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Logic, acting early victims in Street Fighter film

BY REBECCA KOONS | MARCH 2, 2009 7:30 AM

* 1/2 out of *****

In light of Oscar season, I would like to present Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li film with an award for Worst Movie I Have Ever Paid to See.

I believe the film was supposed to be an action-packed, emotional thrill ride (based on the classic video game) as Chun-Li seeks revenge for the kidnapping and murder of her father. This, however, is not what is portrayed.

Kristin Kreuk stars as Chun-Li but doesn’t quite come across as the “star” one would anticipate. Her performance tends to blend in with those of her costars, which does not help her case in being heroine of the day. What’s more, the death of her parents — which is obviously devastating for her — does not translate to the audience as such. We never see just what kind of connection Chun-Li has with her mother, so her untimely death does not quite pack the punch that it should.

The Legend of Chun-Li severely lacks the emotional depth to be at all moving, because many of the cast members deliver their lines in a horribly unconvincing manner. The delivery is considerably dull, among the likes of awkward high-school students plodding through a skit.

The worst offender of this crime is Chris Klein. Klein, who plays Charlie Nash, erases any “oomph” the movie could have possibly had. I actually laughed out loud when he showed up. His attempts at being a smooth, wise-talking badass flounder throughout the movie. I’m quite surprised Klein is listed second in the film’s end credits, because his role surely did not garner such immense attention.
To top it off, the pseudo-sexual tension between Nash and his cohort, Detective Maya Sunee (Moon Bloodgood) is enough to make anyone squirm.

Now, I spent this much time criticizing Klein only because his absence of acting prowess was the most striking. His partners in crime include basically everyone else featured, with very few exceptions. Gen (Robin Shou), Chun-Li’s source of knowledge and wisdom, is by far the most believable figure in The Legend of Chun-Li. While Gen alone does not make up for the incompetence of his peers, his parts of the movie are the most bearable.

The plot of The Legend of Chun-Li intends to be intriguing but sadly fails to live up to expectations. It suffers from a case of the trailers showing all the good stuff, leaving a jarring, slightly confusing spectacle for the two-hour running time.

I went into The Legend of Chun-Li knowing virtually nothing of Street Fighter at all, and that’s basically how I left. One of the biggest mistakes this movie made is not being informative enough.

What’s the “Order of the Web”? I still don’t know. Any story behind any of the other characters that made the leap from game console to silver screen is completely beyond me. This would have added much needed depth and a greater understanding of Street Fighter as a whole, especially for newcomers like me.

I’d much rather watch my boyfriend play Street Fighter for two hours than be subjected to this cinematic disaster again.


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