Genre: Martial arts, action
Director/s: Dwight H. Little
Running Time: 87 mins
Budget: $35 million
Released: 20 March 2010 (Japan)
About a young man who is driven to vengeance when his mother is executed – imdb
Ah yes, the video-game to film adaptation, a film genre that has been consistently botched since its inception. Films like Super Mario Bros (1993), Double Dragon (1994), Dead or Alive (2006), Street Fighter (1994), and not forgetting Uwe Boll’s ‘wonderful’ contribution to the genre and so forth (the list is endless) are fine examples of why video-games should never be adapted to film. It just amazes me how, with the millions of dollars that these filmmakers are given, that they’re able to churn out something that has no semblance to the original source material save for character names. So does Tekken have what it takes to break the long line of fail that we’ve been forced to endure for all these years? Not by a long shot.
Tekken centres around one of the most popular characters of the franchise – Jin Kazama, a good move as I am a Jin fan however the choice of using Jon Foo was a huge mistake in my opinion. Foo is child-like in appearance (and scarily similar-looking to Justin Chatwin in Dragonball Evolution, a film which I believe I awarded negative seven) and though he’s had a good career in stunt work and whatnot, he lacks the formidable physique of the Jin Kazama seen in the popular video-game series. What we’re left with is a scrawny (compared to the other fighters in the film), half-baked Jin Kazama with emo hair and an annoyingly out-of-place accent (no offense to all the Brits out there). To the filmmakers credit, most of the characters mirrored their digital counterparts in terms of attire (I thought Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Heihachi Mishima was particularly well done) but what people never seem to understand is that while a character may look great in a video-game, comic-book or animated show it seldom translates into live action very well, with the end result of the actors looking ridiculous in bright, garish costumes. Directors like Bryan Singer for example know this, this is why his version of the X-Men had them kitted in black leather as opposed to yellow spandex (to paraphrase Cyclops). Or at the very least, tone down the colours. As for Yoshimitsu, well that should never have even been a consideration as the costume is ridiculous and completely out-of-place with the rest of the characters.
As if that wasn’t enough, needless to say, the storyline has been modified (almost beyond recognition) in this live-action adaptation, including such highlights as – Steve Fox being Jin’s trainer/sponsor who eventually gives Jin the familiar looking red gauntlets that Kazama fans will instantly recognize, however in this film they’re Steve’s old fighting gloves…um, he’s a boxer, what boxer uses gloves like those?
…what people never seem to understand is that while a character may look great in a video-game, comic-book or animated show it seldom translates into live action very well…
Even though this film is considered to be low-budget, it’s not an excuse for the shitty locales and poor CGI seen throughout the city scenes. After watching films like District 9 (which has even less of a budget), one can easily see that it’s the director that will make or break a film. Speaking of which, I have a vague idea as to why this film did have such shoddy directing, considering that Dwight H. Little’s career has been predominately television related, one can see how a lack of feature film experience has affected Tekken. I’m not saying that Little is a bad director, quite the opposite really as he has directed plenty of television shows which I enjoy (Dollhouse, Bones and so forth). Bottom line, these sort of adaptations should just never happen as they always get fucked up in the end.
So if the storyline is generic and tedious, acting is bad, the costumes suck and the overall look of the film is ass, surely the martial arts must be good as it’s a key element of Tekken? Well, you’d be wrong in thinking so as the combat in this film is a poorly choreographed, overdone mess. Where’s Woo-ping Yuen when you need him? In conclusion, this film is a sad affair and further proof that video-game film adaptations should never be attempted in the first place.