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DVD Review

DVD cover

Street Fighter
The Legend Of Chun-Li


Starring: Kristin Kreuk, Chris Klein, Neal McDonough and Robin Shou
Optimum Home Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 05 October 2009

Bangkok is being taken over by the villainous Bison who plans to eradicate the slums and consequently the slum dwellers in an effort to control the massive potential profits. In the shadows he controls the criminal organisation, the Shadaloo, fronted by ultravixen Cantana and backed by his henchman Balrog and assassin for hire Vega. Against this seemingly unstoppable combination is newly inducted warrior, Chun-Li. While Chun-Li hunts down Shadaloo she is in turn being stalked by Interpol agent Charlie Nash, only the final face off will tell who will be the last one standing...

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li (2009 - 1 hr 32 min, 16 sec) is a very loose adaptation of the famous consol game. The film was directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak from a script by Justin Marks.

I wasn’t quite sure about the film before sitting down to watch it, adaptations of games rarely feel like anything other than another excuse to flog more games. This wasn’t Bartkowiak’s first games adaptation as he had previously also helmed Doom (2005), which itself was enjoyable in a ‘watch once’ way. This lack of depth also pervades Street Fighter. To be honest, fans of the game will either look at the film as a fresh take on the Street Fighter world or start throwing beer cans at the screen.

Although I have played the game I would not consider myself a fan so I have to approach the movie as a standalone product. The best thing that can be said of the film is that is competently shot, acted and directed. If you approach it without baggage then it’s not a bad way to pass an hour and a half, it is certainly on par with Daredevil (2003). Of course on the down side the film suffers the same fate as most origins films in that they all seem to follow the same formula. So, although entertaining, there is nothing really new to see here. It also suffers from the sort of sloppy writing which creates glaring plot holes.

The cast is pretty good for such a middling film. Neal McDonough is suitably evil and amoral as Bison, the actor does go some way to creating a believable character but, like most of the cast, remains hampered by the script. Michael Clarke Duncan’s sheer physicality always helps him when playing heavies and here he struts his stuff without breaking a sweat. I’m less convinced by Kirstin Kreuks performance; she does well in the fight scenes and uses her athleticism well, but the script leaves her little to play with when dealing with anything emotional.

The film is presented in its original letterboxed aspect ratio, with options for either a stereo 2.0 or Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. The DVD does have a few extras. Becoming a Street Fighter (17 min, 50 sec) which looks at the genesis of the film, with contributions from cast and crew, featuring some behind the scenes shots making it informative without being deep. Bringing a Legend to Life (6 min, 34 sec) concentrates on the character of Chun Li with contributions from Kirstin Kreuks, who obviously put her heart and soul into her part, shame about the script.

The disc is rounded off with a bunch of Deleted Scenes (15 min, 33 sec), nice but they add little to the finished film, a stills gallery which is segmented into comparisons between the actors and the original game characters and a bunch of storyboards. The disc finishes with the original theatrical trailer (1 min, 07 sec).

In the end what we have here is your average origins film, not really bad but also not really any different from any number of similar films.


Charles Packer

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