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Mortal Kombat (2021) 4K Review

“Mortal Kombat” is easily one of the best cinematic video game adaptations.

Based on the mega popular video game franchise, 2021’s “Mortal Kombat” finds the Outerworld on the verge of defeating Earthrealm for the tenth time via a martial arts/fighting tournament (the titular Mortal Kombat). If Outerworld is victorious for the tenth tournament, they will conquer the Earthrealm as per the rules. In order to speed up the process and to avoid an Earthrealm prophecy, Outerworld sorcerer Shang Tsung sends his mightiest warriors to eliminate Earthrealm’s champions (who all bear a Dragon marking). As the Earthrealm warriors try to evade death, they eventually band together and travel to Lord Raiden’s temple where they meet more advanced warriors who can hopefully train them, bring out their arcana (AKA special powers), and defeat their would be Outerworld assassins.

Although 1995’s “Mortal Kombat” might have a slight edge over it, 2021’s “Mortal Kombat” is still a top 5 video game movie. Granted, the video game movie genre has a bad history, but in the past few years we’ve seen some movies that are more fun than they have any right to be ala “Sonic The Hedgehog,” “Detective Pikachu,” and now “Mortal Kombat.” 

Now, in terms of story, MK is not going to win any awards. Some fans have criticized the film for not having an actual tournament and while it is a bit odd, I didn’t mind it. We’ve seen that movie before so I appreciated a different storyline even though it bears a striking resemblance to the animated “Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge.” For me, the rough parts of the Oren Uziel and Greg Russo scripted story involved a sagging middle act (there’s way too much time spent at the temple) and the ridiculous Dragon markings and Arcanas plot devices. These two elements absolutely reek of Hollywood trying to ground the already over-the-top universe. In truth these inclusions just dumb down the material by trying to provide some sort of “real world” explanations for what is happening. It doesn’t work and somehow makes it even cheesier (see the Jax Arcana for reference). 

On the plus side, fans will no doubt be tuning into this movie for the fighting sequences and director Simon McQuoid does not disappoint in that respect. Not only are the fights well choreographed, bloody and intense, but they are loaded with video game callbacks. I won’t call out specific face-offs, but let’s just say Kung Lao and Sub-Zero have the best moments here.

The cast is hit-and-miss. There’s no question that Josh Lawson steals the show as the comedic, shady and arrogant Kano. Don’t be surprised if his career takes off. Joe Taslim also owns the screen as Sub-Zero/Bi-Han. It helps that he has a martial arts background too! Max Huang (who plays fan favorite Kung Lao), the always reliable Hiroyuki Sanada (Scorpion/Hanzo Hasashi) and Jessica McNamee (Sonya Blade) also have several memorable moments. Unfortunately, there’s several actors who I feel are miscast. Maybe it’s partially because Cole Young is a non video game character leading the movie, but Lewis Tan is absolutely bland and wooden in the main role. Maybe he’ll have more to do in the inevitable sequel, but in this he just doesn’t have the acting chops to lead a movie. Likewise, Tadanobu Asano (Raiden), Ludi Lin (Liu Kang) and Nathan Jones (Reiko) also looked uncomfortable in their roles. They excelled in action scenes, but not in the acting realm.

Overall Thoughts: Flaws aside, “Mortal Kombat” is pure entertainment. By the time the big tease of an ending rolls around, you’ll be more than ready for the sequel.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.39:1 2160p. How does it look? This is as perfect of a transfer as you’ll see. From the icicles to the environments, everything looks pristine.

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. How does it sound? Every kick, punch, and weapon use has a massive impact with this Atmos track.  


Extras:
* Digital copy
* Blu-ray copy
* 4 deleted scenes
* “From Game To Screen: The Making Of Mortal Kombat”- 21 minute featurette
* “Mortal Kombat: Fan Favorite Characters”- Profiles on Cole Young, Sonya Blade, Kano, Sub-Zero, Jax, Lord Raiden, Scorpion, Shang Tsung, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Mileena. Interviews and film clips are included with each short profile.
* “Fight Koreography”- A behind-the-scenes look at the fight choreography.
* “Into The Krypt: Easter Eggs Of Mortal Kombat”- Video and commentary by the director that showcases easter eggs featured in the movie. This is a really fun extra.
* “Anatomy Of A Scene”- Director Simon McQuoid analyzes and talks about the creative choices he made for 7 sequences- Hanzo Hasashi v. Bi-Han, MMA Fight: Cole v. Ramirez, Sonya v. Kano, Scorpion v. Sub-Zero, Reiko v. Jax, Kabal v. Liu Kang and Mileena v. Cole

July 13, 2021 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I saw a trailer and watched a review and decided I wanted to skip it when it first came out.

    I am a huge fan of the first movie and have fond memories of the games and played them until the 360. I feel that the movie is not doing and fan service outside of surface branding. Your review does shed light on some things I was questioning but it seems to also confirm that this is not a movie for me.

    I like video game movies being in the market, even that first Doom movie which I saw in the cinema when it
    first came out had some charm. I feel it shies away from what makes it cool
    To some fans

    Johnny Cage: easily could have been the lead especially in these days and times. Removing him for another character rubbed me the wrong way when I first heard of it.

    I will have to watch it for a piece I am working on for the pod as well but feel it will be a choir to get through.

    I loved the Machinima legacy series which was great and I felt that vibe would have been great. Reboot with a tournament and lets re introduce newer players and viewers to the lore and characters. I mean the first one was budget but holds up better than the second and was wacky enough for parents to let kids watch it. Its a toss up
    To me if this is a good
    Or bad movie but to me I feel its not what I expected after waiting this long. When none of my bromigos have checked it out I feel that is answer enough that it was not for fans of the first movie lol

    Comment by Mykal K Grymm | July 16, 2021 | Reply


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