So, before this score can even be addressed, I think we all need to take a moment to acknowledge something: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is a feature film. So, the powers that be – with the rights to the legendary Capcom fighting game – took a look at the current cinematic climate and decided that rather than launching an epic-scale re-imagining of the iconic set of fighters, the best angle to take on remaking the 1994 Jean-Claude Van Damme flop was to tell the “legend” of Chun Li. I’m not quite sure where that thought came from, but they ran with it, attaching Doom director Andrzej Bartkowiak (who also helmed Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds – giving him both video game and martial arts film cred, I guess) and ordered up a script from first-time feature-length scribe Justin Marks. Needless to say, the film hasn’t been particularly well-received by critics or audience (opening to a meager $4.65 million and currently at a 0% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes). Imagine my surprise then when listening to Stephen Endelman’s score, to find a score not only worth listening to, but actually quite enjoyable.
Though Endelman has been around for some time, he’s not a composer I’m familiar with (highlights of his work include Ed, the recent Zak Penn mockumentary The Grand, and The Net 2.0 – not particularly memorable films). His work here on Street Fighter, though, shows why he’s continued to work and why eventually we should be seeing his name on higher profile projects. Sure this score has its downsides – many of the tracks are heavy on action and light on depth – but that’s to be expected considering that this is a videogame to film transfer – over a decade after the game has gone out of style. Endelman still manages to capture the exotic action of the game without teetering over into ridiculous cheese or overextended melodies and repetitive beats. The lonely violin on “Gen Is Reborn” provides a bit of contemplative emotion to a score otherwise overburdened with carrying action sequences forward. The themes in this track also carry forward into the highly expressive “Running To Vega” – a memorable track that achieves both action and emotion on equal levels and pop up again in “Impress Me.”
This isn’t a score that audiophiles will be looking for when scouring each other’s soundtrack collections – indeed, it’s no masterpiece, but it does offer plenty of excitement and electronic meets classical expressiveness (not to mention enough of a videogame sensibility to remind viewers of the game itself).Â Of the 27 tracks on the album, the average track comes out to around two and a half minutes, providing a nice balance between developing a sense of place and moving the aural story along.Â Endelman provides Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li with more of a heart than it deserves, with some of the action tracks feeling more involved that is to be expected from a movie of this caliber. There are lightweight tracks here (such as the repetitive “The Escape”) but Endelman’s real achievement is that the majority of his score is impressively developed – something that can’t necessarily be said for the film itself.
Zach Says: 7 (out of 10)
To purchase the soundtrack for Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, visit Amazon