Earthrealmers and Outworlders of all ages, welcome.....to “Mortal Kombat”, a beloved franchise risen out from the bowels of the Netherrealm and back onto the silver screen after two 90’s flops, prepared to do battle for the honor of the fans and the creditably of its own source material. On behalf of the die-hards associated with this franchise and the casuals who who just got hooked into it and are just getting started, I speak on behalf of all of them when I say.....
GET OVER HERE, you absolute tripe! Man, was this so disappointing.
When it comes to the semi-serious over-the-top worldbuilding the movie entails from the games and the abundance of Mortal Kombat references, it’s there for nostalgic purposes and MK fans of any age will get a kick out of that. The action sequences are, hands down, the best aspect the film has to offer.....but only just. Lives up to its R-rating through and through and that’s about it.
When the focus is off Hanzo or Bi-Han, the film is stuck desperately trying to pretend to be something it isn’t. Said mixture of martial-arts-style combat and special effects is an attempt to give the movie a distinctive visual flair but one, about half of the visual effects don’t look all that polished to begin with and two, they did that stupid fast cut choppy editing angle with a good chunk of the fights that weren’t Scorpion or Sub-Zero duking it out. Not to mention even without those references, the rest of the dialogue comes off as forced and cheap. The production design used comes off looking way too clean and the scenery is heavily lacking. There’s even that typical mediocre forgettable orchestral score that comes in after a while and my god, so much momentum is halted and killed off by the erratic pacing.
The writing tries to add just enough levity not to throw off any momentum that the dramatic moments caused but said dramatic moments came few and far between and most of the time, they don’t resonate through well enough since the acting varies a lot here. From the show-stealing Josh Lawson as Kano, Hiroyuki Sanada as Scorpion and Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero to a passable Sonya, Jax and Cole to barely even utilizing Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Mileena, Goro, Raiden and Shang Tsung amongst the many others I know I’m missing, a good chunk of these performances came off as very underwhelming as well as the characters they ended up portraying. I, for one, don’t mind them doing character development for the characters here in this movie but even the more fleshed out characters here aren’t given a dimension to truly stand out.
To me, the kiss of death for this film has to be the lack of weight and urgency to anything. Never once did I feel like anybody was either in danger or that this upcoming tournament (which isn’t seen or mentioned well enough) carried over any semblance of importance to be worth anything. Mortal Kombat’s appeal was always much greater than the gallons and hails of blood sprinkling everywhere. I’m a lore before gore kind of person and I feel as if the movie failed to provide for both of those core elements; everything either looked way too clean, didn’t counteract with that actual MK lore and it nearly rendered the entire hokey concept of the games effectively WORTHLESS. If you weren’t gonna get me to care about the f’n tournament to be, what was the purpose of all this?
When 1995’s Mortal Kombat—no, screw it—when fucking Mortal Kombat: Annihilation comes off like the second coming of Christ compared to this, that is no flawless victory. That is a Fatality. D. Riptide wins.