It has been hit-or-miss with videogame movies. Despite the reviews, ‘Dead or Alive‘ did have a few classy action sequences and the Mortal Kombat films – while perhaps home to some of the most painfully spoken dialogue in Hollywood history – still stays true to the game series. Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li (why can’t I stop laughing every time I read that title), does have some respectable players behind it. Michael Clarke Duncan plays Balrog and Chris Klein plays Nash (Presume Guile’s friend, Charlie). Then there’s the issue of Kristen Kreuk; the Smallville lady is filling in for the role of thigh-master Chun-Li. There are a lot of opinions about whether she has the physique to play the role – she’s arguably small and it may look unbelievable when she stands to fight, say, Michael Clarke Duncan. Than again, I sincerely doubt anyone who pays to this will care about whether any of it resembles reality.

Capcom released an early shot of Ms. Kreuk and, well, it doesn’t really answer any of the concerns flaring through messageboards and blog communities. It seems most SF diehards want to see her below the waist, and not (necessarily) for perverted reasons, but to see whether she can legitimately sell the lightning and spinning fly kicks Chun-Li is famous for. I’m guessing she will; but then again, I don’t have any plans to watch this film.

Street Fighter fan that I am, I’m somewhat disappointed by what Capcom is doing to the franchise. SF4 has me less than excited. While it’s great to see the series back, the art direction seems to be quite off. All the characters appear to be either on steroids or grossly disproportional. I understand the original Alpha/Zero and 2-series weren’t exactly playing off realism, but SF4 seems to take the proportions to the realm of Gears of War. If that was a move to appease the Western market, then Capcom might have sold-out its fanbase for the sake of mass-appeal (and of course, there’s nothing wrong with that – SF4 is a commercial product, after all). I would have preferred to see SF4 keep the Alpha art direction and move towards a Soul Calibur, 3-D plane. Instead, I feel all SF4 accomplishes is SF2 in a mock-3-D environment. It’s like Viewtiful Joe on steroids — but only in a much more restricted scenery. It’s a 99% graphical overhaul and a 1% gameplay change. I guess as a numbered sequel, I wanted more. Arguably, 3rd Strike was far more revolutionary – the characters might not have all been as memorable, but compared to SF4’s roster (which is essentially SF2’s), it’s at least something “new”.

For SF enthusiasts, I’d recommend checking out Street Fighter Eternal Challenge, a collection of artwork and character information. Nowhere has more SF data been collected. The book is out of print so it’s been selling on eBay and Amazon for astronomical prices ($150-200), but you might be able to find it for less. There are rumors Udon will reprint it for the 20th Anniversary, but it’s looking less likely given Udon is publishing a different SF book entirely. This one looks cool, but it’s not the historic analysis/look that Eternal Challenge is.