Year of release: 2010
Genre: martial arts
Director: Dwight Little
Action directors: Eric Norris, Cyril Raffaelli
Producers: Benedict Carver, Steven Paul
Writer: Alan McElroy
Cinematography: Brian Reynolds
Music: John Hunter
Editor: David Checel
Stars: John Foo, Kelly Overton, Cary Tagawa, Ian Dale, Cung Le, Darrin Henson, Luke Goss, Mircea Monroe, Tamlyn Tomita, Candice Hillebrand, Marian Zapico, Gary Daniels, Lateef Crowder, Anton Kasabov
Rated R for violence and language
Movie review index
Based on a popular and long-running series of fighting games, Tekken was released with very little fanfare, even smaller box-office returns, and was then vehemently discredited by the game's creators at Namco. But, especially surprising given the poor lineage of game-to-movie translations, this actually isn't a bad film at all, especially if you're a fan of cheesy action fare.
The Tekken games have always had a sparse story to them, so screenwriter Alan McElroy has taken some artistic license with the property and set the film in your stereotypical near-future where corporations have taken over the world. The biggest one, Tekken, maintains control over the populace by placatating them with combat sports, the biggest one being the King of the Iron Fist tournament. A young fighter named Jin (Jon Foo) enters the tournament to try and get revenge for his slain mother, meets up with a motley crew of combatants, and fisticuffs ensue.
Director Dwight Little, who has made most of his career helming mid-range action movies such as Marked for Death and Rapid Fire seems to be right at home here. The exposition scenes are as wooden and clumsy as you might expect, given the talent level of the actors involved, with only Cary Tagawa (who plays the movie's villain, Heihachi) coming off like he actually cares, despite being saddled with a ridiculous wig and makeup job. But, any any rate, Little thankfully doesn't dwell on the story portion of the equation for too long, instead putting the emphasis exactly where it should be -- on the in-ring combat.
While you're not going to mistake the fight sequences for stuff from the top-tier Hong Kong productions, for a B-movie, Tekken's action is very solid, being true to the game while still remaining cinematically pleasing. Unlike recent game-to-movie efforts like the absolutely god-awful clusterbomb Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, the film-makers here seem to have had at least a semblance of understanding of what made the games successful, and did a solid job in bringing that to the screen.