Tekken is the latest in a long line of dreadful video game adaptations which I am still compelled to watch, despite their quality. Tekken is perhaps a little bit different from the Dead Or Alives and Legend of Chun Lis of this world in that instead of being a film made for fifteen year old boys, it plays more like a film made by a fifteen year old boy. There are plenty of fights and a fixation on hot women at the expense of any kind of narrative cohesion. Perhaps the screenwriter is simply being true to the source material.
The main character Jin is played by Jon Foo which is fitting since I pity the foo who has to sit through through his acting. Jin is a teenage scavenger who makes a living in a dystopian future where supposedly ‘eight corporations run the world’ and yet somehow this means that everybody lives in Mad Max style slums and money is almost impossible to come by without commiting acts of espionage. Its not ever explained how these corporations actually turn a profit or what exactly their business is. All we know is that they act as an oppressive totalitarian government and are also obsessed with making high rating tv shows.
Jin spends his time listening to random people in bars telling him he should fight for a cause. He ignores them and prefers to spend his time having sex with women who look like they’re straight out of Zoo Weekly or Nuts magazine. One day Jin’s world is shattered when the Tekken corporation decide to kill his mother for no reason. He loves his mother so much that he decides to go directly against her dying wishes that he doesnt enter the King of Iron Fist fighting tournament so that he can get revenge against its owner Heihachi, who is played by the same guy who acted as Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat.
This is a strange movie that appears to be made by someone who has seen some other good films, lifted their ideas but has missed the point entirely. Jin is given a mentor character who coaches him in his fights and yet when this mentor dies a noble death defending Jin, we don’t see any sort of grieving for him. He seem’s more concerned that he has a scratch on his arm that has drawn blood. And for playing the virtuous character who is literally given the mantle of being the People’s Champion, Jin also has two women that he is simultaneously seeing. One is a homeless lady who lives in the slums of Tekken city and the other is one of the contestants in the tournament. This is never addressed or resolved. I think we are left to assume that Jin just likes to roll Tiger Woods style and there might be more women out there too that we don’t know about.
The fight scenes are decent however. The only downside is that there are some major omissions from the Tekken roster that fans of the video game (and lets be honest, who else is watching this?) will be disappointed to see missing in action. There’s no Paul Phoenix, King, Xiayu, Lei or the giant panda. Consider all of these as missed opportunities. We do get Nina and Anna Williams but as with all other female characters in this movie they are entirely peripheral and don’t even get any closure on their stories. Perhaps some of these other characters will appear in the sequel which is alluded to after the end credits.
Closing this review on a positive note, I was pleased to watch a scene early in the film where Eddie Gordo is comprehensively defeated and unceremoniously dumped out of the tournament. Whatever misgivings I have about the quality of this film are partially tempered by the fact that the director seems to agree that Eddie is a cheap piece of crap who has no place in Tekken.