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Film / Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

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Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is the second live-action film based on Capcom's long-running Street Fighter video game series, directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak. However, it is not a direct sequel to the first live-action film, and instead centers around one of the series' main characters in a story set before the events of the original Street Fighter game.

The film tells the story of Chun-Li Xiang (Kristin Kreuk), a ten-year-old piano/Wushu prodigy who has her young world shattered after the crimelord Bison (Neal McDonough) and his dragon Balrog (Michael Clarke Duncan) kidnap her father and whisk him off to parts unknown. After the death of her mother seventeen years later, Chun-Li — now a concert pianist — receives a mysterious scroll that tells her to go to Bangkok. Once there, she meets Gen (Robin Shou), a former partner of Bison and leader of the mysterious Order of the Web. Gen offers to train Chun-Li in preparation for her inevitable showdown with Bison.

The film also has a subplot about Interpol agent Charlie Nash (Chris Klein) and Bangkok detective Maya Sunee (Moon Bloodgood).

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Wimp: Bison goes from insane, superpowered warlord to corrupt businessman with martial arts skills.
  • Adaptational Nationality: In the video games she originates from, Chun-Li is Chinese from mainland China. Here, she's Chinese-American, originally from San Francisco, but moves to Hong Kong as a child.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: Vega (Claw), a very handsome Spanish ninja who values beauty in the video games, is portrayed by the homely-looking Taboo in this incarnation. Chun-Li even comments that he wears a mask because of his face.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: M. Bison is dark-haired in the games, but this movie makes him blond.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Bison's game counterpart once conducted a ritual to expel all good from his body to maximize his Psycho Power, supernatural energy fueled by negative emotions and evil ambitions. His movie version doesn't have that... but he still did the thing anyway, apparently just to perfect his dickishness.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Bison who, instead of his usual dictator outfit, wears expensive suits in this incarnation.
  • Bury Your Gays: Cantana is beaten to death by Bison after being seduced by Chun-Li.
  • But Not Too Foreign:
    • Chun-Li and Maya being half-white, for a start.
    • The exact ethnicity of M. Bison has never been clear but it's unlikely he's ever been Irish.
  • The Cameo: Veteran old-school martial arts star Cheng Pei-Pei shows up as an advisor in the market scene.
  • Canon Foreigner: Cantana, Maya, Fen, and others. In Maya's case, it can be argued that she may or may not be Crimson Viper (since Maya is also Viper's real given name).
  • Child Popstar: Chun-Li started as a pianist when she was young.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Bison is one. In fact, his master plan to convert a slum area in prime real estate into middle class housing probably wouldn't be too illegal if it weren't for his tactics.
  • Darker and Edgier: Written that way in comparison to the 1994 Street Fighter film, both to differentiate itself from the critically panned film and hoping to jump on the darker and gritter adaptation bandwagon. Probably shouldn't have done that, for the critical reception ends up being far worse.
  • Death by Irony: Bison kills Chun-Li's father by snapping his neck, right in front of her. She eventually returns the favor, right in front of his daughter.
  • Disappeared Dad: Chun-Li's dad is an even more dramatic example of this, as he didn't so much leave Chun-Li as he was actually dragged off by M. Bison and his men before her eyes.
  • The Dragon: Balrog serves as M. Bison's main muscle.
  • Expy:
    • Maya Sunee is almost certainly a stand in for Crimson Viper. They are law enforcement agents that share a first name.
    • Bison is closer to Geese Howard than the actual M. Bison.
  • Faux Fluency: It's exceedingly clear to anyone with an even moderate understanding of Mandarin Chinese that it's not Kristin Kreuk's first language.
  • Gonk: Vega, in stark contrast to the video games.
  • In Name Only: This movie uses characters named Chun-Li, Gen, Charlie, Vega, Balrog, and Bison with Chun-Li having her costume and Spinning Bird Kick and Vega his claws and mask with them being the only things tying it to Street Fighter.
  • Ironic Echo: "Fathers always have a weakness for their daughters." said by Bison when he's curbstomping Chun Li and later thrown right back at him immediately after Chun Li kills him.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: Chun-Li uses a Kikoken to take Bison down.
  • The Legend of X
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Cantana has the stereotypical look of a Dragon Lady, but turn out to fall easily for Chun-Li seducing her.
  • Mating Dance: Chun Li uses one to draw Cantana into ladies room, in order to interrogate her.
  • Monumental View: The movie starts looking out the window of Chun-Li's first house at a beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge that would place the house somewhere in the Presidio, which has no homes in it.
  • Mood Whiplash: Many reviewers noted that the movie bills itself as an edgy and more "realistic" take on Street Fighter, despite stuff like Chun-Li using Ki Manipulation and Bison transferring part of his soul into his unborn daughter.
  • Named by the Adaptation:
    • Just like the first movie, Chun-Li is given the surname "Xiang".
    • Charlie/Nash is given both his international and Japanese version names as a full name here before the official game canon could do it.
  • Narrating the Obvious: Chun-Li's voiceover throughout the film is almost nothing but basic observations.
  • Neck Snap: Bison does this to Chun-Li's father, right in front of her. She eventually returns the favor, right in front of his daughter.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent:
    • Everyone in Bangkok speaks perfect English with an American accent.
    • Chun-Li even speaks Mandarin Chinese with a strong American accent.
  • Not Wearing Tights: Nobody wears their colorful outfits from the game. The closest is when Chun-Li briefly dons a blue dress as part of a disguise.
  • Oddly Small Organization: The Order of the Web.
  • Race Lift: Somehow, Chun-Li grows from an obviously Asian child to a 3/4 white Canadian pretending to be full Chinese. All in the span of the intro.
  • Sequel Hook: At the end of the film, Gen shows Chun-Li a poster for a fighting tournament and mentions a Japanese fighter named "Ryu—something."
  • Spexico: Casting a Mexican actor to play the Spanish Vega fits into this trope.
  • The Worf Effect: Gen's repeated curb-stompings at Bison's hands.
  • Three-Point Landing: Used by Chun-Li multiple times.
  • Villain Ball: Bison has a deathgrip on it.
  • You Don't Look Like You:
    • M. Bison: a blonde guy with a beard and a three-piece suit
    • Chun-Li: half-white, skinny legs, wears her famous hair buns and blue outfit (or something loosely meant to represent them) for only a short time
    • Gen: a guy in his forties (at least they got the Asian part right)
    • Rose: Late teens to early twenties, no Anime Hair, very naive, is no longer Bison's Good Counterpart.
    • Charlie: They couldn't even be bothered to give him glasses, let alone blonde hair, an orange vest and green cargo pants.
    • Vega: Unattractive (to the point it's joked in-universe that the silver mask he wears because he's embarrassed about said unattractiveness), black hair, bulky black jumpsuit.