In 1994 Street fighter made its first failed attempt to be a successful movie franchise, with JeanClaude Vandamme as Guile (the Hero of the movie) and the late Raul Julia as Bison. The result was a 90 minutes of pure cheese and fail.
15 years later, Street Fighter is back to the big screen with Street Fighter: The legend of Chun-li, written by Justin Marks and directed by Andrzej Bartkowjak.
Instead of focusing on a large group of characters, the movie makers took the good step towards focusing on one main character, in this Case Chun-li, to presumably tell a cohesive good story.
The Story: The story focuses on Chun-li played by Kristen Kreuk, a young pianist (Say WHAT?) who witnessed her dad been kidnapped by the evil bison (Neal Mcdonhough) and his right hand man Balrog(Michael Clark Duncan) in front of her eyes. Fueled by anger and sadness, the young detecti… I mean concert pianist, sets on a journey driven by revenge.
In her quest to find Bison, the evil leader of the Shadaloo Investement Corporation, she meets Gen, a middle aged homeless looking martial artist, played by Robin Shou. Gen is the leader of the mysterious clan of the Web (whatever that is). Gen also happened to have been part of Shadaloo at one point of his early life, and grew up with bison. According to Gen, bison was a sick poor kid who no one took care of. When he became a young man, Bison married a lady, made her pregnant and then took her to the “Dark” caves where he pulled his unborn daughter from his wife belly button or something, killing his wife, and then putting all his good side into his daughter. Gen also adds that bison had to do this to lose consciousness (I swear I am not sh!tting you guys).
Gen reveals to Chun-li that her dad is still alive, because he is an important business man who has connections, and Bison needs those connections. He then proceeds to train her so she can free her dad.
Charlie Nash is also introduced during the movie, played by Chris Klein, who is an Interpol agent who has been trying to catch bison for years, and that is it for Nash.
After training hard, watching her dad been killed in front of her eyes, and beating Vega in 1 minute (like Akuma with the Shun Goku Satsu) Chun-li is now ready to defeat bison who is expecting an important shipment, that happens to be his daughter Rose (yes rose from the game although she is 13 years old in this movie) since he missed her and want her to be close to daddy. But that would not stop Chun-li from being a bitch and looking at rose in her eyes then twisting bison’s head 180 degrees in front of his daughter. (what a wrong message to give to the audience)
Chun-li now at peace because she killed a guy in front of his daughter, decides to do good and join an organization where she can help people. And no she does not join the Interpol or the police to become the detective we know and love, she instead joins the Clan of the Web!
The movie then ends with cliffhanger of some sort, when Gen tells chun-li that there is a street fighter tournament coming out and that he heard about a Japanese fighter named “rahhh you” that he wants to recruit in his mysterious Clan of the Web (ahahaha sorry I couldn’t resist the laughter)
The story of this movie started decent, and then turned horrible, in fact it is so bad, it just hurts me to remember it. Chun-li being a pianist was a retarded idea, Bison’s origin was a funny joke, Charlie does not add anything to the movie, in fact you can remove the Charlie scenes and the movie will still make the same sort of twisted sense it makes now. All in all, a very, VERY bad story.
Acting: This is the fun part to review. With the exception of Kristen Kreuk as Chun-li and Neal as Bison, the acting in this movie deserves a nomination for worst acting of the year. Especially Chris Klein. Whenever Chris entered a scene, the audience would burst into laughter, everytime he tries to be a serious looking cop he just look ridiculous and a retard. If they removed Chris Klein from the movie and replaced him with an audio tape player, so whenever they have to show Nash they just show the player playing charlie’s lines, the tape player would have done a better job than Chris Klein. Clark Michael Duncan as balrog was a good cast in terms of resemblance to the character, but unfortunately Michael Duncan did his worst acting in this movie. Taboo as Vega was also the wrong cast for the character, but had such a short scene that I won’t bother reviewing.
Directing: The legend of Chunli is directed by Andrzej Bartkowjak, the same person who directed Speed (1994) and Lethal Weapon 4. Unfortunately he does not do more than a half decent Job. The fading from scene to scene used in this movie is reminiscent of old 90’s horror movies. Too many scenes cutting. For example, we see balrog firing a rocket launcher, cut to explosion, cut to Balrog laughing. I do blame the studio and low budget for things like that, but still not a good directing trick. The fight scenes are also a problem here, the wirework is very obvious, and the director does not do much to hide it.
Special Effects: Chun-li Does a Kikoken in this movie, however the Special effects looked very cheap and even worse that a Sci-Fi channel tv Movie. The explosions and energy ball also look very Cheap.
Action: What is a street fighter movie without a lot of good action? The answer is the legend of Chun-li. The movie lacks big time on the fighting side, and even with the few fighting scenes, they are either too damn short (Chun vs Vega) or obvious bad looking wirework (chun vs thugs) The movie even gets so boring towards the last half for the lack of fist to fist combats.
Sound: The only good element of the movie was the soundtrack of the Legend of Chun-li. While it does not have any resemblance to the Game soundtrack, the Street Fighter Legend of Chun-li Music and sound effects are well done, especially the main theme of the Movie.
Resemblance to the Game characters: This is a Street Fighter based movie, so it is only logical to compare how the characters look in the movie compared to their game counterparts:
Chun-li does not wear her trademark outfit and does not physically resemble Chun-li although she does wear blue and show in hair buns in one scene: Draw
Bison wears a white then a black suit, and I mean a business suit: Fail
Balrog uses mostly guns but physically looks somewhat like the Balrog we know: Draw
Vega wears a HUGE, man HUGE mask and freddy Kruger looking claws, and also wears a black infiltration suit, he also does not look like vega at all, and hides his face not to protect his beauty but to hide his ugliness: FAIL
Nash is an Interpol agent instead of an army man, he doesn’t wera glasses, he is not blod, and he sucks big time in this movie by acting like a fool jerk = FAIL
Gen is not an old man in the movie, nor is he Chun-li’s dad friend, he looks like a middle aged Lui kang from Mortal Kombat = FAIL
Rose is a kid and she is Bison’s daughter, she also wears pajamas = SUPREME FAIL
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-li is with no doubt a huge disappointment to all of us Street Fighter fans who waited 15 years to get a second attempt to do a Street Fighter movie. The movie is very bad, maybe not as bad as some people are making it, but still very bad. The story is horrible and does not make sense, nor follow the game’s storyline. The acting is horrible and Chris Klein does shine as the worst actor of the decade. Special effects and fight scenes are very cheap looking and do not deserve to be in a Motion Picture. All in all, this movie fails in being the start of a new Film franchise, and we probably have to wait another 15 years for a third attempt if ever.
Final Score: 4/10