Street Fighter is a strange mix of lesbian dance-offs, pole-fighting, a dash of Kristin Kreuk cuteness, and a steaming heap of Chris Klein's strung-out lunatic acting. It's so bad, it's almost good.
But only almost.
Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li is light on the important things, like interesting story lines and hand-to-hand combat (lots of wire-work - ho hum).
But what the film does unknowingly deliver was a ridiculous performance from Chris Klein that audiences will treasure forever, and I don't mean that in a good way. Klein embodies the character of the unfortunately coiffed detective Nash with such commitment that he doesn't just deliver his cliched lines with passion, he annunciates each syllable with a nostril-flaring fervor that will give me thrills and delight whenever this movie is screened at 3 AM on TBS in between Batman And Robin and Lara Croft's Boobies and Gun-Thighs (or whatever that movie is called). But more on Klein later.
Street Fighter actually stars Kristin Kreuk, who plays the terribly determined Chun-Li. She starts the movie as a pig-tailed piano playing little tyke with two loves: her father, and practicing fighting with him on the front lawn. Unfortunately the lawn-dancing isn't meant to last, because the evil M. Bison (Neal McDonough) kidnaps papa, and Chun-Li is eventually left an orphan with a heart of gold.
After tragically executing a strange and totally unnecessary Irish accent (oh Neal, you're so much better than this) Bison reveals himself to be pure evil. So evil, in fact, that a blond-haired boy the director tries to pass off as a young Bison, in a flashback, takes his hands and shoves them into his wife's pregnant belly, thus jettisoning all his morals onto his unborn child. No, seriously - that's his backstory! Now he's as bad as he wants to be, and he can start out by buying up all the slums in Bangkok and leveling them to build fancy homes for rich people. Oooooh, the terror! Gentrification is the new genocide.
Chun-Li, who is still pretty pissed about her dad being kidnapped, goes after M. Bison and his evil horde made up of Vega (Taboo, from The Black Eyed Peas) and Balrog (Michael Clarke Duncan). Who are both basically nice, but forgettable.
This film has nothing to do with the video game, besides the characters' names. And at one point, after having a dance-off and an eye-sexing session with a lesbian, Kreuk executes her famous "spinning bird kick." Oh and there isn't a yup-yup to be heard, which is pathetic. Sorry, if you're going to steal from a video game, at least pay it a little respect here and there.
So let's get back to Nash. Chris Klein shows up as an agent of Interpol, who's been following Bison over the years, and he's itching for a bust. He teams up with Moon Bloodgood's breasts, and the three of them hit the town. Throughout his investigation, Nash delivers lines like, "I love this job," and "you don't want to buy a ticket to this dance," with complete sincerity. Meanwhile, the camera is zooming in tight, right up his nose. God help me, it was awful and I loved it. I loved it so much, I was clapping my hands and holding my sides whenever he appeared on screen. Chris Klein is this movie's saving grace. His twitchy-faced all-over-the-place acting and dialogue is so rotten, it rivals Con Air in the so-bad-it's-good sweepstakes. Granted, the rest of the movie is pretty much boring junk, with less than memorable contributions from the cast. Another highlight is an interesting fight between Neal and Kristen, but the really shit moments involve Klein and a lot of laughter from the audience.
Should you go see Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li? Yes - but very, very, very drunk, and only for Klein, I swear to God: he's so bad, people will be dressing up like Nash for Halloween.