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Tekken: Only In Name

Following the trend of video game movies such as Dead or AliveResident 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.

tekken: only in name
Tekken: only in name

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

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).

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.

tekken: only in name
Tekken: only in name

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.

Tekken: Only in Name
Tekken: Only in Name

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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