Game – Movie Review: Mortal Kombat (1997)


(Note – in 2015 it will be the 20th anniversary of this movie…)

When it comes to videogame movie adaptions there have been more stinkers then we can possibly imagine, so much so that the decent ones kind of get forgotten about. Mortal Kombat is one such film that has been kind of forgotten about thanks in part to the sub-par sequel & the excellent reboot series (MK: Legacy).

Not to suggest Mortal Kombat is a great movie but it does something many other adaptions fail to do, it manages to feel authentic!

Liu vs Sub Zero

Mortal Kombat combines elements from the first 2 games & sees Outworld on the cusp of invading Earth Realm. They’ve won 9 tournaments in a row & the 10th will see the Emperor of Outworld, Shao Kahn able to take the Earth.

The god of thunder & lightening, Raiden (played by the excellent Christopher Lambert) has assembled a group of warriors who he hopes can defeat Shao Kahn’s best warriors led by the sorcerer Shang Tsung.

Raiden

Liu Kang, Sonja Blade & Johnny Cage have been hand-picked by Raiden but all have other motives for agreeing to go. Lui Kang wants revenge on Shang Tsung who murdered his younger brother, Sonja is hunting the killer, Kano & Cage is out to prove that is not a fake move star.

The group will have to put their personal issues to the side if they are to beat an Outworld team compromising of Shang Tsung, Kano, Goro, Sub-Zero & Scorpion.

Goro

That’s the film in a nut-shell…the rest of it is made up of well-planned fights, awkward moments that suggest a potential love story & a rushed ending. It’s incredibly entertaining while still having loads of cheesy dialogue & poor acting.

The main star of this movie is Liu Kang & the actor (Robin Shou) who plays him isn’t exactly spectacular. A lot of his lines are delivered really hammed up & his awkward love story scenes with Kitana doesn’t sit well. What makes Liu Kang so watchable is his fight scenes…I love the way they are handled & feel authentic.

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That goes for almost all the fights in the film…they are fun to watch & they feel very Mortal Kombat. We get:

Liu Kang vs Sub-Zero
Johnny Cage vs Scorpion
Sonja vs Kano
Liu Kang vs Reptile
Johnny Cage vs Goro
Liu Kang vs Shang Tsung

 

Scorpion gif

To name a few…it’s a nice amount & they never feel too much or too long. As I said Liu Kang is the star but the show is stolen by Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby) & Raiden (Christopher Lambert) who both have excellent dialogue, funny scenes & impactful moments. Cages relationship with Sonja is ten times more believable then Liu Kang & Kitana.

Cage & Sonja

MK tries to stay true to the series it is based off with plenty of references throughout. We have plenty of fatalities, fighting moves & even a friendship! Unfortunately when fights aren’t happening there really isn’t a lot that goes on…it’s not boring but it just feels like we’re treading water until we get to the next fight.

The ending is also pretty rushed…suddenly we’ve run out of warriors & Shang Tsung is kidnapping Sonya (sadly playing helpless female here even though earlier she kicked Kano’s ass). Everyone ends up in Outworld which looks…err…not great. The ease in which the good guys get into Kahn’s castle to challenge Shang Tsung & rescue Sonja is ridiculous.

Outworld

Thankfully the final fight is just fantastic & it is great to see Shang Tsung get his ass handed to him. A horribly corny & awkward final scene feels like a kind of drab way to end it but a sequel bait is dropped at the last second (seriously though, it is so damn cool).

The Gang

One of the better videogame adaptions out there & one that makes effort to stay true to the game series it is based off. Boring & somewhat pointless when fights aren’t occurring, it is still an entertaining watch.

Mortal Kombat
  • 7/10
    The Final Score - 7/10
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