Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

Capcom ruins the legacy of a classic '90s video game -- 1 star

Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak. February 2009, USA. Rated PG-13: 96 min.

(Originally published in buzz magazine on 3/1/2009)

Fifteen years after the Steven E. de Souza’s Street Fighter—featuring hilarious performances from Jean-Claude Van Damme and Kylie Minogue, among others—comes yet another laughable Street Fighter movie from the director of 2005’s Doom: Andrzej Bartkowiak.

What’s the occasion? Maybe to promote Street Fighter IV, though the game doesn’t appear to focus on the Chun-Li character (played by Kristin Kreuk). Anyhow, there must be enough hadouken fireballs and insane flip kicks to make this worth watching, right?

Nah. Street Fighter is basically cookie-cutter action movie, riddled with clichéd characters and uninteresting fight scenes. In between product placements for Apple and BMW, the film intercuts between three basic storylines. First you have Chun-Li, whose father is abducted by M. Bison (Neal McDonough) and his brawny assistant Balrog (Michael Clarke Duncan). An anonymous source sends her a tip to search in Bangkok and to receive training from Gen (Robin Shou), a typical maxim-spewing martial arts master (“Don’t let your anger control you,” “Be at one with nature,” etc.).

Next, a flirtatious partnership develops between Interpol agent Charlie Nash (Chris Klein) and Bangkok detective Maya Sunee (Moon Bloodgood). Witless banter ensues as they track down Bison—an Irish missionary’s orphan whose perpetually pissed-off disposition leads him to buy out the slums and evict the poor so he can . . . wait for it . . . construct high-priced condos!

Moohoo ha ha haaaa!

As if his dubious acts of gentrification weren’t dumb enough, the side plot about his weakness for “The White Rose” squirts on some more cheese. Physically speaking, McDonough was poorly cast as a guy known for dishing out head stomps and scissor kicks left and right.

Even the cosmic fireballs are underwhelming. No one even yells “Hadouken!” Honestly, you’re better off hooking up your old Sega.