The King Of Fighters blu-ray review
On the ‘videogame movies are awful’ scale, what are you expecting? ‘Reasonably acceptable if not actually like the games’, like Resident Evil? ‘Abysmal but at least a bit atmospheric’, in the mould of Silent Hill? Or ‘it’s kicking my treasured childhood memories in the crotch with steel-toed boots’, like Super Mario Bros?
Well King Of Fighters, based on the beat-‘em-up series which has recently reached its 13th entry, is very much in the latter part of that spectrum. It starts off badly but not terribly, but then very quickly plummets thanks to a story that pretzels itself into oblivion and an acting performance (among many rubbish ones) so bad that it seems like it must’ve been a dare.
For the first half-hour or so the set-up is simple enough: combatants are competing for the King Of Fighters title in battles that take place in alternate dimensions…look, if you can’t get on board with that then turn away now.
The fact that these people are transported to the parallel universes via the medium of Bluetooth headsets immediately makes the movie look like the budget flick that it is, but then you don’t go into this expecting Avatar-esque production values. So it all seems set for a fight film full of decent if not spectacular choreographed sequences, with some women in skimpy outfits thrown in as service for the target demographic.
But then comes the key plot point, relating to three sacred artefacts and a demon potentially being released from this Nokia-sponsored netherworld. Funnily enough, this is also the moment at which the whole thing loses. Loses coherence, the viewer’s attention, the run of itself and, surely, any future career earnings of Mr. Ray Park.
You may know him as Darth Maul from The Phantom Menace or Toad from the X-Men movie…and there’s a very good reason why those roles were somewhat light on dialogue. Playing villain Rugal, who steals the aforementioned artefacts, he takes a dramatic hammer to proceedings and it’s all downhill from there. It may seem harsh singling out one man amidst a fairly dire cast…and it is, but then this film dispenses with sense, so why shouldn’t I? It may not be as offensive as an Uwe Boll movie, but it also isn’t any better.