Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tekken



  In the pantheon of video game movies, none are more tailor made for the silver screen than tournament fighters. Yet somehow... they keep dropping the ball. At least Tekken is only a half-fumble. I think the film's design aspect certainly deserves praise, they could've gone totally generic, but I never once got that feel from the movie. Even if everything else about it was cliche, at least the look itself wasn't. Everything from the Tekken arenas to the "stormtroopers" have a bit of originality.
I can see how some of this would forcibly spawn from having a smaller budget, but I still tip my hat to them. Good job there.

  Now seeing as how I don't really give a crap about the Tekken games, I can't really compare any characters beyond Jin and Yoshimitsu (my two favorite characters), and as far as I can tell they're pretty much the same in all ways that matter. Story-wise, the movie isn't as fantastical as Mortal Kombat: The Movie or as stupid as Street Fighter: The Movie but that doesn't mean its original either. The plot and the core story is fraught with cliches and very tired cliches at that. Nothing too original here. The actors fill their roles as much as expected, but nothing truly passionate here.

But, here, I didn't expect passionate performances. I just wanted cool stylized, R-Rated fights, and on that note, the movie delivered. Way more brutal and bloody than either of the aformentioned movies, Tekken really shines when people are fighting, but when it grasps at character development and good story telling, it falls on its face. It is worthy mentioning that none of this is the actors fault, they deal with the script as best as possible. Especially John Foo who seems like he might actually want this to work. He's easily the most charasmatic of the cast and at times he's kind of fun to watch.

   Unfortunately, the movie tries too often to reach higher than it should, and while with any other movie this might not be such a bad thing, Tekken starts to lose focus and it comes off as heavy handed and disconnected. A good dose of humor (i.e. Mortal Kombat: The Movie) and some better, snappier dialog and Tekken might've been easier to recommend. However its nowhere near the much better likes of Mortal Kombat: The Movie. That movie, although the fights haven't aged nearly as well as we'd have liked, the set design, creature effects, wonderfully corny characters (i.e. Johnny Cage, Kano, Goro) and a villain who was in full scenery-chewing mode makes it a B-Movie classic with all the trappings of a good fantasy adventure.

   In Tekken, its best (and pretty much, ONLY) redeeming quality is the fight scenes. They're well edited, pretty bloody, and combined with some pretty cool looking set and character design, they're definately loads of fun to watch. However, this is probably nothing you haven't seen before, and done better too.
So if you want some cool stylish fight scenes, go for it. But know that there are better kung-fu movies out there. And, if you're a fan of the games, I reccomend you stay away, I've heard time and again that it does no justice to the games at all.

In conclusion...
I liked Tekken alot, more than it probably deserves, and if you're in the right frame of mind it's certainly more entertaining than it has any right to be.