The Spring of Sci-Fi Review #12
This week, the new Mortal Kombat movie releases on Friday in theaters and on HBO Max. So, to prepare for this new outing, let’s take a look back at the two Mortal Kombat theatrical releases from the 1990’s. We’re going to begin with Mortal Kombat, which was released in 1995. It’s hard for me to believe that this film was released over 25 years ago. Does this film live up to the excitement as the games did that were released at this time?
Mortal Kombat focuses on three martial artists–Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, and Liu Kang–who enter the Mortal Kombat tournament. The tournament has been won for 9 years straight by Shang Tsung and his fighters. If Shang Tsung wins another tournament, the world and alternate dimension of Outworld will take over the Earth. Liu Kang and his fellow heroes have to win the tournament against Shang Tsung in order to save the Earth.
Mortal Kombat’s soundtrack is a beast. It has an iconic anthem that has been remembered through the years. The anthem is a dance number that will pick up your spirits for sure. The dance track kicks off the movie, so it helps to get you excited for what’s to come. The soundtrack is menacing when it needs to be. An example is when Johnny Cage fights Scorpion as a heavy, metal guitar blisters in the background as the two fight in a hell-inspired arena. It puts an emphasis that each hero is in a fight for their life.
The special effects are great for this fighting flick, though they have aged a bit. The fatalities are brutal, yet somewhat tame. They kept the violence from being too gruesome in order to maintain a PG-13 rating, so they could sell more tickets to a larger audience. An example of the special effects being great is when the audience sees Shang Tsung morph from one person back to himself. It’s neatly executed. However, there’s bad computer animation in the movie, such as the first reveal of Reptile early in the film. His non-human form looks horrible as well as goofy. I must admit that the creation of Goro for the film deserves the utmost respect. Goro’s suit is a combination of man and robotics. The bottom portion was controlled by a stuntman, while the top by puppeteers. The puppeteers helped to manuever the gigantic muscular arms and torso of the towering beast. Goro also had two voice actors who worked on his voice. One was for roars and one was for the deep, growling voice.
There’s nothing significant with the plot of this film. It’s straightforward and boring. However, the fight sequences and witty dialogue make the experience enjoyable. The fights are expertly choregraphed that features several amazing moves by expert martial artists. All of the fight sequences featuring the ninjas of Mortal Kombat are fun to watch. Reptile, Scorpion, and Sub-Zero all have fight scenes in the movie. There’s one minor detail of Scorpion’s that’s bad for him. His spear magically comes out of his hand, unlike what he actually does with the spear. He throws the spear in the game as a projectile weapon. In the film, it’s a snake-like creature that comes out of his hand. It’s goofy, but it does give Scorpion this otherworldly presence. The witty dialogue is mainly by Johnny Cage. Linden Ashby is clearly having fun with his role. His portrayal has inspired the MK franchise to keep Johnny Cage as the comedic relief of the games. Audiences will absolutely adore Ashby’s banter with Robin Shou and Bridgette Wilson.
Mortal Kombat is not a film to take too seriously like the franchise itself. Audiences need to go in ready for a cheesy, fun ride. In terms of story, it’s nothing special. The atmosphere and other aspects are what you’re here for. Give this flick a watch.
Overall rating: 3/5.