Tekken is just the next in a long line of failed game to film adaptations. I didn’t feel this was a bad movie, just an average one. It held some entertainment value but not nearly enough to recommend this.
Genre(s): Action, Martial Arts
Anchor Bay | R – 91 min. – $39.99 | July 19, 2011
Directed by: Dwight Little
Writer(s): Alan B. McElroy (screenplay)
Cast: Jon Foo, Kelly Overton, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Luke Goss
Features: Featurette, Trailer, DVD Copy, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 2.5/5
Tekken is a story set in the year 2039. The world has gone to hell (are there any futures that are bright and cheery?) and economies and governments have collapsed and are now under the control of various corporations. The United States, for instance, is now owned by the Tekken Corporation run by Heihachi Mishima (CARY-HIROYUKI TAGAWA) as his sociopathic son, Kazuya (IAN ANTHONY DALE), serves as his right hand man and head of security.
When the film opens, we meet who will become the underdog hero named Jin (JON FOO), an illegal techno-runner who transports various pieces of hardware for use by, primarily, the rebellion living in the outskirts of Tekken where things are really bad. The Tekken security squadron routinely hunts down those who are a threat including Jin. Their investigation of who has been transporting technology that can be used against the corporation leads to Jin’s mother who, along with fellow security personnel, is blown to smithereens. Before Jin was passive wanting only to make enough money to buy expensive goods (like coffee, chocolate and oranges) rather than facing off against Tekken.
Now with the death of his mother, Jin wants revenge against Tekken and Heihachi so he enlists in an open call to defeat a beast of a fighter which will gain him entry into the Iron Fist competition. Needless to say, Jin wins the match and because he needs finances and management that the others already have, he accepts the help from Steve Fox (LUKE GOSS) with a nice cut if Jin were to win the tournament. I could recount the competition, representing the corporations running other regions, but they’re not really iatrical to the plot save for Christie Monteiro (KELLY OVERTON) who is sort of a love interest but not really since Jin has a girlfriend (MIRCEA MONROE) on the outside as well.
** Spoiler Territory **
While you could guess the rest, there is a detour when Jin’s anger moves from the father to the son who, in a twist that would only impress M. Night, Jin discovers is actually his father. You see, Kazuya had sexually assaulted Jin’s mother, who was also an Iron Fist fighter, and out of that Jin was conceived. Surely we won’t see some final fight between Kazuya and Jin… right? There’s some corporate politics thrown in but that’s the gist.
** End Spoiler **
I’m not much of a gamer playing mainly sports games (NCAA Football) and the occasional action-fighter (Batman: Arkham Asylum and Mortal Kombat vs. DC) and while I have heard of the “Tekken” game, I never played it and thus don’t really have a dog in the fight when it comes to the motion picture adaptation of the same name. Reading some comments on IMDb, fans of the games didn’t care for the film but as an outsider, it’s merely an average and forgettable film.
My main problem I had with Tekken, beyond it being forgettable, is the fights themselves, while energetic, aren’t anything special. I’ve seen it numerous times in other films and there’s little suspense because you know how it’s all going to end. Now, one can point to a movie like Rocky and say the same thing but that was a great character drama building up to the final fight where the story here is thrown together using the tried and true revenge plotline.
In regards to the casting, I’ll give some props to Jon Foo for taking on the lead character with some success, sans a lame one-liner, as he’s believable as a fighter and he has enough talent give credibility to some of the more dramatic moments. He’s certainly a heck lot better than Dong-gun Jang in The Warrior’s Way, though I guess that’s not saying a whole lot. The supporting cast are fine between Luke Goss taking the coveted “and” credit along with the beautiful Kelly Overton filling in the love interest gap during the Iron Fist scenes. Then you have the other fighters who I don’t care to name and honestly, they’re dispensed with fairly quickly so no real point anyway and that goes for the actors who played them. Then you have Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa and I can only say that he fills the part well enough as does Ian Anthony Dale (The Hangover) though he is completely forgettable as the primary villain.
Tekken was directed by Dwight Little who helmed the 2004 classic, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid as well as several television series like “Bones” and… Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and the Steven Seagal epic, Marked for Death. The man behind the screenplay is Alan McElroy who has some fantastic flicks in his own right like Wrong Turn, Spawn and The Marine (along with Halloween 4). So you see we got some genuine talent behind the camera and on the page, how could it go so wrong with Tekken?
Well, anytime you do a game-to-film adaptation, you’re already starting from behind. You often have rabid fans that have certain expectations often not met and then you have to put together a thematic story suitable for a major motion picture. Thinking back, I can’t recall a great game adaptation with two craptacular Mortal Kombat flicks; Super Mario Bros. which was utter nonsense; Resident Evil which has a following but the films have been at best underwhelming; and finally Tomb Raider which had potential with Jolie looking pitch-perfect for Lara Croft but the story was utter crap (and need I even mention the BloodRayne movies?). There are many others but those are the ones that came in mind. That said, Silent Hill was alright and although I’m in the minority, Hitman is a bit of a guilty pleasure.
In the end, Tekken isn’t a terrible film… just terribly average. The fights are often pretty standard and the characters are bland despite some OK performances. The story also is run-of-the-mill drivel and although I don’t mind a good revenge plotline, you at least have to make it suspenseful which this had none of. If you have nothing better to watch, you might give this a rental down the line, otherwise you can pass this one on by.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5
This release comes with an embossed slip cover but on my copy, there was a UPC sticker over the original UPC and it was hell to get off (I needed to just to get the BD case out). Inside is a DVD/Digital Copy combo disc for those who want to watch this in another room without a Blu-ray player or on a portable device. It should be noted that Anchor Bay has provided the features on the DVD.
As far as features goes, we get a Stunt Stars: Tekken (51:02; SD) featurette, a long-running feature about the origins of the story and the stunt work done on the film along with interviews and the Theatrical Trailer (2:25; HD).
VIDEO – 4.25/5
Tekken kicks its way onto Blu-ray high-def in its original 2.35 aspect ratio presentation. The 1080p high-def transfer isn’t the greatest as it does contain some of the most amount of film noise I’ve noticed in a Blu-ray disc but even so, the detail levels are still good and despite it being a primarily dark movie – since most of it takes place at night –, the color distribution is nice. It might not have the ‘pop’ other high-def features do, but it’s still a solid transfer.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
Anchor Bay remains as one of the last major distributors to still use Dolby TrueHD tracks and although there’s little to no difference between TrueHD and DTS-HD MA, it’s still odd that they use it in one title yet will use DTS-HD for another movie. In any case, the track is fine allowing for clear dialogue, a little depth to the punches and kicks and the generic score comes through the other channels quite well.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, Tekken is just the next in a long line of failed game to film adaptations. I didn’t feel this was a bad movie, just an average one. It held some entertainment value but not nearly enough to recommend this. The Blu-ray itself has an OK featurette and good audio/video transfers.