Tekken 7 is next! Tekken, DOA: Dead Or Alive, Mortal Kombat. Are these movies relics from the past for the martial arts fans? For some, indeed they are. While Tekken is the most recent of them all, it doesn’t mean that it’s good. Far from it.
But are any of these movies decent? Firstly, it’s all so subjective. Secondly, there is also the “so bad it’s good” aspect to consider.
What some might find terrible, for others can be a good quality in a movie. Not just in Tekken, but in various other examples as well. So, that being said… Are Tekken and other martial arts movies a dying breed? Well, in a way.
Tekken 7 and martial arts movies
First of all, we have to differentiate the type of martial arts movies. Because, they’re so many. And for sake of time and convenience, we’re going to be sticking to two different types of movies.
Video game-inspired movies (video games adaptations) like Tekken and the non – video games inspired movies.
Like Bloodsport for example.
Tekken 7: An Inspiration
Although there are plenty of great martial arts movies that are not derived from video games, the same cannot be said about the video-game adaptations.
In contrast, think of The Raid for instance. Certainly a simple, yet great concept for a movie. One simple setting and one great protagonist throughout the plot.
Most importantly, we’re not saying that all modern martial arts movies are terrible. But it does seem like the terrible martial arts movies from our childhoods were somehow made with lots of love, soul and devotion put into them.
Sure, they were not Oscar baits, but some of them still hold the better promise of entertainment and enjoyment. Maybe more than some of today’s films, don’t you think?
Tekken 7: What’s It All About?
So, let’s talk about the video-game. TEKKEN 7 of course. It’s one of the few games that I have played.
And even more so, it’s one of the few games that I’ve managed to beat my husband in. But, Namco published the original Tekken firstly as an arcade game in 1994, and then on PlayStation the following year.
Next, after the events of Tekken 6, the brutal war between the Mishima Zaibatsu and G Corporation continues to ravage the world. But here’s the interesting part.
In fact, the game’s story is told from the perspective of a reporter. Previously, his wife and son were killed in the crossfire. So that trauma led him to begin writing an exposé piece on both the Mishima Zaibatsu and the G Corporation.
But, enough about Tekken 7, the video game. Let’s focus on the movies that were inspired by fighting video games (similar to Tekken 7).
Believe it or not, Tekken had a 2009 movie adaptation. Honestly, not that many people know about this movie. Even after more than a decade, after its premiere.
It’s a revenge story, and it follows Jin Kazama- the movie’s main protagonist. Jin Kazama will attempt to enter the Iron Fist Tournament to avenge his mother’s death.
Set in the distant future, Tekken follows the story of Jin Kazama’s revenge. First, he will fight his father and then his grandfather, Heihachi Mishima in the aforementioned tournament.
Tekken- the movie was a commercial and critical flop. It made more than 1 million dollars at the box office. Furthermore, the film was heavily criticized even by the video game director Katsuhiro Harada.
However, a prequel of the Tekken movie was released in 2012. Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge didn’t do that better and so far no further attempts for film adaptations have been made.
Fans of the Mortal Kombat video games, rejoice. Indeed a remake of the 1995 movie (and originally of the video game) is in production. Mortal Kombat is scheduled to be released in 2021.
But, let’s not discuss Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Because it’s not worth it. Let’s focus on the 1995 movie, which is a loose adaptation of the Mortal Kombat- the video game. Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, and Sonya Blade, all guided by the god Raiden, embark on a journey to save the Earth from the evil sorcerer Shang Tsung.
Through tournament-style fighting as well. While the movie was met with mixed reviews, critics and audiences alike praised different aspects of Mortal Kombat. For example, martial art sequences were awesome, exotic locations were a great addition to the whole production and the overall atmosphere.
And of course, who could forget this catchy theme song. The movie even made more than 100 million dollars at the box office.
DOA: Dead or Alive
Due to the negative critical reception of Alien vs. Predator, Paul W. S. Anderson spent the next 4 years, just producing movies.
So, DOA: Dead or Alive was one of the movies he produced at that time. Again loosely based on the game series DOA: Dead or Alive, an invitational-type martial arts style tournament.
Furthermore, all four females of the fighters begin the contest as rivals, but later on are forced to work together. You know, in order to expose the organizer of that tournament. This movie is also a great visual representation of the eventual decline of Eric Roberts’s career.
Despite the interesting premise and „eclectic cast“ to say the least (led by Eric Roberts), DOA: Dead Or Alive was a commercial and critical failure. What are your thoughts on DOA?
In striking contrast to the previous movies, Bloodsport isn’t inspired by a video game. But it may as well be.
However, it is considered a cult film among martial arts movies, even today more than 30 years after the premiere. Probably the oldest of all the movies on this list, it was Bloodshot that made Jean-Claude Van Damme into a star. And of course, it was the 80’s so every single beefcake actor/martial arts aficionado was an instant celebrity in the ’80s.
Bloodsport produced several sequels indeed, and a remake is apparently in development. However, Bloodsport remains one of the ultimate martial arts movies of all time. Check it out again if you have the chance.
What are your favorite martial arts movies? Have you played TEKKEN 7 ? Should we have mentioned the Street Fighter movie? Tell us in the comments below. We’d love to know everything.