Tekken (2009)

Posted in Reviews by - May 30, 2015
Tekken (2009)

Based on Namco’s hit Japanese video game, this live-action US film does little to support the franchise, providing a discounted dystopia as background for a clich√©d tournament fight movie. Dwight H. Little (Rapid Fire, Marked for Death) never properly revels in the campy opportunities afforded to him, much unlike the Mortal Kombat films, for which this owes a slight debt. The stock dialogue and creaky acting doesn’t help matters. Yet it’s not all bad: the fight scenes, despite never shaking off their gaming roots, are still great physical showcases for the cast, most of whom have clearly been selected based purely on their photographs. It’s 2039, and the world is now governed by a number of conglomerates who keep an oppressed and fearful population in check via an annual martial arts competition called Iron Fist (English for ‘Tekken’), broadcast live from Tekken City, the home of the Tekken Corporation. At the heart of the company lies a power struggle between the current CEO, Heihachi Mishima (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), and his hotheaded son, Kazuya (Ian Anthony Dale), in which most of the film’s acting takes place. Jin (Jon Foo) is the tormented underdog hero, scavenging in the slums to buy his single mother gifts on the black market. She taught him how to fight, so when she’s blown up by Tekken’s Japanese ninja police and their crazy laser guns, he quickly signs up for the next tournament. Jin finds himself mentored by none other than Bros singer Luke Goss, who acts as a surrogate father and gives Jin his old Power Gloves just before fighting a masked Samurai giant and a rechargeable¬†cyborg. Producer of the Tekken video game, Katsuhiro Harada, went on record to describe this film as “terrible”, but despite this, Namco still sanctioned a prequel in 2014. The established Tekken fan-base of young boys will probably take something from it, even if that is just the sight of an objectified Kelly Overton fighting in crotch-less leather chaps.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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