After the critical success of Street Fighter II: The Movie, the producers from Nakamura Animation must have felt it was imperative that they make an animated feature (or it's a two-piece OVA if you go by the subs) based on yet another popular fighting game franchise and that is Tekken. One time when I had encountered this little piece and considering I'm somewhat of a Tekken fan, I held some high expections but boy did it fail to live up to them and more!
Apparently, this feature is based on the first two games of the franchise but there's no clear direction of where it's going at (especially if you're not familiar with Tekken). Sure, there's the Iorn Fist Tournament and Kazuya Mishima seeking revenge against his father (Heihachi Mishima) for throwing him off the cliff but there's also a bunch of (mostly)pointless sub-plots thrown into the mix such as Jack and Lei Wulong heading underground to reach Dr. Boskonovitch for a cure to Jane's illness, Nina and Anna Williams fighting for Lee Chaolon's affection, and Lee secretly having his scientists release his experiements to stop the participates of the Iorn Fist Tournament (for reasons I don't know or don't care). To be fair, this clusterfuck of a narrative does have a message to send to the viewers (that vengance is an unjustifiable act) but it seems more interested in telling you it rather than showing you it. Very big mistake indeed, as it pretty much beats you over the head with it (via Jun Kazama) and the message falls flat.
No matter, for a fighting ainme the plot is a secondary priority and I can name plenty of anime with terrible plotlines but make up having decent fight scenes (M.D Geist comes to mind, but just barely...) so being an animated feature that based on a highly-acclaimed fighting game franchise you'd think the fighting be good, right?
Why? Because when they actually are fighting it's almost always either too short, the flow of action would be disrupted by a said pointless sub-plot, or it would consist only of simple punches, kicks, and uppercuts. It's quite a shame really since Tekken has some of the more diverse fighting mechanics out there, basing each and every character moves directly on real-life techniques and that really could have the movie's saving grace but it ends up being nothing more than another extravagance.
This is sadly the best aspect of the movie. The animation, while not awful, isn't anything to brag about. The movements are sharp but for an aniamted feature that came out in 1998 (4 years after something as gorgeous-looking as Street Fighter II: The Movie, let I mind you), it's very static and the art is fugly especially on Kazuya (I know his original design has bushy eyebrows but they're not THAT bushy). It doesn't push any limits, it's all standard TV anime show flair.
I've only seen the english version of the movie so my opinion here might be skewed but since any english subbed version is extremely hard to come across, I'm judging it by the dub. The voices acting is fine but the soundtrack is inappropiate to the mood of pretty much each and every scene. It's like an AMV gone wrong. There's even a song by the Offsprings playing at an otherwise light-hearted moment.
For being based on a franchise that has a sizeable amount of characters (even back at the days), less than half play an active role so anyone who's a fan of those who aren't Kazuya Mishima, Heihachi Mishima, Jun Kazama, Lei Wulong, Nina Willaims, Anna Willaims, Lee Chaolan, Michelle Chang, and Jack will be sorely disappointed by seeing their favorite characters having only brief camaos or not even being acknowledged at all by this movie. The characters that did make the cut are essentially dumbed-down cardboard cutouts. Kazuya is the cold brooding type, Lei is the wise-cracking comedian, Jack is the gentle giant, Lee is a playboy, and as for Jun, she's not a even character as so much as a preachy plot-device and when I say preachy, I mean VERY PREACHY!!
The skinny is that this movie is a detrievitive piece of shit although I still wouldn't go as far to say it's bottom-of-the-barrel trash because it at least tries to be more than just a mindless punch-a-thon but the execution is sloppy.
Do I recommend it? I can't recommend it to anyone (except maybe for a giggle or two at the cringe-worthy plot details). It fails to provide a compelling story, it fails to entertain as a fighting anime, and more importantly it fails to satisify even as an Tekken adaptation.
The Tekken franchise is still amongst the most famous and best selling game series. This movie covers the events in the first 2 games. It is a very poorly done adaptation since the budget is small and has hardly enough time to portrait all the characters properly. No surprise if you know it is made by that shitty Studio DEEN. It was supposed to advertise the games but only succeeded in alienating the newbies and disappointing the fans. But how can anyone expect something good out of something studio DEEN made?
ART: 4/10, SOUND: 7/10
- Human figures look simple and hardly reminiscent of the game characters.
- Fighting scenes are too short and lack choreography.
- Backgrounds are generic.
- Visual effects are poor and feel quite fake.
- Blood spilling from the mouth as indication of defeat? What? No red or green sprays?
- Music themes are full of beat and voice acting is ok. I actually liked those.
In all, the production values are bearable but not as close as what the fans may have expected… Then again, how many good game adaptations do you know of?
SCRIPT & CAST: 3/10
- The story is generally faithful to the games and the characters behave as their counterparts in the games do. Not that there was much story to begin with. A tournament, where the strongest fighter gets to fulfill his wildest desires? And a sinister plan to use the fighters in order to test bioorganic weapons? It’s the same excuse of a story all classic beat-them-ups share. I don’t say it is a bad thing for such games but does look lame to watch it in anime format. IT IS FAKE! STUPID! BRAINLESS!
-The battles are awful. Two or three strikes, based on the moves in the game, and it’s over. How can you enjoy a movie about martial arts if there are barely any in it?
-The characters are cardboards. Besides Kazuya vs his father, all the rest are just cameos. The average airtime for every character is 5 seconds and we are talking about a lot of characters. Most of them don’t even talk! Don’t even affect the story! DON’T DO ANYTHING! Sure, we get to see the two sisters having a cat-fight, Jack looking for a way to help the little girl, and that other traitorous son, what was his name, plotting behind his father in an attempt to test his monsters and usurp the company. All the aforementioned happen too fast and in very crude ways. No time to enjoy them or feel the burden of the situation.
-The conclusion sucks! Not only it is a happy ending that has no relation to the games but it also leaves us hanging out to dry. What happened here? Where did everybody go? Oh, sure, if you are aware of what is going on in Tekken 3, you can pretty much guess. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF THE PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW OF THE GAMES? How will they enjoy such a blunt ending?
- The story is about the first two games, where nothing really interesting happened and frankly speaking, nobody gives a shit anymore. Give us Ogre! Give us Devil Kazuya! Give us that fiendish gran-gran-grandpa! Don’t give us the characters before they even HAD A BACKDROP STORY!
I thanked myself for not buying it and instead downloading it; and I enjoyed most the part where I deleted this piece of crap from my PC, thus saving the space for something better. THERE IS NOTHING ENJOYABLE ABOUT IT! Not even the fans of the game will like it.
Can I get a refund? I think this thing is broken.