Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li Movie Poster Image
Video game adaptation is violent, jarringly inept.
  • PG-13
  • 2009
  • 97 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Extensive discussions of vengeance and revenge. A criminal evicts residents from undervalued lands in the name of profit. Individuals take the law into their own hands. Extensive discussion of father-daughter bonds.


Extensive violence. Some of it's athletic, like the film's martial arts scenes. Some of the violence is fantastic, as characters manifest spheres of concentrated energy they can use as weapons in combat. Some of the violence is realistic, including gunplay and bare-handed neck breaking. Multiple gunshot deaths numbering in the dozens. A man commits a bare-handed cesarean on his wife, tearing his child from the womb in an implied but never directly shown act of violence. Steam pipes, bamboo, saw blades, bricks, fruit, swords, tri-clawed metal gauntlets, bottles, bats, chains, and flaming chains are all used in fight scenes. Some blood and gore. Bombs. Decapitated heads.


Some scantily clad dancing and posing. A female crimelord is implied to be a lesbian, and her desires are exploited so an undercover infiltrator can get her alone and beat her up. Some kissing and suggestive talk.


Occasional use of strong language, including "s--thole," "ass," "bitch," "damn," and more.


While no brands are mentioned by name, the film itself is inspired by the plot and characters of a popular, decades-old video game series created by Capcom, who also co-produced the film.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink beer and hard liquor.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a review of the theatrical release and not the "unleashed and unrated" version available on DVD that may include more questionable content. This film is wholly and entirely based on the popular Street Fighter video game series -- a new edition of which just hit stores. Parents also need to know that despite the PG-13 rating, there's a great amount of gun play and lethal violence in the film; while (mostly) bloodless, the film's plot still involves a body count in the dozens. Parents also need to know that this film is a love letter to vengeance and wrath, as a young woman fights her way across Asia to find and punish the man who imprisoned her father.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written by4Spice October 22, 2009

great fighting 12 0ver

great movie lots of fighting 12 and over because of the violence worth watching
Adult Written bykirk13 February 28, 2009
Teen, 16 years old Written byDailyGeek February 23, 2020


If you’re looking for a good Street Fighter movie, this ain’t it. This movie has barely anything to do with its source material, and don’t get me STARTED on how... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old December 2, 2010
tooo much blood and language

What's the story?

Chun-Li (Kristin Kreuk) was a beloved little girl, whose father wanted her to be a concert pianist and loved teaching her the ways of the martial arts; when her father was taken from her in her youth by the crime lord Bison (Neal McDonough), she was heartbroken. Years later, after her mother's death, Chun-Li leaves her piano behind after a mysterious scroll tells her she must leave for Bangkok to find a mystic mentor in the martial arts, uncover the truth of what happened to her father, and face Bison.

Is it any good?

Street Fighter feels almost like a parody of itself. Director Andrzej Bartkowiak has made previous, disposable mainstream martial-arts action films like Romeo Must Die and Cradle 2 the Grave -- which were hardly good, but weren't as painfully bad as STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI. The movie is saddled with cheap-looking cinematography, talky voice-over, and some hilariously bad performances (including Chris Klein in ludicrously overdone stubble-and-grimace mode as a driven Interpol cop).

The plot is a mishmash of a thousand other action films -- Chun-Li finds a mystic teacher, trains to access her talents at a new level and forsake anger so she might stop the man who took her father, even as the cops (Klein and Moon Bloodgod) are closing in on Bison as well; meanwhile, Bison (who for some reason has an Irish accent that's taken from the old Lucky Charms commercials) is enacting a plan to drive the poor from Bangkok's slums to buy the land and profit from it. But everything in Street Fighter is obvious -- from the unsurprising big twist to the clumsy set-up for a sequel -- and the actors are as wooden as the script is poorly-crafted. The marital arts cinema can offer vibrant action and thrilling technique, but here the look, feel, and excitement of a whole genre is just exploited ineptly for a 97-minute long commercial.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the curious phenomenon of the video game-to-film adaptation, a recent trend that's given us films as infamously bad as Super Mario Brothers and Resident Evil; are these interesting riffs on beloved characters and settings, or are they mercenary exercises in money-making and greed?

  • Families can also talk about the portrait of a female actress as the lead in this film -- is this a bold blow for equality through showing a female lead kick, punch, and kill, or a step back from it?

  • Finally, families can talk about the MPAA rating system and the thought process that underlies it: How is it a film with dozens of deaths, some in hand-to-hand combat and some in pitched gun battles, can have a PG-13 rating?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action movies

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