Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right
It's "GAME OVER" for Capcom's second attempt to turn video game legend into box office giant.
Published: Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Updated: Sunday, June 7, 2009 08:06
Stuck between video game fantasy and cinematic reality, director Andrzej Bartkowiak fails to deliver either as "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun- Li" hits theaters dead on arrival.
Centering on the popular character from the Street Fighter franchise, Chun- Li played by Kristin Kreuk, narrates how she became the stuff of legend, her wealthy upbringing, the abduction of her father by the crime organization Shadaloo and her life on the streets of Hong Kong.
The film immediately fails due to Bartkowiak's indecision to make "Street Fighter" an action/ adventure or an earnest reboot. Bartkowiak gets credit with modern time and realistic setting but receives more criticism with the inverted helicopter kicks and mythic fireballs. The writing is stilted with the narration providing no insight while taking away any suspense. Establishing the film as one or the other would have generated the films credibility, compared to being bad at both.
Bartkowiak and writer Justin Marks biggest faux pas is the glaring oversight of the source material. For example Chun- Li is from China, not Hong Kong; M.Bison is from Thailand, not Ireland and Vega is supposed to be Spanish. These details may not matter to the casual fan, but the fans of the franchise (who will also be the largest if not only demographic to see the film) should be appalled.
Viewing the film in terms of it being a video game/ action film that is also a reboot for the series, "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun- Li" is less than adequate with more misses than hits.
The only bright spot in the film is the cinematography. Geoff Boyle provides vivid and colorful shots of Bangkok, which showcase the debauchery and depravity of the city.
Aside from that, the acting is overwrought yet dull. Chris Klein has the intensity of a cardboard cutout, Michael Clarke Duncan is officially a robot and Neil McDonough can be convincing as the Lucky Charms guy, not the leader of a crime organization. As for Kreuk, there is not much to say except that the director wanted her to be more seen than heard, which is a shame.
Unfortunately it appears that this latest incarnation is a low budget quick cash in on the massively popular relaunched video game released less than two weeks ago. Diehard and casual fans will be interested by name recognition alone, but save for the fact that there is no redeemable quality that makes this film watchable. Buyer beware.