Tekken - The Motion Picture (NTSC)

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Details At A Glance

Category Anime Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 2 - 1.33:1, not 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 13 - ADV Film releases preview trailers
Year Released 1997 Japanese version
1998 English dubbed version
Commentary Tracks None
Running Time
57:05 minutes
(not 60 minutes as stated on packaging) 
Other Extras Character Biographies
English Cast Listing
Menu Audio and Animation
Slide Show
Website Links
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director Sugishima Kunihisa
ADV Films
Case Alpha style
RRP $39.95 Music Toyama Kazuhiko

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio No Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    How exactly is the poor anime fan to survive in Region 4? With great difficulty, as there is a very limited choice available on local release - and what is available is obviously not pure Region 4, but rather Region 0 and NTSC format to boot. So when the urge to indulge is there, there is nothing to do but grin and bear the situation and track down one of the few available titles on local release. Having previously looked at Cyber City Oedo 808, and needing another anime fix on DVD without resorting to very pricey imports from either Japan or the United States, I picked up Tekken - The Motion Picture during one of those recent 15% off days at Target. You bet I was surprised to find this title available in my local Target, as it barely rates a listing anywhere in retailers catalogues, either online or in real life. Judging by comments on review sites in the United States, Tekken - The Motion Picture is the first effort of ADV Films to make it onto DVD and a not too bad a debut effort at that. Okay so it is not exactly top notch stuff, but until we get to see the likes of Neon Genesis Evangelion (also from ADV Films) on DVD at realistic prices (still being somewhat delayed in Region 1), we have to make do. Based upon the fighting video game of the same name, Tekken - The Motion Picture suffers somewhat because of it and what we have on offer is a quite derivative story. This is a sort of Enter The Dragon meets Jurassic Park meets Godzilla meets Star Wars mish mash, with a bit of The Karate Kid thrown in for eternal wisdom.

    And if that sounds a little strange, then that is a reflection of what passes for the story here: but then again, based upon a video game, would you really be expecting Shakespeare? What passes for the broad story in Tekken - The Motion Picture is a little less than Shakespeare. Kazuya Mishima is dealt a severe test of character by his father, Heihachi Mishima, as a young boy - in the form of being thrown off a cliff and left to crawl back up to prove his mettle. His father is a devotee of an ancient mystique called Tekken, and people with the right stuff will amount to something in life - and being thrown off a cliff is a good test apparently. All this was witnessed by a young girl, Jun Kazama. Fast forward a few years and Jun suffers horrendous nightmares from the memories, Heihachi is head of a huge conglomerate that controls a significant bulk of the world's military hardware market and Kazuya is on a mission to kill his father in retribution. Trouble is, if he succeeds he will have passed his father's test and will take over the company - much to the horror of his adopted brother Lee Chaolan. So when the annual Mishima contest arrives, whereupon the last man standing has a shot at defeating grand champion Heihachi for a prize of $1 billion, Kazuya naturally enters, and Lee naturally does the underhanded things to stop him. Of course bad guy loses, good guy gets his chance at the boss and Jun saves the day by steering him away from the darkness.

    What this really is all about is getting to see a bunch of fight scenes with a modicum of a story. Sort of an animated Jean Claude Van Damme film really, although this is miles better than anything he has done. And at that level it works well. There is some nice animation involved here, some interesting animation techniques used to good effect and overall this keeps the interest up for its length pretty well. The usual brief animated nudity is on display here, for those that have an aversion to such things. Not top drawer stuff by a long way but until we do get local releases of some seriously good anime, this will keep anime fans at least reasonably happy.

Transfer Quality


    In general, the transfer is somewhat variable indeed, although at its best there is little to complain about. Note that it is an NTSC format disc and can only be viewed on display devices capable of playing the NTSC signal.

    Given the shortish length of the film, I am guessing that this originated for television, and the transfer is presented in a Full Frame format, and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The overall transfer is in general quite sharp and well defined throughout, although there are a few sequences with intended softness which are a little distracting compared to the rest of the film. This is a quite clear transfer and there are no problems at all with low level noise in the transfer.

    The colours are very nicely rendered, with a lot of very nice, brightish, vibrant colours on offer here. The colours are very sharp, with no hint of oversaturation and, apart from one very small instance, nothing remotely resembling colour bleed.

   There is nothing even remotely resembling any MPEG artefacts in the transfer. However, the transfer does somewhat suffer from film-to-video artefacts, most noticeably quite extensive shimmering, especially when the camera pans up and down. Whilst it is nothing really horrendous, it is unfortunately quite noticeable and does detract somewhat from the transfer and the enjoyment of the film. There were no noticeable film artefacts. The presence of the shimmering really is a disappointment as otherwise this would have been a very good transfer indeed. Whilst it is doubtful that we will ever see such a beast, it would be interesting to see how much the shimmering would be rectified by the extra resolution of a PAL transfer.


   There are no complaints about the soundtrack however.

   There are three audio tracks on the DVD: an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and a French Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The Japanese soundtrack is obviously the original track, whilst the English track is a dubbed track prepared in 1998 and it is therefore a little unusual in being a Dolby Digital 5.1 effort. Whilst my Japanese is non-existent, I nonetheless listened to both it and the English soundtrack, although obviously the Japanese soundtrack needed the English subtitles on as well.

   Strict aficionados will abhor the presence of the English dub track, but I for one welcome its presence and it is the default soundtrack that I listen to. As usual, it is interesting to listen to the English soundtrack with the English subtitles on - as once again the non-correlation is quite amazing. You will soon appreciate the origin of the moniker "dubtitles".

   The dialogue was always clear and easy to understand.

   Naturally the animation suffers from the usual "audio sync" problems.

   The original musical contribution comes from Toyama Kazuhiko and is nothing especially memorable.

   The English soundtrack is a very nice 5.1 effort, nothing really dynamic but with a nice presence in the bass channel. The surround channels are reasonably well used, but lack the ultimate in detail that perhaps would have elevated this to near reference standards. Front to rear separation at times could have been a little better, but overall there is not much to complain about here. The Japanese soundtrack obviously lacks the surround presence at all, as it is very much straight stereo, but even so the lack of this is not a real impediment to the enjoyment of the film. Both soundtracks are free from distortion and are quite spacious, so the resultant sound picture is generally quite a natural one.


    Not too shabby a package here, other than the fact that the trailers are promotions for VHS tapes and not DVDs - but they do give cause for salivation!!!


    A quite decent effort, quite bright with some reasonable audio and animation enhancement - that unfortunately repeats a little too quickly.

Theatrical trailers

    Okay, so technically they are not theatrical trailers, rather promotional trailers for television I would suspect. There are two on offer, one called "the sensation mix" and the other the "give it to me mix". They are both very similar, but with different musical accompaniments, accurately matching the names given to the mixes. Both are presented in full frame format, are not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Interestingly, whilst playing the trailers the DVD player display shows a "play" message rather than the usual running time.

Other trailers

    Of these thirteen efforts, one is something of a cross between a promotional trailer for the film and a general ADV Films promotional trailer called the "do it now" mix. This is presented in full frame format, is not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. The twelve other trailers are all promotional trailers, again made presumably for television, for twelve other titles: Battle Angel, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Slayers: The Motion Picture, Sorcerer Hunters, Burn Up Warrior, Dirty Pair Flash, Kimera, Legend of Crystania, Golden Boy, Ninja Resurrection, Gamera and Gunhed (the latter two are live action titles). I would not vouch for all these titles being available in Australia on VHS, but I can with a fair degree of certainty say that they are not available on DVD here. Pity really, but they do whet the appetites somewhat. Now if ADV Films would just release them on DVD ....... A nice addition to the package nonetheless. All are presented in full frame format, are not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Character Biographies

    This is an interesting change of pace - not too often that you see the bios of the characters in the film! Still, quite an interesting addition that helps the understanding of the background of the story.

English Cast Listing

    Another interesting change of pace - although the necessity escapes me somewhat since they are all listed again in the closing credits.

Slide Show

    Actually just twelve stills taken from the film, without annotation and with little purpose really.

Website Links

    For those who read my reviews regularly, you know that I have no time for these additions, and in any case I am unable to pass comment thereon since I do not have access to a DVD ROM. [Ed. It simply consists of an automated connection program to the ADV web site.]

R4 vs R1

    This is identical to the version available in Region 1.


    Not the greatest anime I have ever seen, but I enjoyed this and the overall package is good, barring the shimmering problem with the video transfer. At the price, I would normally have hesitation in recommending a 57 minute film, but it actually compares quite well to the US price of $29.95.

    A very good video transfer, with the shimmering caveat.

    A very good audio transfer.

    A decent extras package if not entirely DVD orientated.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
12th March 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL