Another in the long line of animated versions of Japanese video games, TEKKEN's tale of a lethal fighting contest staged by an evil tycoon boasts attractive animation and design, but fewer of the ferocious game-style fight scenes that are normally the heart of such films.
Jun Kazama (voice of Edi Patterson), an agent for the international police agency WWWC, and Hong Kong policeman Lei Wulong (voice of Gray G. Haddock) are invited to participate in the Tekken Iron Fist Tournament on an offshore island owned by defense contractor Heihachi Mishima (voice of John Paul
Shepard). Their undercover assignment is to identify secret experiments in biological weaponry being performed at an underground base on the island. Also attending the tournament is Kazuya Mishima (voice of Adam Dudley), the son of Heihachi, who has vowed to kill his father for abandoning him as a
The island tournament begins with the participants facing off against each other in the jungle and fighting to get to a central tower where the winner is to confront Heihachi himself. Lei Wulong teams with Jack 2 (voice of Mark O'Brien), a giant robot warrior seeking his creator, Dr. Boskonovich
(voice of Ken Webster), and enters the massive underground plant. Jun partners with Kazuya to try to dissuade him from his mission of vengeance. Heihachi's adopted son Lee Chaolan (voice of David Stokey) sends genetically created dinosaurs into the jungle to stop the fighters. Kazuya makes it to
the central tower for the final battle with Heihachi. He manages to defeat his father, but is prevented from killing him by Jun's intervention. Lee Chaolan initiates Program 13, which results in the destruction of the island. Most of the principals escape the island safely.
TEKKEN: THE MOTION PICTURE suffers in comparison to other anime versions of video games (most notably the "Street Fighter II" Japanese movie and TV series), thanks in part to its truncated story line and weakly sketched main characters. Although the animation is distinguished by some dramatic
imagery (employing obvious computer effects at certain points) and straightforward character design, there is not enough of the intense action such productions need to draw in their adolescent target audience. The few bouts we see are all too short and rather conventionally staged, with insipid
philosophical banter often traded back and forth. Given the evil industrialist Mishima's avowed goal of destroying the world, Jun's insistence that his life be spared is somewhat misguided. The intrusive rock soundtrack added for the US video release makes a bid for further teen appeal by
spotlighting songs by a number of contemporary bands (The Offspring, Stabbing Westward, Corrosion of Conformity). (Violence, profanity.)
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