Screenwriter Justin Marks Explains Street Fighter Adaptation

August 11, 2008
Source: Newsarama

Street Fighter

We all saw those first few photos from Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li and saw how terrible they all looked. As bad as they were, it may be because Andrzej Bartkowiak is a piss poor director, not because Justin Marks' script for the film is bad. Marks is the sole screenwriter who wrote the script for this latest attempt at bringing Street Fighter to life on the big screen, but he's not as problematic as you may think. Marks was the same guy who wrote the masterpiece He-Man script and was referred to as "the most gainfully employed professional fanboy on the planet" - literally one of the best fan screenwriters working in Hollywood at the moment. And if that's not enough, Newsarama caught up with Marks recently, who briefly explained the back story behind his interest in the project.

"Well the guy who wrote it, Steven E. de Souza, was the writer on Die Hard, and directed it [the 1994 Street Fighter movie] too. I think it was just a function of what you see with movies like Batman and Robin opposed to Batman Begins, the creators of the former had a different Batman experience when they were young -- the 60's TV show, and now in the Nolen era, the influence are things like Millar's The Dark Knight Returns, and so that example is taken into the stratosphere. While I'm definitely not comparing Street Fighter to Batman Begins, I grew up with the Street Fighter games, and I don't see them as cheesy or funny, but as serious characters that deserve to be explored in their own right."

That explanation actually gives me some hope for the film. And his statement seems to fall right in line with the desires of Fox, considering this one is called The Legend of Chun-Li, which may mean we'll see The Legend of Ryu or even The Legend of Ibuki eventually as well. As I mentioned, the problem with this film seems to be with director Andrzej Bartkowiak, whose previous credits include Cradle 2 the Grave and Doom. I'm honestly worried that this will have a great script, courtesy of Marks, but poor direction, courtesy of Bartkowiak, and will be nothing exciting in the end. Too bad, because it had some potential. You can read more from Marks on the Hack/Slash film as well over at Newsarama.

Does Marks' statement about the seriousness of the characters instill any confidence in you?

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The director's cut of Doom had its moments but the ending sucked and the score sucked. Why call this new Street Fighter movie The Legend of Chun-Li? What is legendary about this character in the slightest.

Film-Book dot Com on Aug 11, 2008


if he wanted to delve into the seriousness of the characters then why not focus on Ryu and Ken over Chun-li? Ryu's Master was murdered by his own Brother Akuma/Gouki by using forbidden techniques from their style of martial arts. Now Akuma wants to corrupt Ryu who is starting to show signs like Akuma of seeking stronger opponents, while Ryu initially fights to become stronger, Akuma fights to win and won't hesitate to kill his opponents. Ryu wants to master his skill without being seduced by the dark side of it like Akuma, it's cliche' but it's also perfect for Hollywood and still close to home for gamers. Ryu's story sounds better than Chun-Li's in my Opinion.

The Delightful Deviant on Aug 11, 2008


It's funny how everyone now brings up the "Nolan era" or "The Dark Knight" when trying to talk about their movies to make it sound better. It reminds me of the Family Guy episode where Louis was running for Mayor and she just kept saying "9-11" to get people psyched.

Diego on Aug 11, 2008


NOOO! ;P dude youd think youd have more chances of succeeding with someone like Ryu instead of Chun-Li... this ones on my nay-list FOR SURE

Carlos on Aug 11, 2008


My Dudley would work your Ibuki, I'm just saying...

Fatal Error on Aug 11, 2008


Will suck. But worth a download. More seeds please.

ArnieForGovernor on Aug 11, 2008


I'd just wait and see what Bartkowiak does with 'Street'. If it was Christopher Nolan directing---there would be plenty of brown nosin' here!!! At least its good to know that this movie has a good chance at being better that the 1994 version.

Blue Silver on Aug 11, 2008


this movie desperately need a REALLY GOOD trailer to impress anyone, but I'm a fan of Kristin's so maybe I'll give it a shot.

andrew on Aug 11, 2008


If this movie were to flourish, then the incorporation of jesus may have to come into play. Let's be real, from what i recall from the videogames (which was, for the most part, made up of 50 percent of my adolescent leisure time), Chun-Li was quite meaty. Now, Kristen is type-frail and i just don't see her donning the role of this bad-ass fierce kicking character (regardless of how good of an actress she may be). This is definitely going to boil down to the special effects, for sure. And if i've got this right, weren't the SF anime's really dark and sinister in tone? That doesn't seem to be the case with Justin Mark's adaptation/rendition. I really concur with commentary numero dos on how they should have opted to create a RYU/KEN story line because there is more depth, it does appeal to a wider fanbase (or general masses for that matter, i don't know any hardcore Chun Li fans that will get out of their lazy-boy and shoot directly to the theater to get their live-action turbo-kick fix in - "YEP YEP YEP!!!"). Pardon the digression. With such a talented screenwriter a la Justin, i would hate to see his inception to hollywood be such a meager one. Of course, this allows him to gradually build up his rep as a visionary fanboy gone fantastically ferocious with the scripts and concepts... so maybe tinsel-town is intentionally giving him a simple project to work with to see how he can perform with this pressure to draw big bucks (i mean c'mon, this is the Street Fighter franchise, arguably the greatest 2-D fighting game - people expect a lot out of game/comic book adaptations, given their recent surge of success as of late). But hey, only time will reveal all of our doubts and naysays. Hopefully he (and this one helluva director) prove me otherwise from my current predictions.

BinYe East on Aug 11, 2008


everybody pray. Please don't F this up.

vu on Aug 11, 2008


Simply, if the focus is not on Ryu and Ken then this film is already F-ed up. But we're still going to watch it.

Matt Suhu on Aug 11, 2008


Lol I agree with Diego with the Family guy reference. Maybe this is sort of like DOA maybe they think a female lead makes for a better film (I don't know why)

Samuel on Aug 11, 2008


I think it's unanimous that the idea of Ryu as the focus - if not both Ryu and Ken - is best. Why does Hollywood continue to dodge the idea as if the story couldn't be interesting? The Street Fighter framework has the potential to be something truly epic. The angle among Ryu, Ken, Gouken, Akuma and Sagat can translate to something to the proportion of Ridley Scott's Gladiator. Just think, if they wanted to keep it realistic then Ryu's legendary "killing intent" can be treated as a sort of schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder as a result of his sensei Gouken's death. Flawed hero, baby. With events such as him scarring and almost killing Sagat the struggle with the curse (or in this case his mental illness) could be the theme. Yeah, I'm a damn Street Fighter nerd. And I'm very tired of American entertainment (don't forget the cartoon series, guys) raping one of my favorite franchises. Meh. I'm sure I'll still watch this dud which I'm sure will be atleast better than that last one... not saying much.

Frame on Aug 11, 2008


I am personally hoping the whole Chun-Li focus is to get a mildly successful movie in the franchise started, and then go into a big budget Ryu epic...that is my hope. Let's face it, even with the best script in the world, if they have a mediocre budget the movie most likely will suck. If they can make this movie moderately successful with fans and ticket sales than without a doubt we will see a much bigger budget Ryu movie. That being said it all depends on how much people will boycott this movie because it isn't about Ryu or Ken, how this movie is marketed, and how it is directed.

Kyle A. Koyote on Aug 11, 2008


i think this might actually be good. You guys said that brian robbins is a suck ass director but he brought us varsity blues. i think its big enough to kick twilight ass.

Drake on Aug 11, 2008


I would like to see how this to make alot of money in the box office but the film has to have a Chun Li storyline in the film so the sequel of Street fighter movie will focus on Ryu and Ken. Street Fighter:The Legend Of Chun Li would be alright to see but Hollywood also has the Tekken movie in post production and there might be a live action Virtua Fighter movie in the future. Thanks BRUCE ACOSTA

Bruce Darren Acosta on Aug 12, 2008


I don't have time for the bull shit, especially directors from hollywood that disrepect the world of Anime and Comic book realms and their original works and talents. As an Arcade player, and tournament player of nothing but fighting games I posted below the correct story line of Chun li "Zang" compiled by me. The following is a complete compilation incompasing the street fighter Z- (tv) series, Zero (Movie) Zero games, drama CD's (in Japanese) and the Cannon Manga from Udon licenced by Capcom. Hollywood get a life and cast directors that are gaming historians or at least passionate about creating a movie based on a game that is a CORRECT TRANSLATION. Kristen Kruek is not Fuckin Chinese!!!!!!!!! - Profile Image” Chun.Li pronounced in Mandarin as Chu-in Lee (3rd tone) & (3rd tone) is a female fighter from Capcom’s Street Fighter series. She wears a Qi Pao (Chi Pow) which is a traditional Chinese style dress from the Ching Dynasty the last growing dynasties in China; when the Manchu’s incorporated their style of dress. The Qi pao is traditionally a form fitting garment that hugs a woman’s bust line and thrusts the waist and hips into a presumed coke bottle shape. This is equivalent to the western style corset. However the Qi Pao that Chun.Li wears is heavily modified for the purposes of martial arts. The slits on the side are much higher than normal and she wears a white comma bun; this in western culture is a formal belt that a man wears for the purposes of a tuxedo. * Realistically it would be impossible for anyone to be acrobatic in a form fitting dress with a tight belt. Gymnastics requires proper breathing and movement so that tumbling and layouts are possible. She wears a traditional hair style known as Ox horns or Ox tails a hair style that divides the scalp into two for braiding. Two braids are made and then are wrapped around each other individually to make two consecutive braided buns. Over these buns is a fictional hair ornament or diadem that covers them with ribbon that streams from each. In reality we have a hair ornament similar that caps over buns, this is called a snood. Chun.Li wears to white pearls in each ear and wears brown opaque hosiery underneath her qi pao. On her feet she wears white string up combat boots that are shin length. Most important of all on both wrists of her hands she wears a spiked bracelet. “Historical Profile” Chun.Li first made her appearance in the Street Fighter scene in 1991 when fighting games where starting to become a huge beacon in the arcade gaming scene. What makes her so special is that women in video gaming universe were traditionally “damsels” in distress, captured girl friends, or background characters. Chun.Li’s appearance in video gaming as a key stand alone game character was a revolutionary move in the wave of gaming at the time. There have been others just like her, but few share an important caliber as Chun.Li. This is solely based on her fan popularity and her strong position within the Capcom storyline. As the main female protagonist of Street Fighter she would remain to be represented over and over within many Capcom fighting games to follow. Unlike many of the other fighters represented in Street Fighter Chun.Li relies more on her speed and her agility to overwhelm the player from her fast kicking and acrobatic abilities. However when looking at her under a critical lense, a “Chinese” female martial artist up to date has never been recorded to have legs as big as Tyco drums, nor possess the speed of Capcom’s signature of her: “Lighting Legs” Chun. Li’s utilizes Chinese martial arts as traditional system that was used in war known as Kung.Fu. Chun.Li’s art form is a Shaolin Style of Kung.Fu called: Wu Shu; but she also uses Tai Chi Chuan as well. Tai Chi is used for the well being and is known to promote health and longevity. Chi is the central bases to all of Chun.Li’s attacks. Most notable her “Kikoken” (Key-Ko-Ken) (Translation: Spirit Wave Blast) although Chun.Li’s arts are Chinese based, her attacks are all in Japanese. Ki is the Japanese equivalent to the Chinese concepts of Chi. both believe that the true control and source of power dwells within the pit of the dantian (Dan-Tea-An: Stomach) Chun.Li’s background theme in the majority of Capcom’s Street Fighter games is: “To your Heart with Passion” this tune is also noted or named as “Dragon Lady” Due to the lack of disk space and technology, I assume that during the year of 1991 Capcom could not utilize traditional Chinese instruments to play Chun.Li’s tune. However since this is a fighting game we are talking about it’s necessary to have background music match with the up beat-ness of the game. “Life Story” –So Far… Chun.Li’s story takes place notably during the years of her pre teens. She is young girl who wishes to travel the world and wants to be a famous tour guide. She Speak mandarin Chinese but never utilizes it in any of her travels. She is trained by her father in the Chinese traditional martial arts both Wu Shu and Tai Chi Chuan. Her father who was best friends with Gen’s close friend, Lee (Street Fighter 1987) both trained together and became long lasting buddies. Chun.Li’s father would continue to train her until the day of his abduction by Shadaloo organized crime syndicate. Chun.Li would then become aware of her dad’s activities as she would come to find out that her dad was a world class investigator and worked exclusively for Interpol’s Hong Kong sector. Chun.Li’s goals immediately changed and went to work towards becoming an agent herself but not until passing various exams and working for several employers eventually earning her right throughout the years to wield enough clout to set up an investigation to find the perpetrator behind her missing father. At one time she was a Jr. Police officer, then an actual officer. She became frustrated that her position put her at a disadvantage and prevented her from fulfilling her personal goal. So on her travels back to China she ran into Gen, and through a sparring match was able to gain some insight onto where Shadoloo’s operations usually take place. Upon thinking she discovering Shadowloo, what she found was that Shadowloo was funding a mad scientist by the name of Sadler to conduct experiments to gather various fighting data from fighters all over the world. Sadler would meet his end by the hands of Ryu whose fighting potential would be too powerful to be recorded thus over powering and abolishing Sadler’s biogenic ally enhanced body. From there Chun.Li recorded the data and used that info to locate Shadowloo’s main base. Upon her arrival, Chun.Li was awaited by Bison (Vega –Jap-) who bested her in battle and was sparred her life. Bison had noted that her stunt to parade into shadowloo and take him down alone was quite amusing to him. But he had threatened to kill her if she had ever got into his way again. Discouraged, Chun.Li reported back to Interpol with insufficient evidence to convict him and thus was denied rights to exercise anymore investigations to discover Bison. Infuriated, Chun.Li then made unauthorized calls to the US air force and created an alliance with Charlie (Nash –Jap-) and Guile. All three took their separate routes as they vowed to find Bison. Chun.Li who would once again become close to victory would fall short of the bar once more as her journey led her to find the truth behind Bison’s ulterior motives. Bison would work towards creating a perfect biologically engineered body to host his “Psycho Power” while genetically altering abducted fighters he scowered the world for. He utilized his psycho reconditioning ability to totally strip the identity of the person or persons into being an unconditionally loyal servant and body guard while he worked towards his utopia and presumed world conquest. Chun.Li who thought she had enough data to convict him was intercepted by Cammy White; Bison’s Psycho reconditioned Pet and body guard. In an attempt to stop Bison herself, she was not aware of Chun.Li’s motives and intentions, and detonated the base of shadowloo that hosted Bison’s Psycho drive and in the confusing mess Chun.Li was forced to evacuate the facility before it exploded. Chun.Li would then realize that this would be a long fight as she would work towards stopping Bison and criminals such as him from corrupting the world. Once again with insufficient evidence, Chun.Li took a break and worked on redefining her fighting abilities and skills, that is until she received an invitation to participate in the Street Fighter World Warrior 2 tournament. Suspecting that Bison is behind the creation of the tournament, Chun.Li would set off from work to finish what she had started. During her struggle she would encounter Cammy White once again but only this time interrogating her for her affiliation with Shadowloo and the assassination of the prime minister of England. Needless to say, by the near completing of the tournament, Bison would be assassinated by an unknown force, Akuma. (Gouki –Jap-) Thus Chun.Li’s quest to avenge her father’s death technically has never been successfully achieved. In the end, Chun.Li rounded up the rest remaining of Bison’s entourage and finish decimating the remains of the Shadowloo Empire; as she would be entitled for generations to come as the “legendary legs” that took down the organization. Chun.Li went back to becoming an investigator an in the process would go on to becoming a figure head for Interpol while taking on the responsibility becoming Interpol’s Trump Card. Several years later… Chun.Li would receive a message from her superiors that a kidnapping had taken place. She’s given the assignment to go find the missing girl and bring her back alive. Little investigating was needed because Interpol gave Chun.Li the invitation to attend the Street Fighter World Warrior Tournament 3. Within the invitation contained the information behind the child kidnapping. This years sponsors were not identified but based on information given by Chun.Li’s Superiors, a group known as the illuminati were the sole sponsors of the tournament. Believing that there could be a connection between the tournament sponsors and the kidnapping, Chun.Li set off to complete her next mission. It was later reviled that a mysterious man by the name of Urien presented himself and the whereabouts of the kidnapped child. He had made an offer that if Chun.Li could defeat him in battle then he would release the information as to where the child location was. Chun.Li bested Urien and is speculated that she too was the one to defeat the leader of the illuminati group conglomerate, named: Gill. Gill’s intentions were to use the girl for a biological experiment but of course did not attain his goal. After liberating the girl from the control of the illuminati group, Chun.Li then had an epiphany. She realized that the years she spent bent on revenge lusting over the death of her father is not what her father would have wanted her to become. She decided that it was time for a change and with that new change of action she adopted the girl that she rescued. In addition opened up a public martial arts academy bent on teaching the meaning of what it really means to fight. She would go to conclude that she will use her “fists” to create a better future.

The Goddess of the Anime & videogaming World on Sep 4, 2008


Interview with Justin Marks on Street Fighter backlash:

Alex on Jul 22, 2010

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