This review contains spoilers
Fans of the innovative video game franchise have been eager to have someone take another chance on making a live action film since the release of the original in 1995. The wait is now over as “Mortal Kombat” is available in the U.S. on HBO Max and in theaters as of April 23.
The film serves as an origin story, setting up character arcs for Hanzo Hasashi (aka Scorpion), Bi-Han (aka Sub-Zero), Jax and a newly added character to the franchise, Cole Young, a descendent of Hasashi.
The movie still keeps up the same story that everyone has followed throughout the games — the champions of Earthrealm have to fight and defeat the champions of Outerworld in order to save Earthrealm.
The film had a decent amount of fighting and gore to help keep you engaged and interested, but felt limited in regards to the amount of characters that appear in the film. “Mortal Kombat” also features Sonya Blade, Kano, Lord Raiden, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Mileena, Nitara, Reiko, Kabal and Goro, but there are many more characters that the sequels, if any, can explore. I’ll give the filmmakers the benefit of the doubt and wait for potential sequels to satisfy this aspect of the franchise, because there’s a litany of other characters that need to make an appearance.
Another big missing component is the game’s main protagonist, Johnny Cage. Not only is Cage missing from the film, but it feels like they replaced him with this new character, Young.
While the filmmakers wanted to take a different direction than what everyone was used to, Young feels out of place, and it turns more into a movie where the other characters help him find his “arcana” (special unique powers) rather than focusing on the tournament itself. I appreciate what they are trying to do because it helps people get introduced to the franchise, but it left me wanting more.
This movie does a good job with the fighting sequences, as they don’t look fake or awkward, but characters saying phrases like “fatality” or “flawless victory” felt out of place and unnecessary.
Overall, the movie was enjoyable and the potential for sequels gives the filmmakers a chance to expand on the story and other characters even further. If you're a newcomer or fan of the franchise, this is a good choice for home viewing, but it’s not a movie where I’d feel like I got my money’s worth if I saw it in theaters.
Jesus Mata is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @JesusMataJr99