Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li vs Street Fighter
By Fred Topel | Image property of 20th Century Fox
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
Universal Pictures' 1994 Street Fighter was a gimmick, one of the first ever video game movies with a high profile cast including Jean-Claude Van Damme at the peak of his action hero fame and the acclaimed Raul Julia. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is a vastly different endeavor, not the least of which includes a change of studio.
Street Fighter vs Street Fighter
"Universal did not own any movie rights," said producer Ashtok Amritraj. "Capcom owns all of the underlying rights to the game, the movie, the characters. Universal distributed that single picture. We, along with Capcom, in a joint venture made this film and we have a deal with 20th Century Fox. Under our deal with Fox, the movie gets distributed."
Nearly 15 years later, Amritraj felt the time was right for a new Street Fighter movie. "I think there has been enough time, and that was such a different movie. Jean-Claude Van Damme played Guile, and Raul Julia was a slightly different kind of Bison, and it had all of these different characters. That was very close to the pop feel that the game has. This one is quite a lot different. The look, the feel, the visuals, all of it is very different."
While the new film incorporates several Street Fighter characters, the focus is on establishing Chun-Li as a heroine. "That was a decision we made that this is the direction we wanted to go in. We of course then talked to Capcom about it and they went along with the decision, and then as we came up with the outline and started flushing it out, they were involved with us at every step of the way. Luckily, we also had a writer who’s a total Street Fighter aficionado. He was terrific and so he knew the background of every character. The Capcom guys were fabulous. They went along with a lot of the stuff we wanted to do."
The film leaves it open for other characters to appear in sequels, but Capcom did not insist on fitting Ken and Ryu into the Chun-Li film. "We specifically decided on this character and it being her journey and so Ken and Ryo were the other two characters sort of left for another day. When you have a franchise like Street Fighter which is kind of iconic and it’s the 20th anniversary, the game company is very protective of the characters. When we were developing the screenplay, Justin Marks was writing the screenplay, we chose the Chun-Li character to start what will hopefully be a movie franchise of its own. We had to be very careful and go back and forth with Capcom quite a bit to make sure that while we were separating the game from the movie, and wanted to make sure the movie was really grounded, the characters, like Bison was from Bangkok originally, the legend and history of the game was kept intact."
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li will open to theaters on February 27th.
For the trailers, posters, stills and more movie info, go to the Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li Movie Page.
Sources: Image property of 20th Century Fox
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