Hello and welcome the first of what I hope to be many reviews right here on Chopsticks On Fire, a new blog dedicated to providing readers with reviews of martial arts movies and TV shows of the past, present and future. First up is a review of the big screen (or should that be small screen?) adaptation of the popular video game franchise Tekken.
The film takes place in the futuristic dystopian world of Tekken City (Yes, it's as stupid as it sounds) a world that has collapsed under the weight of corporate greed and countries are ruled with a (no pun intended) iron fist. Here we meet our hero, Jin, a guy who spends his time running from Jack Hammers (Basically guys in Hockey armour spray painted black) so he can spend money on pieces of fruit and Chocolate. Yes, it seems in the future nice things like fruit, vegetables and sweets are outlawed yet not so nice things such as tobacco and alcohol are readily available, curse you evil corporate bastards!
Anyway, aside from risking getting shot in the head for a Mars Bar he also finds time to bang his girlfriend Kara, who doesn't do much except stand around, pout and get plowed by our fearless hero. After we learn what a jammy little git Jin is we find out he lives with his mother Jun who taught him martial arts since he was a child. It's here we see that Jin has a strong desire to entire the King Of Iron Fist tournament, which is kind of like UFC but with the added theatrics of WWE. Naturally his mother forbids him and Jin goes away in a huff and get a quick shag from his missus. As he's busy getting his end away Jack Hammers (No matter how many times I type that it never sounds any less ridiculous) storm his mother's home and she ends up getting blown to bits. Feeling guilty over the fact he was busy getting his rod polished when he should have stayed with his mother, Jin enters the King of the Iron Fist in the hopes of avenging the woman who had the misfortune of giving birth to him.
And so began my viewing of the most disappointing movie I've seen this year. I'm a huge Tekken fan more so then any other fighting game Franchise and when I heard that a live action movie was being made I was understandably excited as the games themselves provided a really solid foundation for a really good story and could have made a solid series of action films, instead what we have here is Bloodsport written by a horny 15 year old. The cast range from not to bad to just flat out silly. Jon Foo proves he had what it takes to be an action star, he's not that bad an actor and he gets to show off his incredible skill as a martial artist but his characterisation is completely wrong, in the games Jin is a man who is tormented by his family legacy and the hatred he shares for his father, in the film he's a whingy little sod who spends most of the time getting his arse kicked and frowning a lot, not the most endearing of underdog heroes if you ask me.
It's also worth mentioning that Jin seems to conveniently forget he has a girlfriend once he claps eyes in Christie Monteiro played by Kelly Overton but given the fact the first time you see her she's working up a slow motion sweat in the gym I think I'd probably have a lapse in memory as well. At first Christie doesn't want to have anything to do with our loveable scamp for a hero and makes it very clear but after she sees him in action she can't wait whisk him off to a rave and have him grope her backside like no tomorrow. Yes, it seems that Tekken is very much catering, rather unashamedly it seems, to the teenage male demographic, since Hollywood seem to think that people over the age of 18 don't play video games. It's this approach that turns the whole thing into a great big bloody pantomime.
The rest of the cast don't fair much better, Luke Goss cashes a quick cheque as Steve Fox, stock villain Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa looks constipated as head of Tekken, Heihachi Mishima and Ian Anthony Dake chews the scenery like his life depends on it as Jin's father Kazuya and believe me, I'm not spoiling anything major by mentioning that father-son connection. While we're on the subject of Kazuya it seems Jin picked up his rabid libido from his old man as we're treated to a rather awkward scene which sees his dad bang both Anna and Nina Williams. Yep. jammy sods, the pair of them.
Moving on from the mouth breathers we call the characters lets move to the action, which is one of the main selling points of the film. It's probably by the far the only good part of the film and the only time the cast really get to show what they can do. As I mentioned before Foo really gets to show his stuff but he spends most of the time getting his butt kicked you kind of feel sorry for him most of the time. Cyril Raffaelli, who in his own right has established himself as an action star in his native France provides the choreography and plays to each actor's strength and this arm chair critic hopes despite the finished product this film lands him more work in future projects.
Usually a film that's high in bone crunching ass-kickery and curvy eye candy would be right up my alley but given that the film doesn't do enough with both to make it entertaining, the whole thing is just dull. The director, Dwight H. Little does nothing to really make this film stand out amongst the other video game movies to hit our screens which shouldn't come as any surprise since he directed such classics as Halloween 4 and Free Willy 2 yet looking at his credits on IMDb he seems to have made quite a success in television directing such shows as Dollhouse, Prison Break and Bones but I never watched any of those so I couldn't comment if he did any better on them. It's a shame as Tekken could really have been the first break out video game to make a solid franchise and cover up the box office stains left over from Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Dead Or Alive.
If you really want to see this train wreck of a film then I'm not going to stop you but it seems you'll have a long time to wait since the UK DVD/Blu-Ray premier isn't happening until sometime between January and June of 2011. The fact it's been pushed back that far should tell you how much faith the studio releasing this monstrosity, have.
Hope you liked reading my first review, I promise the next reviews will on films that I actually like.