Well, it’s time. The Mortal Kombat Film Review is next and I couldn’t be happier about that. And yes, the Review would have been done sooner, but HBO Max made me wait for the movie a week more. Hey, I’m not complaining though. At least it got a release. However, a warning is in order. Spoilers are present in this article. I tried to avoid them, but to no avail. There was no way of working around them. Sorry.
Mortal Kombat Film Review: A Childhood Nostalgia
But right at the start of this article, let me elaborate on why this particular movie has been a long-anticipated one. First and foremost, I’m a huge fan of the Mortal Kombat series. It’s a childhood favorite. And as I mentioned earlier I spent the bigger part of my childhood spending my pocket money on the neighborhood arcade stores. Played with Sonya Blade (and I think the habit of playing with female characters stems from her). And secondly, I haven’t done a film / movie review in a while, so I’m excited about that as well. Well, not since my Monster Hunter review and that was an underwhelming experience. But what about Mortal Kombat?
Mortal Kombat Film Review: Movie VS Video Game
Honestly, I’m not as disappointed with Mortal Kombat as I was with Monster Hunter. Although don’t get me wrong. It’s far from a perfect video game adaptation. But the movie starts in 17th century Japan. And after Hanzo Hasashi’s last remaining child is saved by Raiden, the movie takes us to the present-day USA. With Cole Young (Lewis Tan) as the last descendant of Hanzo Hasashi in the lead role. He’s a family man but at the same time a washed-up MMA fighter who can’t reclaim his former glory. However, he’ll soon become prey for Sub-Zero and therefore Shang Tsung. Yup. Cole has been chosen to fight in the Mortal Kombat tournament, but Shang Tsung wants the participants eliminated beforehand. Which basically means, Sonya Blade, Jax, Liu Kang, Kung Lao are in danger too. Indeed, they have the guidance and protection from Raiden, but that won’t last forever.
A More Palatable Video Game Adaptation?
I’m genuinely surprised at how much it is palatable. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not great, by any means, but this reboot (let’s call it a reboot) is very watchable. Considering the limited potential it has. First of all, it has a rookie director behind the camera and it shows at times. But, the editing seemed like a far bigger problem here. And the script too.
Yes, much like with many of the video game adaptations, the script is the main culprit for my letdown. And Mortal Kombat is no exception now. Again, the movie is enjoyable and for the most part easy to follow. With some good CGI and action (which I’ll get to in a second). And of course, with some of the iconic lines for that extra jolt of nostalgia. Kano Wins! Get over here! And so much more! They’re all in there to make you squeal with excitement. But yeah, it won’t impress you in any other area.
Underdeveloped Characters And Plot That Doesn’t Deliver?
First of all, let me voice my biggest beef with the movie. With so much talk about the Mortal Kombat tournament in this movie, I’m sad to report that (SPOILER) there’s actually NO Mortal Kombat Tournament. Like…. At all. None! Zero. Which is a bummer, because it’s all we hear in exposition for a solid one-third of the movie. I guess it’s now OK to send Sub-Zero to kill all the opponents, before the kick-0ff. Talk about cheating am I right?
Furthermore, the main character of the movie adaptation is NOT a character from the actual franchise. Indeed. Cole Young doesn’t exist in the franchise, and again… It’s a crying shame since there are hundreds (quite literally) iconic characters that they could have chosen for the lead. Nope. And he’s not even an interesting character to start with. Seriously, he’s a bland, boring, vanilla character that just gets his ass kicked in the majority of the movie. Fine, let them have it. But I must admit, I chuckled at the idea that the movie is pulling a Paul W.S. Anderson move. Making up a lead out of thin air, and ignoring dozens of great characters (cough Alice, cough). Oh, and speaking of RE, did you check out our Resident Evil: Village pre-order option? Let me digress a bit. Just click here and enjoy. You’re gonna love it. We sure do.
More Kano Please!
And while the majority of the characters were not that impressive, the ones that actually are, have very limited amount of screen time. Scorpion is a prime example of this. And yeah, you can forget about the false advertisement of the trailers you saw beforehand. The movie doesn’t do this character justice, with just a couple of scenes. And it’s really a sad decision I have to say. The man deserves a lot more, damn it. But you know who deserves more in the Mortal Kombat movie? Almost every character in it! Mileena is barely in 4-5 scenes. Shameful I know.
And Liu Kang and Kung Lao needed more love as well. Those are amazing characters and I wish I had more of them in the movie. But if there’s one thing that the writers did well was in the Kano. I mean come on! Kano is probably one of the best-formed characters in the movie. The rest of them are minuscule blank canvases, and you can’t even begin to care about any of them. But Kano is the man here. Can I get an amen for creating Kano as a foul-mouthed psycho that he is? Ugh, finally! He’s also the comedic relief here and the character with the most decent arc/transition of all. Oh and Josh Lawson really nails him in terms of performance. Which is great, so kudos for Kano I suppose.
The Action/Gore Are The Saving Grace!
And there’s plenty of that. Blood, death, dismemberment and general gratuitous violence that should evoke strong memories of the good old video games. And if it doesn’t there’s seriously something wrong with you. But the truth is, the film buff in me, does appreciate the solid dialogue and even better character/story development… Hey, and a decent cinematography will get me excited now and then. But not here in Mortal Kombat. Nope.
You and I know that you’re watching Mortal Kombat about the fighting. And solely about the fighting. Let’s not fool ourselves, and just be honest. But yeah, unlike the 1995 movie, the 2021 reboot is R-rated and it shows. It’s amazing that they made with R-rating! The CGI that accompanies the fight scenes is decent, and the action is even better because of it. Oh, and have you noticed a small similarity with Monster Hunter? Near the end? Much like Paul W.S. Anderson’s movie, this too wants a sequel soooo bad. And it gives you a hint of who you should expect to appear in the sequel (hi Johnny).
Mortal Kombat Film Review: A Very Flawed But Watchable Movie
It’s far from perfect, let’s be honest. And perhaps it’s even far from decent (if I think about it). But it does have redeeming qualities that should prevent boredom in the 110 minutes of runtime. Shaky but ambitious direction, and some charismatic actors too. Of course, Kano is a true joy to watch, and the fight scenes (more in terms of choreography) are incredible. Maybe you can find even more positives, but if the main goal was to make it better than Annihilation…. Then they achieved that goal admirably. I suppose it’s easy when the bar is so low. But, I’m eager to know your opinion about the Mortal Kombat reboot. Do you like it? Let us know in the comment section.