Tekken Trailer Impressions
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IGN Movies is at this week's AFM (American Film Market) in L.A., where the film with the most dominant presence is undoubtedly Tekken, Crystal Sky's live-action adaptation of the Namco videogame franchise. Promotional art work for the film is plastered throughout the trade show's venue at the Santa Monica Loews Hotel, as well as on shuttle buses servicing AFM attendees.
Tekken is directed by Dwight H. Little (murder at 1600) and stars Luke Goss, Jon Foo, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Gary Daniels, Ian Anthony Dale, Kelly Overton, Cung Le, and Tamlyn Tomita. Alan B. McElroy (Spawn, Wrong Turn, The Marine) wrote the script, which chronicles Jin Kazama's quest for revenge against Tekken Corporation chairman Heihachi Mishima, the man responsible for the death of his mother. The only way for Jin to get close to Mishima is to enter Tekken's Iron Fist tournament.
IGN hit Luke Goss' after party after last night's Tekken screening for potential distributors. A teaser trailer for the movie was played on a loop at the party, but it should be noted that this may just have been a promotional reel for would-be buyers and not the final trailer. In either case, it's the first time that the Tekken movie has been exposed to so many people. Here's what the Tekken trailer had to offer:
The following title cards flash at various points throughout the trailer: "One tournament ... decides the fate of millions. ... They f!ght for power ... They f!ght for honor ... They f!ght for pride ... But one man ... f!ghts for revenge. ... Courage fuels him ... Rage drives him."
The trailer opens with a Blade Runner-style flying car soaring over a futuristic city, which has a massive stadium in the center of it. Inside the stadium, a rowdy crowd cheers for the show to begin, their blood clearly up. We see the "Tekken Iron Fist" tournament sign, then shots of f!ghters in action. We get our first look at goatee-sporting Ian Anthony Dale as Kazuya Mishima, followed by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Heihachi Mishima (whose countenance also graces giant ads for Tekken on the sides of buildings, with the slogan "Strength Through Order"). We then see a montage of the tournament's different f!ghters, including Raven, Eddie Gordo, Bryan Fury, Craig Marduk, and Yoshimitsu -- all of whom look very much like their game counterparts. Yoshimitsu's armor seemed like a cross between the versions worn in Tekken 3 and Tekken 6.
Obviously, the emphasis in the Tekken trailer is on f!ghting, so it's a lot of action shots from tournament matches. There's flipping, punching, kicking -- all the moves you'd expect. At one point a f!ghter whips a heavy chain around his opponent's head to bring him down. Then we meet our hero, Jin Kazama (Jon Foo), as he runs along the ledges of a building and leaps off, parkour-style. We see him f!ght in a cage match (reminiscent of Wolverine's introduction in the first X-Men), and his rise up from the streets and into the Iron Fist competition.
Jin meets Steve Fox (Luke Goss), and then the s3xy Christie Monteiro (Kelly Overton). Then there's the making-of-a hero montage of Jin in training, pummeling a wooden dummy. More shots of Yoshimitsu. Steve Fox yelling. Kazuya walking bare-chested with a wall of fire behind him. Then we get our hero shot of Jin, now looking exactly like his game counterpart: no shirt, black pants with flames down the right leg, the gauntlets. His look is pretty much dead-on.
We then see Steve Fox in the ring, followed by hot chicks f!ghting (it may have been Nina vs. Anna Williams, or one of them vs. Christie Monteiro; it all went by too fast to tell). Then we get a Fast and Furious dance club scene with Christie bumping and grinding, then of her and Jin making out. We see Jin battling Bryan Fury (Gary Daniels), with one of Jin's blow causing a sort of energized ripple across Fury's chest. Cut to a shot of guards pulling a distraught Asian woman away (this may have been Jun Kazama, played by Tamlyn Tomita). More f!ghting shots, now with f!ghters wielding maces and half-moon axes. It ends with, of course, the Tekken movie logo.
Frankly, the trailer was more impressive than I expected it to be. It certainly looked way better and more polished than Street f!ghter: The Legend of Chun-Li and other f!ghting game movie adaptations. It was felt like Mortal Kombat crossed with X-Men and with some of the s3xy, hip, urban youth appeal of the Fast and the Furious films. Unlike most other videogame movies, Tekken actually looked like it had something of a budget and that it wasn't made for TV pilot money. Nothing in it looked particularly cheesy or embarrassing, which is kind of remarkable considering how much of the look of the game and its characters it retained. Unlike the recent Street f!ghter movie, these characters actually bear a strong resemblance to their game counterparts, but they also don't look dumb or campy or out of place in the world the film's established. (Well, at least as far as I could tell from this trailer.)
The f!ght scenes looked good and appeared well crafted; slow-motion and wire work were evident but not overused (again, at least as far as the trailer is concerned). Judging from this footage, Tekken looks like a pretty decent (f!ghting) game-to-film adaptation. Hell, it looked better than Wolverine and that was released by a major studio. Tekken doesn't have a stateside distributor lined up yet, but it will probably land one soon thanks to its dominance at this year's AFM.
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