This time last year, I never thought I would be so excited to go see a movie based on the Mortal Kombat video games. But we live in strange times, and it turns out that Mortal Kombat was a pretty entertaining experience.
As the title suggests, Mortal Kombat is based on the video game series of the same name and the Earth Kingdom is threatened by Outworld. If Earth Kingdom loses again after losing 9 Mortal Kombat tournaments, it will be in Outworld forever. The stakes are high, right? While the movie tries to explain the implications of everything, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would understand the movie much better if I played the games more (my exposure is currently limited to Mortal Kombat X).
That’s not to say you can’t follow the movie if you haven’t played the games. The film does a good job of explaining who is who and why they are important. Only some of the more important aspects could have used a little more explanation, like why Outworld is so eager to rule over Earth. Or why, and this is my biggest problem with the film, a certain character is able to drag Sub-Zero into a fight that dominates the film’s promotional trailers. Don’t get me wrong, this fight (you all know what fight I’m talking about) is beautifully filmed and very entertaining to watch, but I really don’t understand how this could have happened. The simplest explanation is given, but it did not satisfy me. Sometimes it’s better to put in those five minutes of extra explanation, even if it slows the plot down a bit, and part of me wishes Mortal Kombat had done that.
These problems aside, Mortal Kombat is actually a lot of fun to watch. My favorite part is the sequence that emulates a video game (you can’t skip it), right down to the various battle arenas and death sequences. Although the way they reenact the game is a bit ridiculous (one character even shouts that he won), it’s safe to say that it was all done with a lot of fun. I mean, if you’re going to incorporate a video game into a movie, this kind of homage is probably the best way to go. At least a warning about these deaths: You really are as bloody-minded as people would have you believe. So if you mind…., you’ve been warned.
Of all the characters in the film, my two favorites are definitely Lewis Tan as Cole Young and Jessica McNamee as Sonia Blade (with an honorable mention for Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero). I really liked how they delved into the world of Mortal Kombat, and I thought Tan played Cole Young very well, a man who doesn’t believe in it at first, but quickly gets involved when he realizes his family is in danger. Part of me was disappointed that Kitana (my favorite Mortal Kombat character) wasn’t in the movie, but there’s a hint of her in an Easter Egg if you look closely. I should also briefly mention Taslim’s performance as Sub-Zero, which is one of the best in the film. My only real complaint is that I don’t feel we know enough about him, his motivations and why he is the way he is.
The music, which I already mentioned, is just as great with the movie as it is without. I stand by my earlier opinion that the Mortal Kombat soundtrack is one of the best soundtracks released this year, musically speaking. Especially during the battles in the second half of the film, the music draws you into the drama and adds an extra layer of detail that makes the film entertaining.
One final comment: The film ends with an obvious hint at a sequel, and despite its many shortcomings, I would be more than happy for a sequel. There are so many things that could have been done with the Mortal Kombat story, and I wish the filmmakers had been given the chance to continue the story. This could be a really fun popcorn movie franchise, so I’m curious to see if the sequel gets the green light.
Although Mortal Kombat is seriously flawed in some aspects of its story, it is a genuinely entertaining experience that does its best to faithfully convey the story of Mortal Kombat to the big screen. The Easter Eggs and hints are more than enough to satisfy any video game fan, and the teaser episode had me waiting for the sequel. My final verdict: Go see Mortal Kombat, it’s worth it.
Let me know what you think of Mortal Kombat in the comments below and have a great day!
Soundtrack Review: Mortal Kombat (2021)
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