Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009) – Review

1 Star

Who was this movie made for? Certainly not long-time fans of the video game series, anime, or the campy Jean-Claude Van Damme film. Of all the characters presented throughout the franchise why devote an entire film to Chun-Li, a supporting player at best. This miscalculated attempt to attract tween girls is one of Street Fighter: The Lgend of Chun-Li‘s major crippling aspects. You can feel the movie going wrong in the first scene and it never corrects itself.

Chun-Li (Kristin Kreuk) is the daughter of an abducted businessman. Now grown into a striking woman, she leaves her home when she receives an ancient scroll instructing her to travel to Bangkok. There she finds harsh conditions living on the streets and hunting for food. It’s during this time she becomes fed-up with criminals and begins to defend her fellow homeless and the city’s citizens. This catches the attention of Gen (Robin Shou) who enlists Chun-Li in the ancient Order of the Web.

Meanwhile, the violently ambitious yet exceedingly polite Bison (Neal McDonough) is making his play for sole power over the Shadaloo criminal organization. The film’s most inventive moment is when the cops discover the literal heads of the other families set up ‘last supper’ style. Pretty heavy stuff for a movie aimed at 12-16 year old girls. I repeat. Who was this movie made for?

Street Fighter: TLOCL looks incredibly cheap for a film with a reported budget of $50 million dollars. Backdrops are obvious fakes and locations are clearly sound stages on a backlot. The most incredulous aspect is the atrocious acting from Chris Klein which actually elevates the scenery chewing performance from Neal McDonough. Kristen Kreuk is beautiful and has a warm screen presence, but she lacks any fluidity in her fight scenes and barely handles the dramatic side. This world-wide flop proved to be a costly blunder.

Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Stars: Kristin Kreuk, Chris Klein, Neal McDonough

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