With the 32nd annual Portland International Film Festival starting next month at the Northwest Film Center, there will be plenty of opportunities to show you trailers for films that may actually be good.
And since last week I brought you Hindi kung-fu
, it seems only appropriate to follow up this week with a related cinematic phenomenon: whitey kung-fu. You'll be delighted to learn that Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
arrives in a theater near you on Feb. 27 courtesy of 20th Century Fox, and is based on a series of Japanese video games dating back to the late 1980s.
Though it shocks me to admit it, I cannot in good conscience take issue with the creative bankruptcy inherent in adapting a feature film from the story of you and your 15-year-old brother feeding quarters into an arcade machine while, onscreen, bizarre racial caricatures punch and kick each other in the face. Because back in 1994, with a kind of horrible nightmare logic, this actually worked:
The movie's plot, so far as I remember it, involved Jean-Claude Van Damme commanding the United Nations in a battle against a Village People dictatorship led by the villainous "M. Bison," played by the late Raúl Juliá. I can't comment on whether Heath Ledger's performance in The Dark Knight
proved his undoing, but I can
state that in 1994's Street Fighter
, Raúl Juliá brings enough corny, corneal mania to his final feature role to fully justify eye surgery, and at least three Oscars. For what it's worth, the movie also starred Kylie Minogue.
Somehow, I doubt the new breed can measure up:
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
opens Feb. 27 and is not yet rated.
Image of Raúl Juliá as M. Bison in 1994's Street Fighter