Some of you may recall my review on 'Street Fighter'. While I only gave it a 2/5, I admit, pretty openly, that it's one of my favourite video game movies in existence, due to how much of a guilty pleasure it is. One can tell that it's not taking itself too seriously, and as a result, things get pretty ridiculous and it's actually a lot of fun in the right frame of mind. But then we have this; an apparent tie-in with the far less familiar (to me) 'Street Fighter IV'. If you don't like the original film, compare it to this, and it might as well be 'Schindler's List'.
This apparent spin-off of 'Street Fighter IV' (at least as far as characters go) tells us about popular 'Street Fighter' character Chun-Li's origins. As a kid (Inez Yan), she moves to Hong Kong with her family. She studies to be a concert pianist, and learns the art of Wushu from her father, Xiang (Edmund Chen). One day, the family is attacked by two members of the shady criminal organization, the Shadaloo; M. Bison (Neal McDonough), and Balrog (Michael Clarke Duncan). They kidnap Xiang, haul him away, and the next time we see her, she's grown up (Kristin Kreuk) and has since become a skilled pianist after all these years. At the end of a concert in which she performs, she is given a mysterious scroll. We don't quite know what its about, but just to add to the drama, Chun-Li also loses her mother to cancer.
In the meantime, we have two different stories going on that really like to drag us away from Chun-Li. On one side, Bison plans to control the Shadaloo organization, and we see him get his henchman, Vega (Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas) to kill one of the shareholders. We also see that Xiang is now working for him. On the other side of this coin is Interpol agent, Charlie Nash (Chris Klein, in one of his best overacting roles ever) and detective Maya Sunee (Moon Bloodgood... shit that's a cool, vampiric sounding name), Nash after Bison for quite some time now. Eventually, this all boils down to Chun-Li, of course, having to find Bison and rescue her father, with the... help? of Nash and Sunee. And listen, if I have that a little bit wrong, it's because I had a hard time paying attention.
The film is narrated in such a soft and lifeless voice (which I believe is still Kreuk, but I'm not 100% on that) it's enough to make you want to sleep. The casting is also pretty ridiculous, and with Kreuk being cast as a Chinese woman, it has been accused of white-washing. To be fair, however, she is half-Chinese, half-Dutch, apparently, so I can find at least a bit of leeway there. But I'm only speaking for myself. Having said that, she's a fine example of a time the original film did much better casting for the character with Ming-Na Wen. And speaking of that, the most ridiculous casting here has to be McDonough's Bison. The attitude is right, but the look, and the psychopathic expressions are missing that Raul Julia provided in spades.
Neither of these 'Street Fighter' adaptations are good, but I can return to the original for a laugh and a touch of nostalgia, whereas there's nothing here for me... except Klein's overacting, which is hilarious. Some may recall that I once reviewed this for my "Film Negatives", and nothing has changed in my overall opinion. To put it bluntly, this is just terrible inside and out. Bad casting, bad acting, bad writing, bad execution altogether. This was another one that didn't last in theaters for any significant amount of time, and it's really no surprise. At the end of the day, I'd still highly recommend the 1994 film over this, even if the 1994 film is totally ridiculous. I stand by my opinion - one can still have a lot of fun with how goofy it actually is. This falls flat, and doesn't really recover, even in the guilty pleasure way.
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