Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tekken: Blood Vengeance Review

Tonight I went to the premier of Tekken: Blood Vengeance. The movie was a mixed bag of cool fight scenes, odd humor, and cheesy dialogue. The movie was shown in 3-D, which looked quite amazing and disorienting at the same time. Honestly, I could have done without 3-D, but this was the only way to watch the film in theaters, so I can't complain too much. Let's start with the plot...(beware some spoilers below)
The movie mainly follows the adventures of Ling Xiaoyu and Alisa Bosconivitch. Ling Xiaoyu gets transferred to an international school by Anna, in a convert effort to capture a young man named Shin. Shin was infected with a rare mutagen that grants immortality and each of the Mishima men want him dead or alive. Xiaoyu and Alisa both fall for the guy, and ultimately join forces to rescue him. Did I mention Devil Jin and Devil Kazuya fight Dragon Ball Z style?

The plot has plenty of cameos from characters like Lee (who is hilarious), Lei, and Ganryu. Don't expect everyone to appear however, as the movie doesn't follow a tournament plot line. I admired this idea, as most fighting game animes or films try to cram in every character and it always seems too forced for my liking. Keeping the cast down to a select few allowed for more character exploration and a descent story. Don't go into Tekken: BV expecting Shakespeare, but it is certainly better than the recent Tekken live action film or any Uwe Boll nonsense.

The movie has plenty of funny scenes. Panda has her shining moments but the show stealer is the Mishima misfit, Lee. He is a teacher and odd caretaker for school girls, Alisa and Xiaoyu. His lines are delivered in a superbly aloof manner, and the audience cracked up whenever he appeared. Unfortunately, the movie also has plenty of unintentional humor from poorly written dialogue.

The voice acting seemed to employ every well-known anime voice actor and actress in the biz. This gave the movie a strong dub, but also distracts with jarring performances from Jin, who sounds way too old and Anna, who sounds really over the top whenever she speaks. Dialogue is hit and miss, mainly miss. One scene toward the end had the audience cracking up as every other line seemed like a gay innuendo. It started to feel like Tobias from Arrested Development wrote the script at this point...what a blow hard!
The fight scenes are what the fans came to see, and for the most part, Tekken: BV doesn't disappoint. Alisa's chainsaw mode gets represented to dramatic effect, and Xiaoyu looks cool using her fighting style to avoid the berserk android. Later in the film, the whole Mishima family throws down, and it is really badass to see your favorite signature moves being used to tear down Kyoto Castle. The devil battle is the film's highlight, with an unfortunate lackluster "fight" occurring afterwards that feels anti-climatic and very "un-Tekken" like.
 Overall, this movie should be a real treat for Tekken fans. However, I would avoid this movie unless you know the Tekken cast or love CGI films, because there isn't much background story given for those unfamiliar with the franchise. The movie will be released on PS3 as Tekken Hybrid, a dual pack with the film on Bluray and a HD upgrade for fan favorite, Tekken Tag Team Tournament. The movie with debut in Japan in September. Hopefully Namco sees fit to release Tekken Hybrid on Xbox 360 as well.

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