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Mortal Kombat Movies Reviews

Retro Sci-Fi Review: Mortal Kombat (1995)

Directed by Paul Anderson. Written by Kevin Droney. Starring Christopher Lambert (Raiden), Bridgette Wilson (Sonya Blade), Robin Shou (Liu Kang), and Linden Ashby (Johnny Cage).

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.

Johnny Cage.

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.

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Movies Reviews

Retro Sci-Fi Review: Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase (2001)

Directed by Jim Stenstrum. Written by Mark Turosz.

The Spring of Sci-Fi Review #2

I remember my friends talking about this movie while I was growing up. This film released twenty years ago and it doesn’t feel like it has been that long. Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase is an animated movie that’s a part of what I call the Scooby-Doo animated movie universe. There are over thirty films that are animated starring Scooby and the gang. An animated universe that spans from the 1980’s to today in the 2020’s. Impressive. Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase stars Frank Welker as Fred, B.J. Ward as Velma, Scott Innes as Shaggy & Scooby, and Grey DeLisle as Daphne.

In this movie, Scooby and the gang get transported into a video game where they have to stop the Phantom Virus and defeat all levels of the game in order to escape. The gang is transported into the game via a laser that left me intrigued. The laser can make objects into reality and absorb objects into virtual reality. This is an idea that Warner Brothers should’ve used again in a sequel. The concept is fantastic. A new villain could steal it to take care of their nefarious plans.

Speaking of villains, it’s not normally hard to figure out who the baddie is in a Scooby Doo show or movie. The plot gives clear clues as to who the villain is in different levels of the video game. The mystery of who the villain is would’ve been better if they left the clues out. The film introduces several potential people who could be the villain. If the movie didn’t introduce the clues, the eventual villain reveal at the end would have had a bigger payoff. The clues are still fun though. It does reveal the villain early in the movie, but that’s if you’re paying attention closely.

The overall plot is fun and creative. Yes, it’s filled with the classic antics of the show, but it does introduce new ways for the gang to solve mysteries. The real gang working with their cyberspace counterparts is a blast to watch. Also, we get to see the gang in various environments that we haven’t seen before. The gang goes to the Roman Coliseum and a prehistoric jungle with dinosaurs. It’s always entertaining to see the gang get away from their hometown on occasion. The film’s animation holds up well for a twenty-year-old movie. Everything operates smoothly with the gang having a fresh and classic look all at once.

In the end, Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase is an exciting movie with a classic formula. The film puts the gang in a new danger, while making sure that it stays light in spirit. A great film to watch to unwind for the day. Why did Shaggy put whipped cream on that hot dog though?

Overall rating: 3.5/5.

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Batman Comics Movies Reviews

Review: Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021) (Part Two)

We’re back with the second and the final part of our Zack Snyder’s Justice League review. The film is still a mess, but shaping up to be better than the original cut. It’s time to review the final two hours of this four-hour superhero saga. The film, obviously, is directed by Zack Snyder. It is written by Chris Terrio. The film stars Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince, Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash, Ray Fisher as Victor Stone/Cyborg, and Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman.

As I mentioned in the previous review, the Snyder cut does a tremendous job with the origins of Cyborg. Viewers get to see Victor Stone’s life before the horrific accident that almost killed him. The Mother Box, an alien device, is as connected to Cyborg as the Kryptonian spaceship is to Superman. If it wasn’t for the Mother Box, Cyborg wouldn’t exist. This inclusion into the film is a great addition by Snyder. However, a surprise addition follows.

After the scene where Cyborg explains the background of this particular Mother Box, we get a new sequence where Martha Kent is visiting Lois Lane in Metropolis. The pair chat with the surprise coming after the talk. Martha goes to the hallway after leaving and it’s unveiled that it’s actually the Martian Manhunter (Harry Lennix)! General Swanwick (Harry Lennix) from Man of Steel is secretly the Manhunter. He’s there to motivate a depressed Lois Lane to live again in the world. Why? His motivations are unclear.

In the original cut, there’s a scene where the Justice League resurrect Superman from the dead. The scene isn’t executed properly, as the tone is everywhere and the scene is confusing as to how Superman is resurrected. There wasn’t a thorough explanation. This time around, the movie explains better how the Mother Box can bring Superman to life. Also, the tone is better as the League are afraid of the resurrection and are somewhat at odds due to fear. Snyder introduces a new nightmare scene into this sequence. Cyborg gets a vision of what could possibly happen with Superman’s return. It seems that the future could be in peril with Superman’s return to the living.

Snyder shakes up the battle scene where Superman fights the Justice League. In the original version, Joss Whedon made the scene similar to an Avengers’ fight sequence. There’s drama injected with comical quips. Snyder’s version is all drama with peril as Superman is deadly in his return. The scene is smoother, cohesive, and it makes more sense.

The final battle sequence sees many creative changes. Unlike the original cut, the team actually loses briefly. Steppenwolf forms the Unity and the world explodes. For the first time, we get to see The Flash run into the past and rewind time. A huge, creative change that actually works flawlessly. It made the scene more impactful and that it takes the whole team to win. If Snyder gains enough success from this, we may get a sequel. It sets up a potential sequel where the league would fight Darkseid in a dark future.

Although the film’s odd at times, the Snyder cut is a deep improvement. Out of the three films he has directed, this is the best installment. Snyder had plans to do a five-film saga. Hopefully, this film generates enough buzz that Warner Brothers will let him complete his vision. If not, Snyder delivered a passionate project for the fans.

Overall rating: 3.5/5.