Tekken: The Motion Picture
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, although it's a cartoon, this movie features video game-style martial arts bouts with punching and kicking and some blood spurting. In flashback, a brutal father throws his little son off a high cliff, prompting the boy to try to kill him years later.
What's the story?
In this anime based on a martial arts video game, ruthless tycoon Heihachi Mishima stages the Tekken Iron Fist Tournament on an offshore Chinese island. He invites a host of champion martial artists from around the world. Among the participants is Mishima's long-estranged son Kazuya, who has vowed to kill his father for leaving him to die as a child. Also attending are female interpol agent Jun Kazama and her partner Lei Wulong; they seek to locate biological weapons created at an underground base. After a series of battles in the jungle, including one with genetically created dinosaurs, Kazuya and the agents launch an attack on the base. Kazuya wins, but Jun persuades him to spare his father's life.
Is it any good?
Overwrought characters spend as much time debating as they do fighting in this relatively short, fast-paced and attractively designed anime. Tekken's tortured characters and their interwoven back stories tend to overwhelm the action scenes with pointless philosophical arguments and exposition. Jun's insistence on sparing the evil Mishima is somewhat misguided. However, Jun's pleas to Kazuya to get over his hatred represent the story's single moral lesson and give the production a shred of redeeming social value.
The character design is notable for its bold lines and intense expressions; the background designs, many created by computer, are dramatic and brightly colored. Overall, however, the animation is somewhat static and the bouts are too short and conventionally staged to stir up any real excitement. Kids will enjoy the lab-created dinosaurs sent to stop the heroes. The intrusive rock soundtrack, added for the US video release, includes a number of bands, including Soulhat, The Urge, and the Offspring, and will probably attract some fans on that basis.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about films based on video games, comic books, or other well-known or popular characters or stories. Why make a movie based on a video game? Do you think it's harder or easier than creating new characters? Is there an element of safety in launching a movie from a video game that is already familiar to the viewing public?