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Review: "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li"

In On Film on March 21, 2009 at 2:00 am

street_fighter_the_legend_of_chun_liStreet Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li

Starring: Kristin Kreuk, Neal McDonough, Michael Clark Duncan, Taboo, Robin Shou, Chris Klein, Moon Bloodgood

Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak

Writer: Justin Marks

It wasn’t that long ago that “Street Fighter” dominated everything.  The arcade games have always been something special, for sure.  After all, the first one used revolutionary (read: gimmicky) air buttons that would change the strength of an attack based on how hard you hit them.  The first take of “Street Fighter II” had people lined up at arcades for hours. Then, there was “Street Fighter II'(Dash)”, on the arcades and home consoles, and honestly if you’ve never played this, then CLOSE THE BROWSER RIGHT NOW.  You’re not really going to enjoy anything on this site, because you have no soul. But after that you had the Street Fighter Alpha series, Street Fighter 3: Third Strike, and then recently Street Fighter 4, which Derk really, really loves.

Anyways, there have been anime galore, animated movies, one Saturday morning cartoon that had some fairly low production values and the idea that Guile was leading an elite team of rag tag martial artists, and….well, I’m sure we all remember the last time “Street Fighter” became a movie.

Whoo boy.Whoo boy.

Point notwithstanding, the franchise has returned to the big screen with “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li”.  Kristen Kreuk from Smallville steps up this time, and she’s just the most adorable Chun Li ever!  Clark Kent must be proud.  She does a passable job, meaning she doesn’t suck, but with a script this bad I don’t think we’d really know if she had.  She’s trained by Gen, played by Robin Shou of Mortal Kombat fame.  We’re thrilled he’s tamed down the hair, but…Robin?  That ‘stache?  Just no.

Sex Magnet?Sex Magnet?

We’ve also got Chris Klein, who’s playing Charlie Nash.  Chris seems to think that Charlie is Jean Claude Van Damme (he must have watched the first Street Fighter by mistake), unfortunatly he looks like the bastard child of Jason Lee.  Oh, and he keeps moving, like he’s about to have a seizure.  Moon Bloodgood is there too, looking as hot as ever, so there’s some hope for the good guys.

The bad guys is where it gets confusing.  Michael Clark Duncan as Balrog?  Yeah, that’s a good choice.  Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas as Vega?  What??

All That Junk Inside That Trunk...All That Junk Inside That Trunk…

Fortunatly, he’s only in the flick for about 2 seconds, right before his obligatory “Oh my face” line and ass kicking from a girl who’s roughly 1/3 his size.

We then move on to the big bad of the film, M. Bison.  He’s…uh.  Well.  He’s Neal McDonough, in a business suit, wearing a goatee, and I think he’s British.  He’s also somehow transferred all that was good about him in to his daughter, don’t ask me how.  But his big plan is…a land scheme.

It Worked So Well For Lex Luthor...It Worked So Well For Lex Luthor…

So, yes, we do have a bizarrely cast team of heroes and villains unite to save the world rescue Chun Li’s father who was held captive by Bison so Bison could do…something with his daughter.  I really wasn’t clear on this, because by the time we got to that, I just didn’t give a shit anymore.  The fighting is pretty, I’ll give it that.  By far, leaps and bounds above the first one.  But really, this didn’t need to be called “Street Fighter”.  The only way you know they’re Street Fighter characters is because they tell you they are up front, there isn’t a single thing discernably seperating this from being a seperate movie.  There is, of course, an ending tease for  sequel (“Ryu…something.”) but can you really bring yourself to care about this one?  At least the 1994 flick had a “so bad, its good” quality to it, not to mention the presence of clearly defined characters from the franchise.

Oh, and Raul Julia.    That was an awesome casting decision.

Classy BisonClassy Bison

Final Grade: D

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