The definition of a mixed bag. Mortal Kombat doesn’t come without its flaws, but overall a solid foundation for what’s to possibly come.
MMA fighter Cole Young seeks out Earth’s greatest champions in order to stand against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe.
Everyone remembers their first fatality. It was almost a right of passage for any young gamer. Mortal Kombat has been part of our lives for a long long time and people have been clamoring for a suitable live-action adaption of this beloved franchise. Fans waited almost 25 years since the colossal disaster that was Mortal Kombat: Annihilation for another shot at immortality and to be crowned the winner of the ultimate tournament. When the first trailer dropped, jaws hit the floor because this promised to be bloody and brutal and after seeing the film, some of those promises were kept, but we got a small taste of what could be a very fun new franchise.
Fans are divided, some are happy with the finished product and others wanted more. The characters we all love are present and some stick out more than others and we get that solid R rating that showcased some awesome gore and unforgettable fatalities. I just felt that what we got was satisfying but in the smallest possible way. Seeing all the characters look amazing, most notably Kabal (Daniel Nelson) Jax (Mehcad Brooks), and the cousins Liu Kang (Ludi Lin) and Kung Lao (Max Huang). The show stealing Kano (Josh Lawson) who legit steals almost every scene he is in. Points in my books for all of his popular culture references and his dirty Aussie mouth. That’s a guy I would hang out with. His comedy was something that everyone is talking about and something that almost carries the film when it felt a little slow. His BFF Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) is a worthy advisory for Kano and they worked really well together. Even the new addition of Cole Young (Lewis Tan) works. Being a new character in the lore of MK I would have liked a little more backstory and character development for him, but hopefully, we get that in the future.
The two superstars of the franchise; Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) really kick off the movie with a pretty terrific first ten minutes. We came for a few showdowns between the two and we get exactly that. They look amazing and really got the sense they enjoyed playing these characters. Sub-Zero is probably the coolest character in the movie because I felt like his powers were on display the most and HELLO – he freezes and breaks Jax’s arms off like a pair of toothpicks. Looking forward to seeing these two fight in the near future.
Now, on to the things that just didn’t work for me. In a movie called Mortal Kombat we want brutal fights. Yes, we get some gruesome fatalities but the fights themselves seemed rushed and not impactful enough, we wanted to see some brutality to these things and that just wasn’t the case. Feeling the weight of punches and these characters feeling a little more human and less superhuman. Also, I’ve never been a fan of quick cut editing and that’s all that’s happening during these fights. Let’s get some long drawn-out edits for our fights for the sequel, something that feels more a fight and less than a montage. Another letdown was the leaders of Outworld and Earth Realm. Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) and Shang Tsung (Chin Han) were weak. Barley having anything to do and we didn’t even get to see them throw down. Sure, we get the classic soul-suck from Shang Tsung but at the end of the day, these are two massively important characters that felt so bland. King Goro himself, who was a massive upgrade from ‘95, was WASHED! He didn’t even have a speaking part or a scene to explain who the heck he was for people who don’t know the character. Sure, he was amazing to look at, but he’s King Goro, put some respect on his name. Now, he will be back for the sequel, or at least I think he will be.
Overall, I think Mortal Kombat was solid enough to warrant a sequel. Things need to change, maybe find a new director and better writers. Simon McQuiod might have bit off a little more than he can chew. Being his first major studio movie, it felt that way with some of the decisions being made. Look, we had to wait over two decades for a new movie, this isn’t a hot commodity and I do think there were more positives than negatives, but the negatives perhaps outweigh those positives.
I’m excited for what this franchise could be. With the right direction behind it, fixing the mistakes and listening to the criticisms from fans. There’s a bunch of good ingredients here, they just need to find the right recipe. We should know pretty quickly if we will be getting a sequel within the next few years. Hope we do.
I’ll leave it on this. When a man uses a hat as a buzzsaw to cut someone in half, obviously I’m going to enjoy that movie.
Mortal Kombat = 71/100