2009 Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak
Written by Justin Marks
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li is a terrible film. And no one was expecting much from a Street Fighter film. I don’t know how the film got so bad. So many things were done wrong. The bad part is I know what kind of film they were trying to do, what kind of hero they were trying to make Chun Li, and what they were trying to do with the cops. They managed to fail on all fronts, which takes an exceptional amount of fail. The one thing this did accomplish was to make all other versions of Street Fighter look so much better. Future Cops should now get an Oscar, Street Fighter with Raul Julia should be on AFI’s top 100 films of all time list.
The best part of the film is Chris Klein, who knows exactly what kind of film this was and delivered exactly the kind of performance it needed. Too bad everyone else involved was completely oblivious. Chun Li narrates most of the film, but half of the time Krinstin Kreuk sounds like she is half smirking while reading, even the more serious stuff. It is odd.
The original Street Fighter film is a tour de force of awesomeness. We got Jean-Claude Van Damme kicking butt while Raul Julia is far to awesome to be in such a film and knows it, owning the role like no one ever will again. Originally, people thought this was to be a direct sequel, but they failed to understand prequel rage. Studios are prequel crazy, giving prequels to everything that ever existed. This is combined with remake rage, the other thing the studios are doing to ensure original ideas never make it to the local theater. Thus, we get a prequel remake that starts its own continuity, sort of like Star Trek except there is no Old Guile.
I don’t give a frak about the video game plot, because plots for tournament fighting video games are paper thin to begin with. But I think there is one and I doubt this followed it.
Chun-Li (Kristin Kreuk) – Chun-Li is just your average girl whose father does illegal mob accounting and taught her wushu, then was kidnapped by gangsters and she became a kung fu piano player who must avenge her father’s death.
Agent Charlie Nash (Chris Klein) – Agent Charlie Nash is with Interpol and investigates all the Shadaloo stuff that everyone says is a myth. But that doesn’t matter, all you need to know is that Chris Klein is awesome in this movie. He took one look at the script and decided to overact like his life depended on it. And thus, became the only good part of the movie! We salute Chris Klein.
Bison (Neal McDonough) – Remember when Raul Julia was awesome as Bison in the other Street Fighter movie? Well, enough of that, as this flick goes all 1980s and has Bison be a businessman. In a suit. Boooooring. Bison is known as Vega in Japan
Gen (Robin Shou) – Gen is Obi-Wan Kenobi, and heads up a secret society of beggers who recognize each other via spider tatoos. Gen teaches Chun Li everything he knows. Then he dies. Then he doesn’t die.
Detective Maya Sunee (Moon Bloodgood) – Detective Maya Sunee gets paired up with Charlie Nash, who spends the entire film trying to hit on her. She eventually gets thrown off the case by the corrupt government, but gets back on it because she won’t let a huge business destroy a neighborhood via illegal means.
Balrog (Michael Clarke Duncan) – Balrog is a big dude who punches people and collects paychecks from Bison. He also threatens people. That’s about it for characterization. Balrog is known as Bison in Japan
Vega (Taboo) – Vega is some dude with a hockey mask and Wolverine blades who is hired by Bison to kill people, including Chun-Li, but he fails on that last one. Vega is known as Balrog in Japan.
[adrotate banner=”1″]UPDATE! Read the review of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li here!!!! Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is the next Street Fighter movie, but unlike the 1992 classic with Raul Julia or the Hong Kong classic Future Cops, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li looks to be doomed to being the bastard child of the Street Fighter franchise. How in the world does that happen? Who knows! Studio execs can be pretty stupid. Early reviews have called it anything from “horrible” to “the worst movie ever made and now I must gouge out my eyes and ears” Kristin Kreuk has been called one of the few good things in there, while the focus of rage seems to be on Chris Klein’s acting. Robin Shou also seems to have had all his lines dubbed. I doubt we will get any classic lines about channel changing or Tuesday, but will instead get uninspired garbage.
Chun-Li’s spinning bird kick in there but is getting rage directed at it as well. People seem to think it isn’t executed well. But at least she shoots fireballs. That’s what I want in a movie. Fireballs.
Of course, we have to deal with the fact that several characters have different names in Japan than the US, so the cast list will look slightly off…
Kristin Kreuk … Chun-Li
Chris Klein … Charlie Nash
Neal McDonough … Bison (Vega in Japan)
Robin Shou … Gen
Moon Bloodgood … Det. Maya Sunee
Josie Ho … Cantana
Taboo … Vega (Balrog in Japan)
Michael Clarke Duncan … Balrog (Bison in Japan)
Pei-pei Cheng … Zhilan
[adrotate banner=”1″]Hey, Pei-pei Cheng! That could be cool, maybe she’ll be in it for longer than a minute.
Now, I am no Street Fighter super fan, I didn’t spend hundreds in the arcade learning all the moves, and the plot of the game really means nothing to me. I am familiar with the characters thanks to the internet, the other films I have seen, and the few times I did play the game. I’ll probably get to reviewing this film eventually, but I am not going to see it in theaters, so we shall have to wait. I don’t think it will be the worst movie this year, or even the worst crappy fighter movie (hello Dragonball movie!) but it will not be pretty. And any rumored sequel sure won’t be hitting the theaters (maybe DTV since you can sequel anything there)
The fun part is trying to fine Kristin Kreuk photos without hitting those fake “Virus detected!” websites. So here are some so you don’t get virus-cized. I’d make a joke about how Kreuk is diseased, but it would be dumb.
This movie has the scene. What scene? If you’ve seen Fatal Termination, you know what scene I am talking about. If you haven’t, just look at the screencaps littering this review, or watch the movie clip. We have a young girl dangled out of a car window at high speeds. No special effects, no blue screens, no CGI, it’s 100% real. That scene. What would normally just be a random Hong Kong action film with a slight Girls with Guns vibe (solely because of Moon Lee, who doesn’t do much fighting until that scene) instead becomes a memorable experience just for the shock of wondering if they could do that. They could, they did, and now we can enjoy! So enjoy! Or I’ll dangle your daughter out a window like I’m Michael Jackson. So read on…
John (Ray Lui Leung-Wai) – Husband of Moon, head of security at the airport, father of Yan Yan and tries to get to the bottom of the weapons smuggling mess.
Moon (Moon Lee Choi-Fung) – Wife of John and one of his security team members. Is a faithful mother to the point of jumping onto a moving car, punching through the windshield, and yanking out passengers to save her daughter. See Moon Lee here also in Tomb Raiders.
Officer Wai Loong (Robin Shou Wan-Bo) – Custom official who is on the take, to the point where he begins playing both sides and getting deeper and deeper into a pit. Goes into mortal combat with the heroes as they uncover his layers of lies.
Jimmy Li (Simon Yam Tat-Wah) – a cop from Political Division, which must be a division of Police Squad considering how much they blow solving the case here and getting lots of people killed. Jimmy Li’s white boss keeps thinking he’s a loose cannon who doesn’t play by the rules, but as people die no matter how much by the rules he plays who really cares? He likes wearing gigantic sunglasses, which must have been in at the time in Hong Kong. Simon Yam is in dozens of Hong Kong action films, and has been seen here in Future Cops.
Ko Mok-Fu (Phillip Ko Fei) – The criminal mastermind setting up a weapons theft and delivery to a rival Muslim faction, but gets double and triple crossed by Officer Wai Loong. Ends up in a final battle with Officer Wai and hero cop John. Phillip Ko was also a producer of this movie, as well as starring in many other cheap action films at the time, like Angel Enforcers and Deadly Target.
Mr. Lau (Lau Dan) – Pipe-smoking partner of Jimmy Li, Political Division. More soft-spoken and diplomatic, worried about eating, and doesn’t pay attention when someone breaks into the hotel room to kill him. Oops!
Officer Miu Chun-Fan (Kiu Wai Miu) – Moon’s brother, framed for stealing the weapons and is dropped off a building by Ko Mok-Fu when Miu gets evidence that Officer Wai was responsible for the weapons theft. Kiu Wai Miu starred in Centipede Horror and several of the Lucky Star films.
Yan Yan (Chan Cheuk-Yan) – Daughter of Moon and John, likes ballet, hanging out car windows, and getting shot.
Billy (Cheung Kwok-Leung) – Protégé of Officer Mui, but joins in Officer Wai’s evil plot. Later regrets it and helps John uncover the truth until he gets blown up by Ko Mok-Fu. Cheung Kwok-Leung stars in a film called The Mystery of the Big Boobs which I need to locate immediately…
Wrestler Goon (Mike Abbott) – Rarh! Bonesaw will smash you scrawny weaklings! Snap into a Slim Jim and dangle your Asian children out windows, because YOU WILL BE DESTROYED!! The Title Belt is mine! Bonesaw!