Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge (2014) Review

"Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge" Japanese DVD Cover

"Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge" Japanese DVD Cover

AKA: Tekken: A Man Called X
Director: Wych Kaosayananda
Writer: Nicole Jones, Steven Paul
Producer: Steven Paul, Pimol Srivikorn
Cast: Kane Kosugi, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Rade Serbedzija, Gary Daniels, Kelly Wenham, Ron Smoorenburg, Paige Lindquist, Charlotte Kirk, Biljana Misic, Sahajak Boonthanakit
Running Time: 88 min.

By Kyle Warner

2010’s Tekken came and went without many people taking notice. Well, I’m going to be honest: I kind of liked the film. I mean, make no mistake, I would never call it a good movie, but it’s fun in a stupid sort of way. Drink a few beers, have a sense of humor about things, and it makes for some silly entertainment. The least you can say is that at least the filmmakers went all out with their limited budget, making the film look like a videogame come to life, complete with goofy costumes, goofy dialogue, and just enough competent action to satisfy the fans.

And while the original Tekken failed to find an audience, I think the makers of 2014’s Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge might secretly wish audiences would just ignore their film and move on. This is a lame, half-hearted effort from start to finish. Even the sound effects, music, and end credits feel like they were patched on at a moment’s notice. Really, I’d like to begin and end this review right here by telling you that this movie sucks, that it’s not worth your time, and that you should just find another way to waste 90 minutes in your day… but I expect you’d like to know why.

Despite that pesky 2 in the title, Tekken 2 actually serves as a prequel to the first film. Kane Kosugi plays Kazuya (originally played by Ian Anthony Dale), and Gary Daniels and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa return as Bryan Fury and Heihachi, respectively. Really though, these feel like completely different characters. Kazuya is an amnesiac, Heihachi is lacking his signature hairdo that makes him look like a balding Wolverine, and Fury never once reminded me of his original iteration. Tekken 2 has very little in common with the original film or the game that inspired it. And based on production rumors and misinformation – Kosugi’s site claimed he was not making a Tekken movie, and the film supposedly went through multiple titles like Agent X and A Man Called X – I kind of think Kazuya’s Revenge became a Tekken film very late in the game. Whatever the case may be, you get the sense that the producers just didn’t care. The original Tekken was cheap and silly but at least it tried. This film seems almost like it wants to brush the Tekken parts of its story underneath the rug.

The movie begins with Kane Kosugi waking up with no memory of who he is or what’s going on. After surviving a fight with armed men, thus learning he must’ve been some kind of badass before losing his memory, Kosugi is taken hostage by a group of assassins led by the mysterious Minister (Rade Serbedzija). Since he has no memory of who he is, the Minister decides to name our hero K. The Minister trains his people to be killers so that he may send them out into the world to assassinate enemies of peace, and he wants K to be his next assassin. There seems to be a cult-like relationship between the Minister and his followers, but this aspect of the story is largely left unexplored.

K is one of the most passive heroes I’ve ever seen in an action film. Here’s a man that should have an endless amount of questions – just for starters, who am I? – but he seems perfectly fine wasting the day away in bed or walking in slow motion across the city. Most of these introspective moments are filled with flashbacks, some of which remind us of events that just happened, and others look like clips taken from the original film (I may be wrong), which is very puzzling since those moments haven’t happened yet. K doesn’t really seem too bothered by the fact that he’s a man without a past or that he’s killing people for a man that’s holding him hostage, as he never asks enough questions or makes much of an attempt to escape.

In the finale, the “twist” is revealed and K learns he’s actually Kazuya Mishima, which comes as a total shock to the audience because the film is called Kazuya’s Revenge. He also learns his father is Heihachi Mishima, which again all videogame fans already knew. What’s puzzling is why this matters and why it counts as a revelation in the plot. Heihachi is a non-character throughout 95% of the film. If you didn’t know the game, you wouldn’t know he was important, and nor would you understand his complicated relationship with his son. The plot and all of its twists are so flat they barely register at all.

The only actor who impresses in any way is Kelly Wenham, who plays Rhona, K’s handler. Rhona’s the most complex character in the film and Wenham plays her well. While I would normally welcome the appearance of character actors Rade Serbedzija and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa in almost any film, neither one of them seems into the material. I can’t blame them, though. Kane Kosugi, who I usually like, fails to impress in the lead role. Sure, the character is poorly written, but his performance is wooden, only truly coming to life in the action scenes.

I’m really having a hard time thinking of something good to say about this movie… The fight scenes are fairly well choreographed and the performers are not without skill, but most of these scenes are shot devoid of style or rhythm. The only exciting fight is the last one, but by then I expect most audience members will have already checked out. The film, directed by Wych Kaos (Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever), never manages to rise above its minimal budget, and often looks cheaper than you would imagine.

At one point, director Prachya Pinkaew (Ong Bak) was slated to direct Tekken 2, which was then supposedly titled Tekken: Rise of the Tournament. Things obviously fell apart. Whether Pinkaew’s Tekken film was going to feature pretty much the plot same as Kazuya’s Revenge is unclear. In some alternate universe perhaps we got a really cool Tekken 2 movie… But our universe sucks and so does Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge.

Tekken 2 belongs alongside Super Mario Bros., Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Alone in the Dark, and Double Dragon as one of the worst videogame movies of all time, and would feel right at home in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Avoid this one at all costs.

I’m giving this a 2 instead of a 1. It’s an awful film, but compared to other crap movies on the same spectrum at least I didn’t need to take a shower after watching it, and nor did I seriously contemplate suicide. So, that’s a plus. I reserve my 1’s for crimes against humanity. You know, like Manos: The Hands of Fate or Adam Sandler movies. Ah ha! I figured out a compliment for Tekken 2. It’s terrible but at least it doesn’t have Adam Sandler in it.

Kyle Warner’s Rating: 2/10

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8 Responses to Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge (2014) Review

  1. “And based on production rumors and misinformation – Kosugi’s site claimed he was not making a Tekken movie, and the film supposedly went through multiple titles like Agent X and A Man Called X – I kind of think Kazuya’s Revenge became a Tekken film very late in the game.”

    That makes a lot sense. But then again, Steven Paul did produce both movies (which could go either way I suppose). When you were watching the movie, did it seem like the returning actors were plopped in (Daniels, Tagawa) at the last minute? Great review. Movie sounds so bad that I’m curious to watch it and witness it myself. lol

    • Kyle Warner says:

      Yeah, it really did feel like the returning actors were pasted into the movie. Both actors look like they were called in at the last second and barely bothered with a costume change. This could have easily dropped the Tekken title and the Tekken characters – actually, it might’ve been a better film if it had done so, if only so that they wouldn’t anger the fans.

      Daniels’ part actually fits into the plot fairly well as he plays a runaway from the Minister’s assassin cult. But at the same time he could’ve been removed and it wouldn’t have changed the plot at all. He’s just there.

      Tagawa’s role as Heihachi is even stranger. (SPOILERS) We learn that Heihachi had something to do with the amnesia. . . but he’s also the guy that reveals all at the end, even though it doesn’t seem like he’s achieved anything with his scheme. So, um, what was his motivation in all this? (END SPOILERS?) Even if it had been an original villain and not a Tekken character like Heihachi, the villain’s role in the film is so poorly mishandled. Let me give you an example: The Empire Strikes Back ends with Vader telling Luke he’s his dad and Luke throws a fit because he knows Vader he killed his mentor, and he’s his #1 enemy, and he’s basically the boss of all evil across the galaxy. Okay, well, in the Tekken universe Heihachi basically has Vader’s role as boss of Team Evil. At the end Tekken 2, Heihachi pretty much shares the same ‘I am your father’ bit with Kazuya. . . except, neither Kazuya or the audience really know who Heihachi is in this movie. He’s been absent throughout much of the picture, with zero effort given to developing his character or his standing in the world. When Kazuya learns the truth he gets mad, but it’s an empty moment. It means nothing. . . I may be wrong about the film’s origins as a non-Tekken script, but either way the end result is the same: this is a very bad movie.

  2. Paul Bramhall says:

    I see your review, and I raise you ‘The Constable’ for the worse movie experience of last year. Wych Kaos seems to be determined to prove himself as nothing more than a hack director. His other movie, ‘Angels’ with Dustin Nguyen and Gary Daniels, sat on the shelf unreleased for months, until finally it was revealed that Kane Kosugi and Scott Adkins had been brought in for re-shoots, and it had been turned into a completed different movie called ‘Zero Tolerance’. Surprisingly, ‘Zero Tolerance’ hasn’t surfaced either. I think your review contains several clues as to why.

    • Kyle Warner says:

      Ah yes, I remember your review of The Constable. I recall seeing one of director Dennis Law’s other films, King of Triads, and thought it was awful, too. I’ll know to avoid all films by either Law or Kaos in the future. Truth be told, Tekken 2 isn’t actually the worst new release I saw this past year, though. As bad as Tekken 2 is, I thought Sabotage, I Frankenstein, and the Patrick remake were even worse. I know that Sabotage has its fans, but man, I hated that film.

      • Paul Bramhall says:

        Ha ha, I actually like ‘King of Triads’ for the fight action, it’s one of the few movies were both Jiang Luxia and Andy On really get to show off their stuff. The original title for this is ‘Bad Blood’, which makes a lot more sense. The US distributors did the same thing with Law’s other movie ‘Fatal Move’, changing its US title to ‘Triad Wars’, to make it sound like there’s some tenuous connection between the 2, other than being made by a guy who couldn’t direct himself out of a turnstyle.

        Funny that you mention the ‘Patrick’ remake, I recently reviewed director Mark Hartley’s new documentary ‘Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films’. It’s a very entertaining piece, so perhaps he should just stick to making documentaries.

  3. Tomas says:

    Well, when you have the director of Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever take control of a video game movie (or any movie for that matter), you can expect a lot of disappointment.

    Although, when you said that Tekken 2 should be alongside with the other bad video game adaptations, I’m glad you didn’t mention DOA: Dead Or Alive……..At least on that movie, Kane Kosugi did a good job on that adaptation, which was pretty entertaining IMHO.

    • I think Kane Kosugi should do a “sequel” to Revenge of the Ninja with his dad. It would be cool to see them both reprise their roles. We need The Cannon Group back – that was when shitty action movies were good!

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