There may be spoilers ahead!
The movie begins in feudal Japan. Gorgeous scenery and a bloody fight ensue leading to the death of the man who will become Scorpion. In my mind I can hear the original theme from the 90’s movie pulsing away with its techno/rave beat. The first 10 minutes of the movie promise much more blood to come, and a much deeper storyline than the ones we have had before in MK and MK Annihalation.
The movie certainly has a different feel than the adaptations that have come before to the big screen. I haven’t seen the TV series or any of the cartoons. Hell, I haven’t played much of the games since MK II was out on the Super Nintendo. But the themes resonate today with me as they did back then: Good vs evil on the grand stage of a tournament so large as to deserve to be called Mortal Kombat.
Cole Young in introduced as a washed up MMA fighter fighting for $200 a shot on short notice. He had the belt once, but now………well his skills are there but his spirit isn’t. Raiden later in the movie states that neither his body nor mind are ready to fight. And Raiden’s right. Cole must discover himself along with Blade and Jax in order to fight the threat of Outworld who has (of course) won the previous 9 tournaments. If Outworld wins again, they get to invade and take over Earthrealm.
The tried and true narrative of Mortal Kombat rings throughout the entire movie. The fights are very well done, much better than in earlier versions. The fatalities are gory. There’s enough blood (CG for the most part during the fights) to float a canoe. It’s everything you may think that you’ve wanted in an MK film.
Yet so many are complaining about the “Marvelication” of the MK franchise with this film. There’s a lot of bad jokes for certain, and some wooden acting. But in a fight film of this nature you have to balance the gore with the humor. You have to strive to be something more than what you’ve done before, and I feel that this movie has done that. The director took ALL of the source material seriously and the story was actually pretty well developed.
Is it a fight/special effects extravaganza? Yes. Does it have a plot? Yes. Is it a deep movie that will make you think? No. It’s a popcorn flick (if you have a strong stomach) that will keep you mostly entertained up until GET OVER HERE resonates in Scorpions trademark way.
And the credits? You’ll be taken back to the 90’s with an updated version of the original MK Theme.