Monday, November 9, 2009

Getting Better by Being Worse: The Legend of Chun Li

Well this weekend I finally got to see Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li and I have to say I was a little disappointed. I knew from the previews and the short stay in theaters that this movie was a flop, but I thought it was going to be one of those, “It’s so bad it’s good” movies. Unfortunately, the movie just stays at “It’s so bad.”

First off, the movie tries really hard to be the next action adventure, romance, drama movie of epic proportions, but instead it falls flat on its face without capturing the essence of any of the aforementioned genres. I feel that the jack of all trades master of none approach to winning over the audience was a big reason why this movie did so poorly. I wish I could say that was the only reason for this movie being so terrible, but that’s not the case. The movie suffers from uneven pacing, poor characterization, lame effects, bad uses of flash backs, and a forced lesbian dance scene that looked more like the chicken dance then a raunchy attempt to keep teenage boys captivated. The list goes on, but I don’t have time to pick apart every reason why this movie was an epic fail.

So if the movie was so bad, why didn’t it become good? To borrow some insight from 30 Rock, the Chun Li movie didn’t climb down into the crevasse. For those of you who don’t watch the show, Jack Donaghy, one of the main characters, tries to advise his star employee about getting out of a difficult situation. He says:

"Some times the way back up is down. Let me tell you a story. It’s 1994 and I went ice climbing and I fell into a crevasse. I hurt my leg and I couldn’t climb back up. So fighting every natural instinct, doing what seemed most awful to me I climbed down--into the darkness and that’s how I got out."

The moral of that story is sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do in order to achieve our goals. If we follow this metaphor, the Chun Li movie tried to climb out of the crevasse by trying to appeal to everyone. Instead, it should have climbed deeper into the crevasse and focused on the niche market of nerds who already like the Street Fighter series.

Here are 4 ways the movie could have climbed deeper into the crevasse.

  1. Special moves-The movie only featured three of Street Fighter’s recognizable special moves. When I think of Chun Li I automatically think of her rapid kicking ability, yet for some reason her signature kick didn’t make the cut. If they really wanted to push this movie past the bad and into the good zone they should have had a lot of crazy over the top special attacks. Example: Have Bison, the movies antagonist, flying around the screen surrounded in a rainbow colored aura or have him leaping into the and stomping on people’s heads....hilarious, right?
  2. Music-There was no Street Fighter music in the entire movie. Would it have been so hard to update a few of the 16-bit songs? At the very least Chun Li’s stage music should have been incorporated somehow. Even if the director was completely lazy he should have thrown the original game music somewhere in the movie.
  3. Plot-Because the movie tried to be so many things to so many people the plot was very watered down. Considering the ridiculous storylines that come from the fabled fighter, I think the writers could have picked a more interesting plot or embellished the one they were already using. I don’t know Chun Li’s complete story off hand, but let me share Cammy’s story as an example of where the movie could have gone. Bison clones himself, but the clone (Cammy), unaware of her origin escapes his clutches and eventually seeks out Bison for the soul purpose of killing him. When she confronts him, she feels oddly attracted to him and then proceeds to pummel him to death. Crazy I know, but a story line like that could have made the movie a winning loser.
  4. Fans-The biggest thing they could have done was cater to the fans. It was very off putting to see characters not look or act the way they are depicted in the video games. Bison, for instance, was portrayed as a less than menacing blond blue eyed CEO. If you’re going to make a movie about something that already has an established fan base, you should maybe consider not alienating them in hopes of getting money from the casual movie goer.

I know it doesn't look like one, but this post was suppose to be a review. Let me just wrap things up by saying this movie was bad, don’t waste your time with it. If you want to watch a Street Fighter movie go watch the 1994 version. At least it was entertaining even if it wasn't good. I’m giving Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li 1 spinning bird kick out of 5

(1 out 5, that’s a first for Nerd Synthesis history. Congratulations Legend of Chun Li you suck)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Throw Up the Horns for Shrooms

Thanks to Twitter (yes, I have officially succumbed to Twitter....weep for me) I can now find really stupid, yet incredibly funny things on the internet. This little bit of internet gold comes from @NowGamer_Dan who didn’t tweet this specific video, but he did point me to the site called I must admit, might just become my new go to site if I want to waste that precocious thing called time. Sorry Facebook, Newgrounds, and you’re just going to have to vie harder for my attention. Anyways, Jack Black would be proud to see these fungi rocking out like Dethklok from Metalocalypse. If only Mario had heard this song before his little addiction to the magic mushroom, then maybe we wouldn’t be waiting with bated breath for his appearance on Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Twisted Mickey

We were all worried that Disney was going to make Marvel into a cutesy sugar coated company where bad ass characters like the Hulk and Iron Man would skip through through fields of flowers; but none of us ever imagined that Marvel’s grittiness would rub off on Disney. It seems like Disney’s lovable mascot is getting a makeover for his his new game Epic Mickey set to be released sometime in 2010 for the Wii. Now when I say gritty I really mean a game that’s not blasting you with over the top cuteness just regular adorableness.

The plot of the game goes something like this: Mickey is kidnapped and brought to a demented world called Cartoon Wasteland where all of Disney’s cartoon rejects who couldn’t cut it as icons were banished to live their lives out in obscurity. Armed with a paint brush and paint thinner Mickey must battle his was through Cartoon Wasteland and unravel its mysteries. Like a lot of games today, Epic Mickey comes complete with a moral system. You can choose to be the hero and help the denizens of Cartoon Wasteland or (and this is were it gets kind of stupid) not help them at all and become a loner. That’s right you don’t even get the option of being bad, you just get the option of being a jerky good guy.

This is where I would normally rip into a game for believing that slightly tweaking an established character will appeal to a more hardcore audience. Instead, I will have to forgo my mockery until the game is released. The reason for this is because Spector, the creator of Deus Ex and Thief, is in charge of the game. Both Deus Ex and Thief are good games so I officially have mixed feelings. On the one hand the premise of a darker Mickey feels gimmicky, but on the other hand, I know that the developers who are in charge of this game are top notch. If Spector can pull off making Mickey “edgy” or at the very least shift people’s perception of the delightful spokesperson for that evil corporation...ehm I mean whimsical company, then I would be more than willing to give the game a try.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Villain of the Week: Ganondorf

So, for Villains Month I’ve decided to change the Hero of the Month to the Villain of the Week and while I was writing the Villains Month post, Ganondorf instantly popped into my head. Ganondorf from The Legend of Zelda is the main villain in most of the franchise’s games. Though he has changed from game to game he always has one thing on his mind, conquering Hyrule and then...the world (Bum Bum BUUUM!). While wielding the Triforce of Power Ganondorf plunged the world into darkness in the Legend of Zelda Twilight Princes and inadvertently submerged the world under the ocean in Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker. Gandorf also does a good job at capturing the fair maiden, Princess Zelda, and holding her for ransom or using her for his dubious plots.

But under that gruff evil exterior is there goodness inside his heart? Maybe he’s just misunderstood and wants to change the world for the better. Maybe midway through his destruction and mayhem he realizes that he has become a monster and that’s why he allows Link, the hero, to gather the necessary supplies to defeat him. Naaaaah, even if there was an ounce of goodness in Gandorf’s heart, Dr. Horrible made a good point about people’s character in regards to gruff exteriors yet vulnerable and innocent interiors. He said, “Sometimes there's a third, even deeper level, and that one is the same as the top surface one. Like with pie.” It’s obvious to see that Ganondorf is a monster and not just figuratively. In the games where Ganondorf starts off human he usually transforms into a beast named Ganon whose grotesque appearance reflects the evil in his heart.

Lastly, what really makes Ganondof a good candidate for villain of the week is that he is a survivor much like Destiny Child’s aptly titled hit single, Survivor. He has been “killed” many times, but unlike his protagonist counterparts who must be reincarnated in almost every adventure, Ganondorf is usually the same person from the previous game. Even if it takes him a century to return, when Ganondorf promises, "I'll be back," he means it. If only politicians could sick to their word like Ganondorf; and yes, I did just take a potshot at politicians by saying they were worse than monsters. What’cha gunna do about it?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Villains Month

It’s Villains Month!!! Why November? I don’t know, I just made it up. I don’t think November is any more evil than June, but I’m sure I could make up a dozen arbitrary reasons why November could be a month of villainy. Hmmm what’s in November...oh yeah Thanksgiving. Well there is that warm fuzzy story about the pilgrims becoming friends with the Native Americans, eating a wonderful feast, and learning about cooperation while building the foundation of a great nation. But, it could be interpreted as the Pilgrims allowing their greed to get the best of them by plundering the Native American’s land and slaughtering all the innocent who got in their know, November representing the baddies might not be too far off. Anyways, it’s official now (because I have that kind of power) November is Villains Month and it will join November’s illustrious list of month long observances such as Aviation Month, National Epilepsy Month, and of course Peanut Butter Lover’s Month (mmmmm). In honor of my new observance I’ve
tweaked the site a bit to follow suit. Enjoy your Villains Month...Mwahahahahahahahaha!!!!