It is a good film that could have been better.
Hey, how’s it going, J1sters! DevilDriver1313 here to invite “On the NXT LVL” to talk about the new Mortal Kombat film which serves to reboot the film franchise. As a long-time fan, I was excited for the new film and wanted to see how New Line and Warner Bros. were going to reestablish these characters. As the past has shown us, there are hits and misses when it comes to video game movies. The question is where does the new Mortal Kombat film fall – the good or the bad?
Mortal Kombat gives fans what they expect from a movie adaption of their beloved game while integrating new elements along familiar ones from past live iterations. As any MK player knows, the meat and potatoes of the film are the fights. The film delivers some impressively choreographed battles between the characters. Seeing Hanzo Hasashi aka Scorpion create and use what will become his signature weapon to dispatch the Lin Kuei assassins with deadly skill was sheer joy. Another highlight is the inevitable battle between rivals Sub-Zero and Scorpion will each displaying their unique powers and amazing fighting skills. And there are some confrontations that are just humorous to watch, such as Liu Kang spamming the sweep kick move against Kano, drawing the merc for hire to question whether that was “the only move he knew.” This little element was purely for fans who have dealt with this playing the games. Speaking of fan service, Mortal Kombat does a nice job planting Easter Eggs that reference other characters for sharp eyed fans to find while other references were placed right out in the open such as the iconic Pit Stage.
The costume designs for certain characters were amazing although liberties were taken in their design. Scorpion and Sub-Zero represented their video game counterparts very well, although I would have preferred that Sub-Zero’s outfit had more blue colorations in it. Compared to Scorpion (who yellow highlights were clearly visible), Subby’s outfit felt flat to me. As for Scorpion, he finally has his signature kunai and chain, not some weird little creature that emerged from his hand like in the original 1995 film. Where Kabal was easily recognizable with his attire, the familiar purple hue was missing from Mileena. I get that some colors do not transfer well on camera, but something could have been done to put the color in her outfit somehow. If it wasn’t for her carrying her sais, Mileena would have gone unrecognized. While Josh Lawson was enjoyable as Kano, at least Trevor Goddard’s portrayal of the character in the 1995 film had his iconic metal face plate. Shang Tsung’s outfit was beautifully detailed, however, he reminded me of Fire Lord Ozai from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Don’t get me wrong. I liked the designs and credit the artists’ for creating them. I just wish that further steps were taken to make them more iconic.
Now let’s get the elephant out of the room and talk about film original character Cole Young, who has received a tongue lashing from fans. Cole is the new guy on the scene and his placement in the established mythos is questionable yet understandable. His role is similar to others like him. He has an ancestral history that he is unaware of, latent powers that he struggles to awaken and there are high expectations of him given his lineage. Over the years, Mortal Kombat’s storyline has changed a couple times with some characters’ getting expansion upon their stories while other were retold. 2011’s Mortal Kombat game rebooted the series mythos with an alternate timeline that prevents the events of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, as well as establish a new mythos. The film can be seen as another alteration to the story. In the new Mortal Kombat mythos, Liu Kang is not the winner of the tenth tournament and his story (along with several other characters) changes. This sets up for a new protagonist to assume the role. The same could be said about the new Mortal Kombat film, which is set prior to “a Mortal Kombat tournament”, meaning one specific to the film franchise and not necessarily tied in with the games. This is likely Cole Young’s role and I hope his character gets more development through future films.
In short, Mortal Kombat is a good film that touches on the right notes, but also falls flat just as equally. For me as a fan, it had much to offer for those of us who looking for a proper adaption, unfortunately, the underwhelming plot and lacking familiarity in specific characters leaves more to be desired from the film.
3.5 out of 5