Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li Reviews
Disappointing movie but not too bad either. On the whole, the movie doesn't quite work. It has some good ideas and an interesting story, but it really doesn't handle them properly. For every strong moment the film has, there is a weak one to bring things down again, and of course there's an open ending, though if they actually make a sequel to this I'll be amazed. I likely won't be the first in line to see it, though. I probably won't see the movie again, either... well, not in the theater, anyway. If you like solid electronic dances tunes, the soundtrack may be worth your while. The movie, on the other hand, won't really entertain general audiences, and I imagine fans of the games will be pretty divided on it.
Chun-Li lives a calm life with her father, when one day, the local mobster Bison kidnaps her father. After her mother's death, she embarks into a quest to rescue her kidnapped father from the clutches of powerful criminal lord Bison.
The police officers who were investigating Bison were unnecessary additions, but Moon Bloodgood is such a gorgeous woman that I can't complain too much about their presence. Her character and Balrog were the only two people that I liked in the entire movie. I know that these actors could have found projects that were more worthwhile, so why did they even agree to do this?
The plot is unsurprisingly bad. All the scenes of Chun Li wandering around Bangkok (looking very pretty and clean for someone who was supposedly living on the streets) and talking about how she had completely forgotten who she was were just priceless. And I never really understood why she was the only one who could defeat Bison, but whatever. It just seemed like there wasn't anyone involved in the creation of this movie that even had a passing familiarity with how to tell a story. And the fight scenes...how did they manage to be even more boring than the rest of the movie?
This was just a poor effort all-around. It basically just ignored all of the things that make Street Fighter a popular franchise. As short as it was, it still felt much too long.
Kristen Kreuk managed to turn in the least sexy fighting heroine ever. She managed to make possibly the lamest all-girl dance scene ever committed to film. The fighting scenes are not that bad, though they do have some confusing stunts. It is based on the popular fighting game.
Chun-Li (Kristin Kreuk) is trained to be a master pianist and also a master martial arts warrior. You don't realize the kinds of dangers classical pianists constantly run into. Her father is kidnapped by the crime lord Bison (Neal McDonough) for some reason or other. Three years later, a mysterious scroll falls into her possession. She travels to Bangkok to find her father. Bison has the ingenious plan of buying waterfront property, introduce high levels of crime, and then making money on lowered property values, which is simultaneously confusing and stupid. Bison has a few evil henchmen, notably the giant boxer Balrog (Michael Clarke Duncan) and the masked warrior Vega (Taboo from the Black Eye Peas), who help wipe out his criminal competition. In Bangkok, Chun-Li is mentored by Gen (Robin Shou, who played Liu Kang in two Mortal Kombat movies) and together they attempt to thwart Bison and his dastardly real estate scheme.
For a movie about streets and fighting, well there's a clear shortage of the latter. Much of the movie is structured around Chun-Li conducting her own private investigation and achieving some level of inner peace. She decides to try and make it on the streets of Bangkok. There are forgettable training exercises with forgettable platitudes disguised as wisdom ("You're hurting me," "No, you're hurting yourself"). There are a handful of lackluster fights and chases, some of them through streets even, but the movie has a scarce amount of action until it revs up for a climactic showdown. The action is also poorly shot and poorly edited, distracting the senses and making it downright impossible to understand. The choreography is nothing special. When the movie suddenly introduces a supernatural element the other characters don't even bat an eye. Screenwriting neophyte Justin Marks has too much revenge-seeking father drama and real estate scheming and not enough brawling. The Legend of Chun-Li has zero respect for the intelligence of its audience. It has flashbacks to flashbacks that just aired minutes earlier. How hard would it have been to just actually base a Street Fighter movie on a fighting tournament?
Director Andrzej Bartkowiak (Doom, Romeo Must Die) shoots the movie in such a dull manner that the fight sequences fail to even elicit any interest. There's one scene in the middle of the film that serves as a testament to the lack of care put into this movie. Chun-Li has battled a Bison henchwoman in a women's bathroom. The bathroom set design includes partition walls with portholes. Chun-Li is on one side and the henchwoman tries to punch her through the porthole. Chun-Li grabs the woman's arm and squeezes. The camera angle is from the side of the actresses, so it would make the most sense to have the henchwoman's right arm caught, that way her expression could be seen. Nope. Chun-Li is gripping the woman's left arm, meaning that her raised arm and shoulder block any view of the woman's face, and yet she talks through this scene. How difficult would it have been to just switch arms? Why purposely obscure an actor's face, especially in a scene that doesn't require a stunt double?
Here's a curious item. Chun-Li has always been a full-blooded Chinese woman in the history of the video game. When we see her as a child, baby Chun-Li and child Chun-Li are very obviously Chinese in features. Flash forward a few years and she's transformed into looking like Kreuk, who is half-Chinese. Apparently, one of the less common side effects of trauma is becoming less Chinese looking as you age. Along these same strange ethnic lines, we're told that Bison was the child of Irish missionaries and was left behind in Bangkok. And yet, the child grown up completely in Southeast Asia manages to sport an Irish accent. Anybody want to explain that particular linguistic loophole?
Kreuk (TV's Smallville) is one of the film's biggest handicaps. The script saddles her with great amounts of pointless voice over, to the point that half of her performance is listlessly explaining what is literally happening on screen. Kreuk is a dead-eyed robot in this movie; she displays some glimpses of human emotion, like sadness and rage, but they never feel remotely credible, like someone who only knows the definitions of emotions and not proper application. Her lesbian seduction dance is a small moment of absurdity. She thrashes on the dance floor and her "dancing" reminded me more of a bird's mating dance without the excessive plumage displaying. Kreuk can run and flex well enough, which is also a nice benefit for a martial arts action flick.
The acting is terrible but there is one bright spot in a most unexpected location. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the best worst performance of the year, brought to you by Chris Klein (American Pie). Klein plays Interpol agent Charlie Nash who is conducting a parallel investigation into Bison's Bangkok activities. He's partnered up with a local gangland homicide detective (Moon Bloodgood) who takes extra care to showcase her cleavage thanks to work outfits with plunging necklines. Klein is awful to a powerful degree but here's the thing -- I'm fairly certain it's one hundred percent intentional. Being a conosoire of trashy cinema, I feel that I've adopted the skill of being able to deduce when an actor is hopelessly serious or just goofing off. Klein comes across like a self-aware man; he knows this is a crummy movie with crummy dialogue, so he's going to have as much fun as possible. His performance is all forced swagger, from the way he constantly swivels his head to the way he cannot purposely walk in a straight line. He overemphasizes lines, chewing over the faux hardboiled detective talk and spitting it out in a singsong delivery. He grimaces and furrows his brow, widens his eyes to comical levels, and when he crouches in a gunfight the man spreads his legs as far apart so that he looks like he could have effectively doubled as a backup dancer in an MC Hammer music video. It's obvious that Klein has given a staggering performance, but the observant will note that this is not an inept performance. This man knows exactly the kind of movie he's in. I always tabbed Klein as a wooden actor that came across like Diet Keanu Reeves, but I must credit him for making a bold acting choice to knowingly dig deeper when it comes to being bad.
Readers know that I am skeptical and dismissive about the prospect of a good movie ever being born from a video game adaptation. Games call for interactivity and movies passivity. But if you're going to make a movie called Street Fighter than stick to the script. This borefest wants to be a gangland drama with a tacked-on buddy cop side plot. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is an awful work partially redeemed from the sheer amount of unintentional hilarity. Kreuk is extremely miscast as a warrior woman. The acting is bad, the direction is bad, the writing is bad, and Chris Klein tries to outdo them all in badness, and I admire the chap for trying something different in an admittedly abysmal movie. To be fair, I was never a big fan of the original video game. The special moves always seemed much more tricky to pull off. How many different incarnations of Street Fighter II were there before they eventually mastered basic math and released Street Fighter III? These are the things I was thinking about wistfully whenever Klein or Bloodgood's cleavage wasn't on screen.
Other than that, Robin Shou, Neal McDonough and Duncan were impressive, they brought the credibility and style to the movie, and it severely lacked a lot... Bartkowiack has made a couple good action films,but seriously, wire fu isn't great... and considering this was a 20th Century Fox film, how did they get away with the action scenes?? It reeks of timidness and maybe he should have got stars and a team willing to go the hard yards with this movie, because in my honest opinion, it showed great promise. But if you are thinking this is a movie about Street Fighting, like Never Back Down or some other silly BS, think again. Street Fighter is an international concept, something that is much bigger than the name suggests... hence the large plot and back story of the main characters.
Anyways... a sequel is mentioned at the end, which outlines the idea of a tournament... i they ever decide to continue it, they need a full Hong Kong action crew to work it, stars who are fearless and a Director who can bring action movies to life. these days for the movies, everything must be bigger and better, and the problem is, this movie is using outdated concepts, style and techniques which are redundant now.
Honestly, Fox should sell the rights to Lionsgate, it would have done much better.
The acting is poor, the fights are basic and tame and its boring all the way, the main thing that hits you is how unoriginal it is, there is nothing here that stands out in any way and you only get five SF2 characters...Bison, Chun Li, Vega, Balrog and Gen.
Also the films ends with the hint of sequels.....not good.
First, ALL film students need to watch this for a perfect example of atrocious acting... courtesy of Chris Klein. He was over-acting, and forcing facial expressions that were far below amateur. He delivered his ridiculously scripted one-liners with such uninspiring cheese that it literally reminded me of an elementary school play. His performance was appalling... it was a complete abomination to the fine craft of acting. He should stick to playing the sweet sensitive, yet hopelessly stupid high school hearth-throb, and leave the more serious roles to...well, anybody!
I played the Street Fighter games as a kid, so I had a knowledge of all the characters beforehand. But I feel sorry for those who don't know any history on the characters because the director quickly inserts them into the storyline with no elaboration. Character development is non-existent.
Not only were the characters under-developed, but many were widely unused. The coolest character in the whole film (and game) was Vega... and he received a whole 2 minutes of air time. That was a HUGE error by the director.
The storyline was incoherent, unintelligent, and unfathomable. The special effects were cheesy, the direction was awful, the acting was piss-poor, and even the fight scenes were a little ridiculous most of the time.
The only reason this film gets a full star is because Neal McDonough makes a formidable bad guy as Bison, Michael Clarke Duncan was cool as Balrog, and Moon Bloodgood is smoking hot.
Rather than talk about this movie, don't worry, its terrible and bears little resemblance of the game, actually managing to be worse than the Van Damme version, which was good campy fun, I think special notice should go out to Chris Klein.
Klein plays Charlie Nash, an interpol agent working to stop Bison. Klein somehow manages to take bad acting to a new level. He approaches levels that seem like a dare in terms of how bad he can be in a movie.
Its funny, because I was just watching him in Election the other day, where he is quite good and oh, how bad things must have gotten for him. Everything he does, his dialog deliver, his posture, his reactions are all hilariously terrible. Its simply amazing.
Oh, and again, this movie sucks.
Det. Maya Sunee: So... where do we start?
Charlie Nash: You don't want a ticket to this dance, Detective.
Det. Maya Sunee: You've never even seen me dance.
In the PG-13-rated Street Fighter, a female martial arts fighter (Kreuk) embarks on a quest for justice in Bangkok.
Scenery gets chewed, butts get kicked, and the whole she-bang comes to a predictable conclusion. This would all count as acceptable entertainment were Andrzej Bartkowiak?s execution not so shoddy. For the most part, the actors (save for Kreuk, who struggles to make more out of the weak material) snarl their way through every line of formulaic dialogue. Some action sequences are shot such that moviegoers cannot tell what the hell is going on. And worst, the ending baits a sequel?or another video game?-the reference is THAT vague.
Bottom line: Game over.