Are you confused that this article is about a video game movie and has been listed as a "recommends?" It's ok, I'm confused, too.
Tekken: Blood Vengeance follows Ling Xiaoyu and Alisa Boskonovich as they work to uncover the secrets behind biological experiments gone awry. Their only lead, Shin Kazuma, uses them (and his own body) to lure in the likes of the Mishima family men (Jin, Kazuya and Heihachi) for what would be an epic all-out battle for power and blood. Will humanity survive potential disaster?
The answer is: probably-maybe. In the most epic of ways, click through and follow on!
Tekken: Blood Vengeance DVD
I'm going to be honest here: I wasn't expecting something good. I was expecting simple lines of dialogue, bad voice acting to boot, terrible animation and no plot. What I got was most of these things, but much to my surprise I actually enjoyed it!
The movie starts off with Nina and Anna, sisters working for different people (Jin Kazuma and his father Kazuya Mishima, respectively) baiting each other for information. The first couple scenes completely set the mood and pace for most of the rest of the film: There was a battle, and afterward you find out that both sides were "one step ahead" and trying to "one-up" the other team. How does that even work?
When the two corporations piece together that Shin Kamiya is the body they need to control the "M Cell," they both send an agent over to his school in Kyoto. Anna sends in Xiaoyu while Alisa is shipped in by Nina. They become steadfast friends, as much as a robot and a human could be. Eventually, they uncover enough truth behind their orders to decide they're battling for the wrong teams, and take off on their own to try and save everyone involved.
Of course, as fate would have it, several twists in the course of an hour lead up to the meeting of Jin, Kazuya and even long-thought dead Heihachi for an unpreventable family brawl of epic proportions.
This is the part where I stop talking about story (it's a simple plot) and talk more about the animation, choreography and overall quality of the film. The movie is an hour and a half long, and the further I got into it the more I felt like I was in a video game instead. It's basically an hour and a half cutscene, which isn't a bad thing if you treat it like what it is: an elaborate precursor to Tekken Tag Team Tournament (there's even an epilogue that directly leads into this).
It's been an unreasonably long time since I played any sort of Tekken game, but it was very obvious that a lot of the moves I saw the characters do in battle were directly pulled from the game. It reminded me very much of FFVII: Advent Children which in this particular sense did the same thing. Combine that with the wreckage of at least five buildings or historical sites/temples and you've got yourself a decent video game inspired movie!
Animation-wise the movie isn't awful at all. You get used to it and it doesn't have the clunkiness of an actual video game even though it lacks the smoothness of a feature animated film. The only time the animation quality goes down is when characters are in movement at a distance; I felt like they weren't as well-resolved as they should have been. The battles were, of course, the best scenes and were modeled nicely by various actors.
The characters and direction are also fantastic, because they give you a good background while keeping things fast-paced. In retrospect, every scene serves a purpose and feels deliberate. It doesn't surprise me at all that the likes of Dai Sato was involved with it: I felt connected to the characters despite such a simple plot structure and limited effects put into the film. There isn't much flare - it's just pure action.
The fact that the leads are female also helped! I like to watch stuff that involves bad-ass women that aren't complete animals (like Nina and Anna). Oh, and there's a panda. It's an awesome panda.
The last major bit I haven't elaborated on would be the voice acting, yes? I actually really enjoyed the dub. It's just as good, if not better than the Japanese voice acting! It's nice and cheesy both ways, just the way it should be. It plays like a silly martial arts movie, but everything about it reminds you that it's all part of a game. You're in a video game world and I don't feel the movie ever takes itself too seriously. It also helps to have the talents of Maaya Sakamoto and Yuki Matsuoka (you might recognize her as Bleach's Orihime or Elfen Lied's Nana) playing the lead characters.
Predictably, the movie ends with a challenge. Jin vanquishes the other members of his family, who aren't necessarily dead but are under control, and tells Xiaoyu he awaits the day she will be the one to come after him. It always leaves room for more epic battles and another story, which may or may not already be a big part of Tekken. As I said before, this stuff was fresh for me since I haven't been playing the games.
I enjoyed it! I think you may, too, if you're as optimistic a person as I am. It's not the greatest movie out there, but it's a movie that knows exactly what it is, has a great team involved with it and is short and to the point. It doesn't lose any steam in the end; in fact, it only amps up as the movie goes on, bringing you battle after battle, more epically disastrous situation after situation, until it all finally comes down to one bad-ass move (with lots of heart) to bring it tumbling down. I think you should check it out!
Don't expect anything too special in the DVD case, though. The "extras" only include trailers for the feature within and the sample I received didn't have any inserts. Basically, look for a good deal and just enjoy the flick! I think you could even buy it in a two-pack with an HD version of the game it leads into. Sweet deal.
Score: 7.2 - Good, not great, but fans of the genre (or in this case, video games and Tekken series) should enjoy it. Some might love it!
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