Mortal Kombat isn’t going to turn heads cinematically, but it will surely satisfy the hardcore fans of this series. After years of cheesy attempts at capturing the essence of this widely popular game, it seems as if the director Simon Mcquoid has got it right. Fans of the film aren’t Mortal Kombat because they want some well-crafted backstory. While it’s important to hit on certain elements from the game, it’s all about flawless victories and over-the-top violence if you are watching this film. Mcquoid delivers that in the first seven minutes and continues to throughout. If it’s high art is what you are seeking, then look elsewhere. If smashed heads and creatures cut in 1/2 are your jam, then look no further.
The film is set up by a 17th-century prologue that sees ninjas Scorpion and Sub-Zero (Hiroyuki Sanada and Joe Taslim) face off Sub-Zero getting the upper hand and creating a rivalry that lasts to this day. Fast forward to the present day, where we meet Cole Young (Lewis Tan), who spends his days getting beat up in MMA fights and trying to interpret why he has these fiery flashbacks. Not having a clue that he’s meant for some greater, Sub-Zero shows up looking to end him rather quickly, which thrusts Young into teaming up with Sonya Blade, Jax, and Kano (Jessica McNamee, Mehcad Brooks, and Josh Lawson). Of course, they must face Shang Tsung’s champions to fend off their invasion of the earth realm.
The best way to judge this film is to take it for what it is. Mcquoid set out to make a very fan-centric experience as a means of drawing people back to a franchise that has been anything but entertaining. Build enough interest in a topic by executing what they do well, and the revenue will come. While the film is anything but deep, Mortal Kombat delivers a great combination of nostalgia and gore-filled finishes that fans will be delighted with what inevitably will be the first of a new trilogy of films.