Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

Sometimes you must wash your face when washing is not easy.
Sometimes you must wash your face when washing is not easy.

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Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak
20th Century Fox
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"Sometimes you must stand up when standing is not easy," goes the movie’s mantra (or something to that effect); most viewers will come away replacing "stand" with "throw." It’s been 15 years since the first (and one presumed incorrectly, last) adaptation of the Street Fighter video game, and the fumes are only now leaving theaters. Proving that there’s no statute of limitations on lousy ideas, director Andrzej Bartkowiak’s attempted franchise expansion returns to the Capcom motherlode that produced the worst movie in the entire Jean-Claude Van Damme filmography. Playing a classical pianist who evidently studied with Harvey Keitel in Fingers, Smallville’s Kristin Kreuk stars as the bereft daughter who channels her rage against the world’s evildoers—starting with the blue-eyed devil (Neal McDonough) who’s secretly holding her father hostage. Her vigilantism is sorely needed, given what passes for law enforcement in the movie’s crime-ridden Bangkok: a glamourpuss detective (Moon Bloodgood) whose deductive powers stop at observing "Something’s going down!" when hundreds of people flee a nightclub, and a stubbly Interpol agent played by that international man of mystery, American Pie’s Chris Klein. Idiot plotting and dialogue are what you’d expect from a genre that typically rewards narrative development with a skip function. But the rote fight scenes are a disappointment: Fans will get far bigger kicks (and highs) out of the ka-razy Thai import Chocolate—although the appealing Kreuk invests even the movie’s Miyagi-speak with feeling.

 
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