Tekken is one of those fighting game series that people talk about fondly along side Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. And just like those games, they have bad films based on them. After the disappointing 1997 animated movie, fans have wanted a good Tekken movie, preferably a live action one.
While they ultimately got the live action movie they desired last year, it’s not the film anyone wanted.
In 2039, the world has been destroyed by war. Governments are now gone and each country is now run by your typical “corrupt giant corporation.” One of these corporations, Tekken, run by Heihachi Mishima, holds a martial arts tournament every year called ‘Iron Fist.” Enter Jin, a poor teenager who steals from Tekken in order to feed himself and his mother. His mother gets killed by Jacks, Tekken’s robotic solders and enters Iron Fist to get revenge.
Despite the director’s obvious lack of knowledge about the world of Tekken (Jin was trained by Heihachi; not his mother) the story feels like your usual post-apocalyptic story about one kid trying to fight the evil government. There are even out of control gangs and ye olde burning trash cans floating around the world. There isn’t much else to say about the story because it is very thin with one scene bouncing to the next without any narrative drive.
There is also a lack of character development here. Kazuya, is an evil rich kid who attempts to gain control over daddy’s company and Jin is just some kid trying to get revenge for the death of his mom. The other characters are just there because the movie needed fighters in order for there to be fight scenes. Yoshimistu, one of the most interesting Tekken characters, is reduced to being in one fight scene and “a former Tekken champion.” Heihatchi is also boring and the director put him there to say, “Here’s Heihachi. Are you a happy fanboy?”
Sadly, this film has plenty of pointless scenes. One example is when Jin and Christie go to a nightclub in the middle of the tournament to talk. What do they talk about? Nothing. That scene neither drove the plot nor did it add any character development. Not to mention the pointless sex scenes that serve no purpose. One scene in particular is Kazuya having sex with Anna and Nina, while he gives a monologue about how he’ll overthrow his father and become the new owner of Tekken. That scene could’ve been much better done without the pointless sex.
And is it really necessary to have a scene with a strobe effect? Not only was that scene short, it was pointless and the strobe effect was thrown in there because it was a lazy attempt a shielding a character’s identity. That’s just lazy writing and poor editing. It’s also hard on the eyes.
The fight scenes, which are supposed to be the main draw of the movie, are poorly executed. There are too many jump cuts and the camera is zoomed in too close. It’s hard to see what’s happening in these fights and the constant jump cuts are headache inducing. The fights are also very short and not at all exciting. They feel like the typical martial arts fights we’ve seen numerous times in better movies. Fans will be appalled to know that Heihachi does not fight. We finally see a live action Heihachi and the only action he gets is punching two Jacks that are holding him hostage. Seeing him fighting either Jin or Kazuya would’ve been great, but instead he just sits on the sidelines.
As a result, Tekken is not the movie Tekken fans wanted, nor is it a movie anyone wanted. Nonexistent story, bad editing, scenes that serve no purpose and boring fights makes this another cash-in on a popular game series. You’re better off dusting off your old copy of Tekken 2 or any Tekken game for that matter. You’ll have a much better time and the fights will be more entertaining.