The Game Is On

Mortal Kombat
Stars: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Joe Taslim, Hirotuki Sanada, Matilda Kimber and Nathan Jones
Director: Simon McQuoid
Scriptwriters: Greg Russo and David Callaham from a story by Oren Uziel and Greg Russo, based on “Mortal Kombat” by Ed Boon and John Tobias
Composer: Benjamin Wallfisch
Cinematography: Germain McMicking
New Line Cinema and Warner Brothers Pictures
Rating: R for violence
Running Length: 111 Minutes 

If you wondered what had happened to “Mortal Kombat” for the past twenty years or so, after the 1997 movie “Annihilation,” which did not do much at the box office, this game film/movie went into retirement.  Well, temporary, that is, because the current “Mortal Kombat” is the beginning of a new series of films.  So, fans if you are still there, get ready for action and violence, which is what these movies are about. Storyline, well, it is there somewhere in-between sword fights. 

The story begins back in Japan about the 17th century, where there is a clash between two rival ninja clans. Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) loses his family to Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) before falling to the Netherrealm.  However, there is a surviving child who is now protected by Raiden (Tadanobu Asano). Fast forward to current day where the battles have gone on through centuries with the Outworld winning over Earthrealm in most of the Mortal Kombat fights. No one wants Outworld to win, so enter a current battle with Cole (Lewis Tan) being attacked by the past Bi-Han now known as Sub-Zero.  Major Jax comes to the rescue and is presumed dead.  Cole is sent to Sonya (Jessica McNamee) for training. There is also a dragon mark/tattoo/birthmark that is important. They meet Raiden who protects them, and other fighters, Liu Kang (Ludi Lin) and Kung Lao (Max Huang). All are in training now for the Grand Finale and be prepared for one great big battle for supremacy between Outworld and Earthrealm.  The action continues. 

Acting is average and Lewis Tan as Cole Young, is the lead so you know that he has a future here. The rest of the cast does OK in the action sequences.  One has a tendency not to watch the actors in “Mortal Kombat,” so much as to watch the action, itself.  In this, you may feel you have run 10 miles by the time you leave the theater or your favorite sofa. 

The beginning of the film has good choreographed action and you start to think this will carry through the film. Alas, as in all films where a pro is teaching a beginner, you sit through the trial-and-error part until the beginner learns the moves. Eat your popcorn before the real action begins. As you can imagine, the battles are good, special effects are fine and even though you may not be familiar with the game, “Mortal Kombat,” you can figure out what is going on and enjoy the athletics being performed.  Enough violence there to now make you put your popcorn container aside. Kind of makes football or hockey look tame in comparison. 


Copyright 2021 Marie Asner