The newest cinematic installment of the renown fighting game franchise Mortal Kombat was released both in theaters and on HBO Max on Apr. 23, 2021. Predating the 10th Mortal Kombat tournament against Outworld, the heroes of Earthrealm must fend off against a surprise attack from Shang Tsun and his best fighters. Drawing from what they know the franchise to be famous for, this movie filled it to the brim with the same ludicrously gory fighting that sparked a parental backlash against video games in the early 90s.
If you are thinking of purchasing a ticket because you think you’ll find a compelling plot with well written and well developed characters, then you are thinking wrong.
I will get this out of the way quick: If you are not a fan of Mortal Kombat, or are even slightly unfamiliar with the franchise, do not watch this movie. There is simply too much to be overlooked if one does not possess a suspension of disbelief reinforced by their love of the characters and the overarching Mortal Kombat world.
If you are thinking of purchasing a ticket because you think you’ll find a compelling plot with well written and well developed characters, then you are thinking wrong. The plot, similar to the games, is just barely serviceable to make it from point A to point B, or rather fight A to fight B. There are no particularly memorable acting performances to be found here, and the music is generic at best.
What people really go to see Mortal Kombat for is the combat. And thankfully, it does not disappoint. There are constant fight scenes sprinkled throughout the hour and fifty minutes, and each is very well choreographed with above average special effects, although the way some fights are shot is rather disorienting. The most enjoyable actor to watch was Josh Lawson. Playing Kano, he does a fantastic job embodying the loudmouth Australian mercenary. The new character Cole Young, however, was thoroughly boring and completely forgettable, and it was altogether a shame he was given so much screen time.
The best parts of this movie in my opinion were the fights between the iconic rivalry of Scorpion and Sub Zero. I will not spoil anything, but simply say that it is exactly what any fan would want. In summary, if you appreciate these characters and their brutal hand-to-hand combat with enough blood to supply the Red Cross for years, then you will definitely enjoy the experience.
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