Review: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li

Can anyone say "train wreck"?

Can anyone say "train wreck"?

Synopsis: <insert generic martial arts/action storyline from the 80s and switch all the names to Street Fighter names>

Recommended for: People who want to see how a really bad movie is done properly. Not for people who want to see a Street Fighter film.

Review: Now, when I first heard that they were making a Street Fighter movie with Kristin Kreuk of Smallville fame as Chun-Li, I was mildly interested. After all, I remember playing Street Fighter 2 with my uncle (Blanka was my favorite character for some reason), and I was mildly curious to see how well it would do, considering the rule of thumb that video game movies rarely ever do well. I think the exception was the Resident Evil movies. Super Mario Brothers, anyone?

But when I heard that it got a stunning 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I knew that I had to see it. After all, it is my belief that in order to better understand movies, you have to see the really bad ones along with the really good ones. Same with books. You have to read the Charles Dickens along with the Stephanie Meyer (read: Twilight lady) in order to figure out the dos and don’ts of writing. But not food. Bad food = food poisoning = lengthy hospital visits. And that’s bad.

I most certainly wasn’t disappointed with this movie. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is possibly the best worst movie I have seen in recent years. It takes a true master to make a movie that is technically passable but utterly lacks as an actual cinematic work, and I thought that the art had been lost with the passing of Ed Wood. But this movie proved me wrong. The movie hearkens back to the poorly written action films of the 80s, but this time, with 21st century technology. Yes, it feels exactly as if they remastered some obscure martial arts film from the 1980s and added some unnecessary special effects and references to the Internet. It’s refreshing to see a production team deliberately fail so spectacularly. And I thought we had set mediocrity as the new bad.

I was really surprised at how bad the acting was. Kristin Kreuk, a veteran of the totally awesome TV series Smallville (I’m a sucker for superhero things), does a pretty good job with stunts and action, but not much else. I think the rather simplistic script helped make the poor narration on her part simply awful. I mean, the lines seemed better for a chick flick or a romcom, not some 80s martial arts movie. But, I guess that’s the beauty of an awful film. It makes no sense at all.

The other characters are equally as bad, with the exception of Michael Clarke Duncan, who plays the role of Balrog, a hulking boisterous strongman of M. Bison. But I guess that’s the role he plays in all of his movies, so I shouldn’t be surprised. Maybe I was expecting him to dumb down his performance for the other actors. But the funny thing is, I’ve seen some of these actors in other movies, and they weren’t quite as cheesy. Maybe it’s a script thing, or maybe they were paid to make the movie as bad as possible, I don’t know. The only actor who did a good job at acting was the creepy guy from that one episode of Desperate Housewives I watched, but he was cast for the wrong part, M. Bison. Now, I don’t know quite enough about Street Fighter characters to care about the others, but M. Bison holds a special place in my heart along with all other badass videogame villains. And though the creepy dude does a great job doing the whole evil thing, he’s just not built like the awesomeness that is M. Bison. Liev Schreiber (Sabretooth) might’ve made a pretty good Bison. Then again, I’m not sure his film career could’ve handled being that much awesomeness in such a short time period. Except for Hugh Jackman. That man can do anything. Except for making this movie good.

I can say so many more things about this movie, but I won’t. If you want to see an amazingly awful movie, this is the movie for you. But if you’re expecting a Street Fighter movie, well, remember what I said about M. Bison. But you have to admit, there is something oddly satisfying about seeing a studio use a $60 million budget being used to piss off the critics in as many ways as it possibly can. Maybe that’s just me.

Alternative movies if you are looking for:

Just watch anything else. Except for He’s Just Not That Into You.

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One response to “Review: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li

  1. I disagree with you regarding the 80’s films. They had a genuine quality about them. At least they seemed to have a fun campy or entertaining undercurrent to them. I think it is an insult to them to compare the abominable writing in this travesty to them.

    I agree with you regarding the poor voice overs. I like McDonough too, but he was so miscast as the evil super-villain Bison.

    The promise of this movie was not equaled by the result sadly.

    Here is our take on it with lots of pics and a few bits if wit if you are interested:

    http://fortresstakes.wordpress.com/2009/09/18/street-fighter-the-legend-of-chun-li-2009/

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