In 1992, Midway Games, successfully shocked the game scene with a fantasy-fighting game titled ‘Mortal Kombat’. Released firstly as an arcade game, it become one of the most successful franchise in its genre.
Mortal Kombat introduces a brutal finishing moves namely Fatalities. In Mortal Kombat 3, the game introduced Brutality and Animalities. The gore and brutal elements of the game have brought the title into one of the most successful fighting games in the history of video games.
Its fame brings the franchise to be adapted into a movie in 1995. Despite the successful performance on the market, the movie was harshly criticized especially on its poor plot and rigid acting. Same thing happened into the next Mortal Kombat movie in 1997, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, it had market success with harsh critics.
24 years later, Mortal Kombat already produced its 11th franchise of the game title and another movie is released (or rebooted) under Warner Bros., and other studios.
The movie started with a prologue in 17th century of Japan as a group of assassins led by Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) attacks Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his family. Using his ice power, Bi-Han kills Hanzo’s men, wife, and son. The opening is quite solid with pretty visual background, well-choreographed action, and strong performances from the actors.
Hanzo is then killed by Bi-Han, but before he dies, he uses his remaining power to teleport himself into a Netherrealm. Waiting for his time to take revenge.
Jump forward to the present time which we later are informed that the Outerworld has won 9 times against Earthrealm in Mortal Kombat. One more win, Outerworld will conquer Earthrealm. Sounds dangerous right? Then we are introduced into our main character, Cole Young (Lewis Tan), a MMA fighter.
Trailer from Warner Bros
Later known that Cole Young is the descendant of Hanzo and he has capability of ‘arcana’, a special skill that is owned by heroes or warrior from every realm. We also introduced with several other characters such as Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee), Shang (Chin Han), and Kano (Josh Lawson). To win the Mortal Kombat for the 10th times, Bi-Han who now is Sub-Zero and other Outerworld warrior try to attack Earthrealm.
The rebooted version of Mortal Kombat ended with teasing the existence of the sequel which more warriors will be introduced. This Mortal Kombat movie, offers good action choreography as well as special moves that are loved by the game fan, we got to see fatality moves and gruesome death.
It is important to see that the movie still keeping important elements from the game that is well-known among the fan or even casual gamers. The actors also shows strong acting performances except the main character, especially during the final battle scenes between Earthrealm and Outerworld.
But, despite the well-choreographed action and strong acting performances from the actors. This Mortal Kombat movie still has not escape from the main problems of the previous movies, poor story plot and weak character development.
The movie is lack of character emotional journey, especially Cole Young as the main character that we don’t know who is he except his dragon tattoo and he suddenly has to accept his fate. His ‘arcana’ arc also seems too fast.
We have never been shown about his struggle, his emotion, and his journey on getting his ‘arcana’, which is just an iron body and punch that make his body as hard as steel. Very lame for a super power of the main character. We don’t also feel the desperation of the Earthrealm’s god that has lost 9 times in a row.
This movie is adapted from game and there is a fine line to differentiate between story creation in game and in a movie. We might just want to skip the 30 mins or 1 hour skill tutorial that is shown in the game but not with the movie. There should be an intimate reason and emotional journey for a character to find their ‘power’.
Our Score (5/10)
Title : Mortal Kombat
Production : Warner Bros., NetherRealm Studios, New Line Cinema, Broken Road Production, Atomic Monster
Director : Simon McQuoid
Screenwriter : Greg Russo, David Callaham
Casts : Lewis Tan, Joe Taslim, Hiroyuki Sanada, Jessica McNamee