Monday, 9 January 2012
Directed by: Dwight H. Little
Screenplay: Alan B. McElroy
Starring: John Foo, Gary Daniels, Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa, Kelly Overton, Ian Anthony Dale, & Luke Goss
Video games, and especially those of the fighting tournament variety, have often had a bumpy ride to live action cinema. For every Mortal Kombat there is a Mortal Kombat Annihilation, a Streetfighter, a House of the Dead, a Wing Commander and so on and on. Really other than the original Mortal Kombat and the underrated Silent Hill (though I’ll admit, I do quite like Resident Evil: Extinction, Doom and, yes, Super Mario Brothers: hey, I liked it!) good video game movies are few and far between. Tekken doesn’t really break the bad run of video game film adaptations but it isn’t that bad either. Yeah it’s a missed opportunity as it feels like only half the film it could have been (ending just as it seems to be getting going) but the production values are slick, the fight action (relatively) decent and there is a whole host of genre favourites starring to make the 80 minute run time bearable.
It’s the future, corporations are evil and one of the biggest, Tekken, holds a fight tournament where top fighters fight for honour, cash and in some cases revenge. So it comes as no surprise that young underdog and all round top fighter Jin (Foo) enters the tournament to get revenge on the evil Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa (he’s the evil dude that runs the tournament) who killed his mother. Let the fights, cheesy action, neon-blazed visuals and, ugh, rapid-fire editing bludgeon your senses until you admit what you just saw was in fact awesome. Yep, blitzkrieg editing is in full swing, as the film seems to be determined to show us how jet propelled it is: presumably so lovers of the game and teenage boys think what they are watching is cool. Mercifully it eases up (a little) in the fight scenes so we can see the impressive fighters kick ass. There are some great screen fighters featured including John Foo, Lateef Crowder, Cung Le and the always-dependable Gary Daniels. The fights aren’t bad and feature some impressive moves and choreography (from District 13 main man, Cyril Raffaelli) but due to the aforementioned editing and the somewhat bizarre need for the fights to last no longer than 60 seconds, the action is all over too quickly.
Having never played the actual video, I can’t say how faithful to the game series the film is (and judging by some venomous internet comments and reviews, it isn’t) but if you take it as just a fun, albeit very silly, fight movie, Tekken isn’t too bad. Despite not getting a lot of screen time, Daniels is great as the main bad guy, there’s quality support from the likes of Tagawa, Luke Goss and a hot chick who show’s her “ass cleavage” throughout the whole film. See, there is stuff to enjoy in Tekken.
The film feels so rushed it is possible a lot was jettisoned in the editing room but what is left ain’t too bad if you take it for what it is. Director Dwight H. Little (he of awesome action movies Marked for Death, Rapid Fire, the underrated Murder at 1600 and the quality Halloween 4) directs with efficiency and adds an edge to the action scenes that was missing in the likes of the Streetfighter and the equally ridiculed Double Dragon video game adaptations.