Mortal Kombat as a series to adapt should be the easiest thing in the world. Take outlandish characters, put them in a tournament, make them fight, add gallons of red corn syrup, and a character to follow. Yet, there have only been a handful of adaptions of questionable quality to hold up as an example. This film, looking to capitalize on series like Castlevania looks to correct that.
After Hartori Hanzo’s village and family is killed by the icy Sub-Zero he is brought back as Scorpion to fight for the devious Netherworld in hopes of getting his family back. To do so he must compete in Mortal Kombat, a death game for the right to rule earth and the netherworld. Scorpion is joined by karate master, Liu Kang, army brat, Sonya Blade, and pompous ex-action star Johnny Cage to fight for their lives or die trying.
If you like Mortal Kombat the games, you’ll like the movie. It is really as simple as that. It has all the blood, violence, swearing, and action a fan of the games would want.
The fights are all suitably kinetic, and frenetic. The production crew went all the way with trying to adapt the video game finishers to screen in all their x-ray vision, bone snapping glory. Not all the gore effects look great, but get the job done.
The voice acting is also on point. Getting perfect casting like Joel McHale as Johnny Cage, and Jennifer Carpenter as Sonya Blade is almost too perfect. Add Steve Blum as Sub-Zero, and Patrick Seitz as the titular Scorpion they all perfectly reflect those characters and should be the main voice actors if they’re not already.
Unfortunately it is not all perfect. The main issue the film has is pacing and focus. For a movie about Scorpion it spends lots of time of Liu Kang and his group. That’s used to help progress the story of course and flesh out the tournament, but also makes Scorpion feel lost in his own movie. The reveal of what is really going on with Scorpion is also obvious. They make up for that by having a great final fight, and tease for more possible stories to come.
The inherent problem fighting game movies end up having is the inability to escape giving fans certain characters they want to see. The Street Fighter II anime movie is great, but suffers the same problem as this movie. There are so many fan favorite characters that juggling them is difficult. This does the best so far by giving them a journey to parallel Scorpion’s own, but still puts the movie in some chains.
However, none of that matters. It’s got the action, blood, and snapping bones. That’s all you need to finish it!
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