Yeah, Mortal Kombat, OK. Sheesh. I guess, OK.
I mean, I’ve played the game a few times. I’m not a fan of the whole platform-fighter thing, Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom, etc. etc. ad infinitum. I don’t get it, to be honest. I’m an FPS or space sim type of gamer, and here’s my first and over-arching comment:
Video Game Movies Mostly Suck
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.
But seriously, Mortal Kombat, the movie, well this movie (remember this isn’t the first time) is just another instance of absolutely requiring that the viewer have a firm background in the lore and jargon of the game for this to make any sense whatsoever.
The plot, well, as you might have guessed in involves fighting. I know, right? Specifically its pitting some alien overlords fighting over Earth via these “tournaments” (I started having Highlander 2 flashbacks right off the bat…) and the bad guys led by Shang Tsung (Chin Han) are getting ready to go up against Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) and his band of champions. Problem is the good guy crew are a bunch of amateurs that really haven’t even been discovered. Most notable of this crew is Cole (Lewis Tan) who is the latest in a long line of “Chosen Ones” (noted by their Mortal Kombat logo trademark birthmarks…) and in the bloodline of Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) who was killed back in the day by Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) who now goes by the much more cool sounding moniker Sub-Zero. Oh, and there’s this Scottish prick Kano (Josh Lawson), Jax (Mehcad Brooks), and not-chosen-one (yet) Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee).
Look, I’m not going to lie. Mortal Kombat is chock full of very well-choreographed fight scenes, excellent CGI effects, and more than its fair share of brutal FATALITY scenes where folks are getting holes blown through them, body parts ripped off, and other gory means of dispatching the losers that are probably straight out of the game itself.
I actually thought the movie Mortal Kombat was going to be more graphically violent than it actually was. I fully expected a cringe-worthy festival of “OOOOHHHHH DAMNNNNN did you really need to do that???!!!!” It’s there, oh yeah, its there. Just not as much as I expected.
Which if you’re into the game, and know all the characters and how they fight, what their magic (sorry, “arcana”) abilities and secret button-smashing extra actions are…. I’m sure this was a lot of fun for you.
Those of us who have no clue, or at best a very passing knowledge (like myself) of this game. We’re all sitting here going “What the fuck, man?! What is even going on here. What? Who? What? Ugh.”
But back to my statement: Video Games Mostly Suck. Apart from the CGI gloss and dance-like fights…. what is there? Not much. And that’s the problem. We check a few boxes regarding the game’s appearance and lore, and then we’re done. I look at the couple of failed DOOM movies as more examples of this, as well as the 1995 version of Mortal Kombat, its contemporary Street Fighter renditions, and just challenge anyone to show me a video game-based film that isn’t a pile of garbage.
All that said, I’m going to give Mortal Kombat a 2.3 out of 5. Fight with me in the comments if you need to. Much like Godzilla vs. Kong, this is a spectacle of gloss and veneer, with really not much underneath. It’s a waxed and polished oak veneer with plywood and paper mache holding it up.
Official Movie Site: https://www.mortalkombatmovie.net/
HBO Max: https://play.hbomax.com/page/urn:hbo:page:GYGYKfQwaKLheqwEAAAEC:type:feature