AMC Network Entertainment LLC

This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.

What Could Make the Tekken Movie Great? Well, for Starters…


Tekken hits Japanese theaters this week, and, in all honesty, it doesn’t look that great. Based on Namco’s long-running fighting-game franchise, it tells the story of a young man who competes in a fighting tournament to avenge the death of a loved one. If the story sounds familiar, that’s because it follows the same plot as Enter the Dragon and Mortal Kombat. But we’re optimists: regardless of how uninteresting the trailer looks, the movie stands a pretty good chance of being a fun martial-arts romp — assuming it follows a few rules, that is. We’ve assembled a list of the five things we hope to see in Tekken.

Ludicrous Fight Scenes
Tekken is one of the more realistic fighting games on the market (in this context, “more realistic” means “people don’t fly into the air and wail on each other for thirty seconds, before falling back down”), but every good video-game movie needs an over-the-top fight scene or two. If you take the sci-fi showdowns out of films like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter, you’re left with boring fair, à la Dead or Alive.

Appearances by the Game’s Weirdest Characters
The trailer reveals that Yoshimitsu — otherwise known as everyone’s favorite armor-clad samurai — will make an appearance, but we want even more of the unusual characters. It’d be silly to assume that the filmmakers would be so bold as to include the likes of Mokujin, a wooden training doll possessed of a fighter’s spirit, but what about Prototype Jack, the vengeful robot? Or King, the fighter who looks totally normal, except that he’s got the head of a jaguar? These characters may be too science fiction-y, but one can dream.

Judicious Use of Ridiculous Costumes
If nothing else, the Tekken movie will serve as incontrovertible proof that the visual style of video games can’t always be translated into film. Those costumes may have looked great on 3-D-rendered characters, but they’ll look downright slutty on real people. We need either to see the cast in those getups throughout the film, so that we’re given more time to accept them, or we need to glimpse them at the very end, as a kind of visual tease. Just as Michael Bay saves the most convoluted giant-robot fight for the end of Transformers, so, too, might Tekken withhold its most visually startling effects until the very end.

A Relatively Lighthearted Tone
If there’s one thing that makes movies like Hitman or Max Payne difficult to like, it’s the fact that they take themselves too seriously. What should have been action romps turned into oddly oppressive, awkward attempts at neo-noir. Judging by the lack of levity in its trailer, one can’t help but worry that Tekken might fall victim to an inflated sense of seriousness. As long as the movie remembers its roots — one of the Tekken games includes a playful kangaroo, with boxing gloves — it won’t be a total loss.

Shamelessness in Ripping Off Other Martial-Arts Flicks
Given that the plot seems close to that of Enter the Dragon, here’s hoping that the movie as a whole is unoriginal. This isn’t Citizen Kane — it doesn’t need to do anything groundbreaking. All that Tekken fans (including me) want is a silly martial-arts movie that reminds us of the games. If you want to copy existing films, go right ahead: I’d rather have a perfectly entertaining ripoff than an awful but original movie. (Sorry, Legend of Chun-Li.)

But enough about what I want: what would you like to see in Tekken?

Read More