Tekken is kind of a tough premise to work with when it comes to writing up a movie. The game never quite takes itself seriously, therefore making it hard for any directors to truly adapt the source material. In fairness, although Tekken: Kings of the Iron Fist Tournament wasn’t a great movie, it was a bit better than I was expecting. It made the fighting tournament believable by setting it in a futuristic universe and the fighting was done well. It was as good as we could have expected from a Tekken movie. Or was it?
The entire tournament side of the game is merely the gameplay that helps draw together all of these stories. Despite it just being an arcade game, the writers have littered the franchise with rich back stories. This is lost to the foreign viewers when applied to the Japanese humour, but there are some interesting themes and stories in the game. Even Tekken 5 tried to shake its fighting game style, by adding a campaign mode which featured more platformer based levels. Basically I am suggesting that maybe, in order to make a great Tekken movie, perhaps we need to scrap this ‘tournament’ narrative device and just make a film from the game’s characters, rather than the actual game.
Let’s take a look at the main character in the first game and his story: Kazuya. Kazuya’s father, Heihachi, known for being the big villain of the franchise, hurls his five year old son off a cliff to see if he has the strength to survive and earn his place as an heir to the family empire. Kazuya is mortally wounded by the fall, but he sells his soul to the Devil, in order to get the strength to survive and take vengeance on his father. Twenty-one years later, Heihachi sets up the Iron Fist Fighting tournament with a 1 billion dollar prize for the last man standing. Kazuya enters the tournament and fights his way to the top. Once he wins, he confronts Heihachi on the same cliff he was thrown from. They fight and the game ends with Kazuya throwing his father off of the cliff.
That sounds like an awesome plot for a movie. It is also important to note that Kazuya becomes the bad guy in the second Tekken, suggesting that power corrupts which would open up interesting possibilities for a sequel. I would be happy to take the job for writing up that script and I think I have figured out where the other films failed. They tried to cram too much content into one movie. The 2010 Tekken movie lost my interest, when it brought several loved characters to the forefront of the game and ruined them. There was no time to develop them, as there was already a complex plot going on, so the movie resorted to turning each of them into stereotypes, which made each surprise cameo insulting rather than astonishing.
So here is what I propose, although I know it would take a lot of convincing to get producers to invest money into this cause. I want to Marvel the Tekken universe. Marvel has taken several ridiculous characters (check out an old Captain America comic strip), and made them believable movie stars. I know that it is tough to make people go for the idea that the Tekken franchise could ever compete with the Marvel franchise, but my Tekken dream would be for there to be a main storyline (the Kazuya story), and alongside that, several spin-offs featuring other loved Tekken characters, rather than squeezing everyone into the same movie.
Take King for example, a fan favourite. Would you watch a King movie if he was the lead role, rather than sharing the limelight with Kazuya? King’s story sees him as a Mexican street-fighter, with an alcohol addiction, his sole desire to fight. Eventually, this path gets him beat up and left for dead outside of a monastery. He is saved by an orphanage and King devotes his life to raising money for the orphanage, which is tricky as his only skill is fighting. He gets money through the Tournament, although to switch it up a bit, we could introduce a new story, involving a villain from the series. What about Lei from Tekken 2? He plays a Chinese cop, skilled at martial arts, who takes on ex-cop Bruce Irvin, who has an animal smuggling business. It climaxes in an exciting fight in a crashing plane. Put Jet Li or Iko Uwais as the lead here and you have a pretty good cop movie, let alone Tekken movie.
There is potential here. Rather than spitting out endless Tekken movies, until we reach Tekken 11, why not have several films being made at the same time, just like Marvel. That way, we could get movies like ‘Tekken Presents: King and the Quest for the Redemption’ (working title). Hell, maybe the dream goal is to finally get them altogether for the Tekken version of Avengers Assemble. There is a storyline where good guys and bad guys team up to take on an ancient evil, the Red Ogre, which features several principal characters being killed off. What do you say? Should I take this to Kickstarter?