Saturday, June 27, 2009

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Abysmal Action Sequel Arrives on DVD

In 1994, the popular computer game Street Fighter was adapted to the big screen as an incoherent concatenation of poorly-choreographed, martial arts action starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Since the original bombed at the box office, one must wonder what might have prompted a studio to greenlight a sequel 15 years later, especially when you see that the results are equally-abysmal. This unmitigated mess of a movie was directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak who decided to overhaul the cast entirely, starting with Kristin Kreuk in the title role of Chun-Li.
At the point of departure, we learn via flashback narrated by Chun-Li that, when she was a little girl, her father (Edmund Chen) was kidnapped by some creeps in the Shadalao (pigeon English for “Shadow Law”) crime syndicate. Fast-forward to the present when we inexplicably find Chun-Li somehow an accomplished karate master and en route to Thailand where, rumor has it, her daddy has remained kidnapped in the clutches of the diabolical Bison (Neal McDonough) and his cohorts all these years.
Her arrival proves to be timely, since the merciless madman recently hosted a “Last Supper” during which he beheaded the boss of every competing crime family in Bangkok. With the Shadalooo gang on the verge of gaining complete control of the waterfront, it falls to Chun-Li, in league with Interpol Agent Charlie Nash (Chris Klein), local detective Maya Sunee (Moon Bloodgood) and a secret society of ninjas led by a mysterious man named Gen (Robin Shou) to save the day.
The revenge-fueled plotline subsequently seizes on the flimsiest of excuses to embark on a series of clumsily-orchestrated fight scenes punctuated by sloppily-executed stunts, chase sequences, pyrotechnics and detonations. Unfortunately, only diehard fans of the legendary video franchise are likely to keep track of the body-count in the high attrition-rate enterprise.
For as the butt-kicking heroine sets about exacting her vengeance, the epic battle of good versus evil is so undermined by cheesy special effects and corny dialogue that the spectacle adds up to an experience that is best described as laughable. And to top it all off, this insult to the intelligence even has the nerve to end on a cliffhanger setting the stage for yet another sequel.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, not a chance.

Poor (0 stars)
In Mandarin, Japanese, Thai, Russian, Gaelic and English with subtitles.
Running time: 97 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
2-Disc DVD Extras: Unrated version of the film, audio commentary by producers and cast members, 14 deleted scenes, Fox trailers, sneak peek of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 video game, storyboard and production galleries, animated Street Fighter feature, plus four featurettes.


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