Film Review - Street Fighter The Legend of Chun-Li
Starring - Kristin Kreuk, Chris Klein, Michael Clarke Duncan | Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak | 20th Century Fox DVD WS Unrated 97min 2009
Review By Joker
This is another stab at turning the popular video game series into a live action film and showcases popular Chun-Li character. Does this one strike out like the previous attempt? Read on to find out what this reviewer thinks - and I should warn you that I watched this film right after viewing Fox's terrible Dragonball Evolution film.
The film starts off with young Chun-Li learning martial arts from her father in their backyard. But her perfect life is shattered when Balrog a famed evil boxing street fighter and some hoods accompany Bison who has come calling for her father. Years pass, and Chun-Li is now a famed pianist at her dying mother's bedside. Meanwhile Bison has taken over all the crime areas in Bangkok and has had all his competition killed by his best assassin Vega. The murder and crime rates are high in the area, and Nash is on the case of the murdered crime lords. He knows that Bison and his Shadaloo Empire are behind the violent acts. Time passes and Chun-Li's mother dies. She is lost and looks at a scroll that was sent as a gift and starts a new life looking for answers, as Nash and his new partner Mia start an investigation into Bison. While living on the streets Chun-Li meets a man who informs her that her father is a hostage of Bison and tries to teach her how to fight without anger. As Nash and his fellow officers start to make a play against Bison, we find out his main goal it to drive up crime and buy the land and ghettos for cheap and build nicer better homes for the rich turning his cheap investment into a great profit. The street man works very hard on turning Chun-Li into an ultimate fighter. At a nightclub Chun-Li attacks one of Bison's main ladies and escapes just in time as Nash and Mia come crashing the party. Bison kills the lady for having a big mouth and calls in Vega to up his security. Chun-Li's street teacher is murdered by the Shadaloo for knowing too much, making it now a make or break fight for this confused young lady. She meets Vega in an ally, and the two fight, leaving her the clear-cut winner. But this also puts her on Bison's shit list. As he and his men bring her down, she becomes his hostage like her father (who is murdered in front of her by Bison). Nash and Mia are pulled from the case leaving them with lots of unanswered questions. Chun-Li escapes as Balrog and some goons hunt her down. However the people of the streets come to her aid and chase these bad guys off, and to her joy her street teacher was alive! Bison�s secret package is about to be delivered on the docks as Chun-Li gets the aid of Nash, Mia and her Teacher and together they want to bring down this crime lord. A gunfight breaks out between the good and bad guys as Chun-Li and her Teacher go after Bison and his package. Chun-Li figures out that the package is in fact not a weapon like they thought but Bison�s own daughter and his weakness - you see she holds his good in her body. Balrog is defeated and Chun-Li must avenge her father�s death by fighting him in his own backyard and of course uses all she learned to defeat this evil man. And leaves it wide open for a part two that will more than likely never come.
While this film was panned by critics and performed poorly at the box office, I can honestly say it was not as bad as I heard it was, and in a sick way I enjoyed it. Kristin Kreuk at first was really shaky as Chun-Li and was giving a pretty bad performance. But the more badass the character got, the better her performance became. The script is pure 90's action film with lots of kicking and punching and oh yeah, gun fire. The direction of the film is not bad, just silly because it's a video game turned into a movie that tries to take itself way too seriously. The fight scenes, while sped up and wired do have some great moments that make this feel like a solid action film. The bad things are that Bison is a joke. He is nothing more than a white guy in a business suit and a cheesy goatee, and Vega is built up as an ultimate ass kicker and is wasted by Li in quick fashion making their fight almost a waste. The soundtrack is also hit and miss with some great score work and some terrible hip-hop mixed in together. I didn't mind some of the updated looks to characters like Vega who had more of a dark look and not so flamboyant. Over all this film was a huge strike out at the box office but just might find a cult statues on home media, if people just sit back, relax and watch it for what it is - a popcorn flick with over the top action and a pretty woman kicking some evil ass. So go in with an open mind, and don't think about the classic video games. Just watch some mindless entertainment.
There are lots of extras on this two disc release that include the theatrical print of the film, commentary, deleted scenes, two featurettes, a sneak peek at Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Fox Movie Channel making a scene segment, trailers and an animated comic movie. The DVD cover is terrible and has the Dragonball Evolution feel and look to it - and that's not a good thing because that film smells of rotten tomatoes and Golden Turkeys.
If you're looking for a mindless action film with a hint of drama, then this is something you might want to watch. I wouldn't say it's worth a buy by any means, but it was worth a watch for sure. I say rent it or watch it on cable.
Also, I can't wait for a Rift Track on this film. It's a classic example of a Mystery Science Theatre 3000-worthy film.