Tekken – Another one…

August 9, 2010 at 10:32 pm (Entertaining) (, , , , , )

I’ll say from the outset, Tekken is part of a multitude of elements that formed  my past life. A past that was consumed by video games and pop culture. I have since outgrown those days but nostalgia got the better of me just recently.

Like Adam and Eve, the Apple of Wisdom (an opportunity to watch the new Tekken Movie) was dangled in front of me. And like them, I couldn’t help but take a bite. Enlightened I was.

Now, video game to movie adaptations 101% of the time receive a negative response both from critics and fans of the inspirational material alike, and most of the time, it’s down to their respective directors’ lack of faithfulness to the source material.
But the new Tekken movie however, is business as unusual.

Obviously, as a deep seated Tekken fan I have a gene in my DNA predisposing me to disliking this movie.  But tempted I was, and looking to my oracle that is IMDB for movie ratings, I thought sating my temptation would not cause myself too much pain.

I didn’t regret it too much.

I’m what you and other people would call a simple person, but I’m not what you and other people would call a stupid one. So the sentiment of ever taking the Tekken movie seriously was laughed out the door (this helps if you are expecting the movie before you to be crap… whether it’s being crammed down your throat, or you’re clinging to that glimmer of hope that it might be good… or at least not crap).

I’ll say from the outset that I like the MMA Fight Night slant that video game movies are taking on (see also: Mortal Kombat Rebirth). The quality fight scene choreography seems to be one good way to make up for rice paper thin plot lines.

The issue I had with this movie is a strange picking and choosing of which elements they would take from the franchise, which they would not, and which they would meld to their own purposes.

To say their choices were perplexing would be letting them off lightly.

Characterisation seemed to have been given alot of careful thought, their choice of Jon Foo to play Jin was appropriate enough (on face value at least, with exception of the face). But Foo seems to have taken a few too many knocks to the head, as his diction was quite poor for an englishman. Treading the line between cockney, fobulous, and intensive care level slack jawed; all at once. He made dialogue that was no doubt unintelligible in script form, even more so in presentation.
Another thing that bothered me about Foo was the pubescent rebellious teen slant that he imbued Jin with. So much so that in the opening moments of the movie I had this confused for the Dragonball type kids movie. (This idea was put straight at the sex scene of course.)

On the other hand, his hair was awesome. Like seriously… too cool. It mimicked the in-video-game Jin hairdo, being as cool as it was unridiculous. This brings me to the strong point of the movie. Costume and characterisation was very faithful to the source material. From Dragunov’s sambo moves to Christy Monteiro’s (Kelly Overton) nose bleed sensory cleavage assault (pincer attack of boob AND butt cleavage), it was all there in loving detail.

Looking over the casting before watching the movie, I was initially dubious of their choice of Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa for Heihachi Mishima (Americanised Japanese Actor #4). But the moment he graced the screen coiffed with the Heihachi hair, I was won over. The attention to detail paid to the outlandish Tekken Hairstyles was awesome in the most laughable way.

The casting choices for all the actors playing the prominent Tekken characters may have been worrying, but they were all characterised very well enough in practice.

With one exception. And this one strikes a nerve for me, repeatedly. No it wasn’t that Jon Foo used the wrong moveset to play Jin Kazama (some were reminiscent at least), but Cung Le as Marshall Law. With the accuracy used in portraying all the other characters, Law’s video game backstory for some reason was completely ignored. Marshall Law is Bruceploitation incarnate. Sure they got the dragon pants with red sash right, but it’s like they handed Cung Le the costume and told him to just go on doing what he does. “Oh, and don’t worry about any of that Jeet Kune Do nonsense”; the only reason Marshall Law exists in the Tekken universe.
Forget the fact that he was defeated in the first real bout of the movie (he is a bumbler in the video games after all).

With such strong adherence to the superficial aspects of the Tekken Universe, these omissions prove that it is a thin veil masking a world that could easily be mistaken for one with no Tekken Lore at all. Why they pay so much attention to some details and ignore the much more glaringly obvious is simply confounding.

Another thing I feel the need to put straight. Tekken (translated roughly to iron fist)  is just the name for the Tournament itself. Why would the writers feel the need to rename the “Mishima Zaibatsu” (Zaibatsu – jpn. noun meaning gang,triad, mafia syndicate) to the “Tekken Corporation” is beyond me. It’s not a big leap to establish that the Tekken Tournament is an event run by the organisation controlled by Heihachi and Kazuya Mishima, ie the Mishima Corporation. References to “Tekken” (the corporation) within the movie could easily be mistaken for Tekken (the tournament) and could have equally easily been replaced by the name of the controlling organisation. Do they believe audiences have become that stupid?

One final sore mark on the score card is the inclusion of the girlfriend character for Jin, Kara. Her existence seemed to be for one puzzlingly random sexual encounter with Jin, and then go on to the dizzying heights of wincing and mugging and other reactionary facial expressions while watching Jin in the Tekken Tournament.
No sooner as Jin is within the walls of “Tekken” (???) is she forgotten and replaced by his pubescent lust for Christy Monteiro. This redefines meaningless. And just makes me smoulder as a Tekken Fan.

Insert angry Heihachi to show just how angry I am

Calling this movie “Post Apocalyptic Death Tournament” would have made more sense than calling this Tekken, as the whole farce was just sickeningly pandering.
It probably would have done better as a movie too.

So if you were looking for a vaguely enjoyable movie, you will find it here, even if it is debasingly pandering.

But if you’ve stumbled across this on TV one day in the hopes of finding plain and simple entertainment…

“Change duh Channel!!?”

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Bedtime Story… pt. 1

July 24, 2010 at 10:36 pm (Entertaining) (, , )

There was once a tiny kitten named Harry, fluffier than the most expensive department store face towel, he was adored by his owners from the moment they set their eyes on him at the animal shelter.

Every day Harry would explore the backyard of the house he lived in. It was the jungle that he sometimes saw on the tele with his owners, as he curled up in their laps, and he was the king of this jungle. Padding softly, he surveyed the wild green suburban savannah, on the prowl for hapless prey.

His ears honed to a rustling in the tree off to his left, he leapt, stumbled, but leapt again up to one of the first few branches sprouting from the shrub.

The rustling was getting louder. As he tip-pawed his way out to the reach of the branch, there were flashes of blue rustling among the leaves. Tentatively approaching the prey, just about to pounce, he sees the a bright blue ribbon, blue like the deep sea. Harry softens and carefully takes the ribbon up into his mouth as not to tear it.
“I wonder whos this is” he pondered. He looked around and there was no one to be seen. No crying little owner, no other forlorn pets.

This was his. And he took it.

The clunk of the door signalled his owners arrival. Back from that place they always go to a few days in the week, brought back by the big metal box with wheels. Back to provide Harry with his dinner. He scrambled to the front door to greet them, with the ribbon still in his mouth.

“Is this something you found today, Harry? It’s beautiful”, lady owner said as she tied it around his neck softly in a bow. Harry beamed, meowed a thanks, and ran to the pantry door where he clawed it to tell them he wanted food.

The owners prepared food for themselves, so they could all eat together and they flopped onto the couch in front of the box that would sometimes bring Harry the jungle. He curled up as he does each night, bow still tied firmly around his neck, and fell asleep.

As he woke up still on the man owner’s lap, man owner was still asleep after all, the lady owner was packing a basket with food,
“I hope they don’t forget food for me” he thought, so he chased her, meowing the reminder. Lady owner scooped him up, nuzzled him, and set him on the kitchen bench while she made all three of them first meal of the day. Harry hopped off the bench and started tugging the man owner so he would wake up.

“We have somewhere to go today!” he mewed as man owner sleepily smiled back. Man owner rose from the couch, and lady owner bundled him off with Harry trailing their footsteps off to the big metal box that takes them places.

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Minor Segue

March 18, 2010 at 7:54 pm (Entertaining) (, )

The Dilemma of the Glass

The Optimist says the Glass is half full,
The Pessimist says the Glass is half empty.

An Engineer will tell you the Glass is at 50% capacity
The Scientist will tell you that it is actually at 47.378%.

Management will put a gag order on their findings and tell them to move on to the next phase.
Marketting will dream up a “killer” campaign, “Buy two and your life will be full!”

The Salesman who used to sell cars but now sells Glasses will try to sell you the Glass for $5,
$4
Ok $3.50 and he’ll throw in half more water again.

The Customer will say s/he/it will think about it, cross the street to buy at iGlass instead. It can complement his/er iTable with iGlass attachment to add to their iLife suite.
The Obsessive will ask you why there’s no coaster.
Her/is emo son will tell them to stop conforming, tell them the Glass is full of his tears, lock himself up in his room and blog about it.

The Online Warehouse will tell you the Glass is so popular that it’s on backorder and you will be notified via Email when stock is replenished. In the meantime they direct you to related products like Empty Glass, Three Quarter Glass or the new model, Overflowing Cup.

The Accountant will send you an invoice for the Glass and the volume of water in the Glass, the Auditor will tell them this is an incorrect value.

The Designer will invent an innovative new attachment to the Glass to follow current popular trends, and you must add it to your order but you don’t know why, you just want it.

The Japanese will design a Glass that is half the size,
the American will design a Glass that is twice the size.
The European will design a Glass that is twice as safe, reliable and stylish, but horridly expensive.
The Chinese will sell you a 6pack of Glasses for wholesale price. But A Current Affair reports the walls of the Glazz are thinner than paper, give you indigestion.
They’ll also fill it to less than half.

The Alcoholic will ask you why the glass isn’t full with scotch, take a swing at you, and pass out mid swing.

The moral of this story?
There are millions of ways to look at an issue… and even a glass of water can be more meaningful than just being drink/drank.

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