is presented in non-anamorphic widescreen.

There are also a few galleries you can peruse: Recreating the Game: Arcade to Film Comparisons – Set of stills from the video and film showing comparisons between characters. Maybe for fans of the video it’s fine but there are only maybe 8 comparisons so it’s not worth your time.

The Fight in Black and White: Storyboard Gallery is broken up into 14 sections including “Conceptuals and VFX Scenes”, “Xiang and Chun-Li Montage”, “Kitchen Fight”, “Mriganka Island”, “RPG”, “Rooftop Trist”, “Giant Crane”, “Harbor Rumbles”, “Bison’s Office” and many more. Kind of cool to look at but also annoying because you have to skip through each one to get back to the menu as the remote buttons does not work.

Behind the Fight: Production Gallery features another 15 galleries covering the actors, VFX and just general behind-the-scenes photos.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 Sneak Peek (1:13) is just a trailer of an upcoming game where Marvel characters fight Capcom characters.

The second disc contains a digital copy (**Blu-ray Exclusive**) while disc three has “Street Fighter Round One: Fight!” Full-Length Animated Origins Comic Movie (4:23). With this animated feature, you can watch the animation style (without word balloons) or comic style (with word balloons). On this disc are bonus features: a “Dragonblade” Promo Trailer, “Voltron: Defender of the Universe” Revelations Prologue and a Cover Gallery.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is presented in its original 2.35 aspect ratio and 1080p high-definition. Outside of some standard film grain, it’s not a bad looking HD transfer. Detail levels are fine and while the black levels on certain scenes could’ve been better, it wasn’t distracting. Colors are also about right so no under or oversaturation in an attempt by the studio to making it ‘pop’ out more.

Once again, Fox impresses me with 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless audio that absolutely rumbles during the many martial arts action scenes and still manages to be subtle with dialogue and ambient noises. Not the best of the best audio experience but still pretty damn good!



.::OVERALL::.

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li isn’t the horrid movie I had read about. Sure, it’s not that good and features some truly Razzie-deserving performances, but it did manage to grab and keep my attention throughout its entirety. The Blu-ray does feature great picture, excellent audio and acceptable special features so if you can find it on the cheap down the road, you might want to give it a chance.