An MMA fighter learns he's been chosen to defend the realm of Earth
in an ancient tournament that will determine the fate of mankind.
Mortal Kombat (2021)
Directed by Simon McQuoid
Written by Greg Russo and Dave Callaham
Starring Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Joe Taslim, Mehcad Brooks, Tadanobu Asano, Chin Han, Hiroyuki Sanada,
Ludi Lin, Max Huang, Sisi Stringer, Damon Herriman
Remake of 1995's Mortal Kombat
Based on the video game from NetherRealm Studios
There seemed to be some actual turn around in quality with film adaptations of videogames thanks to the release of Sonic the Hedgehog. It appeared to be made by actual fans, honored the legacy of its source material, and gave plenty of Easter eggs to the fans. Because of how much I enjoy it, I was beyond excited for the announcement of a new Mortal Kombat movie. Then, it was announced this would be produced by none other than horror royalty, James Wan. Finally, the nail in the coffin, the release of the red band trailer. By this point, it was guaranteed I would be checking this film out. A film which would either be a colossal disaster or a flawless victory.
Remember how I mentioned the filmmakers of Sonic clearly being fans of the game itself? The same can fortunately be applied here. This is an adaptation made by fans of the game for fans of the game. Now, this does mean people checking this out may not be as fully on board if they have zero interest or love of the source material. But, for those who do, you will be rewarded with plenty of Easter eggs and inside jokes. Lines ripped straight from the game are said at various points. Iconic gaming characters are brought to vivid life thanks to extremely committed performances by the cast. Kano, in particular, being a standout and providing some of the biggest laughs. And, finally, the gore filled fatalities and brutal fighting is shown in all its R-rated glory. Sub-Zero and Scorpion shine here thanks to clear love for these characters both in front of and behind the camera and an awesome fight scene towards the end.
The streak continues! Here is another case of a great film adaptation of a game which both takes full advantage of its rating and gives longtime fans what they want. I am genuinely impressed by how much respect was given to one of gaming’s longest running, popular, and most enduring franchises. There’s only one thing left to say: Finish him!
A Mortal Kombat remake has been stuck in production hell for decades, mostly because the two 90's films are so bad and no one wanted to bet on a third. But in the 2010's, video game movies started making money. Warcraft, the Resident Evil series, and most of all Sonic the Hedgehog proved that catering to the fans is what separates the successes from the failures. Thus, much like Scorpion himself, Mortal Kombat escaped from that hell and landed on the big screen, becoming quite possibly the most entertaining and fan-pleasing video game movie ever made.
The story is pretty basic, but that's not why we're here. Cole Young (Tan), a washed-up MMA fighter with a dragon birthmark, learns he's been chosen as one of Earth's champions, along with Liu Kang (Lin), Kung Lao (Huang), Jax (Brooks), and Kano (Lawson, who steals the show). Jax's partner Sonya (McNamee) brings them together, but she isn't marked. Lord Raiden (Asano) has assembled his warriors to face Shang Tsung (Han) and his Outworld monsters in Mortal Kombat. Tsung's motivations are vague and the actual tournament never happens due to his cheating, but the fights are killer, the fan service is plentiful, and the film earns its R-rating. Gorehounds, prepare for a bloodbath.
Mortal Kombat is exactly what fans have wanted for years. It pays homage to the video game franchise that preceded it, as well as all the best parts of the 1995 movie. I've read some critical reviews that are condemning the film as being something that only Mortal Kombat fans would enjoy. How is that a bad thing? That's the target audience. They should enjoy every second of it, and trust me, they will.