“Mortal Kombat” (2021) is the latest action movie based on the popular video game of the same name. This time we see an MMA fighter and some new found friends protecting Earthrealm from the Outerworld villains who wish to rule over all of humanity
I rarely played the games. I never saw the 1990s movies. I actually only recently even discovered they were still making versions of the video game complete with far more graphic “finish him/her!” take out scenes. Viewing this as a person who appreciates some martial arts movies but not the game I found the movie very entertaining. It is a typically thin plot for an action movie but at least for most of the fight scenes the superhuman strength of the fighters has some back story to it. We start off the whole movie with the main villain Bi-Han, attacking the family home of history’s greatest ninja, Hanzo Hasashi. Bi-Han kills him and his entire family to finally squash that powerful blood line. Only Hasashi’s wife hid their infant child under the floor. The thunder god Raiden appears just as Hasashi is dying to save the infant and his supernatural dagger.
We then fast forward hundreds of years to the present where we see an MMA fighter, Cole Young, getting his ass kicked in a low budget MMA arena. Guess where his bloodline comes from? You’d never guess…oh you did. In the back ground of this Earthrealm present day you have the big baddies in Outerworld planning on cheating to win the tenth and final Mortal Kombat so they can take over the world. They send down Bi-Han, now renamed Subzero, to kill off the remaining Earth champions, who were a motley lot anyway. We can tell who is an earth champion or not because they have the Mortal Kombat logo as a mark on their arm or shoulder. Very clever.
The whole movie is a cat and mouse game of Cole and the fellow champion compatriots that collect him and others along the way, including a “regular” human Sonya who has been piecing together the mythology of the tournament with her partner Jax who does bear the tell tale marking. We get the usual combat training scenes we expect in martial arts movies, people doing battle before they are ready, our heroes finally discovering their true abilities under the grueling stress of battle, and ultimately good beating evil. It is as formulaic as one would expect but there are at least some good special effects and fight scenes to carry one through the movie. Acting is on par for 80s action movies, which I guess may be on par for modern action movies too. It can be a bit distracting but not to the point where it is not enjoyable. Some of the special effects were extremely well done and should hold up over time. Others already looked middling so are going to age very poorly. Overall I enjoyed it and would watch the sequel even if I never need to see this one again. I rate it 6/10.