Mortal Kombat 2021: All Fatality, No Kombat

So it is very rarely that I’m hype for a movie these days. Especially since movie theater attendance is low. But when I get a clip of any kind of extra goodies showing an opening scene like we did with this film, I’m usually right to be a little excited.

Well guys… Sigh πŸ˜” This time the hype was just that… HYPE!

Now before I proceed, I still loved this movie but I had some thoughts…

I will say that this review improved my opinion a little after seeing it on the big screen but for now here’s my Insomniac Review. Although, I should say sleepy review because am I tired from streaming it super late in the predawn hours of Friday morning, since it aired at midnight friggin’ PACIFIC TIME & I live on the East Coast BTW. But to be honest, I was tired because the story telling was a little meh. That being said this review has as few spoilers as I couldn’t help it being sleep deprived (I had to go back and edit some of them out). But if you want the real tea, you’re going to have to wait until my video review is up and on YouTube. (coming soon)

I won’t waste time filling you in on all of the details of this movie because to be honest they were kinda lacking. Of the nearly 100, different characters within the Mortal Kombat universe, the 2021 film decided to focus on the story of a brand new made-up character that the beautiful minds over at Warner Brothers decided to create… Cole Young.

Man I really tried to limit my complaints about the acting from British Actor, Lewis Tan because he had to work with what he was given and I really like the guy 😍.

But honestly he was a character that wasn’t needed. It’s even worse that the story that feels generic especially when you consider the some of the more vibrant “Outworld” characters of the MK universe.

And to add insult to injury the characters that were actually in this movie didn’t really shine the way they did in the original Mortal Kombat movie that we got. If you are a fan of this franchise then you expect two things gore, blood & character backstory. Ok, that’s three things but you get what I mean. Don’t get me wrong Mortal Kombat earned it’s R-rating. The special effects both digital and practical are spectacular… Bug upgrade from the original, which was limited to the technology of the time. We got to see some familiar moves and awesome fatalities. And it is this which actually made me enjoy the movie.

However, as a fan of this game and most of the characters, I wanted to see more of them. That was the problem I had with the first one we didn’t get to see enough Scorpion, Sub-Zero or even Reptile. If anybody’s backstory was worth telling, it should have been theirs. While this film improves on this from it’s predecessors, it’s not by much. Honestly Sub-Zero & Scorpion’s fued is legendary in the MK lore. Aside from Sub hating Scorpion and his clan, none of the live action theatrical releases tell much else. I expected more this go round, especially after that opening sequence.

Ok…here are some spoilers… But not many… Feel free to stop here!

Raiden is reduced to a standby character probably the most disappointing.

He utterly wasted at times. So if you are expecting more out of this powerful Thunder God, don’t hold your breath. He gets to show off how potentially powerful he is but never really does. We only got to see a taste and I felt robbed that it didn’t include his infamous “superman” move. Despite the fact that the 90s version has aged poorly, at least that Christopher Lambert’s version had a better job of protecting his Earth realm fighters.

The movie goes along with the same premise as other iterations of the game where Shang Tsung is trying to take out the competition before the actual tournament but the crazy thing about it is that we never get a tournament this go round! Much like the other film adaptations, the film begins with the tired plot of Shangsy trying to cheat but at least we got actual Mortal Kombat before. We only really see these characters fight just for the sake of fighting.

The most redeemable characters in this movie that I enjoy were Sub-Zero and Kano.

Sub-Zero despite not having more backstory, is downright frightening and a menace throughout the film while showing off cryomancy powers. What I like about him, is that when he comes on screen, you know it’s about to get real.

Kano is everything else that makes this movie awesome from comedic relief and screen presence. He is the savior of this entire film. Every scene he’s in is owned by him. I just would just really like to have seen how he and Sonya Blade ended up in their situation when we are first introduced to them. We only get exposition from Sonya at first.

Another character that I actually enjoyed was Jax. He was portrayed with a lot of emotion despite like the rest of the crew, again had no backstory.

We get Easter eggs and goodies of familiar characters that are not in the movie, which allude to future sequels or prequels. However, the saving grace is that this makes me think that this MK 2021 is more of a set-up movie than anything because as I mentioned, the actual friggin’ tournament never takes place. But it’s the lacking of the context that makes me wonder how and why they didn’t do more with characters.

Friggin Warner Brothers!!

Another thing that I missed was the camaraderie of our earth realm fighters. Aside from Sonya/Jax & Lui Kang/Kung Lao, there is very little. In my day, we got to see how the
gang went from perfect strangers to total allies and how well they played well off of one another. Whereas in the 2021 version, they feel like this motley crew of people thrown in this crazy situation by happenstance and we don’t see that same level of cohesiveness.

But what really bothered me was the way they garnered their special abilities. They had to prove themselves worthy to find their arcana, which I don’t know where they got that nonsense from but it felt like I was watching an R-rated Power Rangers movie. Yet this is the type of thing I feared would happen. We were promised this awesomeness of a game to movie adaptation, not to mention I mean the trailer set some pretty high expectations. But again Hollywood did what it always does and strays from the source material it’s supposed to be bringing to life!

As a Mortal Kombat fan you feel robbed of the lore that every character in this universe has. And if you’re not a fan, you may be a little confused because the story has little context of who anybody really is except our made-up character. The lore and backstory was what always what set Mortal Kombat aside from other fighting games. If you ever played it on story mode, it sometimes gave off RPG vibes because you got really invested in the characters as they literally fought for their lives while forming these bonds.

But this is still better than Annihilation by a landslide. Even though it almost falls victim to the same traps where it throws in familiar characters for nostalgia reasons but that’s about it. And if you have seen the movie already, I’m just going to mention these names, Nitara and Reiko!

If you know then you know.

To sum up this movie… Just imagine a friend is watching you play Mortal Kombat and they’ve never played or heard of it yet has to later explain the game to someone else. That’s basically how this plot unfolds.

I enjoyed every actor in this movie but if I didn’t know the characters myself, the movie failed to make me care about them here. Except for maybe Scorpion his opening scene with his family being slaughtered is perfection. It’s full of emotions from AWWW to WHOA! I just wanted more of that feeling.

Even if they had stuck to the original characters from the very first video game, I would’ve been satisfied knowing that they were building a MK cinematic universe of some sort. But again with the powers that be did what they always do, capitalize on the potential of a sequel.

I wish that they would take more care and consideration instead of these little fan services that we keep getting. Even though the first Resident Evil movie had 0 characters from the game it still told a good story plot wise. We followed Alice and the other cast throughout the entire movie and we were invested in their surviving this zombie apocalypse. Even when they brought in actual RE characters, they didn’t all take a backseat to Alice… Well at least not so much in Apocalypse. Had they done the same thing with Cole in this situation, maybe I wouldn’t be so harsh on the film.

Despite that, there is still a lot to love about this film. It is a really fun movie. Did I mention Kano? Dude had me laughing in all of his scenes.

And again the effects are stellar.
Nearly all of Sub-Zero’s special effects are practical… yes they used real ice for a quite a few of his scenes, thus I was quite impressed. Especially considering the final fight. Even Goro looks good, despite him being all CGI, I actually liked his look better than I did the puppet we got in the first flick & from what I’m told had nothing but technical difficulties anyway.

All in all, Mortal Kombat does not really disappoint. Don’t let my review skew you from seeing it. I’m just a fan of the the game and the entire franchise as a whole. If you’re bummed about paying to see it in IMAX, it looks great on the big screen compared to at home, so there’s that. But if you’re still sour about it & want to see an awesome Mortal Kombat movie, do yourself a favor, watch the animated Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge. Much like all of the WB’s animated films, it has very little studio interference. I’m not sure why this is a pattern with Warner Brothers but yet here we are *cough* Justice League *cough*

My vote:

It gets 2 & a 1/2 out of 4 thumbs from me.

Until Next Time Kiddies,

Shalom

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