Survival is no game, but “Tekken” was probably better that way. Want it for free? Head over to 123movies.
The Story: Dystopian Vengeance by the Numbers
In a dystopian future where five corporations own portions of the planet Earth, Jin Kazama (Jon Foo) fights to survive in the slums of what was once the United States. After stealing a piece of technology from the Tekken Corporation, who controls North America, Jin is pursued. With his rebel friends and his mother murdered, Jin harbors a need for revenge. Using the martial arts skills taught to him by his mother, Jin enters the international Iron Fist Tournament held by Tekken in hopes of confronting the head of the Corporation: Heihachi Mishima. But soon we discover that there are dirty dealings within the Corporation, and Jin learns that the tournament is no game.
The Cast: Nothing to Fight For
Jin is your typical protagonist. He’s a streetwise, underprivileged kid with determination driven by a sob story. The character is formulaic to the last detail, but stays relatable and low-key for most of the film. While Jon Foo’s martial arts are impressive, his acting is completely underwhelming. And Kelly Overton, playing a fellow fighter, fails to look like anything other than the usual eye candy. She is allowed to do more with her character than John Foo is, but what little more she does is hardly more than mediocre. Ian Anthony Dale, playing the corrupt Kazuya Mishima (heir to the Tekken Corporation after his father Heihachi) is given a tried and tired insane antagonist archetype to work with. For most of the film he decently portrays Kazuya as the spoiled, overeager punk waiting for his father’s throne. But toward the end when the ‘insane’ portion of ‘insane antagonist’ kicks in, he seems to lose his grip and hardly keeps our attention. Raising his voice a few more octaves, strutting in to more scenes, and having big eyes to seem intimidating simply isn’t enough to sustain him as a passable villain. The two diamonds in the rough turn out to be Jin’s manager, played by Luke Goss (Hellboy 2: The Golden Army), and Heihachi Mishima played by Cary-Hirojuki Tagawa (Rising Sun, Mortal Kombat ). Luke Goss seems to give the most honest, and believable performance in the film, despite his small role. He presents himself with low-keyed, natural personality, and manages to work around the cliche’d plot and his role in it. Tagawa, on the other hand, is given very little room to perform behind giving hard stares and reprimanding people. Although, somehow he holds an Anthony Hopkins-esque aura of understatement.
The Production: Less Fight, More Flight
Direction from Dwight Little (Halloween 4, Anacondas: Hunt for the Blood Orchid) is overall decent, but feels unfocused. He whips through or completely misses the important climaxing shots in favor of flashy, all-over-the-place coverage of the action. The camera angles seemed out of place for a good portion of the film and simply didn’t get the right shots. And the ‘rewind’ technique used at the opening of the film was completely out of place and useless. The film speeds along at an easy 93 minutes, but the editing wasn’t up to snuff regardless. The script written by Alan McElroy (Halloween 4, Spawn, Ballistic: Ecks Vs Sever, The Marine) isn’t entirely inspired either. In terms of adapting from the original video games it works surprisingly well, but unfortunately it doesn’t have anything interesting to say. The scenes and flow of the film are decent, and it even manages to carry itself well enough, but the dialogue was simple, bland, and inexpressive.
The Choreography: Nice Moves
The choreography in the film is almost as impressive as any other modern blockbuster, with its nice touch being that a good amount of it is real. There are very few ridiculously-complex sequences, but the fun thing is that only the minority of them are camera tricks rather than honest skill. And to be perfectly honest, the choreography is really the closest thing this film could have had to a saving grace. The special effects were minimal, but effective. They balance well with the choreography, picking up the slack where they can, and helping to bring this dystopian future world to life. Although it would have felt more existent if there were more than half-a-dozen sets, with only half of them done well enough to be notable. And finally the soundtrack, like most of the film, is simple and unimpressive. A mishmash of hard rock and metal songs thrown together to spice up the action scenes does very little for the film until the very end, when the truly dedicated might actually find themselves somewhat engaged.
Overall: Little to Cheer About
Over all, Tekken is twice as flashy and contrite as Mortal Kombat, another film based on a fighting game franchise (also starring Cary-Hirojuki Tagawa), but it’s only half as fun. The script and direction had elements of honesty and earnest effort in them to make at least an ordinary blockbuster, unfortunately the uninteresting dialogue, overall sub-par performances, and unfocused direction decimate any advantages given by the fine effects and choreography. A throwaway soundtrack and downplayed character development throw the last bits of dirt on this film’s grave. It is enjoyable in some small ways, but overall just what everyone was expecting from yet another video game adaptation. Tekken receives 3 unbreakable pairs of sunglasses out of 10.
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