Marshall Law (Tekken)

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Marshall Law
Tekken character
Marshall Law (T7).png
Marshall Law in Tekken 7
First game Tekken (1994)[1]
Created by Seiichi Ishii
Voiced by
Portrayed by Cung Le (Tekken film)
Alex Vu (Tekken Tag Tournament 2 live-action short film)[2]
Fictional profile
Birthplace United States
Nationality Chinese American
Fighting style Jeet Kune Do
Occupation Restaurateur (Tekken 1-3)
Dojo owner (Tekken 2)
Dishwasher (Tekken 4)

Marshall Law (Japanese: マーシャル・ロウ, Hepburn: Māsharu Rou) is a player character from the Tekken fighting game franchise by Bandai Namco Entertainment. He makes his series debut in the original Tekken, in which he is a Chinese-American restaurateur who wants to open a martial arts school that he hopes to fund with the prize money from the Tekken series' King of Iron Fist fighting tournaments. He has a son named Forest Law who becomes playable later in the series, and is close friends with fellow contestant Paul Phoenix. Marshall has made limited appearances in alternate Tekken media such as the 2009 feature film, and is often described as a tribute to martial artist Bruce Lee, with whom Marshall shares many characteristics and for which he has received mixed critical and public reception and was accused of direct Bruceploitation.

Appearances[edit]

In video games[edit]

Marshall Law is a martial artist who owns a restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown,[3] and like his close friend Paul Phoenix, financial difficulty becomes his primary motive for entering the King of Iron Fist fighting tournaments held throughout the Tekken series.[4] Sometimes known as "The Fighting Chef", Marshall is the father of Forest Law. He enters the first King of Iron Fist Tournament in the original game in hopes of opening his own dojo with the winnings, which he accomplishes despite not winning the tournament. However, in Tekken 2, his students are soon attacked and his dojo destroyed by Baek Doo San, provoking Law into entering the second tournament to seek revenge. Marshall is not playable in Tekken 3, but is included in the game's storyline as having rebuilt his dojo while running a successful restaurant chain called "Marshall China" in the United States. Meanwhile, Paul convinces Marshall's son Forest Law to enter the third tournament, which causes friction between Marshall and Paul.[5]

Similar to Paul's storyline in Tekken 4,[6] Marshall's restaurant business goes under and he is consequently bankrupt. He attempts to use the fourth tournament as a crutch to ease his money troubles, but is unable to do so and he is afterwards relegated to taking a dishwashing job in Japan, where the tournaments are held.[7] While participating in the fifth tournament in Tekken 5 in hopes of being able to cover medical bills stemming from Forest being hurt in a motorcycle accident,[8] Marshall is deported to the United States upon discovery that he was employed illegally in Japan.[9] Paul approaches Marshall with the proposition of forming a team for the upcoming sixth tournament, believing that the odds of victory (and winning the prize money) would be better as a group than individually, and Marshall accepts. They later add boxer Steve Fox to their ranks.[9]

Marshall also appears in the noncanonical Tekken games Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Tekken Revolution, Street Fighter X Tekken, and the 2005 Namco beat 'em up Urban Reign.[10]

Design and gameplay[edit]

Contrary to popular belief, Marshall Law is not an homage to Bruce Lee in his design and fighting style. Instead, the character design is a direct parody of the well known Street Fighter character, Fei Long. Even though this has never been publicly confirmed by Tekken series producer Katsuhiro Harada,[11] he expressed regret in a 2015 interview for modeling many series characters such as Marshall after Fei-Long who is modeled after the Bruce Lee in terms of design and story arc: "They may have been unique, but they didn’t really have any meaning."[11] As a joke, Harada voiced both Marshall and Forest for the first five installments of the main series over a sixteen-year span, then quit after he considered himself incapable of duplicating the voices for Tekken 6 and onward.[12] Unlike what Kevin Wong of Complex noted in 2013, the other popular belief of Law having every single one of Bruce Lee's iconic moves is false; only the one-inch punch, and his flying kick is adapted into the move list. For his character model in Tekken 4, which takes place 21 years after the events of Tekken 2, Marshall was given an aged look with a mustache and unkempt hair, while going shirtless with black pants and a red sash;[13] JP Hurh of Game Revolution described the design as "hav[ing] a crack-addict look" to it, "which one might expect after years of severe physical abuse."[14] An alternate Tekken 5 costume was designed by manga artist and character designer Ryōji Minagawa.[15]

Like many Tekken characters, Law's fighting style is simply described as "Martial Arts" which is considered a inside joke among the Namco employees.[16] GameSpy wrote that Marshall in Tekken 5 had "great combo ability and low attacks", but his "combos are less damaging than other characters."[8] According to IGN, Law has a lot of juggling options, great counterattacks and easy wall combos in Tekken 6.[17] Tyler Nagata of GamesRadar described Law's style as "filled with hard-to-block attacks and unpredictable strikes that [are] easy to work into accidental combos."[18] In Tekken 7, Law is a low-tier character with a move set that is easily whiffed and punished.[19]. The character move set has not changed since Tekken 6, which was released in 2007. This is a normal studio practice of "putting a character to rest", a sly method used to avoid fan backlash in the possible next game; a backlash that the creators of Tekken had is all-too-familiar because of the absence of Lei Wulong, who is modeled after real-life actor Jackie Chan.

In other media[edit]

Marshall has a brief appearance in the 1998 OVA Tekken: The Motion Picture, seen escaping the exploding Mishima resort with the other surviving fighters at the conclusion. in the 2009 live-action Tekken film, Marshall was played by Vietnamese-American martial artist and actor Cung Le,[20] and has a fight scene with Jin Kazama. Le complained in a 2012 interview about Marshall's backflip-kick special move having been given to Jin for the fight: "If you’re not going to have Marshall Law do it, you shouldn’t have someone else do it to Marshall Law ... they [the filmmakers] kind of diluted the action a little bit which was kind of B.S."[21]

Reception[edit]

Unlike the other [Tekken] competitors, who are out for revenge, or world domination, or glory, Law just wants to pay his bills—he's completely broke at the beginning of every tournament. Law adds some much needed levity to the proceedings, and he never crosses the line which separates Bruce Lee homage from Bruce Lee rip-off.
—Kevin Wong, Complex, 2013[4]

Matt Swider of Gaming Target rated Marshall the eighth-best Tekken character out of eleven in 2006: "Marshall Law, the practitioner of 'Marshall Arts,' has always entered the Tournament with one thing on his mind: money."[22] GamesRadar rated him among gaming's "kickass Bruce Lee clones" in 2008: "Tekken fans understand the threat that Law posed—even if he was controlled by a mere button masher."[18] Michael Grimm of GamesRadar compared Marshall and Street Fighter character Fei Long in a 2010 feature on Street Fighter X Tekken: "There are lots of nice words to describe Fei Long and Marshall Law’s origins: tribute, homage, memorial, but we’re going to settle with 'shameless rip off'."[23] Elton Jones of Complex ranked him the eighth-"Most Dominant Fighting Game Character" in 2012, calling him "the best" of "all the fighting game Bruce Lee copycats", while his "screams, somersault kicks and lean physique evoke memories of Hollywood's favorite 'Dragon.'"[24] Jack Pooley of WhatCulture ranked Law the seventeenth-greatest "beat 'em up video game character" in 2014, citing his resemblance to Lee as "a large part of why he's so much damn fun to play. ... I love everything about his combat style, from his blindsiding array of kicks and flips, to the high-pitched screams he lets out as he attacks."[25] In 2015, WatchMojo ranked Law as the fourth-best Tekken character: "On top of having a name that’s one of the great puns in video games, this character is directly inspired by Bruce Lee, and even wears his yellow jumpsuit from Game of Death."[26] Kurt Kalata of Hardcore Gaming 101 categorized Marshall, along with Fei Long and Mortal Kombat character Liu Kang, under "Fighting game cliché #1: the Bruce Lee ripoff."[27] Though Marshall was included in Street Fighter X Tekken, he was only the 33rd-most requested out of 54 Tekken characters for the game in an official fan poll held by Namco in 2012, in which he received 4.57% (4,038) of 88,280 votes.[28]

AJ Glasser of Kotaku included Marshall in his feature "The Best and Worst Fathers in Video Games" in 2009: "Law sees more of the insides of restaurants than he does of his own son, but he stops at nothing to pay the hospital bills when Forest wrecks his motorcycle."[29] In his 2012 preview of Street Fighter X Tekken, Nate Ming of Crunchyroll described Marshall and Paul Phoenix as "get-rich-quick schemers".[30] Sam Loveridge of Digital Spy ranked Marshall eighth in his 2016 selection of the nineteen "absolute worst" character names in video gaming, despite describing him as "badass".[31] In a 2014 interview, Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist actor Joey Ansah singled out Law in his criticism of the evolution of the Tekken series' storytelling: "All these things started off as kind of Fist of the North Star sensibilities and they've ended up as this kind of comedy-slapstick almost pastiche of itself ... Law is now more concerned about his goddamn restaurant and it's like, what the hell happened to kind of this dark anime?"[32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Marshall Law—IGN". IGN.com. Ziff Davis. Retrieved December 21, 2016. 
  2. ^ Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe (October 29, 2012). "TEKKEN Tag Tournament 2 - Live Action Short Film by Wild Stunts Europe". YouTube. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Marshall Law—Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Guide". IGN.com. Ziff Davis. October 25, 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Wong, Kevin (September 3, 2013). "6. Marshall Law—The 20 Best Tekken Video Game Characters of All Time". Complex.com. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  5. ^ Cureton, Ben (1998). "Tekken 3 Manual". cheatcc.com. Retrieved December 14, 2016. 
  6. ^ Hamlin, Mike (2002). "Tekken 4 Paul for PlayStation 2". GameFAQs. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 9, 2016. 
  7. ^ Sison, Justin (March 20, 2007). "Story Battle Dialogues—Guide for Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection on PlayStation 3 (transcript)". CheatCodes.com. GamerID Network. Retrieved December 7, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "Tekken 5—PS2—Walkthrough and Guide—Page 28". GameSpy. IGN Entertainment. January 18, 2005. Retrieved December 23, 2016. 
  9. ^ a b North, Dale (June 22, 2009). "Lose your head over new Tekken 6 screens". Destructoid. Retrieved December 23, 2016. 
  10. ^ Castro, Juan (August 19, 2005). "Tekken Characters in Urban Reign". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Edge Staff (February 24, 2015). "Tekken: The Making Of..." GamesRadar. Future Publishing. Retrieved December 23, 2016. 
  12. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (June 26, 2012). "Tekken producer hits out at 'whining and complaining' fans who 'blindly repeat' voice actor requests". Eurogamer. Gaming Network. Retrieved December 23, 2016. 
  13. ^ Bandai Namco (2005). "Marshall Law Tekken 5 render". Retrieved December 23, 2016. 
  14. ^ Hurh, JP (March 11, 2005). "Tekken 5 Review". Game Revolution. CraveOnline Media. Retrieved December 23, 2016. 
  15. ^ Green, Scott (August 15, 2012). "Diverse Artists Put Together the Latest, Strangest 'Tekken' Guest Costumes". Crunchyroll.com. Retrieved November 25, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Tekken 6: Marshall Law". tekken6-official.eu. Retrieved December 22, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Tekken 6 Guide & Walkthrough - PlayStation 3 (PS3) - IGN". Guides.ign.com. 2009-10-30. Archived from the original on September 25, 2010. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  18. ^ a b Nagata, Tyler (2008-09-18). "Page 3 - Kickass Bruce Lee clones". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  19. ^ "DEFENSIVE TUESDAYS #2 | MARSHALL LAW - Knuckle (b+2) Strings | Tekken 7". Retrieved December 4, 2017. 
  20. ^ Yoon, Andrew (May 21, 2008). "See Marshall Law from the upcoming Tekken movie". engadget.com. AOL Inc. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  21. ^ Topel, Fred (April 16, 2012). "ActionFest 2012: Cung Le on 'The Man with the Iron Fists' and 'Dragon Eyes'". CraveOnline. CraveOnline Media. Retrieved December 26, 2016. 
  22. ^ Swider, Matt (July 25, 2006). "Tekken A Look Back (Special) @ Gaming Target". Gaming Target. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  23. ^ Grimm, Michael (August 3, 2010). "12 matchups we want to see in Street Fighter X Tekken". GamesRadar. Future Publishing. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  24. ^ Jones, Elton (May 17, 2012). "8. Marshall Law—The 50 Most Dominant Fighting Game Characters". Complex. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  25. ^ Pooley, Jack (January 16, 2014). "20 Greatest Ever Beat Em Up Video Game Characters". WhatCulture.com. Retrieved Jan 17, 2014. 
  26. ^ Bledstein, Max; Paradis, Dan (April 7, 2015). "Top 10 Tekken Characters". WatchMojo. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  27. ^ Kalata, Kurt; Derboo, Sam (September 3, 2015). "Hardcore Gaming 101: Dead or Alive". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved December 29, 2016. 
  28. ^ "Tekken vs Street Fighter". Fb.namcobandaigames.com. 2012. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012. Retrieved December 29, 2016. 
  29. ^ Glasser, AJ (June 21, 2009). "Father Knows Best: The Best and Worst Fathers in Video Games". Kotaku.com. Retrieved December 29, 2016. 
  30. ^ Ming, Nate (January 18, 2012). "Vicious 'Street Fighter X Tekken' Screens Featuring Newcomers Paul, Vega, and More!". Crunchyroll. Retrieved December 16, 2016. 
  31. ^ Loveridge, Sam (July 29, 2016). "These 19 gaming character names are the absolute worst". Digital Spy. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  32. ^ Jasper, Gavin (May 23, 2014). "Interview with Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist's Joey Ansah". Den of Geek. Dennis Publishing. Retrieved December 9, 2016.