"Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li"
Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak.
Written by Justin Marks.
Starring Kristin Kreuk, Neal McDonough, Chris Klein and Michael
Release Year: 2009
Review Date: 3/1/09
I knew it was going to be dogshit, but I
just had to know for myself: would the new "Street Fighter: The
Legend of Chun-Li" be better or worse than the Jean-Claude Van Damme
"Street Fighter" movie from all those years ago?
The answer--NOTHING will be worse than the
JCVD version, but "Legend of Chun-Li" is pretty fucking terrible.
Background: I played a lot of "Street
Fighter" growing up. My favorite character? Chun-Li.
She was quick, had easy controls like the rapid-fire kick move, the
helicopter kick move, a sweet leg sweep, and she could bounce off of
the imaginary boundary walls to launch another kick attack.
But, like all of the characters in the "Street Fighter" games, I
didn't know her from Adam. There is no real backstory for
those games (I'm sure a hardcore fan would argue this, but let's be
real--it was insert quarter, pick picture of character, start
round) and that is what always hurts things like fighting games
when it comes to movies--what will the plot be when there was no
plot to begin with?
In "Legend of Chun-Li", the plot is actually
worse than the JCVD movie; in learning about the upbringing of
Chun-Li (played with little or no bite by Kristin Kreuk, from the "Smallville"
TV show), we get to see why she is supposed to be so angry, how she
learned to fight first from her father, then from a mysterious
resistance fighter named Gen (Robin Shou, the vet of literally three
other video game-to-film adaptations), and her fight against evil
crime lord M. Bison (Neal McDonough) and his henchman, a former
boxer named Balrog (Michael Clarke Duncan). This would have
been fine, except that a decision was made to include a parallel
plot featuring a dirty-looking American Interpol agent named Charlie
Nash (Chris Klein) and a Bangkok gangland inspector named Maya Sunee
(Moon Bloodgood) who are also tracking Bison, but get nowhere until
Chun-Li shows up in Bangkok.
I'll give the film a little credit for
having some of the actors not totally trying to deep-six this
production. But, here are some of the problems with this film:
Kreuk is not hot, not a good actress,
not a particularly physically-gifted actor/fighter, and lacks
any legitimate charisma. In other words, bankable sequel
star, she is not.
M. Bison, in the games, is not a
businessman who fights on the side. He's essentially the
series bad guy, and he has moves that make you think he's got
magic powers and shit. In this movie, he's basically Hans
from "Die Hard", but he throws a bigger punch in the movie's end
fight scene with Chun-Li.
Klein is such a bad actor that you will
feel sorry for him--legitimately hurt inside for him--during his
The fight scenes in this movie aren't
great. And, stupidly, the movie usually features a fighter
The film's director has directed--and,
no, I'm not kidding--"Cradle
2 the Grave",
This resume got him the "Street Fighter" film, so clearly, the
goal was to make a total piece of fucking shit.
Rating: Hard Vice
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard