“Mortal Kombat”! For most people the shrieking sound of the theme song starts. Beginning in the 90s it was a phenomenon not only for arcade fans. But for a generation that saw just what video games can really do. It spawned countless sequels, merchandise, a television series, cartoons, a live tour (yes a live show. Google it, it’s worth it) and of course feature films.
Which leads us to the reboot. Nowadays reboots are very hit or miss. Sometimes the bad reboot has more longevity than the source material. But that’s another story. In the case of Mortal Kombat it was a long time coming. This film has been in development since the late 90s. If this was coming back, it was coming back with a vengeance.
As a child of the 90s, Mortal Kombat was the first movie I saw that had a ton of violence and frightening scenes. I loved it. I even loved the sequel, as cheesy as it was. With technology advancing all the time and a promise of an R rating, I had high hopes for this film.
So what did I like about the new adventure?
It is a darker story and darker in tone. Following the video game more than the original film. Most importantly it’s gory. Any fan of the original game knows the intense and over the top gore. That couldn’t be done in the 1995 film. I can see the inspiration from Chinese martial arts films. It’s bloody, it’s violent and a little shocking. All that you want from a Mortal Kombat.
The diversity! The remake includes all different ethnicities in their respective roles. Again more in line with the game. A big kudos to casting.
The training montage. I appreciated this. Showing the characters preparing for the tournament. The fighting itself is awesome. Very well done and well choreographed.
The nods to the video game and 1995 film. From quotes to a character's accent (if you know you know) to signature moves. It's a nice tip of the hat to the fans.
Sadly I have some issues with this movie.
The story is hard to follow. It’s all over the place. Some events don’t really happen. Some characters just show up and show out. Obviously this is just to appease the fans. If you don’t know the plot and characters, you will be very confused.
The prologue. It was way! Too! Long! It almost felt like a different movie. This could have been trimmed or done a different way. I understand what the approach is, but it drags the movie. The movie itself is a little slow. Sometimes you're counting minutes for something to happen. Or you expect something to happen and nothing. I felt the movie didn’t start till about a half hour in. Not good for an action movie
The ending. That’s all I’ll say about that.
The production design. It looks cheap. I understand we’re going for realistic and dark. But the design didn’t do it for me. Normally I wouldn’t pick at this, and I wouldn’t compare. But the original was filmed in Thailand. There was color. It was an ornate and interesting world. This was just a bit of a letdown seeing most of the film looks like a film set. This movie had a 55 million dollar budget, it doesn’t look like it.
So what’s my opinion of Mortal Kombat? It’s a good movie if you're an action movie nut. Or you're just in it for all the fighting. If you're a fan of the games or the original film. Take it with a grain of salt. Personally I wanted more, I didn't hate it but it was lacking. And I think more could have been done.