From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li - D

Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and martial arts action, and some sensuality, 96 minutes

Martial-arts best thing about video-game inspired "Street Fighter"

If you like video games and martial-arts, then the new movie "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li" is right up your alley. Just don't go expecting much and you'll be entertained. For the rest of us movie-goers seeking a genuine movie may be hard pressed to find one. As no surprise, the martial-arts fighting in "Street Fighter" is the best thing - maybe the only thing -worth seeing. Those moments are entertaining, but the rest of it is a bore - the other elements - story, writing, acting - are third-rate at best.

"Street Fighter" is based on the video game franchise of the same name that's literally been kicking around for more than 20 years and already inspired one live action film, the Jean-Claude Van Damme flick in 1994. This one deals with one of the "Street Fighter" characters, Chun-Li ("Smallville's Kristin Kreuk) who embarks on a quest for justice in Hong Kong to save her kidnapped father from a ruthless, wealthy businessman named Bison (Neal McDonough), who has ambitions to take over the whole city. Chun-Li gets helps from a couple of cops trailing the case (Chris Klein and Moon Bloodgood) along with an old friend named Gen (Robin Shou).

"Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li" has about as much depth as a video game, and taken as that, is modestly entertaining, but taken as a movie is another story entirely. Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, who helmed the movie version of "Doom" directs with an unoriginal, predictable flair, trying to focus on the ridiculous storyline instead of the martial-arts.

The casting of the central character is a bit baffling given that Kreuk isn't the least bit Asian. McDonough, in a bit of typecasting for the familiar character actor, chews on the scenery while Michael Clarke Duncan - yes, the big dude from "The Green Mile" walks around to intimidate but is still too soft. "American Pie's" Klein is completely wasted here.

"Street Fighter's" violence is even toned down for the PG-13 set to gain wider appeal, but it doesn't help any. You still have to sit through the rest of the stupid, inane plot in between all of the fighting. Wisely not screened for critics, "Street Fighter" comes down to a predictable finish that leaves it open for more of these things. And you never know these days, after all, they made "Pink Panther 2." Don't bother unless you're a fan of the video game series, and even at that you still might be disappointed.