The Legend of Judge David Johnson is both awesome and erotic.
"Your father has been the milk of my business. But even milk has an expiration date."
Say you're a renowned video game publisher and you're sitting on one of the most lucrative intellectual properties ever created for the medium. The fan base is rabid, there's worldwide recognition of the characters, a highly anticipated video game is forthcoming, and there's nowhere else you can go but up after your last theatrical treatment of the material. What do you do? If you're Capcom, you slap together a Street Fighter movie that bears pretty much no resemblance to the games, turns the best-loved characters into no-shows, poops all over the characters that are included, and make it all excruciatingly boring.
Facts of the Case
Chun-Li (Kristen Kreuk, Smallville) is a master of the sacred martial arts of Wushu and Being-Skinnier-Than-Boron. When her beloved father is kidnapped, she embarks on a mission to get him back, simultaneously tearing down the entire criminal underworld. The scumbag behind the abduction is none other than Bison (Neal McDonough, Traitor), the infamous gangster warlord who has apparently used some kind of magic spell to rid himself of his conscience. This means he's extra mean, having used Chun-Li's father for his connections and goons like Balrog (Michael Clarke Duncan) and Vega to gradually taken over Bangkok.
Thanks to some handy training from kung fu stud Gen (Robin Shou, Mortal Kombat) and tactical support from Interpol agent Charlie Nash (Chris Klein, American Pie), Chun-Li is set to twirl, spin, and flying birdkick her way into crappy movie immortality.
Who is the target demographic for this movie? It's not fans of Street Fighter because there's next to nothing here that would attract followers of the series. I don't know how it appeals to the non-gaming masses, since it still sports the Street Fighter label. My only guess: Robin Shou's immediate family.
This is a terrible movie. I'm as big a Street Fighter fan as you'll find, but I scrambled to dig up any redeeming value in this mess and that included aggressively pursuing the so-bad-it's-good angle.
You may have heard rumors of a legendarily awful series of line readings by Chris Klein…yes, is that bad. What he does here is destined to become the defining godforsaken performance of our generation. I do not have the vocabulary to accurately describe what this guy was doing, but thanks to the commentary I know he thought it was genuinely awesome and that makes me fear for Chris Klein's mental health. Seriously, it needs to be seen to be believed. Of course, that means you're going to have to actually see it.
Now let's take a closer look at the film through the prism of a follower of the Street Fighter mythology.
Here's what you can expect to weep-over:
Balrog and Vega
And that's all there is in common with the video game—obviously "in common with" is used in the loosest sense of the phrase. The final bone Capcom throws to the faithful is a mention of an upcoming tournament starring "Ryu something." By then, however, "the faithful" will have almost certainly gone back to watch the original Street Fighter movie and, perplexed and befuddled, asked themselves how it's possible that goofy piece of crap was as good as it gets for the franchise.
The Blu-ray is passable, but far from noteworthy. The 2.35:1 transfer has its moments and pushes out some solid detail work here and there, but the color levels are washed out and fail to pack a punch. Overall, it's a relatively flat exercise in HD visual fidelity. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio is loud and effective at shaking the walls. Unfortunately, it also works at making Chris Klein's words audible. Extras: Commentary from the cast and crew where they (unsurprisingly) gush over how awesome their stupid movie is, deleted scenes you won't care about, a trivia track featuring such compelling nuggets like "In the video game M. Bison wears a gray cape" and "Bangkok is the capital of Thailand," a pair of half-baked making-of featurettes, a Fox Movie Channel segment, three image galleries, a full-length comic movie called Street Fighter Round One: Fight! which is essentially a Scholastic read-along, and a digital copy. That's your three discs.
Is one stunningly horrible performance enough to endure 97 minutes of (in)action tedium? Answer that question and you'll know whether or not your Friday night is going to be ruined.
Guilty. Please God, make it stop.
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Scales of Justice
• Theatrical and Unrated Versions
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