Tekken: Only in Name

Following the trend of video game movies such as Dead or Alive, Resident Evil: Extinction and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, comes director Dwight H. Little‘s latest offering, Tekken.

The world is in chaos after the collapse of the governmental system, and power is now in the hands of a few giant corporations, the strongest of which is the Mishima Zaibatsu.

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Every so often, they host the Iron Fist Tournament, or Tekken, which gathers fighters from each corporation for a hugely-publicised superiority fight.

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Enter the protagonist, Jin Kazama (Jon Foo), a street-smart kid toughened by years of oppression by the Mishima Zaibatsu.

He vows to kill Heihachi Mishima (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), the head of the Mishima Zaibatsu, after the corporation kills his mother (and trainer) Jun Kazama (Tamlyn Tomita), incidentally an ex-Iron Fist Fighter, in a raid.

What Jin doesn’t realise, but something all Tekken fans should know, is that Heihachi is his grandfather. In the midst of this, Jin’s father, Kazuya Mishima (Ian Anthony Dale), is trying to overthrow Heihachi and take over the Mishima Zaibatsu for himself.

However, the only way to get to Heihachi is to win the Iron Fist Tournament. Together with mentor Steve Fox (Luke Goss), Jin battles through the rankings against foes such as Spanish show-boater Miguel (Roger Huerta), armor-clad samurai Yoshimitsu (Gary Ray Stearns) and the Iron Fist ex-champ, Brian Fury (Gary Daniels).

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Along the way, he forms a romance with Christie Monteiro (Kelly Overton), a scantily clad Brazilian fighter whose job is to add sex appeal to every scene. She does it pretty well.

This is where the movie loses points. The characters were unfaithful to their video game counterparts and were woefully underdeveloped. Many existed just to be knocked out or killed, including Russian Sambo fighter Sergei Dragunov (Anton Kasabov) and Brazilian Capoeira expert Eddy Gordo (Lateef Crowder).

I had a major gripe with sisters Anna (Marian Zapico) and Nina (Candice Hillebrand) Williams’ relationship. They were hired by womanizer Kazuya Mishima for their… let’s just say assets, and also fought side-by-side as Kazuya’s ad hoc assassins.

But wait a minute. Aren’t the Williams sisters supposed to be mortal enemies? To top it all off, Anna doesn’t have a single line in the movie, and didn’t fight once in the tournament.

It’s sad to see this pair, with rich, deep-seeded parts in the Tekken universe, reduced to mere call girls and henchmen in the movie.

Despite the movie being primarily an action movie, the fight scenes are often more confusing than exciting. You’ll notice that every fight scene is made up of choppy, giddily shot camerawork, which is meant to disguise the fact that the actors just can’t hold your attention with their moves. In other words, the actors can’t fight.

Jin’s fighting, in particular, is pretty laughable. All of Jin’s fights go like this – he gets beaten senseless by whomever he’s fighting, but will suddenly have a flashback about what his dear deceased mother taught him about fighting.

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Somehow, he will draw on that often-unrelated sliver of memory to defeat his opponent, who never has the bloody good sense to finish Jin off while he’s lying on the ground.

All in all, Tekken would have been a good show, with a fairly entertaining storyline and plenty of (albeit rather poorly executed) action scenes, if only it didn’t have the game’s richly developed characters and storyline to deal with. Not to mention the Tekken’s legions of fans, each with high expectations that the movie just can’t live up to.

Title: Tekken
Opening Date: 29 July 2010
Duration: 93 Minutes
Language: English
Genre: Action, Video Game
Directed by: Dwight H. Little
Starring: Jon Foo, Ian Anthony Dale, Kelly Overton
Rating: ★★✩✩✩

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  • Tekken Fan

    Wow, you should never be allowed to review another movie…EVER.

    Tekken was the very best video game to movie adaptation that has been made so far. The story had to be told, and was told very well, trying to include as many of the game characters as possible. So the Williams sisters aren’t portrayed exactly as they are in the game or anime movie versions, so what? Hell, they really don’t NEED to be in any version at all since they are minor players in a big franchise. You should just be glad they made it into the movie at all, if for no other reason than to be assassins for Kazuya and get their butts kicked by Christie Monteiro; unfortunately we only got to see one fight between women due to time constrictions and lack of necessity to the story, but both were sexy at least.

    Hell you didn’t even get your 2nd paragraph right according to the movie, you are still following the game instead. You are supposed to be reviewing the movie, as a movie, not solely on how it compares to the game. In the movie, the corporation which controlls the US and Canada territory is called Tekken, not Mishima Zaibatsu, and Iron Fist describes both the tournament and the 8 surviving corporations as a whole. At least get that right.

    The actors you say can’t fight include Jon Foo and Gary Daniels, who both have martial arts backgrounds and do great jobs in their roles. And then there are Roger Huerta and Cung Le, who are both real professional fighters. Again you prove an idiot and that you should not be reviewing movies if you can’t even get your facts straight. If you expected to see a boring movie about two pimple-faced kids sitting in their mom’s basement playing a video game then you will be disappointed because that is the only way to get a true to the game feel. This movie has a gritty, street feel with the corporate oppression, from the Anvil residents’ perspective, coming across very well. I also liked how they incorporated the selection and changing of the battle backgrounds for each fight; a piece taken directly from the game and adapted to fit with the concept of the tournament being held in a single arena.

    No, this movie does not rigidly follow the game version of Tekken 6, except in the attire and actors who closely resemble their characters (well done by the casting director and wardrobe people), but seriously, we already have that version told in anime movies and video games. I’m glad they went a different route and told the story a different way. If I want an exact movie reproduction of a game then I’ll watch the anime version or play the friggin game.

    If I were to rate this movie compared to all other video game to movie adaptations, based on a 1-10 scale and using the previous best of the genre which IMO has to be Resident Evil, I would give this a 10 and Resident Evil a 9.5 with Street Fighter 2: The Legend of Chun-Li getting a 6 at best (mostly because of Chris Klein’s horrible performance). Hope that better puts the movie into perspective for the people who read this since the author of this article obviously couldn’t.

  • http://www.ninjagirlrachel.com Ninja Girl Rachel

    Well, this review was pretty well spot-on.

    I’m sure you’ll piss alot of post 90′ born new tekkiddies off with your pointing out the movie’s wayward screenplay; but if they can’t take the truth, fack ‘em.

    This movie was horrific, and I say that as a Tekken fan since it’s first iteration. This was as bad as Paul w Anderson’s Resident Evil garbage; made only to say that the movie was made. Probably as a Uwe Boll-type tax writeoff.

    The cat above me who gave it a 10 probably watches and gets into Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. A 10? Really? Look homie, you don’t give an A for effort. A crap movie is a crap movie. Your making excuses for it’s terribadness is like condoning silver screen terrorism. Just stop.

    I think the only good game-to-film iteration we’ll ever see will be the new Tron. Silent Hill was fail. RE was done by Paul Anderson (who is well known for his stupidity and failure outside of Event Horizon). Street Fighter’s attempts have only that they had Kylie Minogue semi nude and even that didn’t save them.

    Unless James Cameron or John Woo are gunna pick up the tab on a game-to-film movie; it’s usually best to just avoid these monstrosities.

    Just a dose of the truth,
    Ninja Girl Rachel

  • petcov a tekken fan

    @ tekken fan
    are you sure you are a tekken fan cause i am and i think you are dead wrong this movie is Sh!t, one of the worst game to movie adaptation ive seen, all the other games to movies have been bad but tekken was just terrible even if they arent going to follow the exact story of character at least make something good of it As a tekken fan i knew it would be sh!t when i saw the trailer and i wasn’t wrong this movie was Sh!t if i was to review this movie i wouldnt even give 1 star i would just say the girl playing christie monteiro was hot but this movie is SH!T

  • petcov a tekken fan

    why even bother making games to movies tekken was SH!T 0 stars !!!!!

  • anonymous

    when i first watched, i thought movie was terrible. but i began to like it after catching the atmosphere. seriously, this couldnt be any better. tekken game is a tournament game, you beat one, comes the next, and next.. the final man is same, the one before is same.. so movie had to be same? there had to be a storyline based on only one character. the tekken story is based on the mishima family: heihachi, kazuya and jin. and only character who had enough background for a movie is jin, which was a right choice. having the kazama name, he also shouldnt have known about his father, which was another nice choice. since jin and jun cannot both be in the tournament, jun had to be taken out, which will also gave jin a reason to enter the tournament. creating an original character, kara, was a perfect idea. but the highlight of the movie was the flashback scenes (always remembering his mother, her teachings and how she was murdered) that effected his actions throughout the movie. i didnt know about the world was shared by eight surviving corporations, one of which is tekken who got the mightiest territory, so i watched it as something new. there was just a few things i didnt like. one, yoshimitsu shouldn’t be in, as king would be much better in his place. destroying the mask of death thing etc. . since bionic organs were not allowed, someone else, maybe not king, but definitely someone else should be chosen instead of a full-robot yoshimitsu. having an affair with christie, thats fine. but most of the fight scenes were poor. and announcing jin as “the greatest champion ever” was so lame, he obviously wasnt. and at the end of the movie, it is said that “we want to make a sequel”, but i wonder after all this mess (having fighers arrested, destroying the main theme of the tournament, not accepting the champion and forcing him to a “final match to save the honour of tekken corporation”) how will other corporations let tekken host iron fist tournament again, since the sequel has to be entitled “tekken 2″, not “ruscorp” or something. the movie may have failed in many points, but this is the must of movie adaptations of fighting games of this kind. i mean think about “dead or alive” and “street figter”. the best of this kind is mortal kombat without a doubt, which is also a good movie itself. and the second, definitely tekken.

  • http://theurbanwire.com jocelyn

    jin is rilly rill hot hot hot hot hot

  • http://www,facebook.com dashing prince

    i am a great fan of jin

  • http://www.articlerich.com/profile/Brooks- Kirsten

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