Monday, July 10, 2017

Movie Review: "Mortal Kombat" (1995)

Director: Newt Arnold
Year: 1992
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 41 minutes

A group of fighters must defend the 'Earth Relm' from being taken over by Shang Tsung and his 'Outworld' warriors.

"Mortal Kombat" is an adaptation of the ultra-violent video game of the same name. It is directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, who would make a career out of adapting video games with his never-ending "Resident Evil" series. The film features characters such as Liu Kang, played by Robin Shou; Johnny Cage, played by Linden Ashby; and Sonya Blade, played by Bridgette Wilson. These three are the fighters chosen to defend 'Earth Relm,' led by Lord Rayden, played by Christopher Lambert, from an 'Outworld' invasion. 'Outworld' is led by the sorcerer Shang Tsung, played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. Fighting for Shang Tsung is Australian crime boss Kano, played by Trevor Goddard; Kitana, played Talisa Soto, who is only a reluctant participant; three ninjas known as Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Reptile, and their champion Goro, a giant a four-armed creature voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson.

Back in 1993, Hollywood made one of its first video game movie adaptations with "Super Mario Bros." It was awful and lost a ton of money, but that didn't stop people from making more movies just like it. In 1995, New Line Cinema and Midway Games hit pay dirt with "Mortal Kombat," a movie that was overall still critically panned, but somehow managed to take in $122 million at the box office. If you were a 90's kid, chances are, you not only saw "Mortal Kombat" but you also owned the techno-thumping soundtrack as well. As adults revisiting this movie, it's laughable how bad it is. While there are a few minor good things about it in terms of its settings, some of its costumes, and its art direction, the acting, however, is terrible. The narrative is nonsensical, the dialogue is atrocious, and the fight scenes are pathetic save for one (which from our understanding was actually added as part of a reshoot). The digital effects are horrific and terribly dated. They probably looked absolutely awful even by 1995's standards.

Still, one might be able to enjoy "Mortal Kombat" in an ironic "so bad, it's good" guilty pleasure kind of way because it is full of comedy gold. It may have you laughing your ass off at how stupid it is, but don't go into it expecting it to be anything like the bloody, violent video game. It's an extremely sanitized, mostly cringe-worthy and extremely over-the-top reimagining that removes the best parts of the game and replaces them with weak dialogue, a wooden ass Christopher Lambert in some sort of cloak and an extra long white wig for dramatic emphasis, and luckily enough, a bad ass soundtrack.

My Rating: 3.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 34%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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