“Mortal Kombat” is a well known video game that reached its peak in the arcade era in 1993.
There have been multiple films made to portray the famous franchise, but the older films have a lot of cheesy dialogue and strange changes from the game’s lore.
Thankfully, the 2021 version of “Mortal Kombat”, which was released last month on HBO Max, is a much better portrayal of the game.
The movie is a reboot of the franchise, taking place in the first game before the “Mortal Kombat” tournament starts. The soul stealing Shang Tsung, played by Chin Han, gathers champions to rival a thunder god named Raiden (Tadanobu Asano), who is gathering his own champions. Shang Tsung and his champions travel around hunting other champions chosen to participate in the tournament.
The film starts off by introducing the rivalry of Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim), who is seen annihilating Scorpion’s clan. Scorpion has a battle to save his clan but he is defeated and goes to hell.
Only one member of Scorpion’s clan survives and later finds himself in Chicago, a long way from Asia. The survivor is the main character but also the most stale character, Cole Young (Lewis Tan).
Anyone looking for gruesome violence will not be disappointed since the film is rated R, giving it more freedom to be graphic compared to the first “Mortal Kombat” that was shy even a drop of blood. But don’t worry. The gruesome kills are sprinkled throughout the movie, so it’s not a constant repulsive bloodbath.
I found it humorous that the Australian, Kano, is the only one swearing in the film, which gets points for realism. Something else I found funny is after a kill, some characters would scream, “Fatality!” This adds some goofiness to the movie and I couldn’t help but smile.
Back to the Australian, Kano, who is played by Josh Lawson. Kano is the comedy relief character but also a fearsome fighter. He is a scumbag wisecracking bounty hunter who later betrays Raiden. But Lawson did a great job at making the audience chuckle and did a great job in portraying the character overall.
Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) does a great job at portraying the female soldier, and her arc about getting revenge on Kano for killing some soldiers she knew was pretty good.
“Mortal Kombat” features the four armed Goro with new tech. In the first ever “Mortal Kombat” movie, Goro is a misshapen puppet. But with new tech, he really comes to life in this film. All the effects in this film are done well. The fire, ice and lasers are top notch.
The final scene between Scorpion and Sub-Zero is fantastic and offers one of, if not the best, fights in the movie. In this battle, Scorpion reveals himself with the iconic line, “Get over here”, followed by his chain attack in which he throws a chain with a blade on the end impaling the enemy and dragging them toward him so he can punch him.
The second best fight has to be Cole vs Goro, while the fight in Raiden’s Temple is the third best fight in the film.
Overall, the movie has some well done fights with a healthy amount of humor and that distinct video game goofiness. I give “Mortal Kombat” a 7 out of 10 stars. Those new to the “Mortal Kombat” series should enjoy this film, while older fans of the franchise can get a nostalgia trip seeing Shang Tsung on the big screen again.