Tekken takes place in a world where a series of world wars have ripped apart the Earth, and now, corporations rule. One such corporation, Tekken, brings rule through order, as its CEO Heihachi Mishima hosts the annual, televised Iron Fist tournament (to the death!) bringing fighters from all over the world to battle for money, prestige, and a better life. Jin (Jon Foo) could be using his fighting prowess to make a difference but instead he lives only to make the next big heist, paycheck to paycheck. And then his mother is murdered when the corporation cracks down on the slum where he lives, and enters the Iron Fist tournament and becomes the “people’s choice.”
The action is definitely cooler in high definition, and you’re not really signing up for this one because you’re worried about the plot. But Namco and Anchor Bay aren’t in this for the storytelling: this one is about the battle, the many fights, and thankfully, it’s better than Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li. The plot is about the same, but the budget seems a bit better, and the acting not quite as flat. While it’s quite an ensemble cast, it’s mostly due to Foo’s earnestness, and some better production values, that lead to us seeing this as better-than-average, The Running Man for 2011.
While we’ve seen the post-apocalyptic business before thanks to the Governator and Kurt Russell’s Sisskin, Jin/Foo does a decent job of showing us that this is MMA-style battle, while somewhat entertaining, isn’t just about the video game as life, but rather about a man finding out that he can’t hide in the shadows while others duel it out– he’s got to get involved. Unfortunately, in movies like this, we have to watch the main character find motivation through the death of his parent, and then consider revenge as his driving force. Do we really have to suffer pain to get motivated?
Jin progresses through the main challenges that await him, but if you’re going to watch this with any sense of purpose, then you have to wonder if there’s more to this than Matrix-like moves. Why do we sit on the sidelines of life and fail to make the decisions we should to get involved in the troubles of this life? Why do we fail to answer the call when there’s a need to be fulfilled, or consider the troubles of others to be outside of our responsibility? Why do we miss the opportunity to be part of the greater community and figure that our life is the only one we have to worry about? That’s pretty sad, isn’t it?
In Tekken, we find out that there’s a bigger picture, and we do in fact have responsibility.