By Anthony Crabtree, Guest Blogger
“Tekken,” written by Alan B. McElroy, directed by Dwight H. Little, 92 minutes, rated R.
This year has seen a rise in films aimed at 10 to 13 year old males. With “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night,” “Green Lantern,” and to a lesser extent “Sucker Punch,” these films contain an immature touch, either making them surprisingly enjoyable or dreadful to sit through. “Tekken” fits in very well with these films, as it has plenty of one-liners and just as much action as those previously mentioned. Though, the timing is puzzling, seeing as the arcade game was initially made in 1994, it does seem to fit in with the current failing trend.
I remember the arcade game “Tekken.” I was completely oblivious to a storyline that existed within the game and figured it was just a bunch of people fighting. The film version of “Tekken” gives the viewer more than that. In 2039 the world has been destroyed by the “terror wars.” After these wars, countries were divided up between different corporations. The corporation known as Tekken has taken control of the area that used to be known as the United States. Every year Tekken hosts a tournament with fighters representing the different corporations. Jin (John Foo) enters the tournament in hopes of avenging the death of his mother, who was killed by the Tekken corporation.
The dystopian world, and the film overall, is actually handled fairly well by director Dwight H. Little. Though the plot of the film is so basic, Little does a good job with the decent budget provided. He creates a world reminiscent of TV’s “Dark Angel,” except slightly darker and with more of a direct, almost ridiculously brutal, threat to its citizens. The world created works for “Tekken” because it doesn’t allow you to take it completely serious. “Tekken” knows that it is based on a video game and that they’re not trying to re-create “Blade Runner.”
At one point in the film, a character dressed in a metal samurai costume named Yoshimitsu is introduced. He fights with a sword and armor, putting him at a clear advantage. Is this ever mentioned by the other fighters or the Tekken corporation? No.
It’s an idea that a lot of viewers will not let go, but this is a ridiculous moment and something I appreciated. The problem with creating moments like this, is that I wanted more. In the end, it takes three minutes to defeat Yoshimitsu, and this is where the film goes wrong. The ridiculous characters and moments are what separates this film from any other action movie. When it tries to be normal, it fails. Why not bring in King, the luchador fighter from the video game who wears the mask of a jaguar into the film? It would only serve to separate this film from others like it.
And along the lines of ridiculousness, why does Jin have a slightly British accent at times? Again, it’s funny and better that it goes unexplained. Other cast members do a serviceable job, taking ham fisted dialogue and truly putting their all into it. Luke Goss and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa seem to be having fun in their roles and succeed at creating winning characters.
Ultimately, “Tekken” is enjoyable to some extent. There are decent action sequences, preposterous moments that never go far enough and acting that is passable. There is a slight bit of dissatisfaction with the film as a whole, even though the parts can be entertaining in the moment. If you’re looking to waste 90 minutes and you are a fan of video game films from the ’90s, then this is definitely something you should watch. If you are walking into this expecting a great action film, then I advise you look elsewhere.