STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI
* (out of 5)
February 27, 2009
Kristin Kreuk as CHUN-LI
Chris Klein as CHARLIE NASH
Neal McDonough as BISON
Robin Shou as GEN
Moon Bloodgood as DET. MAYA SUNEE
Josi Ho as CATANA
Michael Clarke Duncan as BALROG
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Andrzej Bartkowiak
BY KEVIN CARR
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Every now and then, a film comes along that is so impressive that it redefines the moviegoing experience. “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li” is not one of those film.
I’m not sure if this film was meant to reboot the failed franchise from the mid-1990s, or if it was just supposed to be a one-shot deal. There’s a certain degree of fanboy love that comes with this movie, considering the popularity of the “Street Fighter” video game and the prominence of the title character.
However, Hollywood doesn’t have a very good reputation for its video game adaptations. With the exception of the “Resident Evil” series or “Mortal Kombat,” I don’t recall any of the video game movies to be very well received by anyone. Some, like “D.O.A.: Dead or Alive” or “Doom,” have been guilty pleasures but hardly great films. And when you get outside of the studio system, you have Uwe Boll churning out terrible video game adaptation after terrible video game adaptation.
“Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li” may have been made under the watchful eye of 20th Century Fox, but it belongs in the level of riffraff of all the other bad video game adaptations.
It’s bad. It’s really bad. It’s Uwe Boll bad.
The story focuses on the character of Chun-Li (Kristin Kreuk), a privileged girl who is in training to be a concert pianist. However, her father is kidnapped by a crime lord named Bison (Neal McDonough) who needs him for… something that really isn’t explained. But trust me, the movie thinks this is important. During the kidnapping, Bison’s thug Balrog (Michael Clarke Duncan) punches Chun-Li’s mother, which apparently gives her cancer.
Are you following this? Neither did I, and I sat through the movie.
Chun-Li grows up and eventually leaves her life behind to track down the only group of people that can help her take down Bison. She finally meets up with Gen (Robin Shou), an Obi-Wannabe who trains her how to fight. With these new skills, Chun-Li is able to track down Bison. Meanwhile, an INTERPOL cop (Chris Klein) and a Bangkok detective (Moon Bloodgood) are also trying to track down Bison, whom some believe to be a myth.
See… nothing in this film makes sense. If you really want your brain to hurt, visit the movie’s Wikipedia page to read the full synopsis. It is completely ridiculous, and it makes no sense.
The writing of this film is so disjointed and random that it defies explanation. The dialogue is terrible, delivered by terrible actors in the style of a poorly dubbed Hong Kong action flick. If you thought that Neal McDonough’s acting is bad in this season of “Desperate Housewives,” you’ll think he’s a thespian compared to his delivery in “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.”
To show how poorly constructed his character is, Bison is said to have been a child of Irish immigrants to Bangkok. However, when he was a baby, his parent were killed and he fell into the life of an orphaned street child. First of all, when they show the baby, it’s an Asian child. However, he grows up to be blonde-haired, blue-eyed Neal McDonough. Even more ridiculous is that McDonough portrays him as having an Irish accent. But if you grew up in the slums of Bangkok, you’d end up with a local accent. Did no one tell McDonough or the director that Irish accents aren’t hereditary.
Chris Klein as the INTERPOL cop seems to channel Keanu Reeve’s worst roles with an overly cool and completely moronic delivery. It’s not a surprise this kid dropped off the acting scene after his groundbreaking role in “American Pie.” Acting opposite him is Moon Bloodgood, who is easy on the eyes, but can’t act any more than her co-stars.
“Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li” was not screened for critics, and it goes a long way to prove the rule that Hollywood is trying to hide something when they don’t let anyone see the film in advance.