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Tekken: Blood Vengeance (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

November 8, 2011 by  



If you are a hardcore “Tekken” fan, finally a “Tekken” movie that does the video game justice!  A film with plenty of action and destruction galore!  Fans of the popular fighting video game will know the rivalries and no doubt will be excited for the amount of action and destruction featured throughout the film.  Recommended for “Tekken” fans!

Images courtesy of © 2011 NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. All rights reserved.

DVD TITLE: Tekken: Blood Vengeance

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2011

DURATION: 92 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Full English, 16:9, Japanese and English 5.1, English subtitles

COMPANY: Bandai Entertainment

RATED: Suggested 13 & Up

RELEASE DATE: November 22, 2011

Directed by Yoichi Mori

Screenplay by Dai Sato

Executive Producer: Masaya Nakamura, Shin Unozawa

Producer: Yoshinari Mizushima

Animated Production by Digital Frontier

Featuring the Voice Talent of:

Akeno Watanabe/Tara Platt as Anna Williams

Atsuko Tanaka/Charlotte Bell as Nina Williams

Isshin Chiba/Darren Daniels as Jin Kazama

Maaya Sakamoto/Carrie Keranen as Ling Xiaoyu

Mamoru Miyano/David Vincent as Shin Kamiya

Masanori Shinohara/Kyle Hebert as Kazuya Mishima

Yuki Matsuoka/Cristina Vee as Alisa Bosconovitch

The stage for a final showdown is prepared as Anna Williams and the G Corporation set a trap for her sister Nina, who works for Jin Kazama, head of the Mishima Zaibatsu. Both Jin and his father, Kazuya Mishima of the G Corporation, seek to possess and control the M Cell that will unlock the destructive supernatural powers buried within the Mishima bloodline.

Kazuya dispatches Ling Xiaoyu to a prestigious international school to spy on Shin Kamiya, a victim of secret genetic experiments and may hold the key to the M Cell. While investigating Shin, Xiaoyu befriends Alisa Bosconovitch who also shows an interest in Shin. Their new friendship is put to the test as they are caught in the middle of the Mishima family feud.

The final battle explodes in a three way battle. Who will claim the M Cell and unlock the full power of the Devil Gene?!

Ah, those days in college, playing “Tekken” on the PSX until my thumbs would be in pain and thinking that the game was the best fighting game on the planet!

But I know I’m not alone when it comes to being one of the many fans who grew up playing and still are playing “Tekken”.

The Bandai video game series which began in 1994 has always pushed the limit in fighting video games and we have seen six incarnation of the game for the major consoles, a Sony PSP version of the game as well as a “Tekken Tag” version.

And one thing that “Tekken” had always done so well was seeing Namco trying to make an awesome looking 3D game, giving its characters their own fighting style and gameplay that rivaled other fighting game competitors, including CAPCOM’s “Street Fighter” fighting game series (a rivalry that will lead to the upcoming “Tekken x Street Fighter”/”Street Fighter vs. Tekken” videogames).

But you have to give credit to Bandai for crafting a continuing storyline that revolved around the ruthlessness of the Mishima family which include the evil and dead (but manages to always come back alive) patriarch Heihachi; Kazuya, Heihachi’s evil son with the devil gene who will do anything to destroy his father and Kazuya’s son Jin, who also has the devil gene (but chooses to use his power to destroy his grandfather and his father).

Sure it sounds and reads quite wickedly and if you played the game, you can’t deny of how this family is the ultimate in dysfunctional relationships.  Who can ever forget Kazuya Misushima grabbing his father and dropping him down a cliff?  Wicked, I tell you.

But if there was one thing that “Tekken” has not lived up to its video game series is its video releases.

The video games had cool stories but with each game, each character had a CG-storyline that lasted for a few minutes and fans wanted more!  Especially with “Street Fighter”, “Virtua Fighter” and “Final Fight” receiving some anime love, “Tekken” would receive some love in 1998 as anime fans were treated with a lackluster animated film titled “Tekken: The Motion Picture”, followed by a 2010 live-action film titled “Tekken” which even “Tekken” video game director Katsuhiro Harada had panned.  With a poorly done animated and live-action film, fans can only wish these two never existed.

Fortunately, Bandai Entertainment had always wanted to create a CG-based animated film since the release of “Tekken 6” (for the PS3 and XBOX 360) and what they created was the CG animated-film titled “Tekken: Blood Vengeance”, a storyline that actually will appeal to those who are familiar with the video game series.

The film was supervised by Youichi Mori (“Appleseed”) and written by Dai Sato (“Eureka Seven”, “Cowboy Bebop”, “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex”).  In charge of animation production is Digital Frontier who created the sequences for “Tekken” 5 and 6.

And possibly the smartest decision made by Dai Sato was to not include every character in the “Tekken” universe but to focus on the characters that relate to the Mishima storyline: Heihachi, Kazuya, Jin  and Lin Xiaoyu.  And characters with storylines that have continued since the first video game: Spy Nina Williams and her enemy and sister, Anna but also the addition of the latest character, Alisa Bosconovitch (a robot created by Dr. Bosconovitch who has played a big part in the series storyline and his relation to other characters in the videogame).

“Tekken: Blood Vengeance” will be released in the U.S. on DVD on November 22nd.  For those who want the Blu-ray release, will want to purchase “Tekken Hybrid” which contains the 3D Blu-ray version of the film, plus “Tekken Tag Tournament HD” and “Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Prequel” and will be released on December 27, 2011.

“Tekken: Blood Vengeance” begins with spy,  Nina Williams who is now working with Mishima Zaibatsu (which is run by Jin Kazama) and is being targeted by her  sister/enemy Anna Williams, who works with the G Corporation (ran by Kazuya Mishima).  The two fight and despite being surrounded, Nina Williams has always had an edge over her sister and manages to escape.

But as these two work with their boss, both have a mission.  To find a teenager named Shin Kamiya, capture him and bring him back.

But they will need someone to get close to him and as both Kazuya and Jin are raising their stakes against each other in trying to obtain Shin, G Corporation has their eyes set on a teenager named Lin Xiaoyu.   Lin was once a classmate with Jin Kazama but due to circumstances, her grades are bad and due to the destruction she causes at school, the principal can’t wait to get rid of her.

And for that principal at Lin’s school, it appears that Anna Williams of the G Corporation wants Lin Xiaoyu.  She ends up blackmailing teenager Lin Xiaoyu, in to becoming a spy at the school that Shin attends and spy on him.

While Lin attends her new high school with a GPS that tracks Shin, she notices the teen jumping off the top of the building.  She manages to rescue him but maybe it wasn’t so much as a rescue as the cocky teen tells her that he can’t die.  What does he mean by that?

Meanwhile, she meets a fellow student teenager named Alisa Bosconovitch who tells him that she had rescued Shin earlier, as he had tried to jump off a building.  While Lin Xiaoyu and Alisa become friends, Shin is captured by someone (that is not related to G Corporation or the Mishima Zaibatsu) and immediately, Alisa suspects Lin Xiaoyu is involved and tries to kill her.

This leads to a fight between Lin and Alisa and Alisa reveals herself to not be human but a robot.  And because Lin has failed her mission to get Shin Kamiya, Anna sends the G Corporation soldiers to kill both Lin and Alisa.

The two manage to escape and despite being at each other’s throats, they end up being friends and are rescued by a wealthy passer-by named Lee Chaolan (note: Lee is Kazuya Mishima’s foster brother and is a successful businessman and C.E.O. of a robotics corporation – this is not revealed in the film but an interesting backstory for those not familiar with the videogame).

Both Lin and Alisa eventually becoming good friends and as Alisa tries to learn about human interaction through Lin Xiaoyu and develop a strong bond.

Both feel they must rescue Shin Kamiya from whoever kidnapped them but meanwhile, Anna Williams has her sights set on killing Lin and Alisa, while Nina tries to find a way to stop her.

But if it isn’t Kazuya or Jin that kidnapped Shin, who could have been responsible for capturing him?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Tekken: Blood Vengeance” is presented in 16:9 and is in Japanese and English Dolby Digital 5.1.  For an action film, as expected with this explosive storyline, you can expect a good round of explosions and destruction galore with the soundtrack.  And the picture quality is what one can expect on DVD.

While the CG looks fantastic and in par with the graphics of the “Tekken 6” cut scenes, for those who are wanting to watch this in HD will have to purchase the PS3 “Tekken Hybrid” which contains the upcoming game “Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Prologue”, “Tekken Tag Tournament HD” and “Tekken: Blood Vengeance 3D”.

In fact, this film looks amazing enough that I would prefer to watch it in HD versus on DVD, especially since you get both “Tekken Tag Tournaments” for the PS3.

But for the DVD release, picture quality is good and as for the Japanese and English dub, I prefer the Japanese soundtrack as it syncs much better with the characters mouths.  But for those who prefer English, you do have the English dub as an option.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Tekken Blood Vengeance” comes with the film trailer and the trailer for the “Tekken Hybrid” PS3 release.

“Tekken: Blood Vengeance” is a film that definitely brings the storyline to the video game fans who have grown up with this series.  As the anime movie and the live-action film were made to be more accessible to those not familiar with the video games, I would imagine that “Tekken: Blood Vengeance” can be watched by someone not familiar with the series but at the same time, not feeling the impact compared to those who are familiar with the Mizushima families dysfunctional relationship.

As a fan of “Tekken”, I can easily recommend this to fans because the storyline literally relates to the video games.  You can’t help but be excited when you see Nina vs. Anna, Lin Xiaoyu vs. Alisa and of course, seeing Kazuya and Jin going against each other.  And there are also a few other short cameo appearances by a few other characters as well.

So, in terms of watching a film based on a video game, graphic-wise, I enjoyed this film as much as I enjoyed “Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children”.  Mainly because I invested so much time in playing those games, you can’t help but be excited.

The storyline is easy to follow when it comes to Lin Xiaoyu but when it comes to the Mishima family, I know there are viewers not familiar with the video games who will feel they are missing a chunk of storyline because they don’t know the hatred between Jin and his father Kazuya and both towards their grandfather Heihachi.

And this is possibly one part of the release that  can be problematic for some.  For the release of “Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children”, to help viewers understand what had taken place beforehand, many of the CG animatics from the video game were included as a special feature and served as a wonderful primer to help people understand the film.

It would have been nice of Namco to include those CG clips as special features from the previously released video games, especially the cut-scenes regarding Heihachi, Kazuya and Jin.  So, I felt that was one missed opportunity for this DVD release (Note: I am not sure if the Blu-ray release will contain extra features not included on the DVD version), as it would definitely help non-fans or new fans understand what is going on and possibly get them interested in the video game series.

But for those who are fans of the video game series, I can personally say that the film was exciting and fun to watch.  Granted, if you are not fans of the Mishima clan, Nina Williams or Lin Xiaoyu, I can understand how those fans would be a bit bummed that there favorite characters were not fully featured.

But considering how I wished the video game cut-scenes were longer, to have 92 minutes of all story featuring these cool characters from “Tekken”, I can’t help but having this grin on my face because I enjoyed watching it.

And while the PQ and AQ were good for DVD,  I wish there were more special features on the DVD but who knows?  Perhaps the Blu-ray release may have extra features.  And the fact that the PS3 “Tekken Hybrid” release comes with the 3D version of the film and two “Tekken Tag Tournament” video games in HD, I wouldn’t be surprised if the hardcore fans go for the Blu-ray release.  I definitely would!

Overall, “Tekken: Blood Vengeance” may not be for everyone as it is truly geared towards fans of the “Tekken” video game series, but if you are a fan, I definitely recommend watching the film!

 






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