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Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li
by Stephen Endelman

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li

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 Street Fighter:  The Legend of Chun Li (Soundtrack) by Stephen Endelman
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Street Fighter:  The Legend of Chun Li (Soundtrack) by Stephen Endelman

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li
Composed by Stephen Endelman
Lakeshore Records (2009)

Rating: 6/10

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Soundclips below provided by Amazon MP3


“Minor faults aside, STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI packs a decent punch and is likely to be better than you might have been expecting. ”

Review by Christopher Coleman

It has been a while since composer STEPHEN ENDELMAN has visited the action-genre, but he seems to be in a bit of an action-run at the moment. With last year's RED BELT and upcoming STREETS OF BLOOD, Endelman slides in his score for STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN LI. After the 1994 effort, STREET FIGHTER, starring the one and only Jean Claude Van Damme, I didn't think there'd be another attempt at movie-izing this classic game least not in this generation. Yet Capcom decided to let Hollywood give it another whack. With their release of STREET FIGHTER IV for the Xbox 360 in February 2009, if there was going to be another release of a Street Fighter film, that time would be the time. Unfortunately, the video game was given a much better reception by critics and fans than this film. It was at least an interesting effort to focus on the backstory of Chun-Li as opposed to Ken or Ryu and to try to give the film some measure of real-worldliness as opposed to the cartoonish 1994 edition. It's not called THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI for nothing, but in the process of learning about the popular female character, we also find out a bit about other famous STREET FIGHTER characters such as, the film's nemesis, Bison, his henchman, Balrog, and Vega. Perhaps 15 years later and a ton of lessons learned from unsuccessful game to film crossovers would make this attempt a marginal success at least. That was my hope, but alas, yet another game-to-film production falls into the pit of discard. However, we, lucky few, who dare to listen past the dialogue, might find some intriguing moments in the original score by STEPHEN ENDELMAN.

Like his work for RED BELT last year, STEPHEN ENDELMAN relies heavily on the various percussion to provide this score's backbone - but mostly the taiko drum. It pounds its way into just about every action-oriented track. We also find, with equal consistency, an employment of wood block pecussion; however, given the ultra-precision of the blocks, I do not believe this element was recorded live as the taiko were. The featuring of these two elements here certainly seems to indicate that the producers and/or Endelman were certainly influenced by Tan Dun's work for CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON and I personally can't help but think of MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA's more upbeat moments. Beyond this, Endelman goes on to layer in standard western instrumentation and also a number synthesized elements. The final result is a score that, again like RED BELT, is a fusion of eastern and western music. For this reason alone, STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI, is of great interest to me, as I have an affiinity for this specific blend; however, this effort isn't quite as successful as other recent entries in this sub-genre such as: THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM (David Buckley) or, more recently, DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION (Brian Tyler).

The first third of the soundtrack proves the most engaging. Launching with three action-pieces "Chun-Li Vs. Bison," "Chun-Li Captured," and "Bison Takes Over," I'm immediately locked in to what STEPHEN ENDELMAN is going for: a high-energy, contemporary score partially built on select Eastern musical instruments. Putting these tracks before "Opening Credits" (4) accomplishes the goal of grabbing the my attention, but there is at least one negative consequence to this. The soundtrack becomes top-heavy, not allowing things to buld to a musical peak at it's conclusion. Instead, there is a distinct lull in the final third. The tracks that make up this lull, 18-23, aren't bad in themselves, but simply don't offer up as much engaging music as the CD starts with. A quick re-ording of the track list and problem solved, but as it is presented, we hear the culmination of some of Endelman key thematic ideas right at the onset of the score rather than at its end. Another small gripe that I have is with the erhu. Now, I love the erhu and believe it is among the world's most beautiful of instruments, but, I could be wrong, but the erhu performance here certainly sounds synthesized...and proves to be a bit of a distraction for me. Given the importance of the erhu, representing Chun-Li and her family, and how it's employed at some of the more emotional portions of the film (see "Opening Credits," "Mom Dies," and "Leaving Home"), a live, acoustic performance of this instrument was in order.

Minor faults aside, STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI packs a decent punch and is likely to be better than you might have been expecting. Without a doubt, it's nice to hear STEPHEN ENDELMAN adding his touch to the genre. With a bit of creative playlist editing, this score easily offers a solid listening experience from 30 to 40 minutes. It's tragic that the film wasn't a bit better, because it's unlikely enough money was made to warrant any sequels. Of course, if by some strange fate, there is a sequel to come ("The Blanka Story" perhaps), then it wouldn't be a bad idea to have STEPHEN ENDELMAN drop in coin for another round of Street Fighter.

Rating: 6/10

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Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Chun-Li Vs. Bison 4:08  ****
2 Chun-Li Captured 1:42  ***
3 Bison Takes Over 2:57  ***
4 Opening Credits 2:41  ***
5 The Montage 3:17  ***
6 Arriving in Bangkok 1:23  ***
7 The Break In 1:43  ****
8 Mom Dies 1:18  ***
9 Gen is Reborn 1:54  **
10 Running to Vega 1:43  ***
11 Bison's Entrance 2:39  **
12 Gen Attacked 1:43  ***
13 Impress Me 2:33  ***
14 Following Balrog 1:06  ***
15 Leaving Home 1:02  ****
16 Bomb!!! 1:42  ***
17 The Escape 1:23  ****
18 Bathroom Fight 0:49  **
19 Vega Fight 1:15  **
20 Reunited with Father 2:17  **
21 Balrog Fight 2:02  **
22 Mother's Funeral 1:46  **
23 The White Rose 2:04  **
24 Chun Li's Training 2:23  ***
25 Bison's Meeting 1:40  **
26 Story of the Web 1:40  ***
27 Going Home 2:57  ***
  Total Running Time (approx) 54 minutes  





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