Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Movie Talk - Tekken

Welcome back to Martial Art Month. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve talked about the live-action movies based on fighting game franchises. The last one I’ll be talking about is the movie from my favorite fighting game franchise: Tekken. Yes, there was a live action Tekken movie released back in 2011. It was direct to video, so you’ve probably haven’t heard about it. It also has a chance of not being too good.

I was introduced to Tekken through my cousin. He had a Playstation and he had the first two Tekken games. I think I was in sixth or seventh grade when I got my Playstation. Tekken was the first game I had and I played the crap out of it. I then ended up getting Tekken 3 (my favorite out of the franchise) and played it to death as well. I did own Tekken 4 and on the Playstation 2, but it was one of the games that was stolen by that nameless thug in college. I actually got rid of Tekken Tag Tournament because my PS2 wouldn’t play it. I still own Tekken 5. I haven’t played Tekken 6 yet mostly because I just haven’t gotten around to playing it yet.

When I heard about the Tekken movie, I was a  little psyched. I don’t know how many times I checked out IMDB for news on it. I was pretty excited that actual martial artists would be playing the characters. I actually ended up seeing it through unconventional means back in 2011. Since I’ve only seen it once, I looked for it online and was able to see it once more. So, what did I think of it?

Tekken (2011)
The movie takes place in the not too distant future. World wars have messed up the world, so corporations have taken over. The Tekken Corporation, the most powerful corporation, holds a fighting tournament in order to appease the little people. Jin Kazama ends up entering the Iron Fist Tournament to face Heihachi Mishima, the man Jin holds responsible for his mother’s death. Throughout the tournament, Jin learns of his secret heritage. While it’s far from a perfect movie and a perfect Tekken movie, I do think it’s a pretty decent one. Since I am a fan, I want to look at it as both a gamer and a movie watcher.

The Good: Eddy fighting Raven.
The Bad: Eddy losing against Raven.
The Ugly: Raven's suit. I guess they really didn't want him to look like Blade, so they go with blinding white.
  • Story focused on the Mishima clan – The main storyline of the Tekken games pretty much revolves around the Mishima family (Heiachi, Kazuya, and Jin). It looks like they tried to adapt the story of the third game since Jin entered the tournament to find the one responsible for killing his mother, Jun. There’s also the tournament aspect to look at. Tekken at least has this over both live-action Street Fighter movies because it actually tries to adapt the game it’s based on instead of doing something weird or telling a dull origin.
  • The roster was mostly full of favorites – A lot of fan favorites were included. I also like that they didn’t go the route of MK: Annihilation and throw every character in here. I believe the series has accumulated over 20 characters now, so it’s good the number was kept down. They tried to include different fighters from all six games, so that was nice.
  • Nice fight scenes – Most of the fight scenes are pretty good. One of the things I liked was they mostly got people who know martial arts. My favorite fight scenes were the ones that involved Jin going up against Law, Yoshimitsu, and Bryan Fury. The fight between Raven and Eddy Gordo was also pretty neat though I hate that Eddy lost. At least he lost to the Blade rip-off!
  • Okay acting – A lot of the acting is not good nor is it bad. It’s just there. I kind of throw the acting book out with action movies like these. Jon Foo does carry the movie well as the lead. It was cool to see Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) in this as Heihachi even though he wasn’t an evil d-bag.  Ian Anthony Dale is a decent Kazuya but an okay main villain. While Kelly Overton is a little on the pale side, I thought she was a good Christie Montiero.
  • Nice Costumes – A lot of the costumes and looks were presented well on screen. The only things I do have an issue with are Nina’s costume and Heihachi’s hair. I don’t think those things were ever meant to be seen in live action.

If there was anything they needed to change for the movie, it’s Heihachi’s hair. It just looks wrong in live-action. Even Kazuya’s looking perplexed about it.
  • They may have changed too much - There were a lot of things changed from the games. While there were changes I had no issue with, some of the changes didn’t make sense to me. For example, some relations between characters in the games didn’t make it to screen. The obvious one is Eddy Gordo and Christie Montiero. Christie herself is another one I kind of don’t get. See how she looks in the game and look at her here. Kelly Overton wasn’t bad as the character though. Also, backstories have been changed with certain characters as well.
  • Favorite fighters left out – I also wished they included a couple of more fighters here. I do like that they kept the roster low, but I really wanted to see guys like Hwowrang, Paul Phoenix (he just gets a mention), King, and Lei Wu-Long.
  • Movie’s too short – The movie lasts about 90 minutes and that includes the end-credits. I don’t know if stuff was cut out or what, but that’s just weird. It seems like it had a lot more to tell.
  • Some weak fight scenes and the constant flashbacks during the fight scenes – While some of the fight scenes were pretty cool, others were pretty weak. The final fight between Kazuya and Jin was pretty weak when compared to previous fights. Christie’s one fight was also a bit lackluster. Also there were flashbacks of Jun training Jin during his fights. It was kind of annoying because it stopped the flow of the fights and it was repetitive.
  • Kara – Kara is Jin’s girlfriend who lives out in the property of Anvil. The two only interact once and she’s pretty much useless for the rest of the movie. If she was cut out of the movie, I wouldn’t have missed her.
  • Might had focused on Jin too much – There is a part of me that wishes they focused on a couple of other characters other than Jin and the Mishima family. I guess that’s just wishful thinking though. The only storyline from the games that gets carried on in its sequels is either Jin’s or Kazyua’s, so at least the movie got that right.


Overall, the movie is below average. Could it have been better? Most definitely. It’s not the best fighter game movie, but it is better than most of them. To me, the first Mortal Kombat movie is still the best. Also, there’s some enjoyment with the first live-action Street Fighter movie. From what I’ve read, Tekken hasn’t had a good translation with animation either. There was a Tekken animated movie in the 90’s and I’ve heard it wasn’t that good. There’s another CGI animated movie that’s supposed to tie in with the games and it’s apparently not that good either. I guess Tekken is one of those ones you can’t do in movies. Oh well… I guess it’s now time for some Jim Kelly action!!

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