Insight: The Tekken movie (is it really THAT bad?)

15 08 2010


With all of the recent craziness going on about the Tekken live-action movie, I decided that I, being a fan of the fighting game series, would watch the film and see what all the hubbub is about. 


Now as I went into this movie, I wasn’t prepared to do what most gamers do when watching an adaptation: look for the differences. I wanted to actually see the movie with a clear mind and not ruin every single moment of it by comparing it to the games or deliberately looking for problems. Bearing that in mind, Tekken was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. 

In the film, the world governments have been torn apart and is now made up of eight major companies overseeing pieces of the globe; Tekken Corp. being the most powerful one out of all of them. Said corporations enter fighters each year into the Iron Fist tournament to win the prestige, honor, and bragging rights. The movie begins with Jin Kazama, a young man struggling to survive in a slum city called ‘Anvil,’ just outside of Tekken City. 

The Tekken film was released Tuesday to Japanese retailers. It has yet to debut in the U.K. or U.S.

Jin makes a living by running anti-Tekken contraband (technology, hardware, etc.) to freedom fighters in the area. It all goes downhill though when he is identified as an insurgent against Tekken and Kazuya orders his home to be destroyed. This is what starts Jin onto his path for revenge in Iron Fist.

Overall the movie has a simple enough story. Jin is trying to get revenge, but discovering many secrets and problems from his mother’s past along the way (while also trying to avoid getting killed in the tournament). 

The main focal point of this movie is definitely the action, and many will be happy to hear that it is done fairly well.

The initial fight of Raven v. Eddy seems a bit stiff and some moves look very held back, but other matches like Dragunov v. Bryan and Miguel v. Jin make up for it. One big drawback of a lot of the fights though, is that there is a good deal of MMA or grappling moves involved (not associated with certain characters‘ fighting styles), which gets a bit annoying after awhile.

To the gaming purists (for more info, see previous post discussing this) there are quite a few things ‘wrong’ with the movie, but from a basic standpoint, Tekken delivers everything that is synonymous with the videogame: fighting, little plot, and more fighting.

Let’s be clear, as far as how close to the game the Tekken film is, I’d give it about a 30 percent completion rate. It uses concepts from the game, but twists them to fit the chosen storyline, so game canon and characterizations suffer as a result. There are some nice winks to the game like character costumes, stage environments, and some relationships between characters, but it is not a proper retelling of the entire Tekken story.

It is, however, an okay film. The plot is fairly complete (relatively few holes or loose ends), action is brutal and satisfying enough, and acting goes from okay to terrible throughout (although nowhere near as bad as the Street Fighter films).

To be fair, what ranks as a ‘good’ adaptation or a ‘bad’ one is all up to perspective. I personally see Tekken as a movie that took few concepts from the original source, and tried to create a stand-alone film (reminiscent of the first Resident Evil movie). What arose out of that was a movie that seemed in limbo between the game material and a different story entirely.

Final Verdict:

Overall I think Tekken is a broken adaptation, but fun for fans to watch if they don’t take it too seriously. 





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