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Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

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Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
Street Fighter The Legend of Chun-Li.jpg
This is one franchise that did not need a "darker and edgier" reboot...
Genre: Martial Arts
Directed By: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Produced By: Patrick Aiello
Ashok Amritraj
Written By: Justin Marks
Based On: Street Fighter
by Capcom
Starring: Kristin Kreuk
Chris Klein
Neal McDonough
Robin Shou
Moon Bloodgood
Josie Ho
Michael Clarke Duncan
Photography: Color
Cinematography: Geoff Boyle
Distributed By: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: February 27, 2009
Runtime: 96 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Mandarin Chinese
Budget: $50 million
Box Office: $12.8 million

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is a 2009 American martial arts action film released as a non-canon spin-off and theatrical tie-in to Street Fighter IV. It follows the quest of Street Fighter character Chun-Li, who is portrayed by Kristin Kreuk.[1] Its story is before the events of the original Street Fighter as it follows Chun-Li's personal history and her journey for justice.[2] The film co-stars Neal McDonough as M. Bison, Chris Klein as Charlie, Michael Clarke Duncan as Balrog, and Black Eyed Peas member Taboo as Vega. The Legend of Chun-Li was produced by Capcom and Hyde Park Entertainment and was released on February 27, 2009 by 20th Century Fox to mostly negative reviews and poor box office numbers. It is considered to be the one of the worst films ever made. Due to the film's negative reception, Fox cancelled the sequels.


In Bangkok, Bison (Neal McDonough), a crime boss, and his henchmen (Michael Clarke Duncan, Josie Ho, Taboo) begin a bid for power in the city's slum, crushing everyone who gets in their way. As the violence escalates, a team of heroes emerges to bring Bison to justice. Fighting on the side of good are Chun-Li (Kristin Kreuk), martial-arts master Gen (Robin Shou), Interpol agent Charlie Nash (Chris Klein) and his partner, Maya Sunee (Moon Bloodgood).


In 2006, Hyde Park Entertainment and Capcom announced its intention to produce a film adaptation of the game series in a joint venture under the 20th Century Fox banner, with the storyline to focus on a Street Fighter origin story starting with one of its characters Chun-Li with screenwriter Justin Marks to write a script for the adaptation.[3] In 2007, Hype Park has chosen Andrzej Bartkowiak to helm as film director.[4] That same year, it was announced that Kristin Kreuk was cast as Chun-Li.[5]

In 2008, Michael Clarke Duncan, Chris Klein, Taboo, Rick Yune and Neal McDonough were cast as characters Balrog, Charlie Nash, Vega, Gen and M. Bison with Moon Bloodgood, Edmund Chen, Josie Ho and Cheng Pei-pei were also cast in roles as well.[6][7][8] In the interview with MTV, Jean-Claude Van Damme who played Guile in the 1994 film revealed that he was offered to reprise his role but turned down the movie.[9] Before shooting began Yune left the film for unknown reason but was replaced by Robin Shou, who played Liu Kang, the lead character in the Mortal Kombat films as Gen.[10]

Filming took place between March and April 2008. Shooting locations included Hong Kong, China; Bangkok, Thailand; Vancouver, Canada; Reno, Nevada and Herlong, California, United States.

Why It Can't Fight Either

  1. Rather poor characterization, for example, Chun-Li is an American pianist instead of a Chinese schoolgirl who later becomes an Interpol agent.
  2. The actors are horribly miscast in their roles, save for Robin Shou as Gen and Michael Clarke Duncan as Balrog.
  3. Takes itself way too seriously. Even the 1994 Street Fighter film and its follow-up animated series, while not perfect, were at least fun in a cheesy sort of way.
  4. Neal McDonough looks absolutely nothing like M. Bison does in the games. In fact, he looks more like Geese Howard from the Fatal Fury series.
    • The same can also be said for Chris Klein as Charlie Nash.
  5. Terrible special effects, especially for the energy blasts.
  6. The fight scenes are awful.
  7. The pacing isn't that good.
  8. Awful direction by Andrzej Bartkowiak.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Michael Clarke Duncan hams it up as Balrog.
  2. Screenwriter Justin Marks later redeemed himself and finally got great reviews for screenwriting Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book in 2016.


Crtical and audience response

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, like the previous live-action film Street Fighter, received mostly negative reviews and was not pre-screened for critics.[11] Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 3% based on 61 reviews. It was ranked 44th in Rotten Tomatoes' 100 worst reviewed films of the 2000s, with the critical consensus "The combination of a shallow plot and miscast performers renders Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li a perfectly forgettable video game adaptation." At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 17, based on 11 reviews. On IMDb, the film has a user rating of 3.7/10. On Letterboxd, the film has a rating of 1.4/5.

The movie currently has a Google users rating of "62% of users liked this film".

Film historian Leonard Maltin seemed to agree, stating that "The 1994 picture was one of the worst movies ever inspired by a video game; even Jean-Claude Van Damme fans couldn't rationalize this turkey, which should have been titled Four Hundred Funerals and No Sex. Yet this pointless and inept action vehicle makes its predecessor seem like Gone with the Wind...Hopelessly contrived, with lamely-choreographed fight sequences; highlight is Chris Klein's cry of 'Bomb! Get out, now!' Our sentiments exactly."[12]

Among the film's more positive reviews, Rob Nelson of Variety wrote: "Neither the best nor the worst of movies derived from video games, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li at least gives action fans plenty to ogle besides the titular heroine (Kristin Kreuk)."[13] Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times wrote that the film was "reveling in the vivid Bangkok locations, Geoff Boyle's photography is crisp and bright, and Dion Lam's action choreography unusually witty."[14]

Negative reviews focused on the screenplay and fight scenes. Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that "other than a few reasonably well-staged fight sequences, the proceedings are dull and visually uninspired. Justin Marks' solemn screenplay lacks any trace of wit."[15] Jeremy Wheeler of TV Guide wrote: "Fight scenes, while admirable for shaking off the shaky-cam aesthetic of their big-screen brethren, neither inspire nor find a good balance between martial arts and FX-laden power punches."[16] Jim Vejvoda of IGN gave the film 1.5 stars out of 5, writing: "There's better staged and more enjoyable brawls between Peter and The Chicken on Family Guy."[17] Ryan Davis of Giant Bomb described it as "a re-envisioning [of the source material] by people who can't see."[18]

Box office

The film opened theatrically on its opening weekend on February 27, 2009 alongside Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience and Madea Goes to Jail (the latter on its second weekend). The film opened at #9 on its opening weekend at over $1.5 million.[19] The film flopped at the box office, grossing $12.8 million worldwide against its $50 million budget.[20]



  • Maya is based on Crimson Viper from Street Fighter IV.
  • According to an online interview with MTV, Jean-Claude Van Damme was offered the chance of reprising his role as William Guile from the 1994 film but turned it down due to the difficulties of his own productions.


  7. The new M. Bison is...
  8. Bison Cast
  12. Maltin's TV, Movie, & Video Guide

External Links


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