Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
by Rick Villalobos
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That old saying has some truth in it, doesn’t it? Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it…Thanks to the big execs from Hollywood, we now have a choice between watching films like Super Mario Bros (1993) and the 2003 block buster hit – House of the Dead. Yes, some of us can shamefully admit that these two films are now a part of our DVD collection. Film studios have a lot to learn. It must be the sound of cash registers opening and closing that have people in the film industry loosing their sense of smell. Films based on popular video games have stunk something awful. Unfortunately, that is not enough to stop anyone in Hollywood from making a buck and a bad film.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li recounts the story of the popular video game heroine Chun-Li. Living in Hong Kong, Chun-Li (Kristin Kreuk) is an aspiring concert pianist and gifted fighter. After mourning the loss of her mother, she is led to Bangkok to meet a man named Gen (Robin Shou; Mortal Kombat: 1995), a martial arts master and member of a secret society called the Web. With the help and guidance of Gen, Chun-Li learns to harness her inner power and kill the man that murdered her father.
Every boy and man-boy with a pulse will have their eyes glued to the screen just to see Kristin Kreuk strut her stuff as the ferocious Chun-Li. She is hot and talented and chose the wrong film to star in. Video game to film adaptations do not work and this film is no exception: the plot drags, the fight sequences are boring and the performances were below average. It makes a mockery of the beloved video game series. Granted, the other Street Fighter film did not break box office records, but at least it was playfully entertaining. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is disappointing, especially for the fans who have played the game.
Two words – Charlie Nash – played by Chris Klein will have the harshest of critics miss Mr. Van Damme acting a fool as Colonel Guile. Poor guy, Chris Klein should have never taken on that role. It was overly acted, terribly portrayed and poorly written for any actor. Fans – pay attention…the only element truly reminiscent of the video game franchise is the title of the movie. A great film starts with a great storyline, followed by a great screenplay. This film should have spent another year on the cutting room floor - after being kicked in the head by Chun-Li herself. But let’s not blame the actors or the director or even the lonely screenplay writer – let’s blame the money grubbing evil doers of Hollywood that would even consider making a film like this in the first place.
Rick Villalobos is a writer and film critic in Chicago.
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