3 out of 5 stars (average)
Watching Mortal Komat is like watching a young child mash all their favorite toys together. It’s loud, confusing, and nonsensical, but you can tell the kid’s in heaven. (Hopefully) unlike a kid playing with his toys, it wears its R-rating like a blood-soaked badge of honor that shows the filmmakers respect the game it’s based on. If only the plot and dialogue couldn’t have been treated with such care. Mortal Kombat is not acquainted with plot coherency or character development, but its well-staged fights and gory effects should provide a fun afternoon at home or at the cinema for fans.
Cole Young (Newcomer Lewis Tan) has been chosen to participate in Mortal Kombat, a massive fighting event wherein individuals across the galaxy fight for their world to remain safe from evildoers. After being saved by ex-Special Forces people Jax (Mehcad Brooks giving the best performance in the movie) and Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) from a cold-powered being named Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim), Cole must quickly learn to fight while a greater evil looms. I almost forgot hit-and-miss comic relief guy Kano (Josh Lawson) is here too.
Mortal Kombat was clearly made by fans for fans. The action sequences are well-choreographed, brutal, and have gory deaths aplenty, and I’ve read it stays close to the games. The problem comes whenever the characters start talking. Lewis Tan is forgettable in the lead role and the dialogue feels like a brick to the face most of the time. Narrative coherency and characterization are foreign concepts, and the first 30 minutes drag. The stand-out is Mehcad Brooks (Jimmy Olsen on Supergirl) whose natural charisma helps the bogus script go down. The action is clearly the focus here, and while it delivers in bloody bulk, the recent adaptations of Sonic the Hedgehog and Detective Pikachu have shown it’s possible to remain faithful to your source material And deliver something palatable for general audiences. Its current financial and streaming success means a sequel is all but inevitable, so here’s hoping they carve up a stronger script along with all the body limbs next time. Mortal Kombat delivers plenty of thrills to satisfy series fans, but novices will likely desire more meat on its bloody bones. See it if you like this franchise, skip it if you don’t.
Rated R for Strong Bloody Violence And Language Throughout, And Some Crude References