I by no means thought I’d say this – however whereas streaming Mortal Kombat on HBO MAX, I discovered myself eager for Johnny Cage and his genital punching acrobatics. Halfway by the film, I hoped to listen to Linden Ashby’s voice are available in off display, saying, “Those were $500 sunglasses, a_hole…”

Now that I’ve bought that off my chest means, Mortal Kombat (MK) is a enjoyable reboot and an excellent one-time watch. It just isn’t, nevertheless, an impressive movie. But sure, very like a ‘Fillet o Fish’ at your nearest McDonalds – MK isn’t connoisseur, however it’s precisely what you paid for.

Mortal Kombat leans into its strengths, very like Godzilla vs Kong did. Balancing a campy tone and with ample gore – the movie ensures that it’s generations forward of its 90s predecessor when it comes to visuals. It additionally packs in sufficient skilled Asian actors in key roles, and provides us sufficient online game fatalities, brutalities, and irreverent references that can make franchise followers completely happy.

The proven fact that the film doesn’t take itself too significantly helps. The plot by itself isn’t something new. Fans who’ve performed the final two instalments of the sport, seen the hyper-violent and entertaining Scorpion’s Revenge, seen the 90s motion pictures and even watched the Machinima sequence will discover themselves in acquainted territory. What the film does do nicely, nevertheless, is take one of the best bits from the various lore and “portal-hop” throughout them rapidly – maintaining Cole and the Hasashi clan’s story because the grounding issue.

However, this additionally implies that the film solely takes off in its second half, when Kung Lao bounce begins the proceedings along with his “Flawless Victory”. That is a particular fan-moment served with glee – and the film solely ramps it up from there.

Coming to the soul of the film – the fights. While some fights are beautiful (Scorpion vs Sub Zero, Cole vs Goro, Sonya vs Kane), some are downright clunky (something with Jax or Liu Kang). Lewis Tan (Cole) and Jessica McNamee (Sonya Blade) throw in some good performances – whether or not with their fists, or with the script they’ve been handed – and Hiroyuki Sanada delivers his traditional A recreation as Scorpion. While I did point out earlier that Kano (Josh Lawson) falls brief because the stand-in for Johnny Cage, he does nevertheless ship among the funniest (and corniest) strains within the film with aplomb. In phrases of performances, the solid does nicely to embody the fan favourites they’re enjoying, with a specific amount of self-awareness and humour that comes with understanding you’re a online game character in spite of everything.

Mortal Kombat is aware of it’s a online game film and tries to personal it as a lot as attainable, ensuring the humour is self-referential. It is, nevertheless, a particular sufferer of franchise baiting, sacrificing some good first outing alternatives. I ponder if benching fan favourites like Johnny Cage, Kitana, Shan Tsung and Shao Kahn for the sequels, or firming down the Outworld segments had been definitely worth the bait in case a sequel isn’t greenlit. With an hour and half runtime, Mortal Kombat is brief, enjoyable, and brutal – just about what the followers count on. Watch it when you may – with out the children round, in fact. 

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