Friday, 20 August 2010


The King Of Iron Fist Tournament based on the widely popular video game series hits the cinemas. But is it just another Street Fighter or does this pull more punches? Is it game over from round one?

It was only a matter of time until Tekken went from beat-'em-up madness to the big screen. After all, the first game was released in 1994 and Tekken 7 has just been announced as well as the imminent release of Street Fighter Vs Tekken. It's never been a series to give up fighting and with an intriguing storyline, with even more bizarre characters and backstory, there's a wealth of material to be played with. The game also features the toughest Grandad, Heihachi, that has ever existed. However, it's telling to say that Heihachi is a little bit different in the movie. Skinnier, less threatening and looks a bit of an idiot - much like the film.

In it's defence it takes a bold attempt to recreate the atmosphere and energy that surrounds a quintessentially Japanese title such as this. It's all bright lights, ridiculous moves and lots of colours. But it falls down in the same old places that every video game adaptation falls down in - it's too bogged down in simple plot (meaning the video game fans who are the most likely audience won't be surprised by any plot devices) and just looks a bit silly.

Saying that, it could have been a lot worse. Funnily enough, I thought the acting was good. Luke Goss was a highlight and I didn't even mind the bland cardboard beefed up guys too much - they weren't exactly left too much time to delve into their characters. However, the simple idea that Jin (who only came about in Tekken 3 if I remember rightly) is the People's champion coming up from the slums to fight alongside the best in the world is workable. The evil Tekken corporation is commercialism gone mad but for the average cinema-goer, you don't really understand the correlation properly between the Iron Fist Tournament and Tekken. The actual tournament itself seems to be a complete mess, not only is it over quickly with some characters you don't even see fighting, but the fights feel like they are over before they've actually begun. Which is a shame because they're rather good. Another terrible idea they've had is that instead of the globe-trotting that happens in the game, they've tried to recreate different scenes in the middle of the arena - meaning they have put a fake castle or some trees there. It just seems ridiculous.

The father/son/grandfather storyline is a bit dishevelled and even Heihachi comes across as a nice guy, but I can't help but feel there could have been so much more. Jin isn't a nice guy as he appears here either, in the games he's still got a bit of the (literal) devil from his father in him and this evil power would have been far more interesting than the whole revenge thing that the film turned into.

I had pretty low expectations but it does stand-up to some degree thanks to actors like Goss and Ian Anthony Dale. Harmless, brain-dead action that won't completely bore you but I can guarantee once you watch it, you'll never return to it. I doubt there will be another 6 of these.

Rating: 4/10

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