I just watched the one night only screening of Tekken: Blood Vengeance. There are so many reasons why I shouldn’t have gone: it’s all CGI; it’s in 3D; it’s based on a fighting tournament video game franchise; and I should be reading the latest book from The Dresden Files book that was released today. I won’t discuss the plot, except to say there is actually some semblance of one. First off, I won’t mention the spoilers. Second, if you are a fan of the franchise, then you already know more than me, so I won’t insult your intelligence. So I am completely stunned when it turns out that this is clearly the best 3D, CGI animated film based on a video game ever.
I am impressed with the writing of Dai Soto. After looking at his body of work, I guess I should not be surprised. He avoids all the pitfalls of movies based on video games – the fighting tournament, the cameo-fest inclusion of every character; (thank god; there are 44 characters in this franchise – there is no way to squeeze all of them into a 90-minute movie;) and overlong plot dumps. However, by avoiding all of the fighting games clichés, T:BV delves into the tropes of every other anime genre. It is a level of frustration that just can not be avoided.
Since this a Namco Bandai franchise, it is no surprise that the English dub was handled by Bandai Entertainment’s favorite dub studio, Bang Zoom! Entertainment. This is not Bang Zoom’s finest hour, but then again, they have set a fairly high standard. It’s damning praise to say this is the best dub of a CGI film, since every other CGI dub has been dreadful.
The 3D visuals are absolutely stunning. The fight sequences made my head spin. At first I was disappointed that this was not a non-stop, 90 minute melee, but I don’t think my head could have handled that. I have to settle for one scene of awesomeness followed by one or two scenes of overindulgence. Overall, I am glad I got the 3D experience. The film will lose some of its magic during the transfer to DVD.
It is no surprise that the entire point of the film is to sell the upcoming video games (three, to be precise). If you play the games, then this is a must-see. The question is will non-gamers like myself sit through a ninety minute commercial? The answer is a surprisingly yes. Knowledge of the Tekken storyline is not mandatory in order to enjoy this film. It’s a shame that this is only in theatres for only one night (and only one showing to boot.) It will also be a shame if it only bundled with the video games, and not sold on its own. It would probably lose some of its luster when viewed in 2D on a TV screen. My score is based on a big screen, 3D viewing. And my grade for Tekken:Blood Vengeance is a very respectable B-. Despite its flaws, there are so many crowning moments of awesome that should entertain the non-video game fans out there.