Leaping into action

Popular video game makes it to the big screen in The King Of Fighters.

A POPULAR video game in the 1990s, The King Of Fighters has inspired another Hollywood action movie revolving around staged fights.

Helmed by Hong Kong film director Gordon Chan and director of photography Arthur Wong, The King Of Fighters is a 93-minute live-action, sci-fi feature film adapted from the video game franchise created by SNK Playmore Corporation.

The fighters are portrayed by Sean Faris (as Kyo Kusanagi), Maggie Q (Mai Shiranui), Will Yun Lee (Iori Yagami), Ray Park (Rugal Bernstein), David Leitch (Terry Bogard), Francoise Yip (Chizuru Kagura), Hiro Kanagawa (Saisyu Kusanagi), Bernice Liu (Vice), Monique Ganderton (Mature) and Sam Hargrave (Ryo Sakazaki).

Final moments: Kyo Kusanagi (SeanFaris) and Mai Shiranui (Maggie Q) with an injured Iori Yagami (Will Yun Lee) in The King Of Fighters.

Leitch, who plays Bogard, also coordinated the film’s stunts and designed the action choreography with Larry Lam and his team, 87 Eleven. Their credits include 300, Matrix, Tron, Rambo, Mr & Mrs Smith, Bourne Identity, Fight Club and Constantine.

In The King Of Fighters, the last surviving descendants of three legendary clans are continuously transported to the Tournament Dimension to test their martial arts skills against an evil force known as the Orochi that seeks to invade and infect the real world.

Trapped centuries ago by three ancient Japanese clans, the Orochi makes a fighter more powerful than any other – with just a touch. But with this power comes a price. A fighter under the influence of the Orochi eventually goes mad and unknowingly becomes an anchor for the evil force to enter the real world and destroy life.

In the Tournament Dimension, everything is heightened – the colours, the textures and even the fighter’s abilities.

The fighter who gets in first also gets to pick the setting. The winner gets to advance to the next round. The last one standing is crowned the king of fighters.

In Faris’ Kyo Kusanagi is a young man estranged from his father because of the power held over him by the Orochi.

As heir to the Kusanagi clan, one of the three ancient clans playing host to the King Of Fighters tournament, Kusanagi has to find his legendary clan treasure – the Kusanagi Sword – and use it to stem the evil force of Orochi wreaking havoc on Earth.

Portraying an iconic video game character, 28-year-old Faris says the role is completely different from any other he has taken on before.

“I thoroughly researched the video game, The King Of Fighters, and discovered how much it was loved in Asia. I spent a month learning to use a Samurai sword to prepare for my role of Kyo Kusanagi,” he says in an e-mail interview.

“I find the character to be strong-willed, very independent and driven, much like me,” says the American model-actor.

Faris also says that he enjoyed working with Chan because of the filmmaker’s passion and vision for the film.

“I learned to see past the action as it was written on the page, and bring life to it on the set. Day to day, there were many challenges to be overcome. That experience will help me in life and future productions,” says the dashing actor who has featured in 16 movies and 11 television series.

“Once (filming) wrapped up, I felt that we all had gone through an adventure,” said Faris, who will next be seen in the movies Signed In Blood, Brooklyn To Manhattan, Freerunner, The Wolf and Amsterdam.

The Houston-born actor also shared that he enjoyed every moment of filming with Maggie Q who portrays his close ally – the stunning fighter Mai Shiranui. “She is strong-willed, very driven and exudes passion.”

The King Of Fighters (rated PG13) opens in cinemas nationwide tomorrow.