Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tekken: The Movie...

In case you didn't know, there's a live-action Tekken movie that came out recently. I'm a huge fan of Tekken, so I had to see it. Just a heads-up: I knew it was going to be crap the moment it was announced, but being a relentless fan, I thought I could have some stupid fun. I didn't know I would be disappointed at every fucking turn.

They could have left the general plot from the game and made a shitty movie from there, but they decided to do everything their way instead. Everything, literally everything about Tekken is dissected and changed to fit their new story. First of all, the world is a dystopian future, with everything ruled by 8 (or 6, I don't care) companies. One of the companies is the Tekken company, which is the first change I was pretty disappointed about. The company is called the Mishima Zaibatsu in the games, and the tournament itself is called Tekken (or King of Iron Fist in English versions). They call the tournament Iron Fist in the movie, which is close enough I guess. Anyway, they hold this tournament for no reason really other than some vague "to protect the Mishima name" nonsense. You don't really need to know much else about the plot, its pointless.

Let's get to the important part, the characters and the actors who portray them. To start, we have Jin Kazama, the main character. Kazama is played by John Foo, who is a Wushu champ and an excellent martial artist. Most notably, he fought Tony Jaa in Tom Yum Goong (The Protector). While Foo is an impressive martial artist and gives a decent performance, the character itself was nothing like game Jin. In the game, Jin rarely speaks when he doesn't have to, and often just broods and has a very serious nature about fighting and accomplishing his goal of destroying the Devil gene. I felt that Foo's character was too teenaged and bratty, had a high pitched voice compared to Jin's super deep voice, and was too much of a pretty boy compared to Jin's tough and intimidating exterior. I'm probably being unfair and too picky about this, and I admit that. Oh, and of COURSE they couldn't cast a full Asian actor to play Jin because someone with a little White touch (Foo is only half Asian) would OBVIOUSLY be more suitable. *Sigh*~, America still isn't ready.

Next is Kazuya Mishima, played by Ian Anthony Dale. Dale is also only part Asian (1/3 this time), but looks quite evil enough to make a convincing Kazuya. He's ruthless and a complete asshole, which is also close enough to the game to be convincing. Unfortunately, he is not nearly as badass as he is in the game, and is merely an asshole in the movie. The Devil element is completely removed in the movie, so there's none of that either. Sub-par, but can't really complain.

Then there is Heihachi Mishima, played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. This was interesting, as Tagawa played Shang Tsung in the Mortal Kombat movie. He gets the fake goatee and ridiculous Heihachi hair going, so he looks close enough to the game (though he's not nearly old or buff enough). He plays the ruthless but somehow honorable company ruler pretty well, so there's not much to complain here either.

My favorite casting decision was definitely Lateef Crowder, who plays Eddy Gordo. Crowder, like John Foo, fought Tony Jaa in the movie Tom Yum Goong. It was definitely the best fight in the movie, as Crowder is an incredible practitioner of Capoeira. While watching the fight scene, all I could think about was "this guy is like the real life Eddy Gordo". Then as fate would have it, he was cast as Eddy. Of course, he has an uncanny resemblance to Eddy, and is really good at what he does. Unfortunately, Eddy barely gets any screen time and is quickly beaten by Raven (fuck thaat). The choreography is not too great, so Crowder does not get to showcase his skills. Too bad really.

A very unusual addition to the cast was Yoshimitsu. His armor design resembles his Tekken 3 design, but the armor looks incredibly cheap and rather corny. Because he uses a sword, Jin has to use a weapon too to make it fair. It would have been easy to just leave this iffy entry out of the movie, but I guess they really wanted to do it. His sword skills are decent, however.

They really did whatever they want with Steve Fox, played by Luke Goss. He's not a Tekken fighter, he's a middle-aged has-been that decides to manage Jin after meeting him on the streets. The actor doesn't have Steve's distinctive long hair, but looks close enough to Steve and has the accent. He doesn't fight much though. Then there's Marshall Law, played by mixed martial artist Cung Le. Le looks nothing like Law, and has a fighting style that doesn't resemble Law's Bruce Lee imitations in the slightest. Also, hes a disgraced Tekken fighter who's a bit of a jerk and doesn't get much screen time. This guy was only Marshall Law in name, and a total disappointment.

Anna and Nina Williams are played by big-breasted whores with no martial arts ability and no real importance to the movie besides some t&a. Moving on. Raven resembles his game counterpart pretty closely, but the costume sure does look goofy in real life. He doesn't use an authentic Ninjutsu style, so that was a bummer. He has a few encouraging lines for Jin, but that's about it. Dragunov is played by a pale creep that just looks like he has a uniform fetish. He doesn't have that deathly intimidating appearance, and definitely doesn't have a Sambo fighting style (looks like he was a Taekwondo practitioner). Miguel was a totally random addition, and the actor looks nothing like his game counterpart. No importance whatsoever. Finally, there's Bryan Fury, who looks close enough to the game (with the addition of random facial hair). He's still a cyborg, and the champion of Iron Fist. Decent martial arts, still an asshole like the game Bryan Fury.

Finally, there's Christie Monteiro. In the game, Christie is a Brazilian Capoeira practitioner who knows Eddy closely and has no connection the main plot whatsoever. In the movie, Christie is a caucasian "mixed martial artist" who doesn't know Eddy at all and serves as the main character's girl. Clearly, they needed a white girl to be the token hot chick and who better than a racially altered Christie. Logically, Ling Xiaoyu would've made more sense since she is Jin's love interest, but Ling is Asian and we obviously can't have that (sarcasm). Christie was a total cop out. She was incredibly hot though, so bonus points there.

Finally that long character summary is over. Let's move on. The movie looks and sounds cheap, which is to be expected of course. They kept playing this cheap, campy music that almost sounded like it was trying to sound like a video game soundtrack, but it wasn't even close. Action choreography is semi-decent thanks to John Foo's impressive moves, but it is nowhere near Hong Kong kung-fu flick quality. There are random love scenes to distract the viewers from the crap they have been watching, which is the biggest sign of a crap movie trying to cover its tracks.

I can't help but compare this movie to the first Mortal Kombat movie from the '90's. I'm going to be honest; I actually enjoyed that movie, and a lot of others did too. It was cheap and campy just the same, but it was still faithful to the game's characters and plot. It tried very hard to capture what made the game fun, and it did a semi-decent job. In the end, it was stupid fun. It was exactly how I wanted the Tekken movie to be; stupid fun. Unfortunately, they couldn't even pull that off. That is why I was so disappointed. Tekken director Katsuhiro Harada openly said to the media that he had nothing to do with this movie, and wants nothing to do with it. That's how bad it was. God what I want to say is, this movie was crap so don't watch it.


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