Archive for the Game to Movies Category

Iron Fisted! The Lone Gamer’s Tekken Movie Review

Posted in Fighting Games, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, Movies, My Stuff, PS3, Tekken, Tekken 6, Xbox360 on August 6, 2010 by thelonegamer

Does this fighter hit or miss?

Okay, I’ve seen it. After all this time, I’ve seen the Tekken live-action movie. It’s been months after the release of Tekken 6, the latest game in the series, the movie came out in Japan without much fanfare and surprisingly little news. Now it’s here and I guess all that’s left to be said is… how bad is it?

Surprisingly though… it’s actually NOT bad.

Tekken is what it is- a mixed martial arts revenge flick. Fortunately, thanks to the overall plot and character relationships, this IS a Tekken story, not just some generic beat ’em up flick with the Tekken brand pasted on it. That said, this isn’t a Tekken most fans will recognize either. Hardcore purists though will howl at the many liberties and omissions- Where’s my fave fighter? Why isn’t so-and-so there? Why did he/she get beat so quick? They changed what? EH? Well, sorry to say, anyone going into the theater looking for Tekken trappings like boxing kangaroos, giant robots or Devil Genes will be disappointed. Only about one fourth of the game’s roster of fighters appear in the film as well. Just accept that this is adapted from the Tekken game and not a canon addition to the game series, and just move on.

The movie takes a more gritty, real-world(?) approach to the storyline, breaking away from most of the supernatural and more fantastic elements from the games, instead focusing on the core plot of the Mishima Bloodline, the Mishima Zaibatsu AKA Tekken Corporation and Jin Kazama’s quest for vengeance. This more back-to-basics approach results in a solid, pretty easy to understand martial arts adventure, at the very least.

Learn how Jin Kazama got those rad gloves. No, really!

Set in a ravaged near-future earth that is just recovering from a time known as the ‘Terror Wars’, the setting of Tekken isn’t a nice place. There are no more governments as the world is now divided into sectors (rather than nations), each one controlled by one of six megacorporations, all collectively known as Iron Fist. The most powerful corporation is the Tekken Corporation (as opposed to just the Mishima Zaibatsu), which controls the territories that include the United States. Tekken is headed by its fierce but strangely honorable CEO, Heihachi Mishima (Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa).

In ‘The Anvil’, one of the many impoverished, danger-filled zones of Tekken City, lives Jin Kazama (Jon Foo), a streetwise youth who works part-time as a runner for smuggled tech. Talented in martial arts due to training from his mom, Jun (Tamlyn Tomita), Jin is often asked to join the underground resistance against the Tekken Corporation’s oppression against the civilians. Jin though would rather just do his own thing and use his earnings to buy little luxuries for his nearest and dearest. Read: This guy will run through freakin’ bullet storms to get his girlfriend a bite of chocolate. What a guy!

Unfortunately, his latest smuggling job inadvertently leads Tekken’s secret police, the ‘Jackhammers’, led by Heihachi Mishima’s son, Kazuya (Ian Anthony Dale), to his clients in the underground resistance, and then later to his own home. One explosion later, Jin’s an orphan seeking revenge on the one he believes responsible, Heihachi Mishima. It doesn’t take long for Jin to enter Tekken’s martial arts tournament itself, pitting himself against the world’s most dangerous fighters and making him an unwitting pawn in a power struggle within the Tekken Corporation.

Jin (Jon Foo) faces off against Miguel (Roger Huerta).

That’s basically what the movie’s about- there’s no big scheme to take over the world (Tekken is already IN control), no secret genetic experiments creating super soldiers using the fighters’ DNA, no mystical demon lord waiting behind the wings (Kazuya fills that in as the film’s biggest douche already). Jin just wants his pound of flesh, and along the way other characters either side with him or get in his way. But thankfully, the movie works since it rarely slows down with lots of hard-hitting action, some steamy sexy scenes with some hot ladies, and even more action.

Did I say there was action? Tekken is basically about a fighting tournament, and that saying it has a LOT of full-contact, brutal and bloody fighting. In comparison, the fights in other fighting game movies look either tame or comical. The only exception being the one girl-fight, which suffers a bit from too-quick editing and a truncated finish. Generally, while the fight choreography is pretty good and fierce, I do have one big gripe- too many weapons! Really, this isn’t Soulcalibur, and should have limited battling with tools considerably.

Overall, the acting ranges from good to adequate- adequate being that most of the characters appear just to look bad-ass or fight. Luke Goss’s scrappy Steve Fox (the fanboy in me however wishes that he was Paul Phoenix instead), is a welcome sympathetic presence to Jin, while Ian Dale’s Kazuya and Gary Daniels’ Bryan Fury are properly imperious and menacing. I don’t think they could have gotten a more Heihachi-ish Heihachi than Mr. Tagawa-san. Generally, the script is pretty tight and the dialogue never too hammy or over-the-top, so I never found myself cringing at any point.

The production’s casting expended some effort at least to have many of the appearing fighters look like their in-game counterparts. Raven (Darren Dewitt Henson), Eddy Gordo (Lateef Crowder) and Anna Williams (Marian Zapico) for example, look like they stepped off a PS3. On the other hand, Candice Hildebrandt’s Nina Williams, hotness aside, is dressed in an outfit that makes her look like kinky cosplay.

“Psst… Sergei… your top don’t match your pants, man…”

Perhaps two characters who will be debated on are Christie Monteiro and Kazuya Mishima. Kelly Overton’s female fighter is not Brazilian, and not really a Capoeira fighter like in the game. However she’s definitely gorgeous plus has a bigger part in the story than she ever had in the game so I think it balances out.
As for Kazuya, I think that Ian Anthony Dale does resemble Tekken’s main bad boy in my opinion, with his slicked-back hair, liking for long coats and sinister countenance (the little scar on the cheek is a subtle but nice touch)- although apparently they found a need for him to have a mustache and beard to twirl evilly. He’s out and out a villain here instead of the anti-hero in the game.

The most crucial role, however, is that of Jin Kazama, and thankfully Jon Foo acquits himself well in the sullen, angry role of the revenge-seeking pretty boy. As a martial artist himself in real life, Foo performs admirably in the many bone-cracking fight scenes, and you will feel this guy earns every hard-won match.

Hot female assassins? Check. Too bad Anna doesn’t see much action (in the arena).

In terms of visuals, the movie adopts a pretty bleak look- most of it is set at night, or in shadows with spotlights or gasoline fires, or neon lights. It’s like a low-budget Blade Runner world, with gun-toting goons in kendo masks running around, the odd CG hovercraft whizzing by and some rather kitschy prop-filled stages complete with properly chirpy commentators to simulate different settings for the various martial arts bouts. Overall though, what budget they had for the movie is used cleverly to make a distinct look for the film and a reasonable emulation of the game’s iconic characters.

Tekken will almost surely be compared to the two other (more or less) decent fighting game-to-movie translations in the past, Mortal Kombat and DOA. Whereas MK focused on its supernatural mythology and DOA on cheesecake, Tekken’s strength is in the actual fighting- down and dirty MMA-style beatdowns- and a fast-paced story with a few turns that will have you glued to the screen for the duration.

So how does Tekken rack up against the competition? I’ll go out and say it- Mortal Kombat has been the best fighting game-to-movie translation all this time… but now it has a challenger that strikes hard with pretty solid punch. Tekken’s gritty action scenes and fast-paced story and distinct visuals make it one of the better videogame movies and overall a pretty good martial arts flick even if you took out the game references.

You don’t have to know the entire roster of fighters or have to listen to hours of exposition to watch and enjoy this action flick. Go in with not so many high expectations but get ready to set your adrenaline on high. This isn’t Shakespeare. It’s not rocket science. THIS IS IRON FIST!

Tekken is now showing in Manila theaters. The film will have a direct-to-DVD/Blu-ray release in other territories.

One last note: There IS an extra scene after the credits roll, so if you have a bit of patience, sit back and wait for it.


Tekken Movie in Theaters Now!

Posted in Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, Movies, My Stuff, PS3, Tekken, Tekken 6, Xbox360 on August 5, 2010 by thelonegamer

Jin Kazama and company hit the Silver Screen.

Just last week, Tekken actor Jon Foo was in Manila to promote the live-action Iron Fist Tournament movie. Well, Tekken is in theaters NOW, and as soon as I have time off to get to a mall, I’ll catch it to finally lay this loose end to rest.

To be fair, I’ve seen some positive reviews online, citing the movie’s hard-hitting fight scenes. Tekken has been grouped along with the first Mortal Kombat and DOA, which is a good thing, really, since those are the two best fighting game-to-movie translations so far (the Van Damme Streetfighter movie is in a league and flavor all its own).

Anyway, once I catch the film I’ll post a review at the soonest. I don’t have high expectations, but I expect to at least see some cool fights, some hot babes, and that should do me just fine. Later then!

Jin Kazama in Manila

Posted in Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, Movies, My Stuff, Tekken on July 24, 2010 by thelonegamer

Tekken-mania hits Megamall!

I posted some time ago that Jon Foo AKA Jin Kazama from the live-action Tekken movie would be in Manila. I guess my previous info was inaccurate- the star of the Iron Fist film is already in Manila! Mr. Foo will be in the Philippines from July 24 to 26- while here, he’ll be guesting on some local TV shows, meeting the press and then attending the invitational premiere of the Tekken movie. Anyway, I was off on some other thing as Mr. Kazama was doubtlessly wowing fans at Megamall yesterday (he’s certainly appealing to many of the ladies…). While only some VIPs and some lucky viewers will be watching the early premiere, the rest of us can catch the Tekken movie when it hits theaters in Manila starting on August 4.

Anyway, I’m still in a bad mood from watching the lackluster Last Airbender mess. Maybe this will bode well for Tekken, and I’ll have a good time watching it. We’ll see.

Starcraft 2 ‘Ghosts of the Past’ Trailer Sent Shivers Up My Spine

Posted in Action Adventure, Fan Service, Game Advertising, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, Starcraft 2, Strategy RTS on July 22, 2010 by thelonegamer

Blizzard delivers yet again with the cinematic punch.

There are reasons why Starcraft is loved by countless fans all over the galaxy, and reasons why the upcoming sequel, Starcraft 2, is going to sell millions and millions and kick righteous ass. And there are reasons why Blizzard could just quit the game biz and just make CG movies. This trailer shows off some of those reasons. This is EPIC. Man, it’s gonna be a long few days wait for this long-awaited stunner.

Tekken Movie coming to Manila in August

Posted in Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, Movies, My Stuff, Tekken, Tekken 6 on July 12, 2010 by thelonegamer

Finally, the Tekken movie arrives.

As if there was any doubt that the Philippines is Tekken territory, the live-action Iron Fist movie is set to premiere in Manila next month, complete with a live appearance by the film’s star, Jon Foo.

Ads for the movie have appeared in newspapers, announcing an August 5 premiere for the Tekken film. Actor/martial artist Jon Foo, also being touted as a Wushu Champion, will be present at the film’s big premiere in SM Megamall, one of Metro Manila’s most popular malls and entertainment centers. No word if any member of the Tekken development team will be present, but I doubt it (Harada-san and company should be hard at work on Tekken 7).

There are huge numbers of Tekken fans and players in Manila, but not sure if this translates to movie crowds. However, Pinoys love celebrities, so Mr. Foo should attract quite a bit of attention. I wonder if he’ll play a game or two of T6 with people?

Anyway, I don’t know if I’ll be able to go- it’s a work night, and I’ll probably be busy as always. Still, if I get a chance maybe I’ll try to see Jin Kazama in the flesh and see if the movie is any good… hey, it can’t be any worse than The Last Airbender is supposed to be at this point, eh?

Mortal Kombat ‘Reboot’ Short Film looks Bloody Good

Posted in Action Adventure, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, Mortal Kombat on June 9, 2010 by thelonegamer

Enter a whole new world of Kombat.

Recently we’ve seen cinematic representations of the classic Street Fighter series from some serious filmmakers. But even the meticulously made SF shorts pale in comparison in terms of production value to this intriguing 7+ minute clip, based on Midway’s Mortal Kombat games. Instead of the sticking-to-the-source direction taken by the SF short films, Mortal Kombat Rebirth (as this clip is called) takes the MK cast and throws them into a totally different, gritty real world setting and storyline. Not many demons or magic stuff, but at least the blood and brutal martial arts action is still there. And Sonya’s still hot.

Recast as a hard-nosed head of Deacon City’s VIolent Crimes Division, Jackson ‘Jax’ Briggs (Spawn’s Michael Jai White) confronts a mysterious individual in a shadowy interrogation room, along the way showing off other reimagined members of the MK roster- Reptile and Baraka (Capoeira star Lateef Crowder) Instead of otherdimensional alien beings, these vicious fighters are now genetically abnormal serial killers. After a bit, we find a welcome and refreshing appearance of Sonya Blade (Jeri Ryan of Star Trek fame). There’s a suitably brutal and fatal fight scene and the film ends with the promise of more bloodshed to come, with the mysterious new protagonist revealing his identity.

I find the new direction and interpretations pretty compelling. I found this pretty interesting and certainly I’d like to see a full film. If it’s a game, this is more akin to Condemned than a fighting game, but who knows? In any case, it’s a HUGE improvement over Mortal Kombat Annihilation. More on this as it’s revealed, I guess. For now, check out Rebirth. And put on a bib.

UPDATE: According to an article on Kotaku, Jeri Ryan has revealed that ‘Rebirth’ is a concept pitch video for the treatment of a rebooted MK movie, made for Warner Bros. Jeri did the role as Sonya apparently for free, as a friend of the director, Kevin Tancharoen. The short was filmed in two days, mostly through donated equipment. In other words, this is a totally unofficial effort, unaffiliated with Warner Bros., and is more director’s reel than anything else. Still, if I were WB, I’d sign this guy up to go for the MK reboot, right straight. Oh, and I’ll sign Miss Ryan up as Sonya too.

New Tekken Movie Trailer

Posted in Action Adventure, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, Movies, Tekken, Tekken 6 on May 20, 2010 by thelonegamer

More plot reveals in this latest trailer.

Just found this online- a new trailer for the Tekken film. It’s got more story stuff with Jin Kazama’s motivation for entering the Iron Fist tournament, as well as lost of action. I dare say it’s better put together than the teaser trailer (No douche yelling “THIS IS IRON FIST-“), though the sound seems a bit off and the music towards the end has been overused in too many action flicks. Still, it looks decent, and doesn’t take away any from my desire to watch this film eventually. The DVD and BR drops for Japan in August and such… more as we get it.