“Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li”
20th Century Fox Films
Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak
Starring Kristin Kreuk, Chris Klein, Neal McDonough, Michael Clarke Duncan, Moon Bloodgood, Robin Shou and Taboo
I never thought that I’d miss the acting skills of Jean-Claude Van Damme.
“Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li” is the second attempt to bring the popular video game back to life in the form of a big screen movie. As was the case with Van Damme’s 1994 attempt, this quickie re-launch is a major dud. Generic action sequences, bad acting, cringe-inducing dialogue and a miscast leading lady all combine for a thoroughly painful hour and a half at the movies.
Kristin Kreuk assays the title role, a concert pianist who is drawn into the dangerous Bangkok underworld when the leader of the Shadaloo crime syndicate kidnaps her father—just in case anybody was wondering about the video arcade character’s origin story. Tutored by martial arts master Gen (Robin Shou), Chun-Li heads to Thailand to exact some revenge on behalf of dear old dad. She’s joined on her journey by an Interpol cop (Chris Klein) and a detective (Moon Bloodgood) who seems to mainly be on hand in order to flash her cleavage in between Chun Li’s fights.
As I said, the fights sequences are generic at best, and mostly unbelievable because Kreuk (a gymnast in real life) has the grace but not enough power to make you believe that she could ever be the legendary street fighter. She also doesn’t have the acting chops this time out, turning in a wooden performance that will make you long for Van Damme’s yesteryear charisma.
And don’t get me started on Chris Klein, who just embarrasses himself with a truly awful performance.
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