copyright© 2010 Crystal Sky Pictures/Warner Brothers Japan /Anchor Bay Entertainment
TEKKEN ! What does this some up to you?.Well if you know your games and like a good old Beat'em up then it means a roster of fighters each featuring their own style and devastating moves .
When namco(TM) created the series it had a roster of 17 fighters and revolved around the Tekken Tournament run by the Mishima corporation a financial funding company owned by one Heihachi Mishima.
By the time it hit it's sixth installment the roster had grown to a massive 40 and the story had moved on slightly with the now head of the Mishima Zaibatsu being one Jin Kazama after he had defeated Jinpachi Mishima in the fifth tournament.
So to make a film of said game would be good if the story was followed and the right characters where used to portray the film.Now here's the problem ,we all know about these video game to movie translations .THEY MOSTLY NEVER WORK.
Now i won't go in to what ones are best here as i will be covering others over the coming months.But upon hearing of this film i thought i may be quite good considering the likes of Gary Daniels ,Lateef Crowder and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa starring.
As with all Tekken stories the main theme follows that of the Mishima family and how the other fighters are connected to them in one way or another,some want fame and Fortune while others want revenge or justice.
Each of the Tekken characters has a story behind them and it's this that while interesting is only a part of the reason you are watching this film.
Your here for fight action and the thing is have the makers pulled it off while retaining some continuity to the games ?
For me the bad start was the way the story started with the character of Jin Kazama ,instead of starting at the beginning of the series.I am suddenly thrown in to a plot line in the middle of the games or so .But i thought OK stick with it .
Now Jin is played by one Jon Foo a young martial artist who has appeared in quite a few top flight Martial art films like Tom Yun-Goong,The Myth and Hose of Fury .For me he looked just to baby faced for the character of Jin but if he could put on a show i might get used to him.Jin lives in the slums Running contraband for money dodging the curfews run by the Mishima corporations guards.Anybody trying to go against the grain and damage the Corporation are dealt with swiftly.
When Jin's mother is killed in one of the raids by the corporation amongst the debris of his home he finds a Tekken ID and plans to use it to enter the Iron Fist Tournament to avenge his mothers death by killing Heihachi Mishima .
To get in he must first beat the preliminary rounds and fight one Marshall Law (Cung Lee) Arriving he is prompted by the fight arranger Steve Fox who is scouting for fighters to enter the tournament.
When he gets his chance Jin takes it and gives Marshall Law the beating of a lifetime.Steve offers to help train and manage him as he once was a top Tekken fighter.
Once in the walls of Tekken city he is not overly welcomed by the other fighters ,who see him as a one hit pony ,and now he's in the big league won't be able to cut it.
Though he does befriend one Christie Monteiro a mixed martial artist and beautiful with it to.His first fight is tough and brutal and Jin nearly loses it by being over confident and only wins it by losing self control and nearly killing the guy.
Now Kazuya Mishima does not like the boy and after his win sets out to find out more about him.
When Kazuya finds he is the son of one Jun Kazama he wants him dead .Why you ask .Well Jun and Kazuya had Known each other as Jun was once a Tekken fighter (kept that secret didn't she) And one night Kazuya had his way with her .But not knowing that she had become pregnant he let her get on with her life outside of Tekken.
Oh No ! that means that Jin is the son of Kazuya.Kazuya wants Jin dead as he would be eligable to be a heir to the Mishima empire.And Kazuya has plans for that himself even if it means removing his Father from the corporation (which he does).
Using the Williams sisters to try and kill Jin and try is the word ,they fail of course.Now the only way to get to him is through the tournament ,by getting select fighters to do his work for him.But going up against the likes of Yoshimitsu is not going to be a walk in the park for Jin and Heihachi who does not approve has just been arrested by his own guards by instruction from Kazuya .
Getting away by fluke the place is locked down and all fighters detained ,Jin and Christie are caught trying to get out ,but in lock up manage to escape and get Heihachi out to .But when it all seems OK the whole band are arrested and Heihachi is Killed by Kazuya .
Now Jin must fight one of Tekken's own Bryan Fury (Gary Daniels) a cyborg enhanced fighter with a passion for pain.And this time the matches are to the death.
Ina crazy battle of fist / feet and weapons like Chains and anything you can lay your hands on the two clash ,but in a feat of determination Jin comes out on top.Now Kazuya is not having it ,even though Jin has Won and comes out to battle Jin himself along with his trusty axes.
After a while Jin gives the deciding blow and Kazuya is down,Jin is supreme and he is the new Man behind Tekken and one with the people.
So how good was that ? to be honest ,not that much really .Yes the film did have a decent budget thrown at it ,but in the end it was all wasted for many reasons i will outline below.
1) Story wise the film was wrong,Heihachi had killed Kazuya in a previous Tournament and Jin met Heihachi in the next tournament proclaiming to be Kazuya's Son.
2) The film lacked key characters from the series like King ,Lei Wulong,Hwoarang and Paul Pheonix.
3) Jun Kazuma was killed by Ogre and Jin was also trained by Heihachi to avenge his mothers loss against Ogre.
4) Even though i am sure Cung Lee is a Top artist ,he was so miscast as Marshall Law ,everyone knows he is based on Bruce Lee.Some one with more his looks and a knowledge of Jeet Kun-do would have helped .(Jason Scott Lee would have been ideal)
5) Lateef Crowder ,so under used ,OH THERE HE IS ,ON NO HE'S GONE.
6) All the fight scenes where fast edited and and sick inducing at times.
7) Weapons used in matches ,Did the directer get confused with Soul Calibur.
8) How to make good martial artists look like they can't actually fight ! star in the Tekken Movie.
I could go on but i wont.Once again the powers that be have ruined a good license by not getting people that understand martial arts and video games .Understanding these two things are a must when making a film of a martial arts video game.
I have one thing to say to all film makers who wish to make game related films and be successful and entertaining when doing so.
Paul W.S .Anderson.
TEKKEN score out of Ten = 4
Review date: 31-10-10