I suppose the large numbers in the fan base of gamers makes it hard for movie studios to want to give up on making films based on whatever can be adapted, and the easiest of them all involve those arena fights type, from the likes of Mortal Kombat so many years ago, to the more recent efforts in Street Fighter Chun Li, and The King of Fighters. Naturally one will not expect much authenticity in casting having to follow the nationalities of the characters involved, and the stories usually don't make much sense, being set in unknown timelines in fictional places, and are almost always likely to be filled with cliches from generic action films.
The plot of Tekken is no different, although this one had a better effort in crafting a fictional world that is run by corporations after the crumble of governments, and the Iron Fist world tournament gets created for the corporations to pit their best fighters against once another in an arena, with cameras beaming the proceedings worldwide. Think of it like the Olympics or the World Cup, where problems in being oppressed get shelved aside for the cheering of gladiators, which of course are made up of handsome men with Olympian god-like bodies, and bosomy women whose looks can kill, to provide that fantasy realm set up that all is well, at least during the tournament.
This time round it's the corporation Tekken's turn to host the Iron Fist tournament, and it decided to choose its representative from an open call, where Jin Kazama (Jon Foo) defeats incumbent Marshall Law (Cung Le, who went up against Donnie Yen in Bodyguards and Assassins) quite unexpectedly. Of course Jin has his ulterior motive to do so, wanting to get close to Tekken head honcho Heihachi Mishima (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who seems to be relegated into playing such roles, beginning with Mortal Kombat) to kill him to avenge the death of his mother (Tamlyn Tomita!). But Heihachi himself has enough on his plate to fend off a corporate takeover by his ambitious, impatient son Kazuya (Ian Anthony Dale), and the family tree gets complicated as the film later reveals.
As for the rest of the characters, let's just say that character development is always non-existent in such movies, and the pre-requisite here is to look hot when executing combat moves, and not act to save one's life. So the likes of Bryan Fury (Gary Daniels), Nina Williams (Candice Hillebrand), Anna Williams (Marian Zapico), Raven (Darrin Dewitt Henson), Yoshimitsu (Gary Ray Stearns), Hwoarang (Lee Hyun-kyoon) and so on are easy on the eye, but nothing else. Christie Monteiro (Kelly Overton) amps up that sex appeal for some romantic tango with Jin, enough never to serve as a distraction for his objective, but you'd feel that it's a cheap shot at providing some semblance of a pause in between the arena battles.
The fight sequences are a mixed bag. The choreographers had to craft distinct moves for each of the fighters, and this is nicely done. However, the way the film was shot and edited left much to be desired, opting to goo with the MTV styled quick cuts to try and put through that feeling of adrenaline pumping. Seriously, a fight scene no matter how nicely designed will get wasted by bad filming technique, and I urge anyone interested to do so to learn from the Hong Kong film Gallants, because they got it right. Fans will not leave being frustrated with style over substance, and will be happy with giving them those battles as they envisioned when they take over the console and control their favourite characters in the actual game. Then there's the usual cheap sci-fi look and feel of goon troopers fanning out in the field with their automatic weapons drawn, which you will wonder whether they pass their marksmanship tests.
Just two reminders here should you decide to watch this. Again the lower rating meant the censors will have their say in what to omit, hence given it's a violent fight show, the sex scenes got to give way. Also, don't leave the cinema hall just yet when the end credits start to roll, as the coda at the back reveals the true outcome of Heihachi Mishima, which in all likelihood be unable to influence whether a follow up film, or television series, will be made. Strictly for the gaming fans only who want to see how their familiar characters get translated to the big screen.