Mortal Kombat (2021) Review

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Mortal Kombat (2021): 4 out of 10: In the 17th century, Japan witnessed a brutal massacre orchestrated by the assassin Bi-Han, who wiped out Hanzo Hasashi’s clan, including his family. Hanzo, in a fierce battle, confronts Bi-Han but is ultimately struck down, his soul condemned to the Netherrealm. However, Raiden, the God of Thunder, saves Hanzo’s infant daughter and keeps her safe.

Fast forward to 2021, Earthrealm stands on the brink of annihilation as Outworld’s forces have won nine consecutive Mortal Kombat tournaments. The fate of Earthrealm hangs by a thread, with a tenth loss ensuring its demise. Shang Tsung, the sorcerer behind Outworld’s victories, dispatches his warriors to eliminate Earthrealm’s champions before the next tournament begins.

Among those targeted is Cole Young, an MMA fighter marked by a dragon symbol, signifying his status as a chosen champion. Bi-Han, now known as Sub-Zero, attacks Cole and his family, but they are rescued by Jax, a Special Forces Major. Jax directs them to seek Sonya Blade, who has been investigating Mortal Kombat. Their journey leads them to Raiden’s temple, where they meet other champions, including Liu Kang and Kung Lao.

As Cole, Sonya, and their allies train to unlock their inner power, tensions rise, and betrayals occur. Kano, initially an enemy, joins forces with them after awakening his unique ability. Meanwhile, Jax undergoes a transformation, receiving mechanical arms and newfound strength through his arcana.

With Outworld’s forces mounting an assault on Raiden’s temple, the champions must band together to defend Earthrealm. Cole, discovering his lineage to Hanzo Hasashi, unleashes his arcana, transforming into a Care Bear. He and Scorpion defeat Sub-Zero with the power of love and thwart Outworld’s plans.

As the dust settles, Scorpion bids farewell, entrusting Cole with the legacy of the Hasashi bloodline. With Earthrealm’s future secured for now, the champions stand ready to face whatever challenges lie ahead, knowing that the battle for Mortal Kombat is far from over unless the movie flops hard.

The Good

The Good: The first ten minutes of Mortal Kombat ‘21 are excellent. Turn the movie off after ten minutes and then spend the rest of your life happy and thinking this was a good movie and not a complete waste of my time.

Outside of the first ten minutes, Mortal Kombat has a few co-ed fights where men fight woman instead of having the woman ghettoed in fighting each other so kudos for that. There is one very good kill scene. and a couple of decent ones.

The Bad

The Bad: I don’t even know where to begin. The list is seemingly endless. Mortal Kombat is touted as a serious “R” rated version of Mortal Kombat.

So of course there is no nudity and despite all the claims, only a couple of cool kills. 2008’s Rambo had more gore in any random five minute clip than this movie manages throughout the entire run. And this is that CGI blood with no decent practical effects backing it up.

The bad guys have no personality. The head bad guy Shang Tsung resembles, for all the world, a drag queen version of Rita Repulsa.

“The prophecy says” must be quoted at least a dozen times. No actual prophecy is provided.

Forced groan worthy fan service is forced and groan worthy

Sets include Gary, Indiana and a fighting pit right out of the original Star Trek series,

I cannot emphasise enough how little style and apparent talent is on display on the screen

The Ugly

The Ugly: There is no fighting tournament in the Mortal Kombat movie. Let me repeat that the filmmakers (Director Simon McQuoid and writers Greg Russo, Oren Uziel, and Dave Callaham. Yeah, I am naming names) took an hour and fifty minutes of screen time and managed to not have a fighting tournament. (It is teased in a post credit zinger along with an appearance by Johnny Cage).

One does not make a Godzilla film and have him never make it to Tokyo Harbor. One does not make a Lady Chatterley’s Lover film and have the movie end without getting to the gardener. How does one make a Mortal Kombat movie and never quite get around to the reason for the season?

Also, how can you have a Mortal Kombat movie without Johnny Cage? This is the easiest laydown. Make your protagonist Johnny Cage, have him played by Nicolas Cage, and the script writes itself. Instead, Mortal Kombat creates a new protagonist. A boring vanilla fighter down on his luck played by a boring vanilla actor down on his luck (Lewis Tan).

And Lewis “whitest guy ever” Tan has a family which the movie refuses to kill despite plenty of great opportunities. In fact, for a movie called Mortal Kombat, there seems to be a hesitancy with the Mortal side of things… Or the Kombat, for that matter.

In Conclusion

In Conclusion: Mortal Kombat has 101 playable characters. Some of them are admittedly lazy palette swapped ninjas, but still there is plenty of material there. Plus, it is a fighting tournament where the object is to kill your opponent violently. The drama and action are baked in. A more fantasy-based version of Bloodsport. This is not rocket science.

I think the filmmaker had dreams of a Mortal Kombat universe in their head, so they made a prequel that was careful not to hurt any characters they wanted for future installments. After all, you can’t have a universe if everyone is dead. The problem with this approach, as we have seen with other attempts (Cough… Tom Cruise’s The Mummy… Cough), is you need to make an appealing product first then build the universe? Why anyone would want to watch a sequel to this film is beyond me.

You have my attention now. Give me your best. Don’t hold back thinking you need to save something for later. There is no later guys.

The 1995 Mortal Kombat was not an excellent film, but it was not boring and dour…. This is worse than that one Street Fighter film.. (Fill in the one you think I am referring to. There are a few options.) And if you are thinking of making a sequel, Nicolas Cage works cheap. Just saying.

Had no idea Josh Lawson’s Kano was a bad guy. That heel turn was out of nowhere. (Yes, this is sarcasm)
To put your frozen bodies in… sorry, I read ahead in the script.
“Ice to meet you”
I actually have some serious issues with Shang Tsung’s evil lair. I mean, it is a bit of a hike from what I am assuming is an elevator from the lobby on the far right and his “throne” on the far left.

Speaking of thrones, it must be quite the hike to the facilities.

Statue aside this has to be the most boring bad guy world I have seen in a while.
And a Big Trouble in Little China movie breaks out.
All of a sudden, a Karate Kid movie breaks out.
“Their bones will turn to ice! Their blood will freeze in my hands!” Yes, I am quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger in Batman & Robin. Eagle eyed reader will note this is not the only such quote in the review.
A Dagger of Destiny? Or mall Ninja treasure? You decide.
Speaking of knives.
It’s just a flesh wound. You know Mehcad Brooks is a black knight in this in more ways than one.
I am assuming Sub-Zero keeps his mask on so he is not caught laughing at Shang Tsung’s makeup.
This is Kabal. He is barely in the movie and I am guessing he is no longer a “reformed Black Dragon member turned NYPD riot-control officer” as he was in 2011’s Mortal Kombat Reboot. Like I said above, the Mortal Kombat franchise has a deep bench. It is a shame this movie didn’t utilize it more.

I can see for miles.
Backstabber
Jax realises he will never get the ladies with those puny arms.
Time for an upgrade.
You know if it was not for this scene and Nitara in the roster Mortal Kombat would have scored a lot lower than a four out of ten.
Yes, I would just go see a Mel Jarnson Nitara film…
Not just is this new character the whitest guy alive? But his super power is to create tangible hearts if my reading of Tenderheart Bear section of the Care Bears wiki is accurate.
Hugs… I knew it. Mortal Kombat takes place in the Care Bear’s universe.
So Jax survives having both arms frozen off and Laura Brent is frozen solid and lives, but Goro dies from losing one hand and a haircut?
How about a little fire scarecrow?
Wow, almost looks like a place you could have… well, you know, a tournament. Seriously, if it wasn’t for Nitara and the superb prologue, Mortal Kombat has two out of ten written all over it.
Seriously, you froze the wife solid. She is pining for the fjords here. What does Mortal Kombat do? They cheat in a happy ending. This is a bizarre choice.

First, your movie is called Mortal Kombat. This creates the opportunity for character growth. Even more bizarre, it fits in with Cole’s origin story and creates a dramatic callback to the opening scene.

I swear they must have originally had her killed in the script and it didn’t test well, so they retconned. I can’t imagine you set up this dramatic turn and then say whoopies just kidding.

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