Damien and Leito return to District 13 on a mission to bring peace to the troubled sector that is controlled by five different gang bosses, before the city's secret services take drastic measures to solve the problem.
In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination.
[Mai is teleported into a fighting stage, which is in the form of a freezer warehouse]
Why did you pick this freezing hole?
Payback. Remember that sauna you chose last time?
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There are stronger words starting with "F" that can be substituted for "Fighters" in the title "King of Fighters". A pity "profanities, obscenities and spiteful remarks" are not allowed in reviews. But here is a clue: the "F" word is definitely an insult, just as how Hong Kong Director Gordan Chan's "The King of Fighters" is an insult. Not just an insult to the fans of the King of Fighters (affectionately abbreviated to "KOF") video game series, or video games in general, but it even manages to be an insult to bad video game movies.
On a whole, the setting of the story manages to immediately rip-off "The Matrix" while sounding more confusing than the entire trilogy combined. THe premise of this movie shows A secret tournament that is held in some alternate dimension in which fighters from around the world "log in" to via special earpieces. Think jacking into a big matrix-like video game world, complete with "I-know-kung-fu" wire fighting and badly CGI-ed special powers. Its all fun and games until Rugal (Ray Park doing his best Darth Maul meets The Joker impression) steals some sacred artifacts with a plot to free something called "The Orochi". Why free the orochi? Because Rugal wants to haxors the alternate dimensional video game, become "L33T" and ultimately the god-mode hax winner. Out to stop him are undercover agents Mai, who is working for Terry Bogard in the CIA, and Iori Yagami, a man with a past connection to Rugal. Together they must seek out a third artifact called the "Kusanagi sword" which has been passed from father to son to one Kyo Kusanagi.
To quote Maggie Q's character of Mai by saying "Its not Logical", would be a major understatement. An illogical, confusing and plodding plot is the least of this movie's problems. In trying to mix mysticism with hardcore science fiction would have worked in the hands of a skilled creative team. Here it turned out like oil and water, making the entire movie very difficult to follow and bordering on absurd.
The most basic criteria for a just "passable" video game movie is that either the story has small resemblance to the game (Silent Hill, Max Payne, Hit-man) or the character has some similar appearance to their game counterparts (Mortal Kombat, Tekken). King of Failures has NONE of these mere basic elements! Fine, Resident Evil had neither too, but at least it had a story that was mildly entertaining. King of Failures is an absolute chore to sit through.
The pacing is thrown off by having too much talk and not enough fight. All the talk is not even interesting nor does it develop that silly excuse for a plot. Kyo's so called "hero's journey" has been done in umpteen other shows and every character's lack of charisma is made even more painful by stilted acting and laughable dialogue. At least Ray Park's Rugal was funny in all his weird costumes when he changes the setting of the game to, for example, a hockey match.
When some action does come once in a while, it is an utter let down and a complete joke especially when one knows what kind of awesome action Hong Kong is capable of. The fight choreography is generally uninspired, almost dull. Many B movies have had better fights than this; heck even Legend of Chun Li had some better fight choreography. Ray Park and Will Yun Lee were the only two actors who had some convincing fighting moves (thanks perhaps to their martial arts training). Speaking of "Legend of chun Li", remember that lesbian tease scene? Well King of Failures has its own lesbian tease scene. But the biggest sin here is Gordan Chan's wonky camera-work which uses way too many "dutch angles"(oblique or slanted tilting of the camera while filming) and an irritating purple lighting that seems reminiscent of "Battlefield Earth".
NINE companies collaborated on this project (count it in the "company credits" section) and all they managed to cough up was a 12 million dollar budget for this piece of junk?? How could Gordon Chan, renown director of great films like "Painted Skin" and "Fist of Legend" sink so low? (It pains me personally to see the name of a Singaporean company listed among the production credits). It is as if there is some perverse secret global competition for "crappiest video game movie creators of the century": Hollywood has entered Hyde Park Entertainment and Andrzej Bartkowiak, Germany has Boll K. G. and Uwe Boll, France has Xavier Gens, . And now, CONGRATULATIONS to Asia who has officially added Gordon Chan and all 9 of those production companies (who are mostly also Asian) to vie for the "crappiest video game movie creator" title.
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