Mortal Kombat (2021)
Mortal Kombat (2021) movie review
Mortal Kombat is the second attempt at a live action film adaptation of the video game fighting series of the same name that started back in 1992. Excluding the original Mortal Kombat’s atrocious sequel that is… Anyway, this Mortal Kombat follows a young MMA fighter names Cole, who discovers that he and a select handful of fighters have been chosen to compete in a tournament, known as Mortal Kombat, to save the world from an otherworldly conquest. Mortal Kombat opened this weekend, and while box office numbers are still up in the air at the time of this review, the reviews seem to be mixed to far.
Here are a few things you can expect from the newest take on this classic game series: A killer opening action sequence and a pretty great closing one, some decent performances to go alongside a step up in visual quality, some awesome references and Easter Eggs, some surprisingly solid comedy, and a hard R rating that was sorely missed in both films prior. (You can also expect the worst Raiden ever by the way.)
Now here are a few things NOT to expect: Scorpion to be involved as much as he is in the trailer, competent editing, a proper focus on any of the beloved characters from the series, and a little thing called Mortal Kombat, which never takes place. So really what you should NOT expect is a GOOD Mortal Kombat movie, because in my opinion, we still don’t have one.
One major issue I had with the entire film is, as I mentioned, the lack of interesting characters. Simply put, newcomer Cole is not as interesting as the already established characters. And while there are subtle ways to incorporate new characters with previously existing lore like this (see The Muppets, 2011), they instead hang the film on Cole and his very typical ‘chosen one, bloodlines, blah blah blah’ arc. So I guess what I am trying to say is: Mortal Kombat is no Muppets.
Another thing that you kinda need in a Mortal Kombat movie is solid action. There is action, that is for sure! Sadly most of it is quick cut, crosscut between other action sequences, or really short. Heck the big finale is all three of those lazily tossed together. Sure the opening is pretty awesome, and the finale isn’t bad either! But they also have to yada-yada a way to wrap up the plot, which is as cool as it is nonsensical. Now I’m not saying the 90s one was better, but the fight scenes… Yeah those might have been better.
Now in the spirit of fairness, I did thoroughly enjoy a solid chunk of this film thanks exclusively to Josh Lawson’s performance as Kano. He is absolutely hilarious, PERFECTLY embodying the role of both Kano and any audience member who isn’t taking the film too seriously. (Something I recommend, as it is pretty cheesy.) But hey, anything to appease fans! And in the film’s defense, I feel like this adaptation does a significantly better job at adapting the source material, despite tossing aside characters like Liu Kang and Kung Lao.
So yeah, there are some pretty sick moments, and it is pretty entertaining throughout (thanks to the performance of Josh Lawson alone.) But is it a good Mortal Kombat movie? I don’t think so. The story is missing key elements that would have helped it to feel more driven, and the disregard of more interesting characters for a bland new guy was a questionable choice at best. I found the film funny for a time, but mostly just dull. Should you rush out to see it? Nah I don’t think you should. Maybe check it out if you are a fan of the game and you have HBO Max, but other than that, it’s pretty forgettable. I’ll give it a 5/10 for Kano.
So the new Mortal Kombat? Did you see it? What did you think? And do you think the original was better? Be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know! And hey, we just to happened to have a brand new review up for the 1995 Mortal Kombat, so go check it out!
-review by Ryan Prince