This movie was… not great, but enjoyable in a “this isn’t a great movie” kind of way.
Now, I’m not overly familiar with the Street Fighter games, on which this movie is lightly based. But the person I watched it with was and as the different characters were introduced he knew them from his childhood days playing Street Fighter.
I felt the actors did a fine job playing their generic stereotype characters. But the characters were all very flat and stereotypical. Kristin Kreuk, who plays Chun-Li, reminded me of some friend I have in Hong Kong. (That is, she looked the part and I enjoyed watching her on her journey.) I enjoyed her performance. Neal McDonough, who played the evilest of villains and did some really gross things reminded me of Barry from Archer… and, to be completely honest, also Jim Gaffigan.
I honestly expected a lot more fighting in this film, but instead there was a lot of not-fighting. Sure, there were a handful of awesome fight scenes but for a movie based off a game which is literally nothing but 1v1 street fights, this movie had way too much plot.
Plot summary: Chun-Li is really good at piano until her family moves to Hong Kong and she starts learning martial arts from her father. Father is kidnapped in front of wife and child. Chun-Li is given an ancient scroll, we never find out from whom, and this scroll leads her to Thailand where she learns to fight from a man named Gen. She learns McDonough is up to evil things and tries to thwart him. She finally does.
There’s a lot of unanswered questions in this film and a strange side-plot where a police detective and some other form of detective person join forces but are never really any help to the main cause… I’m still not sure why they are in there.
Side note, the one detective is played by, and I’m not making this up, Moon Bloodgood. I’ve never seen a name with six O’s in it before.
Each piece of dialogue sounded like it was dubbed, even though it matched their lips. It was clearly a movie done in English, but I get the sense the ADR process made everything too clean and too much natural sound was lost. I’m not sure what really happened, but it did give the film a bit of that “foreign martial arts movie” feel.
The film is fairly violent, but not very gory. Most of the really bad stuff happens off screen. If you like martial arts films, this maybe isn’t one you should see. If you like stupid movies with silly plots and ridiculous fight scenes, this one might be worth a watch.
Does the film hold up, 10 years after it was released? I’d suspect that this movie feels exactly the same today as it did a decade ago. Two thumbs sideways.