I think we?ve all resigned ourselves to the fact that all video game based movies are going to be absolutely dire and full of nonsense. Somehow, somewhere, someone thought that Tekken: Blood Vengeance would be different. It?s not.
We all used to think that the problem stemmed from film directors that didn?t have a grasp of the franchise they were handling. But Tekken
series head Katsuhiro Harada was heavily involved in this one. What?s the excuse here? Well, the obvious - at the end of the day, a film?s competence boils down to narrative, and Tekken
doesn?t have a story.
OK, it does, but nothing of considerable note. CG backstories in fighting games amount to nothing but limp excuses to pick up a controller and beat the snot out of your mate. Anna and Nina Williams? sibling (and professional) rivalry may look good between gameplay scenes, but it doesn?t translate well onto the silver screen.
The plot - your usual near-convoluted Japanese fare - involves a manhunt for rogue student Shin Kamiya, the sole survivor of a twisted human experiment to cultivate the man-made ?M? gene. Ever-warring father and son combo, Jin Kazama and Kazuya Mishima, fight over this kid as it appears this gene offers immortality to the host. Anna and Nina do their masters? bidding (Kazuya and Jin, respectively) between this by slapping each other about a bit.
Ling Xiaoyu gets involved by being forced to work for Anna as a teenage spy - aided by her trusty friend Panda - and has to bond, fight and work with android Alisa Bosconovitch (in that order - with a little robo-eroticism thrown in) to find out who?s really behind this power play, as Shin gets mysteriously kidnapped. All this happens while Alisa attempts to come to terms with and understand the will of the human being and blah blah blah.
By now you?re probably thinking that, due to the tone of this review, that Tekken: Blood Vengeance
isn?t really worth your time. Far from it. It is. Citizen Kane
it ain?t - hell, it struggles to hold a torch to Night at the Museum
- but rather incredibly, it is really quite amazing in its crappiness.
From the second you see Anna and Nina talking and notice the atrocious lip sync, you can tell that this will be a film to remember. The localised dialogue is so awkward that there are unintentional double-entendres in every scene. An amazing stand-off between Shin, Jin, Kazuya and Heihachi brings with it so many homo-erotic undertones that it borders on comedic genius. Tears were shed in the theatre.
There?s also enough obligatory leg (and near panty) shots, pencil-thin skirts and low-cut tops to satisfy the Japanese otaku population too. In one scene, Xiaoyu puts her head on Alisa?s lap, sleepily and almost sensually moaning that she?s ?as warm as her refrigerator.? Woah.
Of course, it?s not all a massive lolfest - there are some genuinely good things to see in Tekken: Blood Vengeance
too if you?re willing to sit through it. The animation is absolutely superb, and the fight scenes are excellently choreographed. You just have to ignore everything that leads up to these moments if you want to take the film seriously.
The CG benefits well from the stereoscopic 3D effects, and there are some brilliant - and intentional - comedy moments with Panda and Lee Chaolan too. Throw in a somewhat epic final battle sequence that seems to last forever and there?s enough legitimate goodness here to almost offset everything else. Almost, though. Not quite.
Watching this film feels like playing a localised Japanese game from 1997. For an Eastern audience, the dialogue and set-pieces would seem completely innocent. Dramatic, even. They love talking about destinies, bloodlines, the will of the human heart and all that shit. Here, it just sounds like cheesy innuendo.
Altogether, this is a film that?s so awkward in points that it defies mediocrity and enters self-parody. It?s a technically wondrous feat, but the dialogue puts it squarely in the ?so bad it?s good? territory. The best bit? You'll be able to pick up Blood Vengeance
for essentially nothing if you consider it a freebie in the upcoming Tekken Hybrid
Blu-ray release on PlayStation 3. Buy the disc for the HD Tekken Tag Tournament
, and get this film gratis.
That?s really the only way I can recommend this film, and it?s a smart move of Namco Bandai to bundle the film as an extra in this manner. There?s no justifying a standalone purchase of this on DVD - but as a drunken distraction, it?s hilariously wonderful. For best results; get some mates round, drink loads of alcohol whilst playing a few rounds, then watch Blood Vengeance
in your inebriated state. It?ll be difficult to top a night in like that.
Tekken: Blood Vengeance is scheduled to open at Japanese cinemas from 3rd September 2011. Namco Bandai has revealed it will be screened at select cinemas throughout the UK as well - stay tuned for updates.