Mortal Kombat gets another movie adaptation that attempts to make its mark in the franchise’s expansive universe. 

“Mortal Kombat” is one of the most celebrated fighting games of all time. In 1995, it received its first film adaptation which was met with mixed reactions from fans. Growing up, I played my fair share of the brutal series and so, when they announced a 2021 remake of the film, I was especially excited. 

As a continuation of the storyline, this film introduces Cole Young — played by Lewis Tan — who is a young MMA fighter born with the mark of the dragon. Unaware of what’s truly going on, he finds himself being hunted by Outworld’s Shang Tsung, played by Chin Han, and his warrior, Sub Zero — played by Joe Taslim. 

Special forces major Jax — played by Mehcad Brooks — contacts Cole to warn him about his mark along with the danger that he and his family are in. With Jax’s direction, he teams up with Sonya Blade, played by Jessica McNamee. Together, they uncover a hidden temple that houses other fighters who bear the same mark. This is where Cole begins to train for The Earthrealm Tournament, in which fighters from different realms engage in a mortal kombat to decide the fate of the realm they belong to. 

With a majority of characters from the video game making an appearance, Cole Young is the only character that is exclusive to the film —  an interesting choice given that Cole is rather bland in comparison. Thankfully, other characters like Kano, played by Josh Lawson, are able to pick up the slack and give the film that cheesy charm. 

As side characters had little to no chemistry with each other, the dialogue between them came off a bit awkward and forced which left the rest of the casting to be desired. The introduction of all of the characters seemed rushed as well, which only added to the awkward feeling. 

For “Mortal Kombat” fans who are wondering if the film lives up to how gory the games are, unfortunately, it does not. However, the film does take a more realistic approach towards the over the top gore and violence that you would find in its film predecessors. As an R rated film, it’s definitely as rated R as you can get when it comes to violence. 

The fighting scenes are well choreographed and chock-full of excitement despite only being a bit more realistic than the video games. Although I had hoped that a film based on a fighting game would include more fighting scenes, this instead chose to go with interactions that feel less than cheeky and more cheesy. 

The filmmakers utilized references and top notch action sequences to try to make a film that caters to all fans out there wanting a modern “Mortal Kombat” reboot. If you are a fan or are interested in fighting games then this deserves at least a watch.

Availability: HBO Max

Title: Mortal Kombat 

Star Rating: Three out of five stars

Good:

  • Well choreographed action scenes
  • Lots of characters from the video games make an appearance
  • Faithful references to the franchise

Bad:

  • Uninspiring main character
  • Cheesy dialogue and lines
  • Story is disappointing
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