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Anchor Bay Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 7/19/2011
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/26/2011
At this point in history, movies based on video games have become a sub-genre unto themselves. Years ago, this probably seemed like a silly idea -- I'm sure that people made "Pac-Man: The Movie" jokes (Well, there actually was a Pac-Man television show...I'm getting way off the subject here) -- but today, we actually expect video game movies. Of course, they still vary in quality because some games have a detailed plot, while others are merely ideas which allow the game action to take place. Following in the footsteps of movies based on fighting games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, we now get Tekken. Can it break new ground in the video game movie genre?
Tekken is set in a dystopian future following The Terror Wars (?!), where the world has been divided into different territories, each of which is controlled by a company. The United States falls under the control of Tekken. Every year the Iron Fist Tournament is held where fighters from each territory the compete for dominance. Jin (Jon Foo) is a young man who lives in the slums (called The Anvil) in Tekken City. He makes money smuggling anti-Tekken technology. After suffering a terrible loss, Jin enters Iron Fist in hopes of killing Tekken leader Heihachi Mishima (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). However, no one suspects that Heihachi's son, Kazuya (Ian Anthony Dale), will make a power play. Jin finds an ally in fellow competitor Christie Monteiro (Kelly Overton), and together they try to stay alive.
Other than a demo for "Tekken 2" (or was it 3?), I've never played a Tekken game (fighting games aren't my things), so I only have a passing familiarity with the games. However, I can say that the plot of Tekken felt very familiar. Can we please put a moratorium on the "the future is bleak and it's controlled by big companies" movies? This part of the movie, combined with the fact that Iron First is televised feels like something out of The Running Man or "The Hunger Games". We've got Jin running illegal technology like the underground people in Demolition Man or Jin going nuts over fresh fruit alaSoylent Green. "The Anvil" is a dark, sad place which is patrolled by Tekken soldiers who are called "Jacks". Despite the fact that Jin is hesitant to sign up at first, Iron Fist is really the only way for someone to escape these slums.
And then we have the Iron First tournament. This appears to have been lifted directly from the games, but as its presented in the movie, it feel very similar to the competition featured in Mortal Kombat. The colorful characters, all of whom come from different backgrounds, feel very similar to those featured in Mortal Kombat. But, that movie had the advantage of having the fights take place in a variety of settings. In Tekken, the entire tournament is held on a stage. However, at one point, it looks as if there's at least going to be a special backdrop, but this never happens.
So, in other words, Tekken isn't very original. Nearly every facet of the movie feels as if it was pulled from another source, and only the most ignorant viewer will find any of this refreshing. Glancing at the credits, I wasn't surprised. Director Dwight Little and Writer Alan B. McElroy first worked together on Halloween 4 and their careers haven't gotten any better since. McElroy wrote Spawn and Wrong Turn, while Little directed a Steven Seagal movie, a Free Willy movie, and then moved into TV work. Here, Little is able to give the movie a slick look and the fights are well-shot, but the story goes nowhere. I've read some comments from Tekken fans who state that the movie doesn't do justice to the games, and as a huge Resident Evil fan, I can certainly relate. Whatever the case, we are left with a movie which wants to be a spectacle based on a famous video game franchise, but the result is something which feels like any other late night cable action movie.
Tekken has two sex scenes just to prove that its not aimed at kids on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 28 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no defects from the source material and only a very fine amount of grain at times. This is a dark film (I don't remember any sunlight), but the transfer is never dark and it actually manages the black tones very well. The colors look very good, most notably reds and purples. The picture is nicely detailed, as we can make out textures on objects. There is no blurring during the fight scenes. The Disc carries a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. This is a very active track, even when played at low volumes. The stereo effects are very good, as they highlights sounds coming from off-screen. The surround sound effects are prominent, most notably during the fight scenes. Subwoofer effects abound, as the punches and explosions hit home.
The Tekken Blu-ray Disc is very shorn of extras. "Stunt Stars: Tekken" (51 minutes) takes us behind the scenes on the film and profiles, Cyril Raffaelli (of District B-13 fame), the stunt coordinator on the film. This particular episode of the Discovery Channel show focuses on the stunts and fights of Tekken as we see how the actors and stuntmen made everything look authentic. This contains comments from the cast and filmmakers, as well as a lot of rehearsal and on-set footage. The only other extra is the TRAILER for the film.
Review Copyright 2011 by Mike Long