Tekken Movie PosterI grew up playing Martial Arts themed video games.  When I was a teenager Tekken came out on Playstation (PS1 – old skool these days!) and I was hooked – especially after years of abusing Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II.

With the poor record of video game adaptions made in to movies, I cringed when I got my hands on this film…  but I didn’t mind it.  Ok, many people hate this movie but I actually like it.  It has a lot of bad to go with the good and Tekken purists will more than likely hate this film.

It’s centers around Jin Kazama, played by Jon Foo. The world is in a state of poverty under the rule of a powerful organization called Tekken. Jin is a fierce fighter, trained by his mother, who smuggles goods through some of the most dangerous areas of the city.  But his mother is killed and he is left wanting revenge from the head of Tekken – Heihachi Mishima (Cary-Hiroyuko Tagawa).

Driven by hatred Jin manages to defeat Marshall Law (played by an under utilized Cung Le) in a trial fight and enters the Tekken Iron Fist Tournament as ‘the people’s choice’.  He befriends the token hot chick fighter Christie Monteiro and operates under the guidance of a guy named Steve.  As things unfold we meet the true villain, Heihachi’s son Kazuya (Ian Anthony Dale).  We watch as Kazuya manipulates the tournament to serve his own purposes, trying to stop Jin from victory.

Heihachi and Kazuya

What I didn’t like about the film…

The makers of the original video game are bit “we won’t mention that one” about this movie, unhappy as they had no supervision over it;s creation, calling it terrible (according to the Wikipedia page anyways!).  The lack of connection to the original concepts and story make it hard for fans to appreciate.

Like most action movies, the story is second to the action.  It’s pretty predictable and the performances are quite stiff.  Perhaps the films strength and weakness lies entirely in the lead actor Jon Foo.  I’ll get the strength of Jon Foo later, but his weakness is that his acting was pretty damn flat in this movie.  He has a certain emotionless expression during crucial parts of the movie that show a lot of inexperience in his ‘acting’ craft.

Overall though, the poor acting and bland storyline are what rob the movie of some value, but it’s not a total disaster.  Especially when compared to the Street Fighter films or the down right shitty ‘Mortal Kombat Annihilation’.  If you had to group with the lot of bad video game movie adaptions, it’d be one of the ‘better bad’ movie adaptions.

Jinn Kazama - movie vs video game

Movie Jin next to Video Game Jin

But remember, I did say that I liked this movie…

Ok, I’m not going to blow smoke up your ass! It’s not a list topper, it’s not even that good – I just found it reasonably enjoyable.

The most obvious factor is the fighting.  It’s not half bad as they maintain a decent level of intensity and impressive enough martial arts movements backed up by a really cool visual style carried throughout the whole film – this was Jon Foo’s strength, his martial arts ability.  Some of the minor characters are played by top notch martial arts…

Gary Daniels, Lateef Crowder, Cung Le….

…with Jon Foo, a talented martial artist in the lead, you can tell they were on the right track with aiming for a quality martial arts film.  While the fights don’t measure up to anything involving Scott Adkins or Donnie Yen – they’re still decent enough to get some entertainment value.  I liked them!

Yoshimitsu vs Jin

The visual nature of the film is what I liked.  I’m a relatively arty guy who loves to draw and appreciates comic art so this may be specific to me, but seeing Jin with his token look – the flame of the pants leg, the red glove and the super gelled hair reminded me a lot of the video game.  But when Yoshimitsu steps out to fight, I got a wee bit excited – even though it was only what I’d call and ‘ok’ fight scene.

The Final Verdict?

Given better acting coaches and a second shot, they could make this movie pretty good (give Jon Foo acting lesson PLEASE).  Whilst enjoyable it does have glaring weaknesses that some people will cling to.  Just ignore the weaknesses, watch some of the fights for a bit of fun and you’ll get some enjoyment from this one.

I can’t predict if you’ll like it, it’s a very ‘on the fence movie – so check it out and make up your own mind.

One more thing

Do you disagree with my review? I support everyone’s opinion and everyone has different taste.  Let me know exactly what you think by scrolling down further to the comments section – leave a comment and I’ll do my best to reply as quickly as possible (assuming I’m not at work or sleeping when you do 🙂 ).

On Blu Ray –

Region A (US & Canada)
Tekken (Blu-ray + DVD)

Region B (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe etc)
Tekken [Blu-ray]

On DVD –

Region 1 (US & Canada)

Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Tekken [DVD]

More info on Movie Regions here.

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