Director: Simon McQuoid. Starring: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Hiroyuki Sanada. Rated R. Color. 110 Minutes.
Correct me if I’m wrong, it has been a long time since I was a big video gamer. But if I remember correctly “Mortal Kombat” was a tournament where two mystical combatants throw down mano-e-mano. My question with this latest film adaptation is when exactly does the ‘TOURNAMENT’ actually start? “Mortal Kombat” is a bumbling mess depending solely on die hard fans loving the brutal ‘fatalities’ the franchise is known for.
We start in ancient Japan. Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) heads up a quiet village in the hills with his family. For some reason Bi-Han aka Sub Zero (Joe Taslim) shows up and kills everyone, including freezing Hasashi’s family to death. Still couldn’t tell you the motivation other than its Sub Zero hating on the guy who will eventually become Scorpion.
Cut to modern day. Our main character is Cole Young, a MMA fighter with the marking that means he has been chosen for Mortal Kombat. Don’t know the character, I grew up with Liu Kang as the main hero. Maybe he’s the star of the newer games. Anyways, Cole (Lewis Tan) and his family are in danger. The emperor of Outworld Shang Tsung (Chin Han) has his toughest warrior Sub Zero on the hunt for him and his family as Cole is the biggest potential threat to the evil creatures of Outworld being able to invade the Earthrealm.
Cole first contacts Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) and Jax (Mehcad Brooks) for help to figure out what Mortal Kombat is. Sonya has been researching this so called tournament for years and Jax has two metal arms because Sub Zero ripped off his regular arms. They eventually meet up at some temple for the elder gods led by Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano), guardian of earth realm. From here Cole is able to train with the legendary Liu Kang (Ludi Lin) and somehow develops this gold armor that is a knock off version of Vibranium. And, we still haven’t actually gotten to a tournament three quarters of the way in.
The biggest crux for this latest “Mortal Kombat” is that it takes itself wayyyyyy too seriously. The opening belongs in a classic samurai period piece, not a video game movie. The other failure is the battle sequences. When the four armed Goro shows up out of nowhere to fight the gold chested Cole it falls flat real fast. Also, Kano does not have a metal eye? He can just shoot lasers out of his retina somehow? And then you have Kung Lao (Max Huang) and his mystic hat that cuts bitches and reflects opponents energy. Cool in a video game. Stupid in a movie. I will give credit that the final brawl between Sub Zero and Scorpion is well choreographed, but the rest are totally forgettable.
I am going to guess the die hard “Mortal Kombat” lovers will have fun here, I cannot imagine anybody else having the same experience. This is a sloppy film from beginning to end. Who would have thought the 90’s version would look so good in comparison. They didn’t even use the classic theme song! Shame on you I say to the filmmakers.