“Street Fighter” Brings Video Game to Life

Jesse Gutierrez

Videogame-based movies are dangerous – weak storylines, cheesy action sequences. Think “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” (1997) or “BloodRayne,(2005). However, “Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li” defies the odds with a good story, decent acting and some impressive action sequences.

The movie follows the story line of the popular “Street Fighter” videogame series, created by Capcom, the same company that produced the movie.

The second in a series, the movie is directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak and has major stars in it and some newcomers you may not recognize.

Kristin Kreuk (“Smallville”) stars as Chun Li, Neal McDonough (“Traitor,” 2008) as main villain M. Bison, Chris Klein (“American Pie,” 1999) as Charlie Nash, Michael Clarke Duncan (“The Green Mile,” 1999) as Balrog, and Black Eyed Pea member Taboo as Vega.

The movie starts with a boring narration by Chun Li describing her life story followed by a montage of her learning the art of Wushu from her father. One night, her home is invaded by villains M. Bison and Balrog, who kidnap her father and punch her mother when she tries to stop them.

Years later, you see an older Chun Li as a professional concert pianist. After a concert, she receives a mysterious scroll containing an ancient Chinese text. Chun Li brings the scroll to a wise old woman, who reads it and tells her to seek out Gen (Robin Shou, “Mortal Kombat,” 1995) in Bangkok, Thailand.

In Bangkok, cops Maya Sunee (Moon Bloodgood, “Pathfinder,” 2007) and Nash (Klein) have found the heads of major crime lords, which were left set up on table. The main suspect? M. Bison.

At this point, the movie is rather boring. The few action scenes, which don’t last that long, are mediocre. And Chun Li does not really have an ultimate goal until later when she finds Gen in Thailand and she tells her that her father is still alive.

However, once she finds this out, the real action begins.

In one scene, Chun Li encounters Cantana, Bison’s secretary, in a night club. The two women battle it out in the restroom, knocking each other out with well-executed karate moves.

The fight choreography is, for the most part, realistic – that is, until Chun Li shoots a fireball from her hands.

The movie’s pace is a bit slow in the beginning, but as the movie progresses and more of the story line is revealed, the pace quickens and, in turn the movie becomes much more interesting.

The characters are well developed, especially the protagonist. Chun-Li’s entire childhood is summed up in the first part of the movie, allowing the audience to see how she becomes the hero fans around the world know her to be.

Not to spoil, but the movie leaves room for a sequel, but they should quit while they are ahead. It’s not worth another go round.
“Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li” is a definite must-see if you like Kung Fu movies or are a fan of the videogame series.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars