Plot Summary: Three unknowing martial artists are summoned to a mysterious island to compete in a tournament whose outcome will decide the fate of the world.
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writers: Kevin Droney
Starring: Christopher Lambert, Bridgette Wilson, Linden Ashby, & Talisa Soto
Best Boy Grip: Rick Grover
CraigMakk: (Must Own) Disregard Rotten Tomatoes and it’s pathetic 36%…this is the movie that proved video-games can lead to quality cinema. The vast majority of video-game based movies, both before and since, are cheap cash-in’s on the license, but Mortal Kombat is a legitimate representation of the source material, and will keep you engaged throughout. There is a story somewhere in there, but the fight scenes are what it is all about, and MK doesn’t disappoint. Sub-Zero vs Scorpion stands out as a high point, as it should, with a believable representation of how you would imagine a fight between a guy who throws ice and a guy who throws a spear and can warp to a scary Underworld dimension would play out….and you know you’ve imagined that, so stop lying. Anyway, if you like Kung Fu/Ninja movies, Mortal Kombat the video game, Highlander, or watching movies about movie stars that have their expensive glasses crushed by someone who doesn’t care about movie stars, this movie is for you. If you are none of the above, then what the hell are you doing reading our site??
Serious Jest: (Cruel & Unusual Punishment) I was a teenager and a big fan of the video game (Scorpion was my favorite character) when I first tried to watch this movie, but I actually fell asleep at the beginning. I wasn’t sure how bad the movie sucked, because I was tired and the bootleg VHS tape (I know, right?) I was watching it on was bad, but I wasn’t interested in finding out, so I left this movie alone for 15+ years. I wish I would have never found out.
At first, I didn’t care that the plot was swiss cheese–this movie was supposed to be about the Kombat! In fact, I was even a little anxious to get the setup out of the way and get right to the island.
I have to admit the crappy script was somewhat annoying, though. The best lines were those that came straight out of the video game, and even those were overused and used at the wrong times (calling “Flawless Victories” that were clearly not flawless–the winner took damage!).
And what was up with the casting? You get Christopher Lambert, and you cast him as a Japanese God who looks like a Chinese Taoist God (except that he’s white, and has a French accent!) worshiped by what looks like a temple in Nepal? And he doesn’t even fight! Not even with swords! He must have really needed a job to take part in this one…and I’ve thought Bridgette Wilson was very pretty ever since Billy Madison, but I don’t know that she was right for the role of a hardcore, lethal Special Forces lieutenant. And Talisa Soto was ever-so-hot, but it was a little weird to hear the 10,000-year-old Edenian princess say some of her lines in a Brooklyn accent.
The CGI was laughable (as in, you’re laughing but still angry that you’re watching this crap)! Goro looked like some kind of Muppets reject, while Reptile (in his reptile form) actually looked like they inserted a cartoon into this film.
Finally, we got to the Kombat! I’m a martial arts enthusiast, but I was…underwhelmed. Again, if you’re going to shed plot, script, casting, and acting, and just focus on the fighting, you better make it count. These fights, however, were mediocre, at best.
Unfortunately, the best part of Mortal Kombat was its sets, which looked remarkably like those in the video game, and actually made me think, “Cool.” But if you’re going to adapt my favorite fighting game ever (with the exception of the UFC series, although those are kind of a different deal), you gotta do better than “the sets were cool.” The people responsible for this bastardization of Mortal Kombat should be banned from making movies, or forced to engage all of the fans they pissed off in Mortal Kombat.
By the way, CraigMakk, I hate you for recommending that I watch this again…I like all of those things you mentioned in your last paragraph, and I hated this movie! I’m considering the possibility that you must have watched another, better version of this film, because there was no fight between Scorpion and Sub-Zero in this movie.