Mortal Kombat (2021)

77 / 100

Watchable Minutes : 110 minutes is a lot of time to spend in the Mortal Kombat universe, but it really wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I think I am a wee bit biased though, because while I was waiting to watch this with my friends, I decided to torture myself and watch MK 95 (don’t do that to yourself). I think they could have cut maybe 15-20 minutes, just to make it a little bit tighter. Mortal Kombat shouldn’t be almost 2 hours, it should be more like 90 minutes.

Mortal Kombat 2021 Restricted Trailer

Trailer Comparison : I really enjoyed this trailer and think it was really well done. It matched the real tone of the movie, which is something that most modern trailers don’t do well.

Move or Film : Mortal Kombat is a very violent and fun movie. It’s got heart and attention to detail for hardcore old school fans, but it’s definitely not a film.

Info : 

  • Run time : 1 hr 50 min
  • Studio : Warner Bros / New Line Cinema
  • Director : Simon McQuiod
  • Where to Watch : HBO Max, In Theaters

Summary : 

Former MMA prodigy Cole Young has fallen from the spotlight and now fights for cheap at local gyms. After a degrading loss, Cole meets an ex-solider named Jax who is very interested in a strange birthmark in the shape of a dragon on Cole’s chest. Soon after meeting Jax, Cole and his family are attacked by a mysterious man with magical ice wielding abilities. Jax instructs Cole to flee and seek out an ally named Sonya Blade. Together Cole and Sonya search for the hidden temple of Lord Raiden in order to find out what the mysterious dragon marking means and who is pursuing them. Together they learn that there is a cosmic martial arts tournament set to take place and if the evil Shang Tsung wins his 10th straight victory, Earthrealm will be enslaved. With the help of Lord Raiden and several others, Cole begins to unlock his power and learns the truth of his heritage.

Review : 

Mortal Kombat took the interesting approach of creating a new character in Cole Young, played by Lewis Tan. The decision to add a new character to an already established and complicated lore was risky, but I think it pays off. It gives the audience a natural entrance to the universe of Mortal Kombat, where we can explore and learn at the same pace as the main character and not feel overwhelmed. It also helped that for those that are familiar with the universe didn’t have to worry about an established character not living up to their expectations as a main character. I found Cole Young to be a promising, but underdeveloped character. They didn’t even mention that he was an orphan until it was convenient, but I can’t figure out how it was even relevant to the main story that he was an orphan. That same flaw was present throughout most of the story. There’s a ton of promising ideas, but they stayed just surface level. Or they introduced some random tidbit of lore that doesn’t really impact the story with any significance. My final opinion is that the story of 2021’s Mortal Kombat is decent and mostly enjoyable, with a couple splashes of fan service here and there. Before moving on, one thing that’s been nagging at me since I finished my second rewatch is just how cool the opening 10 minutes were. The action was top notch and it really put me in the mood for more ninja martial arts type movies like IP Man or The Raid. I think that modern audiences are ready for a return to martial arts movies. We’ve gone through the action movie renaissance, now let’s do the martial arts renaissance. 

The cast of Mortal Kombat is filled with people that aren’t exactly A listers, which is totally fine for a project like this. I did some research and learned that Lewis Tan (Cole Young) and Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) in particular are HIGHLY skilled martial artists which is awesome. When you have skilled actors who can do their own stunts and fight scenes, it adds a whole other layer of detail to those scenes. It just feels different. I’m not familiar with really any of the cast to say if this was their best or worst role, but I think everybody had fun with the movie. That came through the screen in waves, but the actors having fun doesn’t always translate into an audiences level of enjoyment. I don’t think that anybody’s performance was awful, but it wasn’t amazing. The focus was heavily placed on the action and not on dialogue, which is fine. It would have been nice to have a little more time spent on dialogue, but whatever. 

I found the look and feel of Mortal Kombat to be inconsistent. Some shots looked pretty good, while others looked kinda janky. Some of the CGI was super solid, and other times it looked like they were operating off of snapchat filters. It was definitely noticeable when Lord Raiden appeared on screen with his white glowing eyes. While it is accurate to the games, it looked really jarring on screen. You can tell from the first fatality where Kano rips out a still beating heart that all the extra CGI work went into the fatalities to make them spectacularly gory. The movie could have benefited from a more experienced director, but good luck getting somebody like Dennis Villeneuve to direct a video game movie. Aside from the visuals, I thought that the sound of the movie was spot on. It felt punchy and hyped me up in all the right moments. Say what you will about Mortal Kombat as a franchise, but Techno Remix is an awesome song that translates well to the silver screen. 

Mortal Kombat is a the latest in a long line of video game movies and while it isn’t a great movie movie, it is a good video game movie. It’s got the action, lore and soundtrack to make long time fans happy and enough brand recognition to make casual movie goers interested in a violent and modern reboot. It is worth noting that I never was a big Mortal Kombat fan growing up, but I did enjoy watching a let’s play of MK11 (shout out to theRadBrad) so I think I was primed to enjoy this movie and understand it a bit more than those who are total strangers to the universe. With that said, if you aren’t a video game person, I don’t think you are going to enjoy the hyperviolence of Mortal Kombat. 

If you like this, check out : 

  • IP Man
  • The Raid
  • John Wick

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