It might sound absurd to even say this, but the 1994 infamous Street Fighter movie adaption is better then 2009’s Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. It’s better because it is a ‘so bad it’s good movie’. For all of its rubbishness, there is a ton of enjoyment that can be had watching it. Least of all Raul Julia’s exceptionally over the top version of M.Bison.
Contrast that to the incredibly bland M.Bison of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li and it’s clear to see what the better film is. Which is even before we talk about the character this movie is named after.
Effectively an origin story for Chun-Li, we’re introduced to her as a young child. Where she witnesses her father being abducted by members of the criminal organisation, Shadaloo headed up by M.Bison (Neal McDonough).
Chun-Li grows up believing her father dead but secretly M.Bison has kept him alive and working for him. M.Bison’s plan being to take complete control of Shadaloo and eventually Bangkok. Anyone that gets in this way is taken care of by either his muscle, Balrog (Michael Clarke Duncan) or his assassin, Vega (Taboo).
Shadaloo is so powerful now that even Interpol agent Charlie Nash (Chris Klein) is having trouble dealing with it. If only he had the help of someone who knows M.Bison, can fight and has a strong reason to go against the organisation.
Enter the adult Chun-Li (Kristin Kreuk) who has received a message urging her to seek out a man named Gen. After a fight with a bunch of thugs, she is saved by Gen (Robin Shou) and taken to his home where he teaches her more skills, including creating fireballs.
Something is about to happen in Bangkok though, something with the codename ‘White Rose’. Will Chun-Li and Charlie be able to stop whatever M.Bison’s plan is? Will anyone be awake to find out?
So tepid, this is the kind of experience that you climb into and immediately want to get back out of again. Dull characters, dull performances, dull locations, dull fights and such a dull story. Remember the vibrancy of the games? That’s not here in anyway and instead we get a overtly moody and serious-toned film. That would be fine if it resulted in something entertaining or memorable but that’s so far from the case.
The plot is unnecessarily contrived and starts to enter supernatural territory as it goes on. Why? To try and up the stakes and make M.Bison seem like a much bigger villain then he is. It doesn’t work, the man always seems outmatched and so reliant on Balrog and Vega. Give us Raul Julia screaming about descending from heaven with his light up boots any day over this version.
The same goes for Kreuk’s Chun-Li who is so bland that it must be on purpose and that’s before we even mention Klein’s Charlie. Who makes things all the more awkward with some horrendous lines and delivery.
It’s such a bad movie that even the likes of Michael Clarke Duncan (the best thing here) and Robin Shou can’t make it entertaining. The latter’s turn as Liu Kang in the Mortal Kombat movie adaptions a million times more memorable then this.
Let’s stop trying to turn Street Fighter in live-action movies. It just isn’t going to work!
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
The Final Score - 2/10