Alternate Title: Tekken: A Man Called X
Review Date: 8/25/14
Cast: Kane Kosugi, Gary Daniels, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Awful! As great as it is to finally see underrated Kane Kosugi in a leading role, there is simply no excuse for this pathetic piece of cinematic crap, which has about as much in common with "Tekken" as my grandmother does. (and no, my grandmother is not a giant farting bear) A young man (Kane Kosugi) wakes up in a strange hotel with no idea as to who he is and no memories of his past. Moments later, he's ambushed by a bunch of heavily armed law enforcers, but he manages to escape due to his survival instincts and innate fighting skills. Next, we find him kidnapped by a group of religious extremists, led by a maniacal man who calls himself The Minister. He names the young man Kei and forces him to become an assassin by planting an explosive charge in his chest. I suppose that's one way to enforce obedience. After proving himself to be a top fighter, he is allowed to leave the compound and work as a sleeper agent. Inevitably, his neighbor is a sweet, attractive young woman who works as a nurse at the local medical clinic, and he saves her from getting roughed up by a group of thugs. Romance blooms between the doomed lovers until Kei messes up a mission while trying to take down a mysterious rogue agent named Fury (Gary Daniels). When Kei learns the truth about The Minister, his girlfriend is kidnapped and he runs off to save her. In the last five minutes of the film, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa shows up and says "I am Heihachi Mishima, and you are my son, Kazuya Mishima." That's it. That is literally the ONLY reference to "Tekken" in the entire film. Unbelievable.
As much as it pains me to say it, this film may be even worse than the unfathomably bad "The King Of Fighters" (2009). Shot in Thailand (presumably) on a shoestring budget, the direction is weak, the production values are terrible, and the acting is sub-par. The budget is so small that they couldn't even afford to give Tagawa a signature Heihachi wig, so he appears bald instead. The lighting is awful, shots are frequently out of focus, and the director's favorite trick is using gratuitous lens flares. The fight choreography is decent, but the execution is sluggish and bad cinematography and editing spoil whatever talent may be on display. I can't fault Kane Kosugi for any of this, as he gives a much better performance than the film deserves, and his fighting skills are quite good. Unfortunately, the camera fails to take advantage of this, and the other stuntmen can't keep up with him. Even the one brief fight between Kosugi and Daniels is completely uninteresting, which is a damn shame. And contrary to the title of the film, Kazuya does not get any sort of revenge.
Putting aside the fact that the film has absolutely no connection to anything even remotely related to "Tekken," I find it interesting that they decided to take Kazuya, the cruel, deranged, and power-mad villain of the series, and recast him as a sympathetic hero with a conscience and a strong sense of compassion. Additionally, Bryan Fury is NOT a cyborg or even a bad guy - he's just a computer hacker who managed to escape from The Minister's evil clutches, and The Minister wants him dead. And what's up with the whole religious cult thing, anyway? Seriously, the film is a complete mess and a total waste of time. In a world full of bad video game adaptations, this is arguably the worst one I've seen. You have been warned.