Archives for July, 2011
Directed by: Dwight H. Little
Starring: Jon Foo, Kelly Overton and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Jin Kazama fights against the strongest warriors around the world and bad game movie reputations. Can he defeat both?
Young Jin Kazama (Jon Foo) spends his time running contraband in the slums of Anvil, but when the tyrannical corporation Tekken tracks him down and murders his mother, Jin decides to crash Tekken’s annual Iron Fist tournament as a chance to take revenge against CEO Heihachi Mishima (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). In his way are family back stabbings, assassination attempts, new love interests, bullet-filled escapes and a fight or two.
I am not a Tekken game fan. I never really got into the franchise, not as much because of anything about the franchise itself but more because it was at a point where I fell out of fighting games (thank you, Mortal Kombat 4).
With that said, while I can’t comment as well on the faithfulness of the movie to the game (not too terribly much with several aspects, from my understanding), but it’s definitely a fighting game adaptation. Thankfully, a good portion of the movie is centered on the actual tournament, with several fights featuring a variety of characters from the franchise. The fights are kinetic and mostly fun, at times brutal even. Helping this out is the fact that star Jon Foo is a martial artist and a stuntman in his own right.
As with fighting games, the movie has the gimmicky scenery for fight scenes. From Greek ruins to Japanese cherry blossoms to rocky terrain and so on. The in-story reason is the tournament stadium being outfitted with different sets. Ultimately though, with the bright lights and the background darkness of the audience, the sets don’t pop through as often as they should.
As with most fighting-game movies, it’s the stuff in between the fights that hurts the movie. The opening is a running scene followed by some heavy-handed commentary on oppressive corporations removing choice and liberty (and chocolate and coffee for some reason). It takes some time to get to the actual game-styled fighting. The middle has an odd club dance scene and later takes a break from the tournament to pit our main characters on the run from the Tekken Corporation’s private army, perfect for exposition to explain everything Jin doesn’t know, and perfect for killing the pacing.
The acting isn’t spectacular either, but it gets the job done. Jon Foo can’t quite decide to keep or lose his British accent though, and that proves distracting.
Speaking of acting and going back to the rival Mortal Kombat franchise, the most striking aspect of the movie is Heihachi played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. Also known as Shang Tsung in the 1995 Mortal Kombat film. Not too dissimilar roles. No real fighting this time though, as while Heihachi gets to push people around and show his strength, he is conspicuously absent from the fight lineup. Kind of sad, as he’s the only Tekken character I’m familiar with at all, thanks to being the lamer special character in Soul Caliber 2 (for those unfortunate not to get the Gamecube or X-Box versions).
Overall, the film is enjoyable enough for the fun fight scenes, but it’s not much beyond it.
The Video and Audio
The film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound English track. The film is too dark at times, but the fight scenes are showcased well enough. The soundtrack is unremarkable.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
At first glance, this disc is bare bones. This case has a bland image. The disc simply has the logo and text printed right on the disc itself, no graphic top. I don’t know why they don’t use the movie poster that actually looks like a cover to one of the games.
Plus there’s only one extra, but that one extra is pretty worthwhile – a 50-minute documentary of the film’s stunts and stunt team. The documentary is centered on the concurrent filming of one of the film’s many fight scenes and a running scene featured in the beginning. The film’s fight choreographer Cyril Raffaelli – a noted French stuntman, parkour expert and sometimes actor in his own right – goes into detail about setting up the stunt work for the film and the differences between the work he typically does internationally and the Hollywood flicks like this.
This bonus documentary is interesting and informational, a good counterpart to the film and a surprising effort considering there are no other extras at all.
Tekken falls into a marred genre of video game-based movies. It’s not the genre’s saving grace by any means, nor is it the runt of an already tarnished litter. If you can get past the non-fighting-filled opening, then the action and the documentary will make this an alright one-time watch.
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10
The Series 6/10
The Video and Audio 5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 7/10
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10
We talk Captain America, San Diego Comic Con News, Tentacles, Wal-Mart TV, and much more!
Shout! Factory has your back for another B movie Friday night. First on the bill is Gordan’s War starring Paul Winfield who plays a Vietnam vet who comes home to dead wife and assembles a team of army buddies to deliver some righteous vengeance. Next up is Off Limits, starring Willem Dafoe and Gregory Hines, two army cops in 1968 Saigon on the trail of a prostitute targeting serial killer. So stick in the DVD, crack open the first of that sixer and pull off the first piece of that frozen pizza, its time for some B movie fun.
Gordon Hudson, Paul Winfield, is pissed. After serving his country in Vietnam he returns to Harlem to find his wife dead from an overdose. Adding insult to injury the pimps who do the drug dealing in Harlem and got his wife hooked do business out in the open and with impunity. They own the neighborhood. When Gordon figures out exactly which pimp dealt to his wife he takes the direct approach. He puts the guy in the hospital. Pimps aren’t stupid. They track down Gordon and give him the message to back off. The message would have been sterner, but Gordon manages to give as good as he gets even when its three to one. Gordon’s not going to be so easily deterred but he’s not stupid either. Before he continues his insurgency he decides to look up some old friends. Old friends that, like him have just recently returned from Vietnam. Together they plan on cleaning up Harlem.
Gordon’s War is an odd little movie. Directed by Ossie Davis it has the trappings of a Blaxplotation movie, but it doesn’t have the heart. Yes, there are pimps in outrageous pimpsuits driving around in outrageous pimpmobiles. There are the black heroes doing their best to clean up a neighborhood gone to seed. There is the white organization that is the true source of the drugs ruining the neighborhood. There are fist fights, gun fights and even a kick ass car chase. There is the preachy moralistic tone and the funk and soul fueled soundtrack. But what’s missing is the over the top bad assedness, Gordon’s War is just so reasonable. When Gordon first ventures out for revenge does he kill the guy who in his eyes murdered his wife? Actually this isn’t the best example for my argument because even though he doesn’t kill the pimp what he does is pretty bad ass. The pimp committee’s response is decidedly non bad ass though. The level of violence does ratchet up as the story progresses but all the character’s responses are always so reasonable. Even the drug kingpin actions are always calm and coolly considered, not the calm and coolly considered of a psychopath either it’s the calm and coolly considered of an experienced businessman. Eventually the stakes do rise to an appropriate level and you are rewarded in the end with a suitably bad ass showdown it just takes too long for everything to get wound up. Besides the story the direction by Ossie Davis is decent. The pacing could be tighter but there are a few scenes that really pop. The acting is above average for a B movie and the score is no reservations great.
Willem Dafoe and Gregory Hines, McGriff and Albaby (in respect for his mother don’t call in Al she named him Albaby) are two military cops working the off limits red light district of Saigon in 1968. They don’t have to run around in white helmets and MP armbands and bust up bar fights though. They get to dress in civilian clothes and drive a sedan instead of a jeep and instead of rounding up drunken GIs they chase down AWOL GIs. Or at least that’s the biggest part of their job. That’s what they are doing when the movie opens up; they finally get a lead on an enlisted man they have been chasing down for three days. That’s why they are not so pleased when they get pulled off that case for another crime. This new crime is a nasty piece of work too. Somebody has put a bullet in the head of a whore. Not a very nice thing to do but they ask their boss Dix, Fred Ward, what does this have to do with them since they only investigate crimes committed by members of the US Army. “Nothing” he tells them “until somebody found this” holding up a plastic sandwich bag with piece of an Army officers insignia. Thus starts their journey down the rabbit hole. They quickly turn up a witness, Maurice, a paranoid Keith David, who refuses to talk to anybody less than a General; he’s planning on leveraging his testimony into a ticket home. So Griff and Albaby put him up and assign Rogers, David Allen Grier (yeah these names keep popping up), to babysit. There is not much Rogers can do though when the wall of his apartment is blown in and Maurice gets machine gunned. McGriff and Albany get the message they are on the trail of a very dangerous man, just how dangerous they realize when their investigation leads them to Nicole, Amanda Pays, a Nun, or technically a Novice she’s not quite a Nun yet, who shows them evidence of six more similar killings. Along the way Griff and Albaby run afoul of local law enforcement, crazy Colonels, the VC and the Tet Offensive.
Christopher Crowe has mashed up a bit of noir, with a touch of buddy cop, and a lump or two of war movie and rolled it out into a nice taunt if a bit predictable thriller. Bangkok serves as an excellent stand in for Saigon and you can feel the heat and humidity and the crush of humanity. It’s seedy and decadent but alive. Dafoe and Hines make a good buddy cop team and Ward is perfect as their boss sliding effortlessly between chewing their ass and backing them up when the chips are down.
The films are both presented in widescreen format. The transfers are from decent prints and they both look pretty good though the colors in Gordon’s War are a little washed out. I never noticed any digital artifacts like moiré, aliasing, or blooming even with both movies squeezed onto one DVD.
The audio is presented in the original mono for both movies and in English only. There are no subtitles available. The sound is nothing special but it is functional. The dialog I always clear and never stepped on by the foley or the score.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The DVD comes in a clear Amaray case with artwork derived from the original movie posters. There is an audio commentary track for each film, Christopher Crowe and Willem Dafoe provide the commentary for Off Limits, unfortunately Paul Winfield and Ossie Davis are no longer with us but cinematographer Victor J. Kemper and actor Tony King provide a lively and informative discussion. That’s it except for a trailer and some TV spots for Gordon’s War.
What, you’ve still got one beer left. Quick knock it out before the credits finish. What use is one beer? The left over pizza you can stick in the fridge for breakfast in case you wake before noon tomorrow. I know, it’s a long shot but stranger things have happened.
Overall (not an average) 7/10
The Movie 6/10 and 8/10
The Video 7/10
The Audio 6/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 7/10
Overall (not an average) 7/10
This week we mostly talk Comic Con news and previews but we do veer into boob apps for the iphone and Harry Potter talk too! Oh and yes we know it’s 2011!
This week we learn something new about Niko while we discuss the Netflix price increase, Falling Skies, Arnie’s new old movie, and much more….
This is a big week for Syfy with most of their original programming starting up including Eureka, Warehouse 13, the new series Alphas, and the return of Haven this Friday. In anticipation for Haven’s return we have a video interview with star Emily Rose. Be warned, if you still haven’t watched last season’s cliffhanger finale then you may want to watch it before this interview because Rose discusses the ending. If you’re all caught up check it out and catch the season premiere Friday at 10/9 c.
Created by: Hasbro
Starring: Hiroko Emori, Ikuya Sawaki, Hideyuki Hori
In the late ‘80s, with the original The Transformers animated series coming to an end, Japan decided to run with the show with their own original show based off of the American-produced series based off of Japanese toys. Transformers: Headmasters is the first series in this line. …continue reading
Words cannot describe the joy I felt when this boxset arrived in the mail. First, it is another boxset of my beloved show Mystery Science Theater 3000. Secondly, it is a THEME boxset: Gamera, the turtle star of many wonderful Japanese monster films. Included in this set are 5 Gamera films. …continue reading
This week Pirates don’t bomb as much as we thought, neither do Transformers, Green Lantern does though! Cordelia is back on TV, and everybody loves digital!
Sign up for Stitcher Radio with Promo Code cinegeek and get entered to win a cool $100 here!
Without contrast nothing would have any meaning, how can you appreciate the light if you’ve never been in the dark, how can you appreciate good if you’ve never felt evil. Just like this double-feature, without experiencing the wretchedness of Moving Violation you wouldn’t be able to appreciate what few redeeming values Fighting Mad has to offer. …continue reading