Genre: Action, martial-arts
Director/s: Youichi Mori
Running Time: 92 mins
Released: 22 November 2011 (USA)
Set between the events of Tekken 5 and Tekken 6, a mysterious student named Shin Kamiya becomes the prime target for the new head of Mishima Zaibatsu – Jin Kazama and his father Kazuya Mishima – head of the rival company, G Corporation.
Well this is one film that came out of nowhere, usually I have a good beat on these types of things but came across Tekken: Blood Vengeance completely by chance, then again, I was bound to discover it eventually. Blood Vengeance is part of the Tekken Hybrid package, the DVD and Blu-ray versions of the film were released simultaneously in North America and fans will benefit from the Blu-ray version most of all, apart from the obvious visual treatment, placing the Tekken: Blood Vengeance BD disc into a PlayStation 3 console will allow owners to play an enhanced high-definition version of the original Tekken Tag Tournament (1999) as well as a demo of its up and coming sequel – Tekken Tag Tournament 2.
I’ve wondered for years why a film company, who intended on making an animated film of a well-established franchise doesn’t just use the same CGI animation employed in the games themselves. Why bother creating a brand new engine when a brilliant one already exists? It’s been a source of annoyance for a while now, a good example would be Dawn of War (2004) – the original CGI intro was awesome, so why not just use it for Ultramarines (2010), a film that had a pretty decent story, but horrid animation. Well no matter, as Digital Frontier – a company with a sizable repertoire, including motion capture work on Metal Gear Solid 4, Death Note: The Last Name (VFX) and of course the Tekken 6 CGI, have released an animated film using the same visuals as the full motion video sequences from Tekken 6.
Directed by Youichi Mori, and written by Dai Sato (Cowboy Bebop), Tekken: Blood Vengeance expands upon the Tekken mythos, by focusing on a tight-knit group of characters with the result that the film actually has a fair amount of depth. Too often, writers overextend a story by trying to cram in as many characters as possible (Tekken’s roster boasts over forty characters), resulting in a half-hearted, thin storyline that never does the source material any justice as since there are too many characters to focus on – each vying for screen time, the plot never develops into anything remotely interesting (just look at the Mortal Kombat films).
…the film really kicks into overdrive when heavy-hitters Jin Kazama, Kazuya Mishima and Heihachi Mishima go head-to-head in a three-way battle royale…
While not the most complex of plots, it is interesting nonetheless, as Ling Xiaoyu is recruited (forced) to work for Anna Williams – a G Corporation agent, in an attempt to gather data on Shin Kamiya, she befriends Alisa Bosconovitch who, wouldn’t you know it, happens to work for Mishima Zaibatsu. While most of the film is focused on enriching the relationship and back-story of the two aforementioned characters, through a series of ‘antics’, investigation and plenty of brawls, the film really kicks into overdrive when heavy-hitters Jin Kazama, Kazuya Mishima and Heihachi Mishima go head-to-head in a three-way battle royale that’s both visually impressive and jaw-droppingly insane. The awesome animation and fight choreography make for a highly enjoyable watch, and if you aren’t taken with the somewhat cheesy English language dub, you always have the option of watching it in the original Japanese. Speaking of voice acting, Namco has tried as best as possible to use all the original voice actors from the games which is sure to appease die-hard fans. It’s also worth noting that Tekken project leader Katsuhiro Harada has made it abundantly clear that Blood Vengeance has nothing to do with the abominable live-action version.
Tekken: Blood Vengeance is the definitive Tekken film, forget the old anime and the atrocious live-action disaster, as Blood Vengeance has enough character development and battles to keep Tekken fans satiated. While not the greatest film ever, it is quite faithful to the source material, even though characters like Lee Chaolan or Panda don’t really add anything to the mix (Panda’s inclusion made parts of the film unbearably camp), I happily recommend this film to all Tekken fans, if only to see the awesome final battle.