The Movies & Series, Ranked

Highlights

  • Video game adaptations have seen better days, with the recent Sonic and Mario movies standing out as the best so far.
  • Tekken movies range from forgettable to slightly more faithful adaptations, with Bloodline being the standout Netflix series.
  • Tekken: Blood Vengeance is the closest to the games, but lacks a coherent plot despite staying true to the characters and fighting style.



Video games have been branching out into other media ever since Pac-Man, Pole Position, and Donkey Kong got Saturday morning cartoons. Yet they haven’t always been great. If anything, and if they’re graded on a curve, the recent run of adaptations like the Sonic the Hedgehog movies and the Illumination Super Mario Bros movie are probably the best of the bunch.

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But Tekken doesn’t have the fun & frolics of those mascots. It’s a violent fighting game with a crazy plot involving devils, angels, and a family feud. It’s also the biggest 3D fighting game franchise around, and many studios have tried adapting it to the screen either as a feature-length picture or a TV series. But which ones are worth watching? Here are Tekken’s movies and series ranked by quality.



6 The Avenging Fist

IMDB Score: 4.3/10

Tekken Movies & Series- The Avenging Fist

  • Studio: Star East.
  • Release: December 2001.
  • DVD Only.

The story behind The Avenging Fist is more interesting than the movie itself. It was planned to be a Hong Kong adaptation of Tekken, except the first producer, Wong Jing, didn’t get the movie rights to the game or characters. Either he forgot, or things just fell through. With a new producer in place, everything got tweaked to be legally distinct from Namco’s IP, even if ‘Iron Surfer’ is a dead ringer for Hwoarang.

The final project now became a story about Nova (ersatz-Jin), the son of Dark Thunder (not-Kazuya), using a technological MacGuffin to save the world from rebels. It somehow got famous Hong Kong stars Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung as the Kazuya and Lei Wulong equivalents respectively, but there’s little else on offer here. Fans of mockbusters would find more fun elsewhere.


5 Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge

IMDB Score: 2.8/10

Tekken Movies & Series- Tekken 2 Kazuya's Revenge

  • Studio: Crystal Sky Pictures.
  • Release: August 2014.
  • Available on Tubi and Pluto.

Despite the ‘2’ in the title, Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge is a prequel to the Tekken live-action movie. Not that that’s the only thing wrong with the title. For one, Kane Kosugi’s hero spends most of the movie as an amnesiac called ‘K’ who doesn’t relearn his true name until the end. He has more in common with King of Fighters’ K’ than Tekken’s cold-blooded, demonic megalomaniac.


He also doesn’t get his revenge, as he spends much of the runtime as an agent forced Suicide Squad-style to do jobs for ‘The Minister’. If Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa and Gary Daniels didn’t return as Heihachi and Bryan Fury for some cameos, or if the urban setting was called anything but ‘Tekken City’, it would have nothing to do with the games. It would be just another generic direct-to-video action movie.

4 Tekken: Blood Vengeance

IMDB Score: 5.8/10

Tekken Movies & Series- Tekken Blood Vengeance

  • Studio: Digital Frontier.
  • Release: July 2011.
  • DVD Only.

Tekken: Blood Vengeance rectifies the tangential connections from the prior films by having Namco’s full involvement. No cameos, no renames or disclaimers. This is the actual Ling Xiaoyu working with the real Alisa Bosconovitch to investigate the true Jin Kazama and his authentic dad and granddad, Kazuya and Heihachi Mishima. There’s also a guy called Shin Kamiya, but he didn’t make it into the games.


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Namco even used the movie to promote Tekken Tag Tournament 2, by releasing a demo with the movie’s incarnations of Xiaoyu, Alisa, Devil Jin, and Devil Kazuya. That said, while it’s the one movie that resembles the games the most, right down to the voice cast and juggle combos, it doesn’t make for a coherent plot. Which is just as well as it’s not canon to the games. Xiaoyu and Alisa made for a nice friendly duo though.

3 Tekken

IMDB Score: 4.8/10

tekken-movie Cropped

  • Studio: Crystal Sky Pictures.
  • Release: November 2009.
  • Available on Amazon Prime, Roku, Hoopla, Tubi, Pluto and Plex.


Tekken, the live-action movie from 2010, didn’t get much love from the fanbase. The antipathy towards it was even used to promote T: BV, saying it would be truer to the source material. Which it admittedly was. But as a viewing experience, Tekken is a touch better. It’s certainly better than its sequel/prequel, as it’s about Jin Kazama entering a fighting tournament to avenge his mother Jun.

It takes some odd artistic licenses, like establishing ‘Tekken City’, and pairing Jin up with Christie Monteiro than his in-game admirer Xiaoyu. Nonetheless, the movie really tried to include most of the game’s cast, and keep their designs as faithful as possible, right down to their outfits. Even so, it’s not the best fighting game movie around. It doesn’t have the charm of its silly-but-action-packed predecessors in Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat.


2 Tekken: The Motion Picture

IMDB Score: 5.2/10

Tekken Movies & Series- Tekken TMP

  • Studio: Studio Deen.
  • Release: January 1998.
  • DVD Only.

It’s called Tekken: The Motion Picture because the term ‘OVA’ wasn’t commonplace in 1998. Originally released as two 30-min episodes before being united as a single 1hr showing for its Western release, it’s an adaptation of Tekken 2, following Jun Kazama’s quest to stop Kazuya from getting revenge and giving in to his demonic impulses. That, and Lei discovering the Mishima Zaibatsu’s grim experiments.

If fans were wondering what Tekken’s equivalent to the Street Fighter movie was, then this is it. It takes itself seriously with its dramatic dialogue (“TEKKEN IS THE KEY TO LIFE!”). Yet it also features invisible dinosaurs and Heihachi chomping through a thrown tomahawk, all set to the gnarliest 90s rock since the Street Fighter 2 anime. While not exactly ‘good’, it’s certainly entertaining.


1 Tekken: Bloodline

IMDB Score: 6.6/10

Tekken Bloodline Details- Jin Xiaoyu School Uniforms

  • Studio: Studio Hibari, Larx Entertainment.
  • Release: August 2022.
  • Available on Netflix.

Even so, there’s only been one non-game Tekken project that’s uncompromised in its quality and authenticity to the games, and it was a Netflix series. Tekken: Bloodline is a nearly 1:1 adaptation of Jin Kazama’s story from Tekken 3, from being raised in Yakushima by his mother Jun, to his quest for revenge over her disappearance following a fight with Ogre.


It does a great job replicating the combat from the games without including literal air juggles, etc. The art style and animation work well too. The only downside is that it’s over all too quickly. It would’ve benefited from a proper season’s worth of episodes filling in some of Jin’s connections to his friends, rivals, and the Mishima clan. But what’s there is worth watching, and hopefully worth a second season as well.

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