Mortal Kombat (2021 movie) Review
Michael P Cleworth
Some good humor from Kano
A magnitude of game references
New character as lead role
Never lived up to expectations
Being a 90’s child I held a vested interest in the rebooted Mortal Kombat movie and couldn’t wait to see what New Line Cinema was going to do with it. I thought back to 1995 when the first Mortal Kombat movie dragged its way onto our screens. I also thought of how shockingly cheesy the movie was, even by the nineties’ outlandish standards. Hoping for a dark, creepy, action-packed movie I was instead met by enough cheese to keep Domino’s in business for a good few years. The costumes looked like something my parents would have bought seven-year-old me to dress up in and the acting was bested by my efforts as Joseph in the school nativity play.
Fast forward 26-years, an older me hears news of a reboot. ‘Finally’, I optimistically thought, a second roll of the dice for the movie scene; a real chance of some long-overdue redemption. I instantly hit YouTube and checked out all of the speculation videos and teaser reels. The hype was hyping and things were actually looking hopeful, I began counting down the days until release. When the day finally came, I was brought right back to 1995 and relived the same feelings of disappointment that I experienced all of those years ago.
Mortal Kombat – Storyline
It’s pretty hard to write about the Mortal Kombat movie’s storyline, purely for the fact that it doesn’t really have one. The whole movie is just an abundance of excuses for a little cheesy action and subtle nods to the original games. With a complete disregard to originality and even imagination, the writing team decided to go concentrate on the “action” as opposed to any kind of plot. The movie sees an MMA fighter team up with Sonia Blade, Kano, and Raiden to battle evil forces and save the universe. Why not? It’s not as though that has ever been done before.
Mortal Kombat – Characters
Instead of using an actual character from the much-loved games, they just defied all logic and made a new one up. Lewis Tan doesn’t do a terrible job in the shoes of the MMA-fighting newcomer but the character does nothing to tickle the nostalgia glands. Furthermore, there was literally an open book and multiple choices for who essentially is the core character of Mortal Kombat; instead, they decided to throw a normal guy into the boots of the protagonist. No special powers or gimmicky ways, just a normal dude that could handle himself in the octagon.
Alongside this debuting character, we have franchise favorite Sonia Blade (Jessica McNamee) and rude, loud and brash Kano (played by Lewis Tan). Kano’s character almost makes Mortal Kombat worth watching. He brings a real comedy element to the movie and Tan carries the role off to perfection. With witty remarks and a don’t-give-a-f**k attitude bring Kano to life, just as I’ve always imagined him.
While the movie doesn’t live up to a lot of expectations, I would still say it’s worth watching if you’re a huge fan of the franchise. Amid the corny dialogue and Dollar Tree wardrobe, there are a few moments that bring a little spark to the movie. Old fans of the game will delight in the plethora of references thrown in; my favorite being Kano ripping out Reptile’s heart and saying “Kano wins”. As far as references go, Mortal Kombat is packing an abundance.
Aside from these references to the games, there’s very little going for the movie. Yes, there are a few solid comedic moments but without Kano’s kontributions (see what I did there?) there would be nothing to hold Mortal Kombat together. I write this deep in the hope that I will finally get the movie I’ve waited most of my life for when MK2 hits our screens. However, dear reader, I have my doubts.