12th Oct2015

‘Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge’ Blu-ray Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Kane Kosugi, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Rade Serbedzija, Gary Daniels, Kelly Wenham, Paige Lindquist, Charlotte Kirk, Biljana Misic, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Ron Smoorenburg, Eoin O’Brien | Written by Nicole Jones-Dion, Steven Paul | Directed by Wych Kaos

tekken-2

Videogames… They’ve not had the best of luck when it comes to translating themselves from game to movie. Especially when adapted into live-action movies. You end up with films like Alone in the Dark, House of the Dead, Bloodrayne, Doom and 2007′s Hitman. But they’re not all bad… Mortal Kombat kicked plenty of on-screen arse and garnered many a film fan’s love thanks to a plot that didn’t mes around with the source material or with inconsequential new storylines and characters. The Resident Evil franchise has at least managed to find a fanbase and continuing budgets to keep going even in the face of derision from non-gamers and gamers alike. And the Need For Speed movie wasn’t that bad to be fair – managing to pilfer from both NFS: Most Wanted and NFS: Hot Pursuit, whilst throwing in a little Fast & Furious style action-drama. Even the TV movie of Red Faction surprised many, managing to make a coherent story out of the franchises many games.

But movies based on fighting games? They’ve had it a lot worse! Streetfighter, Double Dragon, DOA, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon… Not the greatest of examples to be fair. Although I have a soft spot for the first two. More recently two film adaptations of two heavyweight fighting franchises made their debuts on DVD and Blu-ray here in the UK: Tekken and The King of Fighters, released in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Neither film did particularly well over here, which is probably why its taken almost 18 months for the UK to get Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge.

As someone whose main passion outside of movies, and this website, is playing video games – predominantly of the fighting and shmup variety – you’d think I’d be rather biased when it comes to loose adaptations of the very videogames I love to play. But it turns out I’m not. I loved the first Tekken film, mainly due to the great underdog storyline and two fnatastic performances from Jon Foo as Jin Kazama and Cung Lee (who I still think is criminally underrated as a movie hard man) as Marshall Law. So I was actually excited for the sequel. Even moreso when I learnt this would be the story of another of the franchises key characters, Kazuya.

A prequel to the 2011 movie, Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge – whilst there’s a lot of liberties taken with the plot of the game franchise – still sticks to the core story of a father and son at odds. Not that it starts out that way. In fact it’s not unless you’ve seen the first film, or know the plot of the video games (and therefore know who Kazuya is beforehand), that you’d be able to put two and two together to realise that Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa’s character – who spends the majority of this film in the shadows watching what is going on with our amnesiac hero – is actually Kazuya’s father and the man who ran the Tekken tournament in the first film, Heihachi Mishima.

For the big difference between film and game story is, unlike in the game, Kazuya is not thrown off a cliff and left to die (which he doesn’t, thanks to the “devil gene” he carries within him), instead his memory is wiped by his father and, suffering from amnesia, he is kidnapped by an underground crime organization and turned into a ruthless assassin. You see it turns out his father thought his mind was too weak, leaving him open to concepts like a fair fight and not just killing everyone in battle – not your typical bad guy traits and certainly a weakness that makes Kazuya (according to his father) not worthy of being a part of the Mishima clan he was born in to.

But those unfamiliar with Tekken won’t really discover that till the very end of the film, as Kazuya’s story is coming to a close – which means Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge truly is for the hardcore franchise fans. You need that fore-knowledge of who Kazuya (called “K” for the majority of this film, despite his name in the title) is, to really understand what’s going on within the confines of the films convoluted plot. Which makes for something of a double-edged sword. The hardcore fans of the Tekken video games probably won’t appreciate the changes this film makes to Kazuya’s story, yet you need to know his story to appreciate the film fully!

Yet beyond the convoluted plot, Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge is actually a pretty decent fight film. Kane Kosugi, son of the legendary Sho Kosugi, gets to show off his moves; shich are undeniably impressive. And Brit hard man Gary Daniels even gets a chance to shine, going head to head with Kosugi in a furious fist fight!

As a prequel to the first film the link is tenous at best, with only Tagawa’s final speech giving any hint at what is to come in the future (or the past, considering this film came after the originl film). But as another entry into the Tekken film franchise Tekken 2 more than holds its own. Roll on a third film, maybe pitting Kazuya against Jin? Now THAT I’d love to see!

Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge is released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on October 19th, courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

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