BLOODY! The Lone Gamer’s Tekken: Blood Vengeance Movie Review

About a year or so ago, I reviewed the live-action Tekken movie, and it was, pretty much, what it was… a pretty straightforward martial arts revenge-action flick with elements of Tekken. As expected, it took many liberties with the beloved franchise, and things didn’t quite appear or turn out as fans wanted, thus provoking the usual storm of reactions, from outright hatred to measured satisfaction.
In the end though, the Hollywood Tekken was given the ultimate facepalm- rejection and disownment by the actual makers of the Tekken games themselves.

As if to make up for that debacle, Namco-Bandai announced a new and more authentic Tekken movie in production: an all-CG full-length feature, directed by the same director of Tekken’s lush cinematic cutscenes. There was no question that Tekken: Blood Vengeance was the REAL deal- this was truly a film adaptation true to the source material, done for the fans at the behest of the Tekken Project. But in this day and age when videogame movies have a questionable level of quality, how does this ‘true’ Tekken movie fare as a narrative experience?


Gorgeous visuals are on offer in Tekken: Blood Vengeance.

It’s already been demonstrated that even CG movies pretty much lifted directly from the actual game source don’t always guarantee an awesome flick- take Resident Evil Degeneration, which starred fan favorites Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield. RED garnered lackluster reviews, and I myself found it dragging and less than spectacular. So how does this CG Tekken flick stand (given that it was also produced by the same production house as Degeneration..?). Let’s see.

Warning: Mild Spoilers may lie ahead.

Basically, TBV retains the general storyline of the series, and is set between Tekken 5 and 6. Resident emo-boy and anti-hero Jin Kazama is now head of the Mishima Zaibatsu with Nina Williams as his right hand woman. His old man, Kazuya Mishima is his mirror over at G-Corporation, being serviced by Anna Williams. Meanwhile, former Zaibatsu boss Heihachi Mishima is as yet MIA and presumed dead.

Both of these sides are now deep into the search for something or someone, which eventually has them each recruiting an unlikely catspaw to act as their investigator. Thus kung-fu kitten Ling Xiaoyu and adorable android Alisa Bosconovitch (talk about Random Select!) are thrown into each other’s path at some Japanese high school, each looking for a student named Shin Kamiya. As the two reluctant heroines meet and sometimes clash, they find friendship along the way- perhaps the only thing that can save them in the inevitable crossfire between the Mishima Bloodline that inevitably explodes by the end.

Finally, this is an Authentic Tekken Movie. Like it or not, kids, THIS is it. You can’t get any more real, official or Tekken-ish than this. The characters look, act and feel for the most part like they do in the games. In fact, they look better, as if the movie took and animated the models used in the game’s gorgeous portrait artworks.
That said, this is a movie made for Tekken fans, and Tekken fans ONLY… just the same caveat as it was with Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. Only those well-versed in Tekken lore, and updated Tekken lore at that, will fully understand what’s going on. Everyone not knowing who these characters are will probably be watching only for the pretty, shiny CG, and just letting things run along whatever happens.

That said, there are still odd inconsistencies that will leave even Tekken fans (like me) bewildered- like WHY Lee Chaolan, a dubious, double-playing combatant in the series’ central conspiracies and secret wars, is being portrayed as a seemingly benign Daddy Warbucks-esque professor? Why isn’t he recognized by Anna? Why do Kazuya and Jin suddenly have Stage 2 Devil Transformations? Whe did that happen? The series’ weirdness apparently wasn’t enough for scriptwriter Dai Sato, so he had to make up his own oddness to add to the kit and caboodle.


Kinky or cute? You decide.

And what an IFFY script it is. No, that would be kinda kind. I have to say Tekken: Blood Vengeance has a pretty bad script running through it, surprising from a writer with such credentials like Sato.

For starters, the storyline- that of the Tekken Powers-That-Be (Jin and Kazuya) searching for a student named Shin Kamiya- is ridiculously over-complicated. Why was there ever any need to recruit Ling and Alisa to infiltrate a school, when the resident hatchet women, Nina and Anna are ready, willing and able to storm in and just grab the pipsqueak? There’s no law enforcement to speak of, there’s no question where Shin is- it’s as if the reluctant heroines were thrown in just for the hell of it- just because the writer said so. If you think about it, the majority of the film is just about Xiao and Alisa running around in circles, ecchi fan service-esque views and some quasi-funny or kinda-touching moments. In most anime, seeing two cute babes’ antics would be entertaining but here, it seems off. The humor just isn’t as funny, the dialogue not that snappy, the heartwarming moments not that touching. There’s a lot of lines about being human and being a robot and being a robot yet being more than human thrown around, but it just comes off as random. Furthermore, the pivotal moment where Xiaoyu sides with Alisa is jarring and awkwardly done- I don’t know if it’s a bad translation or just something the script just glosses over intentionally.

All this combines with the sad fact that the film often drags. After the promising start with a Nina/Anna fight scene, the movie loses momentum and stays there until the next fight scene, between Xiaoyu and Alisa. THEN there’s that long nothing stretch before the finale, with the final extended fight scene/battles. So many seconds wasted with little action or pay-off. A rematch between the Williams could have been squeezed in, but the script deemed it better to be left offscreen. Like, WHAT? Also, while Ling and Alisa are the main characters for the better part of the movie, once the finale kicks in they’re demoted to the scenery for the most part as the Big Mishima Boys duke it out.
Oh, and Shin Kamiya? Was he ever necessary? Not really. Did he matter? Nope. Will we miss him? Not at all.

That all said, Tekken: Blood Vengeance does have good points. It looks gorgeous, as I’ve probably mentioned earlier. The music is pretty good, particularly the first song, ‘Highway Battle’. The fight scenes and action are pretty amazing- I really wish there was more action with the ladies though- the girlfights are beautiful and graceful to watch, while the Mishima 3-way bout, while epic, is just a bit too over-the-top for me.

And, eh, what the hell, it’s a TEKKEN movie. It’s great to just see the characters we know and love, outside the arena and just doing stuff. It’s all still quite entertaining, despite the silliness and the iffy script. It still charms the the hell out of me and is a grand, if a bit messy, spectacle to watch, particularly in 3D on my big screen Plasma. Blissful, that’s what it is.

So even if I have many gripes, I can’t dislike Blood Vengeance. It’s a gift for the fans, and certainly that’s never a bad thing. Who knows- maybe they’ll learn from this and make another one, hopefully starring more characters, having a much better script and more of the awesome action and visuals we know and love. No, this isn’t a great movie- but it IS a Tekken movie, and heck, I guess that’s enough for now. Now, how ’bout a sequel starring Asuka and Lili, Harada-san?

12 Responses to “BLOODY! The Lone Gamer’s Tekken: Blood Vengeance Movie Review”

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  1. BlazinNo Gravatar Says:

    Shin is nessecary??Wait he is in TTT2,u will see this,he will kicking your asses

  2. Marsvin11No Gravatar Says:

    boy… where do one start with this movie… i think you captured the problems and good things of this movie… and after the massive letdown of “Tekken goes to Hollywood” it was nice to see the some of the tekken Character i love in original CG. and with that said…

    beeing a movie about Tekken, i was surprised how Little TEKKEN TURNEMENT it had in it… its mentioned once in the end. for me, that was a huge disappointment… i just dont understand why they wont make a movie about the tekken fights the TEKKEN TURNEMENT FIGHTS… there are several parts of lore pr game…
    am i the only one that wants to know what the hell happened to Law’s son after he crashes on Pouls bike? or how the hell Poul could beat a bear (Kuma) bare handed!?… and more lore on one of Tekkens most awsome Characters… Steve! if they made a film about these awsome parts of tekken, i would be more then happy to watch em…..

    didnt there used to be some sort off rivalry between Hwoarang and Jin… i would much more prefere that story of the “mishima bloodline/devil gene” story…

  3. tomiNo Gravatar Says:

    Considering how icky picky Saito,s script indeed was from time to time, why didnt Harada wrote script himself: after all, he is main man of Tekken.
    Guys like Cameron or Kojima-Sama write and supervise their own products, what prevented Harada doing the same, or asking game scenario writers themselves writing it down?

  4. thelonegamerNo Gravatar Says:

    I’ll be posting my thoughts on Tekken Hybrid’s other components- TTTHD and TTT2 Prologue- later this week. I wanna record videos to post along with it to add to the content… gotta brush up on some Tag Assaults, then.

  5. Lord NoonNo Gravatar Says:

    @thelonegamer

    You’re welcome to your opinion – it’s your blog, after all! – it’s just…I really hate Lili. Stone-cold, solid-as-a-rock hate, or as close as you can get when talking about a virtual character. The mannerisms, the voice, the eye-rolling blatancy of her outfit design – if she were supposed to be an ironic statement of sorts, a la Dirty Pair Flash!, then I’d understand, but it really is just a matter of the designers trying to concentrate as much perviness in one character as they can. Can’t say I like the fact she’s 16, either. Where I come from, a girl that age behaving that way is a legit criminal offense.

    And no, not a big fan of Asuka either. Too loud and oobnoxious…actually, pretty much the whole kung-fu schoolgirl cliché is stupid to me now. But I don’t blame Harada for this, I blame HER! LOL.

  6. tomiNo Gravatar Says:

    I agree, nobody,s gonna miss Shin: beautiful piece of music like ;Death; wasted on character whom was unnecessary to already complex story, and not particularly interesting.

    Curses…!

  7. hattaNo Gravatar Says:

    Just random stuff:

    Why does jin and kazuya keep doing the chin on fist thing? Jin did that while talking with Nina, and again when Nina was talking to him via that pda thing.
    http://shemhazai18.deviantart.com/art/Tekken-272094866

    Anna doesnt recognize Lee?
    Weird running animation! Too obvious, specially during Nina/Anna fight scene when Nina does her escape and post peeping Xiaoyu and Alisa.

    Some scenes where the characters look so iffy, paused when Nina and Anna were doing the kick thing, right before the helmet shatters, Nina’s body looks so wrong.
    Anna’s hair from the back looks weird.
    http://shemhazai18.deviantart.com/art/Tekken-272094703

    Character faces sometimes look weird.
    The people in the background have odd body shapes, shoulders too big and what not.

    When Anna chooses Xiao from a group of fighters, Feng wei’s photo was there but the name under his photo was Nina Williams.

    Xiao looks so old in the shower scene.

    Shin’s weird body proportions.

    yay for no giant hands/fists. ehem Asuka.

    Sometimes Xiao’s head is too big for her body.

    Wished Nina looked like this in the game, not too muscular.

    And what the f when Jin said in the end that Xiao will probably beat him? No way!

    when shin dies his hands are swollen?
    http://shemhazai18.deviantart.com/art/Tekken-272094334

    Kazuya looks so young!

    Gotta admit, my fave part was Alisa’s final blow to Heihachi.

    So how come in T6 X and A dont know each other?

    Alisa oddly looks like diana agron from glee…
    http://shemhazai18.deviantart.com/art/Tekken-272094507

  8. thelonegamerNo Gravatar Says:

    Asuka and Lili are many things, but they’re not ‘squeaky’. Their personalities are much more aggressive and probably more entertaining- albeit yes, it’s more fan service, but I never said I didn’t like that now, didn’t I? Heheh…

    It’s called ‘Blood Vengeance’ I guess to refer to Shin’s desire to have revenge on Heihachi… or it could be the Mishima’s feelings against each other in general. Who knows…

  9. RACECARNo Gravatar Says:

    There’s something unavoidably hilarious about reading Kazuya Mishima “Being Serviced by Anna Williams”

  10. Lord NoonNo Gravatar Says:

    “Now, how ’bout a sequel starring Asuka and Lili, Harada-san?”

    Because MORE squeaky-girl fanservice would make it better…? -_0 Yeah, I know they’re your favourites, L.G., but they’d make for an equally torturous film. Possibly moreso, in fact – at least Alisa’s ditziness is kinda cute.

    And yeah, ‘torturous’ pretty much sums up my feelings on Blood Vengeance. I actually got to see it in a cinema before the Hybrid release, and having a hundred other people laughing at it made the dialogue a little more bearable, but it’s still hard to distract from the story, which goes through 2 acts of a high-school anime comedy, then scraps that and steals the third act from, well, a Tekken game. Which is admittedly an improvement, but I think, as fans, we’ve all seen enough of the Mishimas and their silly hair after six/seven games (depending on if you count TTT). That and it’s all so slow when people aren’t fighting, and the dialogue is terrible even in Japanese, and the Mokujin Force Voltron thing at the end is…argh. I kinda wish they’d left out the opening Nina/Anna skirmish, in fact – it gave me a sense of false hope. Face it, 90 minutes of the Williams sisters being b****es to each other, like a martial-arts remake of ‘Obsessed’ or ‘Death Becomes Her’ would be so much better than this, it’s not even funny.

    Oh well, it looked pretty, and the screencaps’ll make for some nice desktop backgrounds. But, hand on heart, I much preferred the 2010 Tekken flick. At least that had a plot with both internal logic and a beginning, middle and end.

    …and why the hell was it called ‘Blood Vengeance’ anyway? Jin likes using the word ‘bloodline’ a lot but it doesn’t really mean anything. Gah!

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