Retro Review Double Bill: Dragonball vs. Street Fighter

With this review, I thought I would take a new approach since these two films are in the same genre and are both inspired by pop culture.

Dragonball comes from a series of manga graphic novels and cartoon about a young boy, Goku, who must find seven mystical Dragon Balls so that he can an evil alien warlord from taking over Earth.

The film stars Justin Chatwin as Goku and Chow Yun Fat as Master Roshi, who must help train Goku and help him find the Balls. Hotties Emmy Rossum and Jamie Chung as also along for the ride.

In Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li, Kristin Kreuk of TV”s Smallville stars as Chun Li, a girl who watches her scientist father kidnapped by the ruthless Bison (Neal McDonough). When she grows older she trains with Master Gen (Mortal Kombat’s Robin Shou) so she can become a vigilante on the streets of Bangkok, stop Bison’s plan there and free her father.

Both films feature young fresh Canadians (both from British Columbia actually) in the lead role of a major Japanese franchise. Both films also feature a master and apprentice. But you have to think to yourself, how do these films get made.

First of all, Street Figher’s downfall is that it takes itself way, way to seriously. This isnt major drama people. Also it is a remake of sorts given Jean Claude Van Damme tried to bring this franchise to screens in 1994 (which featured Ming Na as Chun Li). The difference is the newer film isn’t featured during a fight tournament but more of an origin story. You could say its a prequel.  Also not in a million years could I ever believe that Kristin Kreuk could kick anyone’s butt let alone 5 guys at once. Because ths film takes itself way to seriously you cant even say well she has magical powers or whatever.

There are also an assortment of villians in Street Fighter but they are all so cliched. In one scene, Neal McDonough (left with his game character) and his bodyguard (Michael Clarke Duncan) are working out in the gym on the heavy bag. The camera pulls back and what McDonough is actually working on is beating the crap out of some woman. Give me a break!

McDonough just cashed his paycheck with this film because his character here is a carbon copy of the same one he played in the movie Walking Tall starring The Rock. And it is sad to see that Michael Clarke Duncan has become a cliche baddie on-screen when he was so impressive in The Green Mile. Funny enough, Duncan is actually referred to as Bison in the Japanese release of the film, not McDonough.

Another shot against Street Fighter is that it also stars Chris Klein. Why does this guy keep getting work? He is the most deadpan, uninteresting actor in Hollywood. The guy has three looks when acting. He reminds me of a real life Zoolander except he isn’t funny.

Street Fighter’s main downfall is the reason why Dragonball works so well because it doesnt take itself so seriously, has a sense of humor and well Justin Chatwin and Chow Yun Fat can act. Even though we have seen this story before and how many alien invasion stories can one man endure but for some reason, I liked this movie in a purely brainless way. Dragonball definitely wins this square off.

I also continue to be impressed with Chatwin, who was in The Invisible and War of the Worlds. He will breakout for sure at some point.

Dragonball Evolution: 3 out of 5

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li: 1 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer.

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