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I’m sorry to say this, but Mortal Kombat (2021) was not a good movie.
Despite being hyped for the revival of The MK movie franchise, I found the new Mortal Kombat film very disappointing on so many levels.
Sure, the visual effects were stunning, and most of the fight scenes were as bloody and brutal as promised. But all that wasn’t enough to cover up the film’s most glaring problem: Mortal Kombat has a terrible storyline.
The opening scene of Mortal Kombat is by far the best aspect of the entire film. As seen in the seven-minute clip released by Warner Bros last Tuesday, the movie kicks off with the origin story of Hanzo Hasashi (AKA Scorpion) and the unfortunate death of his family at the hands of Bi-Han (the first Subzero).
What follows is an incredible display of skill from both Joe Taslim and Hiroyuki Sanada (Subzero and Scorpion). And had Mortal Kombat dived further into the rivalry between The Shirai Ryu and The Lin Kuei, this movie would have been epic.
Instead, the film strips out the best aspects of the Mortal Kombat lore and serves us a watered-down version of a “chosen one” storyline.
Rather than show us, Mortal Kombat insists on telling the audience about the epic tournament where fighters would battle for the fate of their world. And at no point does the movie ever explain why The Mortal Kombat tournament was created. Or why the film’s main villain Shang Tsung (Ng Chin Han), wants to invade the earth. All we know is that the planet is in danger, and only the chosen descendant of Hanzo Hasashi can save the world.
But does he?
No offense to Lewis Tan, but his portrayal of the newly introduced Cole Young was bad. And the fact that his character doesn’t have much to do in the movie didn’t help him either.
But what made things even worse was the ridiculous armor Cole awakens during his fight against Goro. Not only did the suit scream “Plot Device,” but it was also an underwhelming power to inherit from his ancient ninja ancestor.
A more convincing plot point would have been to have Hanzo possess Cole and turn him into the new Scorpion. This way, Cole would have had the proper powers to fulfill his destiny while also honoring his bloodline.
However, Cole isn’t the only character Mortal Kombat completely wastes.
Jessica McNamee’s Sonya Blade was just as bad as the new fighter. And both Liu Kang and Kung Lao were reduced to boring side characters in their own franchise.
And there’s Mileena.
One would have thought it impossible to render a murderous mutant ninja useless in an R-rated movie. But somehow, this movie finds a way before unceremoniously killing her off. (At least Kano was awesome)
But all this brings me to the point that many in the movie community have already been screaming. It’s not impossible to make a cool-looking fight movie with a solid storyline to back it up. And movie studios should stop sacrificing one for the other.
To get a clear idea of how awesome this movie could have been, you need only Watch Mortal Kombat Scorpion’s Revenge. This epic animated movie is not only one of the best animations of 2020, but it also does justice to the same storyline the Mortal Kombat Movie butchers.
In the end, Mortal Kombat (2021) proves something we’ve always known. That the MK Franchise isn’t just all about mindless fighting. The story and lore also matter.
Asides from an obviously lazy script, Mortal Kombat’s (2021) biggest mistake was ignoring the franchise’s rich history to focus on an entirely new character that is nowhere as interesting as the original cast. This negligence, combined with other jarring things such as bad acting and wasteful use of certain characters, is why I feel The Mortal Kombat Movie fell short.
But that’s just my opinion.
- Awesome Fight Scenes
- Good Visual Effects and CGI
- Terrible Storyline
- Poor Characters
- Bad Acting