“Mortal Kombat” (2021) Review: An Appreciative Look
May 17, 2021
Seeing Mortal Kombat on screen is nothing new due to the franchise being a video game as well as a filmed cinematic experience back in 1995. Kids as young as 8-12 years old were playing the video games. Surprisingly though, it was because of the portrayed violence that gave the franchise its appeal to all audiences who came in contact with it.
The latest addition to the Mortal Kombat universe is the new 2021 movie directed by Simon McQuoid. The film takes audiences back to witness the endless fight between the fighters of “Outworld” and the fighters from “Earth Realm”, as the respect McQuoid had for the franchise is easily seen.
Mortal Kombat has not been seen on the big screen since the two installments back in the mid 90’s. Teenagers who played the games as kids were able to see some of their favorite characters in live action for the first time. The films at the time, though cheesy in some sense, were great with their interpretation, and none would deny having heard an unforgettable music score.
Seeing the characters in this year’s much anticipated film gave an air of mixed emotions. Maybe the making of another movie took too long? Maybe the previous movies were satisfactory enough and needed no further expansion of the universe? Still the revamped characters and some additional ones brought some fresh excitement and new possibilities never experienced before.
For those familiar with the franchise, it is a safe bet they were quoting lines from the old movies and hoping to hear them again from the actors they knew so well. The nostalgia some fans were seeking from the old films did not seem to be present, but every character gets a poster worthy epic entrance which they own with ease.
In this new film there are some martial artists among the actors, such as Joe Taslim from Sumatera, Indonesia who has won gold medals from 1997-2009 in Asian and National Championships in Judo. He has trained in Wushu, Judo and Taekwondo.
Another martial artist in the film includes Max Huang who is part of the Jackie Chan Stunt Team and has won gold at the German Wushu Nationals in 2009. There is also Hiroyuki Sanada, of Japanese descent, who is no stranger to the action genre and has trained in Shorinji Kempo and Kyokushin Karate.
All of these true martial artists show off the skills they have honed over their fighting and acting careers and step into the shoes of some of the most iconic characters ever imagined. Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, Raiden, Kano, Sonia Blade and Kung Lao are some of the original fan favorites who fill the fight card, the film rounding out a few other surprise characters as well.
One wonders the difficulty it would take to perform a fatality in a live action sequence, but with the help of modern computer graphic imaging, it could be considered a FLAWLESS VICTORY! (pun intended). No film is perfect, but the expectations for a movie like this one is to honor the games as much as possible, and it delivered.
Some complaints about the movie could be that the backstory to some of the character’s motivations are a little vague or just do not make sense in the larger scope of things. The issue is the characters are so memorable that anyone who has followed their journeys in the games have witnessed them evolve into something more than when they started.
Today’s average movie buff wants story driven drama and action, yet that is not what Mortal Kombat is about. Mortal Kombat is about just that, mortal combat between two fighters; meaning a fight to a sometimes-gruesome death, and that is exactly what the audience receives from the movie.
Difficult as it may seem to step into the roles of fighters, all the actors did their best to bring the characters some new life and even some unexpected hilarious moments. For those seeking to just sit and enjoy a modern somewhat cheesy martial arts movie with awesome fighting sequences, CGI and “R” rated brutality like the games, this is the one for you.