Updated: Apr 25
Film: Mortal Kombat
Starring: Lewis Tan, Mehcad Brooks, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Hiroyuki Sanada, Chin Han, Tadanobu Asano, Joe Taslim
Director: Simon McQuoid
Streaming: HBO Max
Review: Klep Napier
Rating: 2.5X’s out of 5X’s
Warner Bros takes a stab at redoing the 1995 film adaptation, for popular 1992 video game Mortal Kombat. Although the film feels like a R-Rated CW series at times, it delivers excitement through it’s great fight choreography while still managing to tie all the characters together setting up pivotal origin stories.
Now let’s be Frank, it’s not a perfect film by any means, but its worth the ride and provides what fans have come to know and love about Mortal Kombat quite well.
The film follows Cole Young (Lewis Tan) who is a descendant of an ancient fighter (who for spoiler reasons shall remain nameless). During his Journey as a failed mixed martial arts cage fighter, Young gets wrapped up in what first seems like an attempt on he and his families lives. After being saved from the attack by ex special forces Veteran Jax, (Mehcad Brooks) it is explained to Young by Sonia Blade (Jessica McNamee), that the two of them are a couple of many wanted dead for being chosen ones selected to defend earths realm from other worldly opponents in a deadly tournament known as Mortal Kombat.
Now in comparison to its predecessor from the mid 90’s, the plot and execution of the martial arts are light years ahead. Director Simon McQuoid manages to keep the focus on what Mortal Kombat means to it’s loyal fans. An all out blood fest. McQuoid also balances the what and why and gets to the point. There is no way to be bored, just drooling to skip to the next fight sequence.
Where the film fails much like most of the video game genre films have in the past, is it’s cast. Where fresh faces sometimes make these kinds of stories more believable, they can also hinder the progression in dialogue within the story arch. We mentioned earlier that it feels much like an R Rated CW series. What we mean is that a lot of the acting is very television superhero campy. Even when some serious butt kicking is about to go down, you can’t help but pray that some of them keep their month shut and just get to it before some lame dialogue takes you out of the moment.
Other than that this film is very quick. Over all delivers what you would expect from a Mortal Kombat film with lesser known actors. Do not go into this expecting a DC/Marvel-esk level blockbuster. But more of a fresh start in the video game to film genre finally trying to take its source material seriously. Mortal Kombat is available in Theaters and on HBOMax. You may want to skip the theater experience and throw in the microwaveable popcorn.