Chun-Li moves from San Francisco to Hong Kong with her family. While practicing to be a concert pianist, she learns wushu from her father, businessman Xiang. For a while, her life is perfect until one night, Xiang is attacked and abducted by M. Bison's henchmen in front of Chun-Li. When Chun-Li was grabbed, Xiang had no other choice to stop moving.
Years later, Chun-Li grows up and becomes a talented pianist. At the end of her concert, she receives a mysterious scroll written in ancient Chinese text. Shortly after, she loses her mother to cancer. Meanwhile, at Shadaloo headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, Bison announces his complete control of the organization before he has the other shareholders executed by one of his henchmen, Vega. It is also revealed that Xiang is still alive and working for Bison.
The next day, Royal Thai Police detective Maya Sunee meets Interpol agent Charlie Nash, when both are called to investigate the murder of several crime syndicate families in Bangkok. Nash informs Maya that the Shadaloo perpetrated these crimes. Back in Hong Kong, an elderly woman translates Chun-Li's scroll and tells her to travel to Bangkok and find a man named Gen. Chun-Li then leaves her home and travels to Bangkok, living homeless and searching for Gen for several days. A fight with local gangsters one night leaves her exhausted and unconscious, and Gen appears and brings her to his home.
Gen informs her that he was once comrades with Bison and he knows how to find her father, and for the next few days, he teaches her his style of martial arts. Chun-Li also learns more about Bison, who is operating Shadaloo publicly, and is holding the families of property owners hostage in order to force them to sign their property over to him. While spying on Bison's henchman Balrog, she overhears that a property owner is asked to hand over the rights to a docking harbor, allowing the shipment of the "White Rose".
Later that night, Chun-Li confronts Cantana, one of Bison's secretaries, in a nightclub. She obtains information on the location of the White Rose before escaping from Shadaloo's thugs and Nash and Maya. As a result of this incident, Cantana is used as a punching bag by Bison the next day and killed.
Gen tells Chun-Li more of Bison's origin. The son of Irish missionaries, Bison grew up an orphan and lived his entire life as a thief. Many years later, as a means of becoming completely evil, he killed his pregnant wife and transferred his conscience into their prematurely born daughter. After telling Chun-Li to go and fetch some food, Gen is attacked by Shadaloo troops before Balrog blows up his house. Chun-Li runs off when she is attacked by Vega, whom she soundly defeats and leaves hanging by the side of a building.
The next day, Chun-Li interrogates a harbor employee into telling her the arrival time of the White Rose. She returns to the shipping yard that night, only to fall into a trap as Bison and his soldiers capture her. Tied up and brought into an undisclosed house, she is reunited with Xiang, only for Bison to kill him by breaking his neck. After Bison and Balrog leave the house, Chun-Li uses her skills to defeat the guards and escape. During the escape, she is shot in the arm by Balrog while trying to protect a child. Angered Thai locals then pelt Balrog and other Shadaloo henchmen with fruits, food, and other merchandise. Chun-Li is reunited with Gen, who heals her wounds and continues with her training.
Despite being taken off the assignment, Nash is secretly asked by Chun-Li to back her up in taking down Bison. Nash and Chun-Li, along with Maya and her SWAT team, arrive at the shipping yard, where they engage in a shootout with Shadaloo forces. Maya is wounded in the shootout, but her SWAT team manages to dwindle Shadaloo's numbers. Meanwhile, Chun-Li enters a ship and meets a girl who speaks Russian asking for her father before leaving her to continue her search for Bison. In another part of the ship, Gen faces off against Balrog, ultimately impaling him with a liquid nitrogen pipe. Bison takes the girl, who is revealed to be his daughter Rose, and flees the scene by helicopter.
Chun-Li, Gen, Nash and a SWAT officer arrive at Bison's headquarters, where Nash and the officer take Rose out to safety while Chun-Li and Gen face Bison. After a long battle, Chun-Li hits Bison with a bamboo pole and drops sandbags on him, stunning him. She then charges up a Kikoken and shoots it at him, knocking him off the scaffolding before she jumps and twists his neck with her legs. Nash tells Chun-Li to leave the scene as Thai police arrive.
Chun-Li returns to her home in Hong Kong and settles down when Gen pays her a visit. He shows her a newspaper ad for an upcoming Street Fighter tournament, telling her that a Japanese fighter named Ryu might be a recruit for their cause. She declines the offer, telling him she is home for now.Kristin Kreuk as Chun Li
Katherine Pemberton as young Chun-Li
Neal McDonough as M. Bison
Brendan Miller as Young M. Bison
Chris Klein as Charlie Nash
Michael Clarke Duncan as Balrog
Moon Bloodgood as Detective Maya Sunee
Taboo as Vega
Robin Shou as Gen
Edmund Chen as Huang Xiang
Josie Ho as Cantana
Elizaveta Kiryukhina as Rose
Cheng Pei-pei as Zhilan
Rick Yune was originally cast as Gen but was replaced by Robin Shou, who played Liu Kang, the lead character in the Mortal Kombat films. Shooting locations included Hong Kong, China; Bangkok, Thailand; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; and Reno, Nevada and Herlong, California, United States.
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 30, 2009. The special First Run release included a bonus DVD of the Udon Street Fighter Comic Series: "Round One FIGHT." The film was not cinematically released in Australia but was released straight to DVD on January 14, 2010.
The film opened at #9 at the American DVD sales chart, selling 92,830 units in the first weekend. About 258,000 DVD units have been sold so far in the United States, bringing in revenue of $4.7m. This figure does not include DVD rentals/Blu-ray sales.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, like the previous live-action film in the series, received mostly negative reviews and was not pre-screened for critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 6% based on 54 reviews. It was ranked 44th in Rotten Tomatoes's 100 worst reviewed films of the 2000s based on a score of 4% in 2009, though the current score is 18% due to a bug assigning reviews from The Fighter to the film, with the critical consensus "The combination of a shallow plot and miscast performers renders Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li a perfectly forgettable video game adaptation." At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 17, based on 11 reviews.
Among the film's more positive reviews, Rob Nelson of Variety wrote: "Neither the best nor the worst of movies derived from videogames, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li at least gives action fans plenty to ogle besides the titular heroine (Kristin Kreuk)." Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times wrote that the film was "reveling in the vivid Bangkok locations, Geoff Boyle's photography is crisp and bright, and Dion Lam's action choreography unusually witty."
Negative reviews focused on the screenplay and fight scenes. Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that "other than a few reasonably well-staged fight sequences, the proceedings are dull and visually uninspired. Justin Marks' solemn screenplay lacks any trace of wit."Jeremy Wheeler of TV Guide wrote: "Fight scenes, while admirable for shaking off the shaky-cam aesthetic of their big-screen brethren, neither inspire nor find a good balance between martial arts and FX-laden power punches." Jim Vejvoda of IGN gave the film 1.5 stars out of 5, writing: "There's better staged and more enjoyable brawls between Peter and The Chicken on Family Guy." Ryan Davis of GiantBomb described it as "a re-envisioning [of the source material] by people who can't see."