You should go see Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. Of course, I don’t mean that literally. You really shouldn’t. But you should, and that’s solely because of Chris Klein. I referred to him once as the poor man’s Keanu Reeves, but he is understudy no more. Yes, from the moment that his car skids to a stop and he exits with swagger, Chris Klein does to Street Fighter what Keanu did to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, what Kenneth Branagh did to Wild Wild West. It is a career-defining performance.
Klein goes through the entire movie with a shit-eating grin on his face, and a leer that can only be described as “Man, I’m going to tap that.” It’s as though he’s watched every bad cop movie ever made, and took it upon himself to step it up a notch. An MSNBC reviewer hilariously notes that “I can’t remember the last time I watched an actor fail to walk into a room convincingly, but Chris Klein does it.” In fact, Klein does so much more. He can’t carry a box without looking out of place. He can’t stare off into the distance without complete clunkiness. And in the worst scene of spontaneity since Keanu’s fake-sneeze in The Lake House, Klein can’t even realistically drop a glass in surprise.
It’s unfortunate that Klein’s Charlie Nash (“NASH OUT!”) isn’t in the movie long enough to make it worthwhile. A few of the fight sequences are entertaining, but they are incredibly short. The rest of Street Fighter ranges from mediocre to bad. At its best, I thought, “Hey, this is kind of okay!” There are flashbacks to scenes that literally happened 30 seconds ago. The plot is completely preposterous, when not altogether absent. And the characters do the bare minimum to inspire memories of their video game counterparts.
Street Fighter is not as horrific as the 1994 version, but at least we could revel in the latter’s absurdity, enjoy the classic unintentional comedy it provided. Only Klein rises to the occasion here. So don’t go get in your boat, don’t go upriver, and don’t kick that son of a bitch Bison’s ass so hard that the next Bison wannabe is going to feel it. Save your Bison dollars.