Mortal Kombat (2021)

[3 stars]

Brutal and bloody; like buckets of blood. But that’s what this story needed to feel more like a film and less like a cartoon. That doesn’t make it a good film, not by far. It’s an entertaining film with a lot of rushed logic and quippy dialogue (not good dialogue…just quippy).

If you’re a fan of the game and always had hopes for a live-action adaptation, you’ll likely be satisfied with the result. As a pilot setting up the new franchise, it is also reasonable. Again, not great, just reasonable. But Mortal Kombat had to overcome all the attempts and disappointments that came before, which makes the choice of  writers even more surprising. The story was by Greg Russo (The Cloverfield Paradox), which he co-wrote with Dave Callaham (Wonder Woman 1984). Not solid bona fides, either one. And the whole shebang was handed over to first-time director Simon McQuoid, who delivered fairly credibly with what he had, but what he had wasn’t much.

There isn’t a single performance worth calling out, though a couple of the fighters are impressive physically. I will admit that Laura Brent (Winchester) and Josh Lawson (The Librarians) had fun with their roles, and it’s always good to see Hiroyuki Sanada (The Promise).

Are there great fight scenes? Sure. Is there a story… yeah. Surprises? Not really. Fun distraction? If you enjoy these kinds of film, definitely. This is a movie for a very targeted audience and it doesn’t even pretend to try to create a broader tent. And, it should be said, that’s fine. It knew what it wanted to be and delivered it. I could have wished for more, but I’ll take it and run, though if you really just want carnage and fighting, John Wick, for all its faults, has this beat hands-down.

Mortal Kombat Poster

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.