Directed by: Dwight H. Little
Starring: Jon Foo, Kelly Overton and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Jin Kazama fights against the strongest warriors around the world and bad game movie reputations. Can he defeat both?
Young Jin Kazama (Jon Foo) spends his time running contraband in the slums of Anvil, but when the tyrannical corporation Tekken tracks him down and murders his mother, Jin decides to crash Tekken’s annual Iron Fist tournament as a chance to take revenge against CEO Heihachi Mishima (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). In his way are family back stabbings, assassination attempts, new love interests, bullet-filled escapes and a fight or two.
I am not a Tekken game fan. I never really got into the franchise, not as much because of anything about the franchise itself but more because it was at a point where I fell out of fighting games (thank you, Mortal Kombat 4).
With that said, while I can’t comment as well on the faithfulness of the movie to the game (not too terribly much with several aspects, from my understanding), but it’s definitely a fighting game adaptation. Thankfully, a good portion of the movie is centered on the actual tournament, with several fights featuring a variety of characters from the franchise. The fights are kinetic and mostly fun, at times brutal even. Helping this out is the fact that star Jon Foo is a martial artist and a stuntman in his own right.
As with fighting games, the movie has the gimmicky scenery for fight scenes. From Greek ruins to Japanese cherry blossoms to rocky terrain and so on. The in-story reason is the tournament stadium being outfitted with different sets. Ultimately though, with the bright lights and the background darkness of the audience, the sets don’t pop through as often as they should.
As with most fighting-game movies, it’s the stuff in between the fights that hurts the movie. The opening is a running scene followed by some heavy-handed commentary on oppressive corporations removing choice and liberty (and chocolate and coffee for some reason). It takes some time to get to the actual game-styled fighting. The middle has an odd club dance scene and later takes a break from the tournament to pit our main characters on the run from the Tekken Corporation’s private army, perfect for exposition to explain everything Jin doesn’t know, and perfect for killing the pacing.
The acting isn’t spectacular either, but it gets the job done. Jon Foo can’t quite decide to keep or lose his British accent though, and that proves distracting.
Speaking of acting and going back to the rival Mortal Kombat franchise, the most striking aspect of the movie is Heihachi played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. Also known as Shang Tsung in the 1995 Mortal Kombat film. Not too dissimilar roles. No real fighting this time though, as while Heihachi gets to push people around and show his strength, he is conspicuously absent from the fight lineup. Kind of sad, as he’s the only Tekken character I’m familiar with at all, thanks to being the lamer special character in Soul Caliber 2 (for those unfortunate not to get the Gamecube or X-Box versions).
Overall, the film is enjoyable enough for the fun fight scenes, but it’s not much beyond it.
The Video and Audio
The film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound English track. The film is too dark at times, but the fight scenes are showcased well enough. The soundtrack is unremarkable.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
At first glance, this disc is bare bones. This case has a bland image. The disc simply has the logo and text printed right on the disc itself, no graphic top. I don’t know why they don’t use the movie poster that actually looks like a cover to one of the games.
Plus there’s only one extra, but that one extra is pretty worthwhile – a 50-minute documentary of the film’s stunts and stunt team. The documentary is centered on the concurrent filming of one of the film’s many fight scenes and a running scene featured in the beginning. The film’s fight choreographer Cyril Raffaelli – a noted French stuntman, parkour expert and sometimes actor in his own right – goes into detail about setting up the stunt work for the film and the differences between the work he typically does internationally and the Hollywood flicks like this.
This bonus documentary is interesting and informational, a good counterpart to the film and a surprising effort considering there are no other extras at all.
Tekken falls into a marred genre of video game-based movies. It’s not the genre’s saving grace by any means, nor is it the runt of an already tarnished litter. If you can get past the non-fighting-filled opening, then the action and the documentary will make this an alright one-time watch.
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10
The Series 6/10
The Video and Audio 5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 7/10
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10