Monday, 30 May 2011



I'm not a gamer: I've never played Tekken. Or any computer games, really, except for the occasional rampage round GTA3 shooting people in the back. But I imagine it goes something like this: you are a bloke called Jin and you have to fight your way through a succession of ugly pixelated fighters who drain your health and stamina points, unless you press the buttons and toggle the joystick in the right order and decapitate him/her, in which case you become champion and get to put your initials on the high score board. If you don't, and your health points go to zero, You Lose. There's nothing else in there as regards a plot or a narrative. And now they've made a film of it which is pretty much exactly the same: a succession of fight scenes against increasingly tough bastards, though there's is an implausible soap opera subplot dribbled through to pad the thing out to 91 minutes.

After the apocalypse, the world is run by eight insanely rich megacorporations in giant walled cities while the peasantry scrabble around in the slums outside payign hundreds of dollars for coffee and fruit on the black market. North America is ruled by the brutal and despotic Tekken corporation, who happen to be hosting this year's annual inter-company tournament of Almost-No-Rules Fighting. Following the death of his martial arts expert mother at the hands of Tekken's fascist police, street kid Jin (Jon Foo) signs up to take part, defeats the current People's Choice and wins a place in the finals. Can he claim his revenge? As Tekken's CEO Mishima (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, complete with the game character's frightwig) faces a coup by his homicidal maniac of a son (Ian Anthony Dale), Jin discovers the truth about his own father....

It's like the Mortal Kombat movies but without the intellectual meat. If you want to watch weird-looking people in absurd costumes bashing seven bells out of each other, along with some character development stuff that would have been thought ridiculous on Crossroads (complete with a Vader-Skywalker revelation that's blindingly obvious), then go for it: it's crunchily violent in the numerous combat scenes, the girls are hot and don't wear a whole lot. There are some interesting names in the cast: Luke Goss, Gary Daniels, Tamlyn Tomita, and it's well enough directed by Dwight H Little, auteur of Marked For Death, Halloween 4 and the Robert Englund version of The Phantom Of The Opera. It's colourful and it isn't actually boring, but it is knuckle-draggingly stupid even by the already low standards of videogame adaptations.


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