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'Street Fighter' can't land a punch

March 6, 2009

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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When it comes to video game adaptations, Hollywood - like a game controller without a power supply - is quite useless. Besides the 'Tomb Raider' or 'Resident Evil' films, there aren't too many high scores to speak of. It might be the frail reference material. It might be lack of imagination or it could be both as most video game adaptations are seemingly made for people with room temperature IQs.

Street FighterThe last time we became acquainted with the 'Street Fighter' universe on the Big Screen it was 1994 and JCVD was still Jean-Claude Van Damme. As the karate chopping Col. Guile, JCVD was joined by Ming-Na (right before she became Dr. Jing-Mei Chen on 'ER'), pop sensation Kylie Minogue and would you believe it, Raul Julia as General Bison?

Stinking but sticking pretty much to the spirit of the game, 'Street Fighter' had JCVD Kung Fu-ing everyone in sight as he and his team sought to rescue Allied Nations relief workers kidnapped and held for ransom by the cruel General Bison.

Excluding the fight sequences, 'Street Fighter' was about as clever as one of those irritating eHarmony ads with Tanya-Hyphen-Hyphen-Hyphen-Hyphen-Hyphen-Hyphen-Hyphen-Hyphen-Hyphen gushing on and on about model/actor Brad, Steve, Aaron or whomever the heck he is.

Although it pains me to say it, the original 'Street Fighter' was unabashed mind candy. 2009's 'Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li' is just mindless.

Street FighterThe high-flying character Ming-Na played in 1994 returns as the focus of the new film. Chun-Li, Canadian-born actress Kristin Kreuk, is the dutiful daughter of a businessman who has very poor judgment when it comes to picking his friends. Dad is kidnapped and forced to work for the steely-eyed Bison (Neal McDonough) and his dastardly organization: Shadaloo. Sounds more like a Club Med resort to me than a criminal organization but what the heck, eh?

Dad taught Chun-Li to break boards with her head when she was a toddler, so you just know Chun-Li won't be sitting this one out and letting the Bangkok police handle the investigation.

As she roughs up the criminal underworld searching out leads, Chun-Li is befriended by the mysterious sensei Gen (Hong Kong action star, Robin Shou) and at his rooftop dojo he teaches her the ancient martial art of forming energy balls with your hands.

How come I never see that course at my local YMCA or community centre, I wonder? Hmmmmm.

Also on the hunt for Bison is Interpol cop Charlie Nash (Chris Klein doing his best Jason Lee) and a Bangkok police detective/stripper, Maya Sunee (Moon Bloodgood). Even though they spend almost the entire movie just flirting with one another, Nash and Sunee do provide some back up when it counts.

The film really has nothing whatsoever to do with any of the 'Street Fighter' video games. Just a lot of really dull fist, gun battles and some of the worst action film dialogue ever written.

The most awful hilarious line has to be when Bison passes a death sentence on an employee by saying..."He is the milk of my company but even milk has an expiration date."

Street FighterThe 'Street Fighter' saga has some really colourful characters like hero Ryu, underground wrestler, Sodom, super soldier Twelve and Japanese swordsman Hayate. All have imaginative origins and back stories that would be perfect for any action film. Instead of doing their research the filmmakers just took the names of some well-known characters and nothing else from the Street Fighter series. They could have given us some good campy fun like 'Mortal Kombat', 'Doom' or 'Dead or Alive' but in its place we get a sleepwalking bore of a picture.

 

 
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About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.