Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li DVD Review - -

Feature 5.0
Video 8.0
Audio 7.0
Special Features 1.0
Total 5.0
Distributor: Roadshow
Classification: M15+
Reviewer: Jamie Kirk


Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li

When Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li was first announced, long time fans of the beat ‘em up series felt a collective shudder down their spines. The first Street Fighter movie was a disaster on all counts, messing around with the video games established back story and being a generally atrocious film. Along with Super Mario Bros. it very quickly turned the video game adaptation into a joke, which it has never quite recovered itself from. After all that they wanted to do it again? The people behind the project swore they had learned from the mistakes of the previous peoples attempt, instead choosing to focus on the beloved Chun-Li. Still signs did not look good, early snippets of the story suggested a generic work, and casting announcements were puzzling. You mean that long haired dude from Black Eyed Peas is going to play Vega? One of the series most bad ass villains is going to be played by a guy who is partly responsible for the song “My Humps”? It’s not hard to see why fans were concerned. Then the film went straight to DVD and was not pre screened for critics, and it some begun to suspect another flop was on hands. Were these people right? Had Street Fighter been dragged through the mud again?

The answer isn’t that simple, for the most part Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li is a bland film that reeks of many lesser action movies of the past decade. But the other part, which is basically any part where Chris Klein is on screen, elevates the movie from bland to “Oh my god this film is awesomely bad, and as such I am entertained”.

The main story has been done a thousand times before, and nine hundred times better. It involves our hero Chun-Li (Smallville’s Kristin Kreuk) , who as a little girl studies the martial art form Wushu with her father, before he is violently extracted from their home by the evil M.Bison, who puts him to work for his crime syndicate. As Chun-Li grows older she begins a search for her father, eventually coming into contact with Gen, who teaches her to be a better fighter before she sets off to settle the score once and for all. This part of the movie is entirely bland, and features ridiculous lines such as “I had to become one... with the streets of Bangkok”. If the film was all this, it would be entirely forgettable and the review would be a lot shorter.

But where the film really gets good/bad, is when Klein’s Charlie Nash comes into play. Nash is a INTERPOL agent, chasing down Bison’s crime syndicate with the help of some Thai law enforcement agency. Klein destroys more scenery than all the fight scenes put together, as he swaggers around, squints at every possibility, spits ridiculous lines with all the conviction in the world, and shouts when everyone else is talking at a normal volume. Every minute Klein is on screen the film becomes five times more entertaining, as everything he does is so laughably captivating you can’t help but watch. His interaction with his possible romantic interest played by Moon Bloodgood is so brilliantly bad that it almost begs repeat watches.

Apart from that the film has a couple of fight scenes, that sway between inventive (such as the first one), to the bland (most of them) to the awful and noticeable wire-fu (almost all of Kreuk’s fight scenes). They are all competently staged, but there is nothing that really lifts them ahead of any other action film.

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li demands to be watched, even if you skip through all the stuff that actually involves Chun Li. Watching Klein play Charlie Nash is hilarious, and if forking out money for the DVD seems a little steep for that, then Youtube should at least be consulted, as there must be a compilation of clips somewhere. Apart from that Street Fighter has been hard done by again, a boring film with too little of the characters that most fans know and love (Ryu is relegated to a mere mention at the very end). Someday someone might get the formula right, but for now Street Fighter fans will just have to console themselves with the videogames.

There are no special features on the disc.


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