Rising from the ashes of a crumbled civilization, gladiatorial combat has replaced warfare and ruthless fighters pit themselves against one another in a bid for global supremacy.
The year is 2039 and world wars have destroyed everything. Territories are no longer run by governments, but by corporations. The mightiest of which is Tekken. In the midst of the ruined society, one warrior rises from the streets. A young man with street smarts and raw fighting skills who is driven by nothing more than vengeance for the murder of his mother. To exact his revenge he must defeat the world’s most elite fighters in the greatest tournament ever known and become the “King of Iron Fist."
Popular fighting-game franchise Tekken
receives the big-screen treatment here in a slick retelling that does its best to encapsulate the game's vast and complicated mythology and still find room for plenty of its signature martial arts face-offs. Set in the not-so-distant future, Tekken is a vast corporation that has risen out of the ashes of several world wars to dominate North America. Its CEO (veteran character actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) placates the downtrodden population with the Iron Fist tournament--a last-man-standing brawl, with wealth and fame to the winner. Among the combatants is Jin Kazama (Jon Foo), a street tough with a vengeance jones against Tekken after its goons murder his mother (Tamlyn Tomita). What follows is a mishmash of fight scenes and subplots involving the true identity of Jin's father and his relationships with other fighters, including Kelly Overton's absurdly semidressed female fighter, all of which comes together in a bland frappe of Not Quite Exciting and Not Quite Camp. Prolific film and TV director Dwight Little hews too closely to the game's cartoonish visuals--Tagawa's slashes of white hair and eyebrows, while correct for the character, look ridiculous--though in truth there's little by way of inventive plotting for such silliness to undermine. Dedicated Tekken fans will probably find the script's shortcuts anathema; one presumes that unassuming newcomers to the franchise or those simply looking for an unchallenging time-killer will be the film's key audience. The DVD includes a behind-the-scenes look at the fight choreography by Cyril Raffaelli (The Transporter
, District B13
), which at times proves more exciting than the film itself. --Paul Gaita