Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
Director Andrzej Bartkowiak brings us yet another installment of the previously defunct Street Fighter franchise. There are reasons things fall out of fashion, Bartkowiak. Street Fighter was always horrible drivel, fed to people who like to eat garbage instead of soufflé. Now, instead of Jean-Claude Van Damme, we get a neo-Asian girl with limited fighting ability, zero acting ability and a supporting cast of ill equipped charlatan stunt men. Street Fighter used to be about the fighting. Apparently, now it’s about giving B grade TV stars their very own leading roles.
The movie begins with Chun-Li’s (Kristin Kreuk) father being kidnapped. As she gets older she becomes a concert pianist. She then receives a mystical scroll, and as cheap and hastily photoshopped as it may be, it still changes her life. After a lengthy and illogical scene of her slumming it on the streets, she finds the scroll writer. Chun-Li trains with him and then goes to kill the evil Bison (Neal McDonough) who kidnapped her father. She kills Bison. The end.
Amidst this revolutionary narrative is dialogue so bad you begin to wonder if the person next to you isn’t whispering it in your ear to make fun of your intelligence. The sprawling one liners would not be out of place in a cheesy 80’s cartoon series. Writer Justin Marks should be forced to have an operation that removes the section of his brain that controls motor functions so that we can guarantee that he will never write again. Either that or just staple gun him in his temple, like they do to cattle before they get ‘processed.’
The filming is nothing short of a heinous crime to cinema. The footage has been so lethally diced and spliced and hastily reassembled that basic continuity errors abound. One minute Chun Li is tied up, the next she is at the door escaping from Bison’s henchmen. Tolkien’s imagination wouldn’t be enough to fill in that blank.
And since this is a fighting movie about supposedly interesting characters, let’s take a moment to list each fighter’s special powers:
Bison – Punches Hard
Chun-Li – Spins around fast and produces a feeble Goku hand blast
Balrog – Strong
Vega – Wears a costume
Disappointed in these descriptions? They’re worse in the film.
And why is this movie rated PG-13? I hate movies that decide to be fun for the whole family. It ruins the fight scenes, stunts the language and in reality is no fun at all for anybody’s family. I held my breath more than once as they cut away from what may have been an awesome head butt or a potentially lethal knee to the groin. Bison’s cold killer assassin Vega (Taboo) is bashed into oblivion by Chun-Li. Pianist by day, brawling street fighter at night? This should have been a definitive battle in the movie, with blood and broken bones painting the screen with mayhem. Instead it was a side gimmick to make the film actually look like it came from the video game. There are no costumes besides the tin wolverine claws Vega wears. No costumes, no arena fighting and no T&A. So as entertainment goes, there wasn’t any.
In a more than desperate attempt to add some sexuality into the film they cast an actress called Moon Bloodgood as Det. Maya Sunee. You get to see her in a bra. Once. Her part for the rest of the film is to make out with Chris Klein and pretend that she has never acted in a porn movie before.
I don’t know how many producers Kristin Kreuk had to throw her body at before they decided to cast her as a leading lady, but I do know that her plan to take the leap from small screen to big screen has failed dismally. Then, as if the world couldn’t get any worse, they cast Chris Klein as a detective. He is the ugliest, most decrepit actor ever to besmirch our screens. I have one thing to say to you Chris - the new Nicholas Cage receding hairline mullet is not for you. Somewhere in Hollywood there is a hairdresser who should refund your money. That look did not improve your acting.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is a sad addition to the game’s legacy. The exhausted narrative was spent after the first scene. The witless director flip-flops around the point and at the last second delivers a movie that had already died in the womb. The only people who should watch such a stain on cinematic history are the parents and grandparents of the cast, and even they should demand some payment for their wasted time.
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