Video game adaptations have become more and more prevalent, the four biggest being Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat, and Doom. Many others have been abysmal disasters, celluloid waste with awful lighting, lame scores, uninspired action, dubious acting, and rancid scripts with no system of check and balances in place to weed out the good from the bad. Tekken falls into the latter group. The lighting and the exterior set configurations are as bad as Punisher: War Zone‘s: neon greens, oranges, reds, etc. abound but worse in Tekken because everything is shot at night. Just as Jigsaw’s makeup was cartoony, so is Heihachi Mishima (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa)’s but to the makeup designer’s credit, he does look like his video game incarnation minus the muscle. In real life, his hair style looks ridiculous but he is acted well by Tagawa.
One issue with video game adaptations is the idiocy of dressing the characters in the film like their video game incarnations. I will give Tekken credit: at least they explain why everyone is dressed like its Halloween at a comic book convention in Bizarro’s world.
One brilliant and misguided piece of casting in Tekken was Christie Monteiro (Kelly Overton). She is the only reason for a heterosexual male to see this film since extraordinarily superior martial artists films like Fearless and Ip Man exist. Every outfit she wears – except for the first one – shows her ass crack and it’s obvious she isn’t wearing any underwear. Not since Rebecca Romijn’s Mystique has the separation in the Gluteus Maximus muscle been on display in an adaptation so salaciously and audaciously. The costume designers on Tekken had no shame…bless them. There is one scene where Jin Kazama (Jon Foo) is staring down Monteiro’s crack at her ass. Monteiro is aware of it, comments, and then the viewer is shown just what captured his attention so fastidiously.
Even pulchritudinous (I actually used that word in a sentence) Overton and her outfits were not strong enough factors to salvage the casual nature of her sole arena fight scene. MMA fighter Gina Carano would have been a far better choice for the role. If the viewer has seen Universal Soldier: Regeneration they know how good the fight scenes could have been for Monteiro and in the rest of the film if a real life martial artists – who fights for a living – had been used.
One aesthetic plus in addition to the visual Overton was the way in which they used Marshall Law (Cung Le) in the film as an opening salvo fighter. I would have liked to have seen him in the rest of the film, as he was the most normal of the Tekken video game characters, but perhaps short and sweet was best.
The viewer will have a few (lol) questions about the film: How can a fighter be allowed full body armor from head to toe and another nothing? Representatives from the other corporations that participate in the Iron Fist competition (the plot of the film is a means to an end, a bridge to and a reason for its multiple fight scenes) all work out and prep in the same room. This makes no sense, not that the film is Million Dollar Baby-grade or Rocky. Why would you want the other fighters to see how strong you are or are not, how fast you are, your agility, before you fight them in the arena? Someone – *cough Alan B. McElroy *end cough – did not have their thinking cap on while writing this script. If Tekken’s aim was to be as “good” as DOA: Dead or Alive, they over shot their goal by a mile.
Dwight H. Little’s Tekken is the movie industry summer film liquefied so that it goes down and away even quicker than the norm and is forgotten even sooner. Tekken is a heir apparent to Dragonball: Evolution. I would have said “the” heir apparent but there will surely be other films of Tekken‘s “quality” down the road.