Hey kids, what’s going on? It’s Dash Jordan here with another review for you. You know what I love? My childhood; the 1990s was certainly the best decade ever, especially when it comes to movies and video games. Now, of course, we live in an age where we can all look back at some of our favorite things and seeing if they still hold up. You know what I hate? My childhood; the 1990s was certainly the worst decade ever, especially when it comes to movies and video games. Now, of course, we live in an age where we can all look back at some of our favorite things and seeing if they still hold up. Case in point…
I don’t think so!
‘Mortal Kombat’ is a 1995 Action/Adventure film directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and based on the popular video game series of the same name; mostly the original game, but also borrows a few elements from ‘Mortal Kombat II’. Upon release, the film was an instant phenomenon. It made over $120 million in the box office, received mixed reviews from critics and even more positive feedback from moviegoers and most fans alike; cementing its cult status. So, are the people right? Is this a good movie?
Good kitty, you get a treat! Anyways, I suppose I’m being a little unfair since I will admit that I used to love this movie when I was a kid. In fact, we all thought this movie was awesome when we were kids. Here’s the deal, though…I GREW UP! Sure, Paul W.S. Anderson directing any movie is pretty much the equivalent to alcohol poisoning, but at least he was smart enough to give his ‘Resident Evil’ movies an R rating. You wanna know what ‘Mortal Kombat’ was rated? PG-13…PG-13! Why?!? Easy, so kids who’ve played the game can go and see the movie, so the movie could make more money. I have a theory, if you’ll indulge me…’Mortal Kombat’ was one of the bloodiest and most controversial fighting games of all time. So controversial that it caused an uproar from close-minded politicians and overly-sensitive parents, which eventually gave birth to the ESRB(Entertainment Software Rating Board). At the same time, however, kids were still playing the game. Why? because it’s just a game. In other words, there was absolutely no reason to give ‘Mortal Kombat’ a friggin’ PG-13 rating! Because if some parents were comfortable enough with letting their kids play a series of video games that featured stuff like this:
Then chances are, those same kids could probably handle movies that featured stuff like this:
I mean, I’m just saying that some things go without saying. Now, as much I can’t stand this movie or its overzealous fans, I will admit that it’s not Anderson’s worst movie…and in other news, a gunshot wound isn’t as bad as a nuclear winter, a house on fire isn’t as bad as a forest fire and Jeff Dunham isn’t as bad as Carlos Mencia. With that said, I will tip my hat to the majority of the cast and crew who’ve all tried their hardest to hold the director back. The actors who played Liu Kang, Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage never really did anything for me. To me, they felt more like caricatures of what the characters are suppose to be like, rather than adding something new and making the characters their own. Christopher Lambert was pretty good as Raiden though, as were the actors who’ve played Scorpion and Sub-Zero, respectively. Also, I’m still pretty happy that they had the courage create Goro with animatronics and puppetry, rather than CGI.
But…the one actor who truly left an impression on me, to this day, is Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Shang Tsung; the film, and original game’s main antagonist. Tagawa has a long and awesome history of memorable villains, and this movie was no exception. Pardon my French, but Tawaga basically took the film’s mediocre script and made it his bitch. Not only is the man a fantastic martial artist and stuntman, but everything from his costume design to his facial expression just screams pure evil. You can also tell that Tagawa had a lot of fun with this movie.
You know who else was having fun with this movie? None other than late English actor Trevor Goddard as Kano. You know, that boring Japanese-born American crime-boss with the cybernetic eye?
Well, now he’s a charismatic Australian crime-boss with a cybernetic eye? I wonder why…
Anyways, one of the worst things of this movie(and that’s saying a lot) is the terrible CGI that is featured. There was a REALLY good reason why they chose to have Goro done with practical effects. Have you seen Reptile?!? I’ve seen Tex Avery cartoons that looked more realistic!
Thankfully, they ditched that idea later in the movie, resulting in one of the best fight scenes in the whole movie.
Oh yeah, I didn’t get to mention the fight choreography. It’s okay. Personally, I would’ve liked to have seen more brutal action scenes. However, it can still be entertaining to some degree. I’m still upset that there isn’t pools of blood and guts like in the games, sure. But, the fights are almost every bit as flashy and acrobatic as you’d hope from a Kung-Fu Fantasy romp. You know what? I love you guys so much, I’ll show my other favorite fight scene.
Trust me, I’m not trying to face save right now by talking about what’s good about this movie. Admittedly, ‘Mortal Kombat’ was fun while it lasted, it’s not worth your time. You may choose to continue enjoying this mess through rose-tinted glasses, but I simply can’t ignore the lack of faith in the source material, the paper-thin script that could’ve used some more depth and the fact that the characters who we should be rooting for aren’t nearly as interesting as the film’s villains. Maybe if this movie was made with an R rating, a few recasts, and was filmed by a more talented director or at least a director with some experience with martial arts movies, this movie would still be as awesome as it was when I was five years old. But as it stands now, this movie is nothing more than a cheap cash-grab of a gaming franchise, lead by a young yet affordable new director and backed by an unrelenting army of nostalgic fans more loyal than the Third Reich.
Oh yeah, I went there! I don’t care how “awesome” the theme song is, this movie sucks! This is far from over, Anderson! I’ve hurt you, and I wish to go on hurting you. I may not be a Flawless Victory, but…I WILL FINISH YOU! Until next time, Gotta Dash!
Written by Shane Moose
Videos & Photos:
Mortal Kombat: The Movie(owned by New Line Cinema & Threshold Entertainment)
Mortal Kombat(owned by NetherRealm Studios & Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
Mortal Kombat II(owned by NetherRealm Studios & Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
Mortal Kombat 3(owned by NetherRealm Studios & Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
Mortal Kombat(2009)(owned by NetherRealm Studios & Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
Mortal Kombat X(owned by NetherRealm Studios & Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
Hellraiser(owned by Film Futures & Entertainment Film Distributors)
Evil Dead 2(owned by Renaissance Pictures, Rosebud Releasing, Embassy Communications & De Laurentiis Entertainment Group)
Videodrome(owned by Universal Pictures & Telefilm Canada)
Oculus(owned by Relativity Media, Blumhouse Productions, WWE Studios & Intrepid Pictures)
Re-Animator(owned by Empire International Pictures & Re-Animator Productions)
Braindead(owned by WingNut Films, Avalon Studios Limited, The New Zealand Film Commission & Trimark Pictures)
Captain America: The First Avenger(owned by Paramount Pictures & Marvel Studios)