Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li [2009]

Street_Fighter_The_Legend_of_Chun-Li_poster_3

Street_Fighter_The_Legend_of_Chun-Li_kreuk_03

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.

Street_Fighter_The_Legend_of_Chun-Li_scroll

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.

Likable Neal McDonough was a perfect fit

Likable Neal McDonough was a perfect fit for the maniacal, distorted, psycho-powered monster that is the villain of villains, General M. Bison.   Just look how evil he looks in this picture!

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.

Okay, let us just say this up front and get it out of the way.  Lana Lang is not Chun Li.  BTW, if you like Chun's classic hair style, you will only see it in this one scene.

Okay, let us just say this up front and get it out of the way. Lana Lang is not Chun Li. BTW, if you like Chun’s classic hair style, you will only see it in this one scene.  But Chun can dance…

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.

Balrog is also a pitchman for a popular brand of canned fruit.

Balrog is also a pitchman for a popular brand of canned fruit.  Michael Clarke Duncan diary entry:  “What happened to my career?  I was in ‘The Green Mile’…”

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.

"Vega?  There is somebody on the phone from Twentieth Century stusios.  Something about a missing Predator mask?'

“Vega? There is somebody on the phone from Twentieth Century studios. Something about a missing Predator mask?”

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.

Unsurprisingly, the climax inviolved Kreuk's Chun Li using a fireball.

Unsurprisingly, the climax involved Kreuk’s Chun Li using a fireball.  Eh, underwhelming.

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.

OMG!  Gen is really... Liu Kang!  Mortal Konbaaaaaat!!

OMG! Gen is really… Liu Kang! Mortal Konbaaaaaat!!

Not surprisingly, Robin Shou added some martial arts weight to the movie.  He h

Robin Shou added some martial arts weight to the movie. His Gen was almost as believable as his Liu Kang.  He really sold the fireball in this scene (-on an open rooftop with higher surrounding buildings.  Yup, he knows martial arts but really stinks at secrecy.)

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.

These two were total bumblers.  It was hard to take them seriously as anything more than law enformente sterotypes.

These two were total bumblers. It was hard to take them seriously as anything more than law enforcement stereotypes.  “Ya’ think this expression is stooopid Maya?  You ain’t seen nuttin’.”

"Look, this one is ever stooopider!"  Klein HAD to be doing a bad Owen Wilson imitation.  There is not other

“Look, this one is ever stooopider!” Klein HAD to be doing a bad Owen Wilson imitation. There is no other way to explain his performance.  (Note “Maya” trying to keep a straight face.)

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.

Please.  Somebody told "Nash" that the wider your stance, the less likely you are to be perforated by a bullet.  They lied.

Please. Somebody told “Nash” that the wider your stance, the less likely you are to be perforated by a bullet. They lied.

Oh just stop it.  This is as believable as a) Kreuk as Chin Li  b) McDonough as Bison c) Kreuk's fireball

Oh just stop it. This is as believable as: a) Kreuk as Chun Li  b) McDonough as Bison  c) Kreuk’s fireball d) All of the above  e)  I do not care and love Alien versus Predator Requiem.

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.

"Mortaaal Kooombaaaat!!"

“Mortaaal Kooombaaaat!!”

Overall, you might as well wait for Lifetime Channel if you have any interest at all.  There is definitely no rush.

Oh, and they even plante

Oh, and they even planted seeds for the “sequel”.  Someone must have been very optimistic (and needs to lay off the hallucinogenic drugs).

Check out our Street Fighter

& martial combat related takes:

Street Fighter IV: The Ties That Bind [2009]

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li [2009]

Naruto Shippuden [2007] Season 1. 26 Episodes

Rurouni Kenshin [1996-1998] 95 Episodes

Transporter 3 [2008]

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li [2009]

    • We are not surprised. It did only about 8 million in the US, so even released here it went largely unnoticed. It is (a little) fun for direct-to-video or made-for-TV, but not theatrical material.

  1. Pingback: Celebritylife.org

  2. Funny review. Got me laughing more than once. Love the excessively awesome use of images and subtitles.

    I agree that the two cops were so bad. All their scenes made me laugh at how horrible their performances were. But at least to me Neal McDonough was the only good performance in the film.

    Great review, love the wit, keep up the good work.

    • We like McDonough too. His acting is good and believable. Perhaps it was just a casting issue. Then again, this movie’s depiction of General M. Bison was not very Bison-like.

  3. I still think this film missed every mark a motion picture needs. For a watchable movie it needs an entertaining story, a strong cast, memorable music, competent directing, well done visual/special effects and good cinematography. Now some films have missed a few of the mentioned criteria but this movie missed all of them and thats why Street Fighter: The Movie is a better film now.

    • We agree 113% that Van Damme’s Street Fighter is a better film, although this one tried to be a more serious film. It succeeded only on that point.

      We do not come down on the cast as much as the casting. Neal McDonough is a fine actor, just miscast and given terrible lines. Did not the director coach any of these actors? Was not Kreuk’s narration flat? Only Duncan’s Balrog cut loose at all.

      Additionally we appreciate Robin “Liu Kang” Shou in any film. Even in this dog where we think he was given schlock in which to act.

      Van Damme needs to do a Street Fighter sequel!

Say it to the FORTRESS, whether you agree or not!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s