Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

  • Review Date: February 25, 2009
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 97 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Video game adaptation is violent, jarringly inept.
  • Review Date: February 25, 2009
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 97 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

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.

Language

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

Consumerism

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.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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. 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), Street Fighter feels almost like a parody of itself.

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:February 27, 2009
DVD release date:June 30, 2009
Cast:Chris Klein, Kristin Kreuk, Michael Clarke Duncan
Director:Andrzej Bartkowiak
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Action/Adventure
Run time:97 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sequences of violence and martial arts action, and some sensuality.

This review of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old December 2, 2010
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
tooo much blood and language
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Kid, 10 years old August 29, 2010
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

amazin' but violent

i love taboo in this movie but alot of violence and blood
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old August 2, 2010
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
This was a really good movie. There was great action sequences but some of them were too short. But some parts were violent and there was one part with strippers. 10+
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Common Sense Kids Action