Review by Sean Boelman
The Mortal Kombat series defined a whole genre of video games, and the newest film adaptation hopes to revitalize a notoriously bad genre of movies. While it doesn’t quite end up reaching that lofty goal, it’s an entertaining movie with plenty of great moments that are sure to please the core audience of fans.
The film follows an MMA fighter who is recruited to be one of Earth’s champions to fight against warriors from other realms for control of the universe. It’s a very minimalistic story, but those who are coming to a Mortal Kombat movie for the story likely aren’t those who should be seeing one in the first place.
Fans will undoubtedly delight in getting to see some of their favorite fighters brought to life, and the movie does a great job of making them look cool as hell in the process. Of course, it would have been over-stuffed had they used the entire roster, so some of the most iconic playable characters are left out for future installments.
The writers of the film made the interesting choice of using an original character as the protagonist, and it results in mixed success. The character’s arc is really conventional, and his abilities are less than impressive. Ultimately, this decision feels like one rooted in the opportunity to sell tie-in DLC for the game.
There is a lot of action throughout, but a majority of the battles that fans will be wanting come in the last thirty minutes. The first hour is a lot of exposition and training, with the occasional fight thrown in for good measure. Thankfully, a quick wit keeps this portion of the movie trucking along even if it isn’t as adrenaline-fueled as expected.
Being that this is the first R-rated live-action Mortal Kombat film, audiences will be expecting tons of gore, and it delivers. The fatalities are definitely awesome, and while some fans may miss some of the most iconic moments from the game being recreated, it will satisfy their craving for violent carnage.
Much of the movie is Earth-bound and it would have been nice to see there be more world-building of the other realms. Still, the sets are very creative and serve as an excellent background for the fights. The fight choreography isn’t super original from a martial arts sense, but the integration of special effects to replicate moves from the series is great.
Mortal Kombat is the type of movie for which you buy a bucket of popcorn and sit back and enjoy it for all of its mindlessly bloody fun. The filmmakers seem to have captured lighting in a bottle here, and maybe they can do it again to create a series of great video game movies.
Mortal Kombat is now in theaters and on HBO Max.
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