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Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
Reviewed by Matthew Bey, © 2009

Format: Movie
By:   Andrzej Bartkowiak and Capcom
Genre:   Video Game Kung Fu
Review Date:   March 17, 2009
Audience Rating:   PG-13
RevSF Rating:   3/10 (What Is This?)

I'm getting old. I remember when a certain Street Fighter movie starring a certain kickboxer from Brussels was considered the definitive cinematic adaptation of the Street Fighter arcade franchise.

But I guess there's no end to the dramatic possibilities when one explores the backstories of each Street Fighter in turn.

Or alternatively, you could write a completely random martial arts movie and give the characters names from the game and no one would ever know the difference. This appears to be the case with Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li.

This could be any poorly executed martial arts movie. The plot has huge logical holes, the fight scenes are short and dull, and like the previous Street Fighter movie, it underplays the primary appeal of Capcom's hit series: The special moves. If glowing fireballs and vibrating legs had been a part of every fight, this would have been watchable.

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li plays fast and loose with the Chun-Li backstory (not that anyone would care). We see Chun-Li go from a little girl with aspirations to the concert piano and wushu, to a crime-fighting vigilante in Bangkok. There's a revenge plot involving her father and Bison (without the initial 'M,' which I always assumed stood for "monsieur").

The only good thing I can say about this entire Chun Li is that Kristin Kreuk is overpowered for her role. A good number of scenes are just her tromping through exotic location shoots in her cute tomboy boots, which is actually pretty entertaining. In several scenes she convincingly portrays emotion, a feat of acting as out of place in this movie as a Faberge egg in an Easter basket. It's a shame that this movie had to happen to her career.

Now let's take a moment to single out the characters of Charlie Nash and Detective Maya Sunee (played by Chris Klein and Moon Bloodgood). Never has such cliched writing and hammy acting come together in such a perfect storm of terribleness. They're not even characters from the game, so there's no excuse for them to be in the movie at all. Chris Klein in particular seems like a six-year-old boy playing with Starsky and Hutch action figures. It's hard to convey just how horrible the scenes with Sunee and Nash are. Imagine an Ed Wood cop movie. Imagine the worst Youtube clip you've ever stopped after the first three seconds. These two are so horrible that they ruin the movie showing in the theater next door.

I would say that it's so bad it's good, but it isn't. It just isn't.

Which is a good summary for Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. The whole movie stays on the wrong side of mediocrity, without ever achieving an impressive height of incompetence.


Matthew Bey's special move is sonic gloom.

 
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