Tekken: after WWIII the megacorporation Tekken controls what was once North America, and is staging it’s annual ‘Iron Fist’ tournament. Obviously, for a film like this, actors are cast for their athletic looks over their talent – which leads to some god-awful line delivery from most people, but hey, at least they look very similar to their pixelated counterparts. The set-up is fairly good for this type of film, integrating a lot of detail from the game series. What drives Tekken is the action, and this film knows its audience, assigning about 2/3 of the runtime to 1 on 1 fights from the games, death-matches, or other action scenes. Despite being nothing new to the genre, Tekken is more watchable than most computer game conversions – and as good as any average cyberpunk / dystopian future movie.
Django Unchained: a German bounty hunter frees a slave, then partners up with him to make some cash and rescue his girl from a flamboyant plantation owner. As expected, Waltz absolutely steals the show with what’s essentially a re-write/reprise of his intelligent, oddly-humorous ‘Jew-hunter‘. Everyone else turns up and does their thing entertainingly enough. While the film pokes a lot of fun at the stupidity of racism (KKK mask scene & Sam Jacksons rant about Foxx sleeping in the house), for me the ‘N-Bomb’ is dropped far, far too often: which may have been accurate of the period, but it’s such a loaded word that drags the tone down – taking it way beyond any ‘light-hearted’ Blazing Saddles similarities. Clocking in at 2hr 45, it’s also far, far too drawn out, for such a simple revenge tale, especially once Dicaprio pops up: some scenes seem to go on forever with rambling, empty, dialogue and plodding shot after shot. While they’re all quintessential Tarantino scenes, it also suffers from his trademark lack of self-censorship. Finally, although, stylistically, most scenes are undeniably QT -and this isn’t really his fault – his style’s been ripped off so many times (funky music, uber-gore and back-and-forth dialogue) that it no longer packs the punch it once did. As a stand-alone film, Django Unchained is a decent film dragged down by its ‘epic’ runtime and the difficult task of balancing racism and comedy. It’s only when you step back and hold it up against a film like Inglorious – equally long, but crammed with great, tense and cinematic moments – that you realise how ordinary Django Unchained is.