Mortal Kombat (2021) Review

Today I decided to go a little different. Instead of doing another horror movie I went horror adjacent, but still fitting the season with Mortal Kombat from 2021. Mortal Combat was directed by Simon McQuoid and stars Lewis Tan as Cole Young, Jessica McNamee as Sonya Blade, Josh Lawson as Kano, Joe Taslim as Bi-Han/Sub-Zero, Mehcad Brooks as Jax, Tadanobu Asano as Lord Raiden, Hiroyuki Sanada as Hanzo Hasashi/Scorpion, Chin Han as Shang Tsung, and Ludi Lin as Liu Kang. Mortal Combat tells the story of Lord Raiden gathering the champions of earthrealm to fight in the tournament of mortal kombat against the forces of Shang Tsung and outworld. I’m probably gonna keep this review short as I don’t have strong feelings about this movie. For those who don’t know or know me, I am a fan of the franchise. It’s probably the only fighting game I’ve followed and I love the lore surrounding it, in all its versions. So I was excited when I heard they were coming out with a new movie. I think its interesting how the movie decided to go with some of the more different ides from the games in that a lot of stuff can happen outside of the tournament. Its a good idea and can make for a more interesting movie franchise instead of focusing on just the tournament. Though that can create some things that I’ll mention later that can have an unintentional affect. I think that the story and plotline of this movie is ok, its serviceable and works for the most part. It introduces some stuff that can work for this version of the lore, such as the dragon mark representing their champion designation. They also use it to explain why an average human can have super powers, but it has this unintentional affect of making it like an x-gene in practice. 

The characters for the most part all work. They’re pretty good adaptations of their game counterparts, especially Kano. He’s the most fun character throughout the movie. The performances are all good for the characters. It was cool to see what they did with some of the characters and what characters they would include. Cole was an ok new character, an interesting backstory but they gotta do more with him to make him interesting in the future. Sub-zero was a standout from just coolness alone, you can tell they wanted him to have an impact.
The movie looks great for the most part. The locations and sets are great and the cinematography is good at moments. The effects are mostly pretty good, some stuff could have used a bit more time, like Gorr and the compositing of the outworld scenes. Thought the ice effects were incredible, very creative use that sets it a part from the usage in the games. The score was ok, a little too dubstepy in some places for my taste. The action for the most part was pretty good, the best scenes being the opening and the ending final fight. Funny how the best fights all involve Scorpion and Sub-zero. Although that final fight was awesome. Though it would have been cool to see more of Scorpions abilities in that fight. The problem I have with most of the action is the editing, like its can get jumpy at times and really should have let the action flow instead. 

I had some big issues with this movie. I’ll start a bit smaller and work my way up. There are a few potholes to me in terms of the lore. So they mention that the tournament is held to protect the realms from each other, but then Shang mentions that none of the other gods are going to stop him from just invading earthrealm. They should establish why they have to work through the tournament, and why Shang is doing these underhanded tactics when they’re this close to winning. Although that could also be working towards some of the stuff the more recent story from the games did where the elder gods didn’t get involved with Shao Kahn’s workings until he invaded. The movie makes use of a lot of fan service, but it doesn’t really earn it. It’ll do stuff that only fans of the franchise would understand but doesn’t actually make use of them. Especially character wise, as there are some characters that are there just to be another score on the kill count. My biggest issue is that this feels like a generic blockbuster movie with mortal kombat paint on it. Like it’s just an ok blockbuster. It doesn’t do the work to get us to care about the characters, it expects everyone to know who everyone is to have us care for them. It’s hard to describe for some reason.

Over-all this was an ok movie. It could have been a lot better and just feels kind of generic. It has some cool moments and some cool kills, but it doesn’t earn it to me. I give it a thumb up, its not bad but not that memorable. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s