Main cast: Jon Foo (Jin Kazama), Kelly Overton (Christie Monteiro), Luke Goss (Steve Fox), Ian Anthony Dale (Kazuya Hishima), Candicé Hillebrand (Nina Williams), Gary Daniels (Bryan Fury), Darrin Dewitt Hanson (Raven), Roger Huerta (Miguel Caballero Rojo), Marian Zapico (Anna Williams), Cung Le (Marshall Law), Tamlyn Tomita (Jun Kazama), Lateef Crowder (Eddy Gordo), Gary Ray Stearns (Yoshimitsu), Anton Kasabov (Sergei Dragunov), and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Heihachi Mishima)
Director: Dwight H Little
Fans of the video game Tekken, I’ve better warn you: you should treat this movie as a completely separate entity from the fighting game. Then again, this should be the mantra for every movie ever made based on a popular comic or video game. Always expect dramatic liberties that will have these fans screaming for blood, and in Tekken, there is a mix of accurate character representation and absolute deviation from the game.
The story is vaguely familiar and yet a complete bastardization of the game. In the future, the world is separated and ruled by several corporations, with the USA being ruled by the Tekken Corporation. Heihachi Mishima, the boss of Tekken, runs an annual fighting tournament where the other corporations send their best fighters to duke it out in a not-so-subtle attempt to show the others who is the boss.
Our hero, Jin, lives with his mother Jun and he doesn’t know who his father is at the early stage of the movie. He is a runner, breaking through Tekken’s security and retrieving banned or illegal merchandise for a price. When his latest mission leads Heihachi’s son and second-in-command Kazuya to him, he runs back from shagging his girlfriend just in time to see his mother become barbecued plot device. Enraged, Jin decides to enter the Tekken tournament to avenge his mother by tearing apart Heihachi with his bare hands. Thanks to his mother teaching him some super martial arts thingy, he manages to qualify for the tournament.
Tekken does one thing right: after the story has been set up to allow Jin into the Tekken tournament, the movie doesn’t bother anymore with the story and just bring on the fighting. The choreography of these scenes is pretty good and there is plenty of blood and violence to fill the 90 minutes or so of this movie.
Jon Foo plays Jin in a manner that is a complete one-eighty from the Jin in the game, and he has more charm than acting ability, but he does look good in this movie and he delivers the goods pretty well. Kelly Overton’s Christie Monteiro is a pleasant surprise: the character is here for eye candy, but for a character in that role, she manages to become two-dimensional while avoiding the dreaded damsel in distress label. Christie isn’t Eddy Gordo’s emotionally needy granddaughter here – she and Eddy don’t have any ties at all in this movie – but a capable kick-ass female in her own right. As for Heihachi, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is stuck with some fake facial hair from hell but he is a pro at playing roles that he is typecasted in. Steve Fox, played by Luke Goss, is reduced to being Jin’s manager and mentor, but he steals all the scenes that he shares with Jin.
The rest of the cast is easy on the eyes, with the notable exception of the hammy and ridiculous Kazuya, played by the horribly miscast Ian Anthony Dale. In fact, Kazuya come off pretty bad in this movie, although he’s not nearly as mistreated by the script as Nina and Anna Williams, who are Kazuya’s mistresses as well as inept assassins (as opposed to being merely inept assassins in the game).
Tekken is not a masterpiece by any means, but in the end, it manages to deliver some great action and mindless entertainment, which is exactly what it is for. It works well as an action flick and it’s miles better than some adaptations of video games out there. All in all, this one isn’t bad if you know what you are getting into.