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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

TEKKEN: BLOOD VENGEANCE -- DVD review by porfle


Sometimes a movie makes me really glad that CGI was invented, and TEKKEN: BLOOD VENGEANCE (2011) is one of those movies.  This photo-realistic digital action epic is the kind of sweet eye candy that makes my eyeballs feel good.

Xiaoyu and Alisa are two high school girls who both have a crush on introspective loner Shin, who's brawny and handsome but troubled, maybe even suicidal.  What the girls don't know is that Shin is the sole survivor of a genetic experiment and his rapidly mutating body is sought by two arch rivals, Mishima Zaibatsu and the sinister G Corporation.  What Shin doesn't know is that Xiaoyu is an unwilling agent of G Corporation and Alisa is a humanoid robot from Mishima Zaibatsu, and they're both under orders to locate him.

Behind all of this, as Tekken fans will have already guessed, is the blood-feuding Mishima clan.  Jin, the youngest, is the head of Mishima Zaibatsu while his father and mortal enemy Kazuya runs G Corporation.  Kazuya, with the help of evil warrior babe Anna Williams, hopes that isolating Shin's "Devil Gene" will help him control his own super powers, but Jin and his beautiful assistant Nina Williams (Anna's sister) are determined to thwart him by getting to Shin first.  Pulling everyone's strings in the background is mean old family patriarch Heihachi Mishima, whose intentions are even more insidious.



The film's opening, which resembles something out of AKIRA, thrusts us right into the action with a motorcycle vs. big rig collision on the freeway which leads to fierce hand-to-hand combat between the Williams sisters.  Here, we get an indication of how good the motion-capture animation is going to be in this movie, with the impossibly-stacked ladies literally looking like living dolls. 

It only gets better when Xiaoyu and Alisa meet on their high school campus and begin their friendly rivalry over Shin.  Sumptuously rendered backgrounds bursting with vivid color and detail are realistic yet fanciful at the same time, providing the backdrop for some gorgeous character design.  Faces and body language are highly expressive and nuanced, with little of the "uncanny valley" effect seen in other virtual characters. 

The direction, editing, and virtual camerawork are outstanding as well, as the filmmakers are able to meticulously construct fight scenes in a way that live action can rarely achieve.  The first really awesome example of this occurs when Alisa's programming forces her into battle against Xiaoyu in a thrilling and visually dazzling sequence.  A mix of lightning-fast moves and slow-mo are easy to follow even as the action rushes by almost in a blur.



The film climaxes with a half-hour series of bouts between the Mishimas as they assume their true beastly appearance and wreak all kinds of destruction, laying waste to the countryside.  Director Yoichi Mori keeps the action and suspense of this all-out war building until the blazing finish, with an appropriately grandiose musical score to propel things along. 

But just as important are the quieter scenes between Xiaoyu and Alisa, with Dai Sato's screenplay allowing them lots of charming interplay to offset the bad-girl posturing of the Williams sisters and the seething fury of the Mishimas.  Pink-haired robot Alisa is particularly endearing with her childlike innocence and wide-eyed fascination with human behavior, making it even more startling when her programming forces her into attack mode complete with chainsaw arms and rocket-powered wings.  Feisty and funny schoolgirl Xiaoyu is also a very likable and lifelike CGI creation. 

The DVD from Bandai Entertainment is in 16x9 widescreen with Japanese and English 5.1 soundtracks and English subtitles.  Extras consist of a movie trailer and a movie/videogame hybrid trailer.

Even if the story and characters weren't so compelling and the action so intense, TEKKEN: BLOOD VENGEANCE would be worth watching simply to bask in the strikingly good visuals.  You don't have to be a fan of "Tekken" or videogames in general to be entertained by this awesome example of superior digital animation.


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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

LOL. This movie was never released in DVD format but Blue Ray. What a moron you are...

porfle said...

Thanks! Check right under the review for a handy link to the DVD on Amazon.com.

lotusburg said...

Good review. Just watched it. Amazing visuals. Your dignified response to he the cowardly & ignorant Anonymous above was perfect.

porfle said...

Many thanks, lotusburg!