Monday, March 2, 2009

REVIEW: Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun Li

Two things in this world are, and will always, be true:

1) Christopher Nolan is god
2) Video Game movies suck

Now, we know that Chris Nolan hasn't made a bad movie, ever, and there also, with one or two exceptions, been no video game based film worth a damn. Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li does nothing to change this.

SFLOCL is the second live action Street Fighter film, and follows Chun-Li's personal history and her journey for justice, and her journey to reunite once more with her father. The film features such classic characters as Vega (Black Eyed Peas singer Taboo), M. Bison (Neil McDonough), Balrog (Michael Clark Duncan) and Gen (played by Mortal Kombat star, Robin Shou), yet, still finds a way to flounder it all away in a pool of laughable fight scenes and dialogue.

First off, this is a Street Fighter film. One goes into a film based on the fun arcade fighter thinking that if nothing else, there will be above average fight scenes. However, the films biggest weakness may be this area. The fight and stunt crew here have done this film no favors, with adorning this cinematic heap a set of blatant wire fights and horrible choreography. Sure, the girls, particularly Kristen Kreuk and Moon Bloodgood look damn good flying around, but eye candy can only go so far.

Also, another flaw comes from an even more disappointing area. The script. See, I had a tiny bit of misplaced hope for this film, when I saw that Justin Marks was penning the screenplay. Previously, Marks has done the acclaimed, or at least allegedly solid, screenplays for Voltron and Green Arrow (SuperMax), and has been called a great up and coming writer by many a script reviewer. That all said, this screenplay is so heavy handed and just really redundant that I don't remember what I was watching more. The screen or the screen on my cell phone.

The acting here is also really schlocky, as is the music. No one, except maybe Kreuk accels here, and, while Chris Klein may have given his best performance here, it was like watching a blind, deaf, mute, paraplegic child do his best Bruce Willis as a hamster impression. Real cinematic epicness, I know. Moon Bloodgood isn't bad, but she's completely wasted, and McDonough is so hammy, that sure, it may be fun to watch for a second, but it doesn't go anywhere. Up or down, his character stays exactly the same, demeanor and all. Oh, it does help that every time he's on screen he gets a lion roar to bring him in. That's always a bonus.

Another thing that bugged me more than probably anything in this film, is the voice over. It's just a redundant, almost offensive excuse to walk us stupid moviegoers through the deep and touching background of Chun Li. All I know, is that I don't think there has been a more obnoxious voice over on screen in many years. There is something about a voice over, that, when it works, it's fine, but when it describes events that are blatantly going on onscreen, it falls flat on it's face like Bison getting a Chun Li high kick to the crotch. Which is another thing. No Chun Li high kicks. No dice.

There is one thing I'll give it. Geoff Boyle's cinematography is mediocre, if cliche. Thailand is always a cool place to shoot a film, and while it looks a billion times better in Push, it's not so horrible in this piece.

Nothing outside of a mediocre d.p. can save this film from a complete and epic fail. Skip this one at all costs.


God, I need a pick me up before I start bashing my face in with an arcade joystick...

Go see something good!

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