Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is an origin story that should have remained untold.
Ryu and Ken are two Street Fighter characters that not only are recognized by most people, but they also have universal appeal, since they represent the epitome of fighting game characters. Over the years though, several films and TV series focused on their origin stories, so the people who wanted to work on yet another a spin-off of the Street Fighter franchise had to go back to the original roster and see who’s next in popularity. As it turns out, Chin-Li, the Chinese female fighter that’s memorable for its unconventional design and for being one of the first female characters in a fighting game is that character. But as someone who loves the Street Fighter series, I think this film does both the character and the franchise a disservice.
As its name suggests, the Legend of Chun-Li follows the story of the female martial artist. When she was little, Chun-Li wanted to be a concert pianist, but after her father is captured by a group of men who belong to the mysterious and shady corporation known as Shadaloo, the girl grows up with one thing in mind: revenge. She eventually becomes a concert pianist just like she wanted, but one day she receives a mysterious scroll that changes her life forever. She goes to China to visit her dying mother, she finds out about the conspiracy involving his abducted father and she trains with Gen so that she can release her family member from Byson.
As soon as she meets Gen, the girl needs to train as hard as she can to rescue his father. But before she can do that, she needs to learn how to summon fire from her fingertips, learn how to fight blindfolded and all those things that would definitely get you killed in an actual street fight. By the way, there’s also a side-story that revolves around a duo of American Interpol agents who spend most of their time investigating the Shadaloo corporation and making out.
The Legend of Chun-Li makes the same mistakes pretty much every shoddy martial arts film has ever made: there are distracting special effects, poorly developed characters, terrible casting, some truly embarrassing moments (such as the club scene) and a story so full of cliches that has nothing new to offer. As you would expect in a movie based on a video game, there are multiple fighters from the Street Fighter series, including Bison, Gen, Charlie Nash, Balrog and Vega (which by the way’s played by one of the members of the Black Eyed Peas, remember them? No? Well, never mind.)
In the end, bad special effects, an overly long story and one liners ruin what could have been an enjoyable guilty pleasure. No one in their right mind would watch this movie, even if it’s somewhat attached to the Street Fighter series.