Why bother writing a take on a movie 26 people saw? A movie that grossed 12 million dollars worldwide (yes, they did not even care for it abroad). Why? Because it tempts us. It sits there looking at us in all its mediocrity. Daring us. Okay then. We will take up that dare -even though it is possible more people will read this take than have seen the film.
Okay, a one sentence synopsis of this gem: Before her time in Street Fighter (and apparently before her huge muscular thighs) Chun Li embarked on a quest for vengeance against the evil Shadaloo organization and its head M. Bison for kidnapping her father and later terrorizing the Hong Kong slums and along the way she will learn valuable lessons about herself, martial arts and making fireballs.
We think Kristin Kreuk is easy on the eyes (but not necessarily the most likable screen presence). However that does not make her an appropriate “Chun Li”. We mean for starters, … -ah, should not Chun Li be played by someone who looks more …well, Asian? Kreuk may have Asian blood, but she does not really look the part of the muscular, tough as nails Hong Kong resident.
To this end they change the background of Chun Li. Now she is half Asian, her father is a business man in San Francisco rather than an undercover law enforcement officer investigating Shadaloo in Hong Kong. We would not mind so much if playing fast and loose with the continuity made for a better movie. It really did not.
It was not a bad movie. It was a decent made-for-TV movie. Dare I say even one destined to play on the infamous Lifetime or We channels. You know what they are like. Every movie has to contractually contain either an abusive husband or a woman getting pushed down a flight of stairs – or both.
While there was some action in this movie, it was not an action movie. Kreuk can pull of some of the martial arts moves, but her spare frame does not really convey the power to the viewer. (For that you need to watch the Dead or Alive movie, be we digress.) We could possibly buy her as a warrior, but not as Chun Li.
One who does embody martial arts is surprise co-star Robin Shou as Gen. Shou does a good job in his scenes. He is likable and believable – even if the wig he wore was not. We wanted more Shou.
There really was not a lot of the Street Fighter franchise in this movie. Just names. It also costarred a pair of incompetent underwhelmingly acted law enforcement agents. One ostensibly a Street Fighter back bencher Charlie Nash, and the other a no-bencher named Maya. These two grab a lot of screen time, flirt, say ridiculous things and flirt some more.
This movie is guilty of a ubiquitous Hollywood cliche: Starring role cops leading hardened rifle wielding SWAT teams from the front – with their little handguns. We had a flashback to Danny Glover doing it in Predator 2. It was not a pretty sight.
Other Street Fighter characters portrayed were Vega, Balrog and M. Bison. The first two were fitting. However Neal McDonough as Bison was poor casting. We like McDonough in just about all his roles, but this was a part he fit as well as Kruek fit Chun Li. Hmm, so maybe in that sense he DID fit.
Overall, you might as well wait for Lifetime Channel if you have any interest at all. There is definitely no rush.