Are we ready for another Tekken movie?
Bandai Namco carefully considers Tekken's return to video content. But, are we ready for another Tekken movie?
It's always fun to see your favorite IPs make the transition into other forms of media, but video game movies have been notorious for not meeting the expectation of fans.
Some of the biggest offenders are Super Mario Bros. (1993), Double Dragon (1994), BloodRayne (2005), DOA: Dead or Alive (2006), and Assassins Creed (2016). Yet, the cheesy nature of some of them, in my opinion, is part of their charm. Fighting games have also had a hard time trying to please fans with their silver screen adaptations, which is probably why Bandai Namco isn't in a hurry to release a new Tekken movie.
Recently, when an enthusiastic fan asked Tekken chief producer Katsuhiro Harada whether Bandai Namco has considered making "a Netflix anime or live-action series based on the Tekken universe and characters," he stated that he had. In fact, the company has received many offers for a new video adaptation. However, Bandai Namco's lack of experience in video distribution has led to the developer taking the time to "consider/study with many partners" for a possible future collaboration.
Unlike Capcom's Street Fighter, Bandai Namco's previous attempts at releasing theatrical feature films haven't been too successful. Don't get me wrong, the live-action Street Fighter movies, Street Fighter (1994), and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009) are notorious for how bad they were, but the animated shows and films did much better.
Tekken's filmography consists of four movies, two live-action and the remainder, animated. 2010's Tekken and its prequel, 2014's Tekken 2: Kazuya's Revenge, suffered similar fates as the Street Fighter live-action adaptations. Harada said in a tweet that no longer exists, "That Hollywood movie is terrible. We were not able to supervise that movie; it was a cruel contract. I'm not interested in that movie." However, unlike the Street Fighter films, the fight scenes were considered pretty good. There was also a short film called TEKKEN Tag Tournament 2 from 2012 that also had entertaining fights. Although created by Wild Stunts Europe, Bandai Namco shared the video on its official YouTube channel, which feels like an endorsement to me.
Then we have the animated movies which were much better received but not considered perfect either. The first, Tekken: The Motion Picture, was a two-part OVA (original video animation) from 1998 that told the story of Kazuya Mishima's path of revenge against his father, Heihachi. The second, Tekken: Blood Vengeance was a 2011 CGI movie that provided an alternate retelling of Tekken 5 & 6 (the best adaptation in the series if you ask me).
To call any of these movies a waste of time would be going too far, but many would likely prefer Bandai Namco to keep its Pandora's box of adaptations closed. The fact that the developer is taking its time to evaluate all its options means that we really could see the game make the jump to an on-demand streaming service near you. Most important of all, it would have to try its hardest to become the worst they've ever made.
Besides the serious stakes and devilry in it, the Tekken series is also chock full of absurdities, like bodyguard bears, brawling aliens, whatever Yoshimitsu is, throwing relatives down volcanoes and even a boxing dinosaur. So you'd think a good story would escape the notice of fans, but it hasn't.
So are we ready for another Tekken movie? Probably not, but that won't stop me from watching anything Bandai Namco puts out next.