De ja vu? I’ve been down this road before with Tekken. Every piece of film I review from this franchise ends up being totally useless, however, duty calls…and I must watch the latest Tekken film. If there are any gamers reading this, let me just state that fighting games, for the most part, involve sorry excuses of a ‘story’ just for you to fight and beat up people. The only ‘battle’ game I have played in my life that had ANY kind of a good story was Twisted Metal Black, years ago. Basically, Tekken: Blood Vengeance is a long drawn out cut scene from a video game. The film definitely receives some good marks for staying true to the design and general look of Tekken, but my patience at this point is running thin with video game movies and I will not be kind to this film.
The opening scene for Blood Vengeance starts off promisingly. It starts with a runner for the G corp, confronting her sister who now works for the Mishima Zaibatsu. It just gets straight to the action, while Ling Xiaoyu gets involved by being forced to work for Anna as a teenage spy – aided by her trusty friend Panda. Ling, for me, was the most important aspect of the film, since this film takes place between tournaments 5 and 6 in the game’s timeline, and follows the story through her eyes. Sadly, I did say ‘between’ 5 and 6…which means we are treated to two different movies smashed together, each one devoid of all tournament fights. Also, sometimes the camera would creep up on Xiaoyu’s and Alisa’s legs whenever they spoke. Creepy? None of the actors seemed to be playing it straight, and went cartoonish with the whole approach.
The fights are a bit over the top and the 3-D effects were actually quite nice, however the fists and kicks and throws happen so fast no one knows who threw it. OK, so I knew the fighting portion would be hit and miss but what about the script? After all, the writer from Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo worked on this! The voice acting is bad and in some cases doesn’t fit the character as well as it should. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children this certainly is not. While FFVII promoted a more mature advancement of the series, Blood Vengeance included huge panda bears with human intelligence, robots that are somehow reactivated through tears, the cheesy martial-arts-tough-guy dialogue. There is also a questionable scene where Jin punching Heihachi out a wall, and then being beaten down by Kazuya, who uses the Devil Gene to transform into the true devil form that hasn’t been seen in any of the games.
At this point, I am almost ready to give up. It had just enough story to keep me watching, but was tempted to walk out numerous times. But seeing as half the audience spent the whole movie laughing, I guess I wasn’t alone. Oh and after the credits the girls decide to make a “theme park” and enter the next fighting tournament. Alisa agrees to help, and then suggests that they enter the next Tekken fighting tournament to get money for their dream. Panda plays with some kids as the credits roll. WHAT?! OK, let’s wrap this train wreck up…characters felt gimmicky despite their importance to driving the plot and the voice acting was terrible. There’s a specific problem with bad anime movies and a lot of Japanese pop-cinema in general. Tekken: Blood Vengeance does nothing to help this situation and it is a film that you should pass on.