In a world where movies based on video games are slowly becoming more popular, suffering from the same growing pains and overall terribleness of early superhero movies did. Maybe there have been some diamonds in the rough that could show: how to make a good movie based on a video game. Maybe in all the badness there is a hidden blueprint to turn bad into good.
Tekken: Blood Vengeance, the only of the currently three Tekken movies to be set within the actual Tekken canon. As a movie it owes more to another movie based on a videogame property, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, than either of its predecessors and other films made about fighting games. Like Advent Children, Blood Vengeance is more about fan service and cool moments than it is introducing novices to the Tekken universe. As convoluted and odd as the plot is it ends in the only way a Tekken movie can: a three fighting between three generations of the Mishima family. This adds up to an oddly enjoyable movie.
Don’t expect things to be explained to you. As someone who has most likely spent too much time on tekkenpedia even I was still confused as to what exactly the Mutare experiment, M-Gene and all the other crazy names they give things meant. Than it hit me, in the end it doesn't really matter. They are just plot devices and could of been called anything all that matters is that it brings the people together.
A movie based on Tekken you would think that the King of Iron Fist Tournament would be the main plot point. It is not, only referenced at the very end. Blood Vengeance takes place between the fifth and sixth King of Iron Fist Tournaments. This makes it one of three movies based on a fighting game franchise that doesn't use the tournament as the main plot device. The lack of a tournament setting hurts this since the characters aren’t that well realized nor is what they are doing that interesting.
The G-Corp, run by Kazuya Mishima and the Mishima Zaibatsu, now run by his son, Jin Kazama are both searching for something. This thing turns out to be a boy named Shin Kamiya, who is apparently very important. Why or how exactly he is important isn’t never really explained. The two companies just want him and that’s good enough.Even Kamiya’s own motivation is never really explained. He just wants plain old revenge. Wrapped up in all this corporate espionage is Ling Xiaoyu and Alisa Bosconovitch. This whole movie is weird but the relationship between Lin and Alisa is actually pretty good and manages to ask to philosophical questions. On the surface level it is visually pleasing and if you are someone who knows the ins and outs of Tekken there is probably some moments that will make you happy.
Unlike the first Tekken film, Tekken: The Motion Picture, Blood Vengeance is animated with CG giving fight scenes a fluidity that the first could never achieve. All the fight set pieces are well done and enjoyable. The best of which is the the three way between Heihachi,Kazuya, and Jin as they throw each other threw an old building. Three way fights can be hard to stage with all the variables that have to be kept in mind. This is alleviated by the animation since they aren’t going for realism at all they can just have Kazuya suddenly appear to interrupt his fathers ground and pound on his son. The animation and virtual camera work keeps the action in focus even as combatants are fighting over legs and grappling.
The characters are well animated outside of fighting with Panda and Alisa standing out.
The animation doesn't help it once the fight between Kazuya and Jin move outside into the night and they both transform into their Devil forms. The setting is too dark and the pair look very similar becoming hard to make out what exactly is going on much like the Transformer set pieces.
I watched this with the original Japanese dub and English subtitles so I can’t really comment on the vocal quality. It sounded good and might not be the worse english dub to happen.
Is the plot and nomenclature of Blood Vengeance over emphasised and perhaps a bit too serious? Yes, but it should get points for playing it straight even if to an outsider this shit is crazy. There is a level of competency and apparent love for the fiction that seems to be missing from other video game movies. Not making it about the tournament was an interesting move but it really is kind of pointless since this is an interquel and does not mean that much in the end. For its meager run time and insane story it does manage to do a lot with a little. If anything it’s worth watching for the fights.