We are a week out from Mortal Kombat coming back into our lives. So I decided to review the 1995 movie and see if it lives up to the nostalgia hype.
Three unknowing martial artists are summoned to a mysterious island to compete in a tournament whose outcome will decide the fate of the world.
Release Date. August 18th, 1995. Director. Paul W.S Anderson. Box-Office. 122.2 Million
This movie kind of gets you amped up and ready to go from the very get-go. The epic and I mean epic opening intro, you know – MORTAL KOMBAT! At the time movies that had been based on video games didn’t have the best track record, hell they still don’t. Even 26 years later, this is still regarded as one of the best video game movie adaptations of all time. I’m not sure if that’s saying a lot or saying very little.
I’ll say this, the movie is fun. It’s 26 years old, clearly, the movie will feel very ’90s, and since then the lore and mythology and love for all things MK has only grown. We were dealing with an IP that was still kind of a baby. That being said, in everything we get, I do feel like there was a real heart behind this project. Just at this time, studios didn’t want to pour a ton of movies into a video game movie film.
Personally, the casting is almost flawless. Liu Kang (Robin Shou), Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras), Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby), Raiden (Christopher Lambert), and Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) couldn’t be more perfect in their respected roles. I think that’s what really drives this movie forward because without proper casting we all know what happens – I’m looking at you MK Annihilation (which I won’t be reviewing). The only characters that needed to be properly cast and flushed out were Scorpion and Sub-Zero. At the time, they looked cool but they are almost meant to be low-level side characters and they are anything but that. The new movie looks to revolve around them and their history, so we will have come a long way from them being very disposable.
The fights feel like 1995 fight scenes, nothing special but some very memorable moments. Most notably Johnny Cage versus both Scorpion and Goro. Probably the highlight of the film, great one-liners and at the time Goro was King Shit. That will be one of the bummers from the new movie the absences of Johnny Cage and it will be interesting to see if maybe he shows up during a post-credit stinger.
We can’t really talk about this without blessing Robin Shou because he is the embodiment of Liu Kang. His incredible flow, his awesome moves, and the fact he was the only big three cast member to come back. It would be great if some of these OG cast members popped up in the new MK, I guess we will know soon enough.
The film works, it’s got some great set pieces, a fun cast, and some enjoyable fight sequences. It’s aged pretty well and as far as video game movies go, it’s near the top of the list. It set the bar pretty high in the ’90s.
Memorable and hasn’t been forgotten. Mortal Kombat showed fans what could be done with video game properties and we have waited well over two decades for the next chance to see these beloved characters in action. I can’t wait for the new movie to drop, GET OVER HERE!
Mortal Kombat = 68/100