Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tekken Movie Review

In the world of motion pictures, a good film based off a video game is harder to find than a cute girl in a comic shop. This argument is especially true when it comes to movies adapted from games belonging to the fighting genre. While one might be able to argue the merits of films adapted from first person adventure/shooter games like “Resident Evil,” and “Tomb Raider” (said merits being a hot lead actress in skimpy attire and not a whole lot else) there is little chance in any sane universe for one to find much in the way of lasting value for stinking, cinematic turds like “Street Fighter,” “Mortal Kombat: Annialation” and the dubious “Double Dragon” movie.
So what is it about these movies in particular that makes audience members feel as abused as the characters doing the fighting? The one dimensional characters? The cheesy effects? The costumes so outlandish as to suggest the combatants would look more at home in a budget conscious staging of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show?” In this writer’s final prognosis, it may come down to a fatal combination of all of these. .
When I first caught wind that they were making a movie based off the popular, long running “Tekken” fighting game series I was immediately intrigued. Along with Crash Bandicoot (love that little guy!) the Tekken games have always been particularly special to me since Tekken 2 was one of the first games I unwrapped the wonderful morning Santa brought me the Playstation that had dominated my list back in the Christmas of 96. Despite my excitement that some of my favorite Tekken characters (e.g. the enigmatic, Robinhood-esque Toshimitsu, the cunning, jaguar masked wrestling powerhouse, King, and the lightning fast, Bruce Lee inspired Marhall Law ) would finally be given the big screen treatment, I could not help but feel a nagging twinge of concern about the film suffering from the same pitfalls of its less than Stellar forbearers. The fact that the movie only saw a brief lifespan in Asian theaters and was never released in the States did not exactly inspire me with confidence either.
After finally getting my hands on a copy of the dvd I can see why the film was never given much in the way of legs to stand on. The production value is, big surprise, pretty shlockly, and rather than attempt to create something new and interesting the story hinges on the worn out cliché of an angry young man fighting for revenge, wining the hearts of the people, threatening the established order, yadda yadda yadda, seriously, the movie is like a straight rip-off of “Gladiator” now that I think about it. To it’s credit though, most the movie’s seven fight scenes are fairly brutal and intense, adding a much needed dimension of realism to the silly gymnastics showcased in other movies of the same genre. Though they served as little more than background, I suppose there was also a certain “geek factor” in seeing the characters from the video game fleshed out on screen that is, if one can overlook the annoying decision to randomly select fighers from all six games, minus King I might add, (jerks!) instead adhering to the roster of one or two of the series.
In summary I suppose if you are a fan of the games you should probably give Tekken a chance. It isn’t terrible, and the fight scenes are actually pretty decent. Unfortunately, with all its clichés and cardboard characterizations, they are not quite enough to save the show..

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