……….Hey there, everyone. So, um……..I actually saw this movie about 2 or 3 weeks ago, yeah? But because of all the other posts I have to do; I thought I wasn’t going to add anymore to the pile. But after seeing a certain season finale to a certain show’s 2nd season; I decided “F*ck It” and decided that I would only talk about this and that season finale- which elevated that series to……..Just a Whole Other F*cking Level in terms of quality and story telling in Western Animation. But that’s a topic for THAT post- we’re here to talk about the recently released “Mortal Kombat” movie. Which, as you can see from the heading of the post- is a lot better than I would have expected, considering the circumstances that lead to my viewing it.
Now, to keep this post quick and manageable; I think I’ll handle it in the same way I’m handling manga chapter reviews now- the initial “play-by-play” review, and then my full dissection and review of the movie later on. How’s that sound to you all?
The movie begins in 17th Century Japan- Hanzo Hasashi, head of the Shirai Ryu ninja clan, is happy with the birth of his daughter. He goes out to get water to help his wife recover from having given birth, when he and his clan are attacked by the rival Lin Kuei clan’s assassins, led by Bi Han. A battle ensues and- in true “Mortal Kombat” fashion(says the guy who’se only played like 1 or 2 of the games)- is very, very Graphic. Like; just one of the goreist things I have ever seen in my life. It was an impressive action set piece- very well choreographed from what I saw. However; the fight ultimately ends in Bi Han killing Hanzo with his ice dagger, and Hanzo’s soul is condemned to the Netherrealm.
However; 1 Shirai Ryu clan member survives the onslaught: The Baby Girl Who Was Just Born. Down from the Upper realms comes the one and only Raiden– God Of Thunder. He takes the girl to the realm of the Gods to hide her away from Bi Han and the forces of Outworld. We then do a leap forward to the present; the girl went on to grow up and lead an average life- even having children who went on to have kids of their own. Leading all the way to the present with the Movie Original Character: Cole Young. He’s a former MMA fighter when we see him- with a wife and daughter of his own. But now he’s just reduced to an underground MMA fighter- beating guys bloody and getting bloody for a quick buck.
We then cut over to Outworld, where the leader of the Outworlder’s- The Soul Devouring Sorcerer Shang Tsung- is talking about the ancient tournament “Mortal Kombat.” It is an event built by the Gods to decide the fate of the Realms. So far; Outworld has won 9 tournaments(through cheating and underhanded tactics such as attacking before the Tournament even began). And if they can manage to win this 10th one, then they get Earthrealm to themselves. But as they plan to attack; a certain prophecy is revealed: “The Blood Of Hanzo Hasashi Will Unite A New Generation Of Earthrealm’s Champions To Prevent Outworld’s Victory.” As such; Shang Tsung sends out Assassin’s to put down the Champions. And of cousre; Bi Han- now going by “Sub-Zero-” decides to take the last of the Hasashi bloodline personally.
Cole is fighting in the cage, and walks away the winner. He goes to the locker room to grab his stuff and go home when he is met by Special Forces Major Jackson “Jaxx” Briggs. He asks Cole about the mark he has on his chest. He and his daughter explain that it’s some kind of unique birthmark he was born with, but Jaxx knows better than that- for He has the same mark himself. It is the mark of the Dragon, and marks one as one of the champions of Earthrealm to fight in Mortal Kombat. Unfortunately for him; it seems to make him an easy mark for Sub-Zero.
Sub-Zero attacks the Youngs over and over again with unrelenting force. But Jaxx is able to save them from Sub-Zero’s initial attack, and drives long enough to tell him about the tournament, but not enough about it and what it is. So he tells him to go find his partner “Sonya Blades” and ask her everything. As Cole runs off; Jaxx grabs Sub-Zero’s attention by revealing himself as a champion. And he manages to put up a h#ll of a fight………….in his own way. In reality; he’s unable to scratch our dear Ice Ninja. In the end; he loses his arms and is left for dead by Sub-Zero.
Meanwhile; Cole manages to track down Sonya to her home in a junkyard- but Sonya thinks him an intruder sent by Outworld and attacks him. But Cole reveals that Jaxx sent him here, and she explains everything to him: The “Dragon Mark” is the mark that shows you are a champion of Earthrealm- it is transferrable via defeating a previous champion, as shown by her captive(and my personal favorite character in the movei): The Australian Mercenary “Kano.” She found him while tracking down a fellow champion…………that was killed by Kano. So Kano was marked as a champion, bu~~~~~t………..No. They need someone they can trust to combat Outworld, and Kano isn’t it. But it ain’t like they have a choice right now, as Shang Tsung sent Syzoth to kill the lot of em.
This fight goes on for a while(not that I was complaining), and Sonya’s house ends up catching fire. But the fight ends when Kano reaches into Syzoth’s chest and RIPS HIS F*CKING HEART OUT!!!! Because of his capabilities and underhanded tactics; Sonya and Cole think it might actually be a good idea to keep Kano around, as they make plans to find Raiden’s Temple to make contact. But Kano obviously doesn’t give a rat’s @$$ who’s ruling Earth- as long as he can get paid; he doesn’t really care. So Sonya lies about giving him $5 million in exchange for his services. Funny scene.
They make their journey to Raiden’s temple, and Sonya and Kano argue over directions. Both being “Type A” personalities; they fight for the direction they go. My memory of this scene is a little bit fuzzy(as I said; I saw the movie like 2 or 3 weeks ago), but I BELIEVE Sonya won this one- which gets under Kano’s skin immeasurably. So they continue on their path until they find Raiden’s Temple, where they are met by their fellow champions: Liu Kang and Kung Lao- warriors trained personally by Raiden for Mortal Kombat. As they walk to meet with Raiden; they are shown the training grounds, and have the stakes of Mortal Kombat explained to them. Along the way; Kano steals some jewelry to sell when this is over. But as they meet with Raiden, he is forced to give it right the f*ck back.
This, amongst other things, builds upon why Raiden doesn’t think they’re “worthy.” And in the case of Kano- He’d Be Correct, as we’ll soon see. But they’re short on time because of the cheating ways of Outworld, so they make haste to their training. But first; Sonya is reunited with Jaxx, who now has………kinda sh!tty robot arms now. But they’re arms none the less, and he’ll need SOMETHING to fight with. Especially when you consider the fact that Shang Tsung Is Attacking The Temple.
Shang makes it incredibly, Ridiculously, ABUNDANTLY clear that he’s here to devour the souls of Earthrealm’s champions. And while Raiden technically can’t interfere due to his position with the Elder Gods; he can prevent Shang’s cheating ways, as he puts up a barrier that keeps out Outworld and all who are affiliated with it. While this will keep out Outworld momentarily; 1)The spell won’t last forever, 2)Shang is a sneaky, conniving little @$$ f*cker, and determined to take Earthrealm for himself. So it’s only a matter of time before he weasels his way in. And 3)It’s Almost Time For The Tournament. So they kind of gotta learn to use their “Arcana” QUICK. For those who are unaware; “Arcana” are abilities that all Champions- those who bear the Dragon Mark- are able to use.
Each Arcana is unique to each individual user. In the case of dear old Kano; he unlocks a laser in his right eye through anger at being belittled by Liu Kang and Kung Lao. 1 funny Kano outburst later, and his eye laser is cutting up the temple. But while Kano managed to manifest his out of pure rage; Cole and Jaxx struggle to access theirs.
Raiden is extremely disappointed with Cole in particular– his doubt is holding him back from living up to his ancestor, Hasashi. So he decides to send Cole home to be with his family, rather than fight to protect them from Outworld. Speaking of; we cut over to Outworld to see Shang gathering up mercenaries to help him defy Raiden: Kano’s former ally “Kabal;” Mileena the Demon Ninja Woman, Sub-Zero, and the dreaded descendant of Shao Khan- “Goro.” With these forces; Outworld make their move on the Champions- starting with Kano.
Kabal- being a former partner of his- knows how to get Kano’s “loyalty.” He bribes the H#ll out of him- telling him that Outworld will give him anything and everything he wants 6 times over. So by nature; Kano betrays the other’s and sabotages Raiden’s barrier with his Arcana. Caught offguard; Earthrealm and Outworld have a miniature “Mortal Kombat” of their own, as Sonya takes on Mileena with nothing but her own combat skills; Jaxx awakens his Arcana and his dinky little rusted @$$ robot arms become Bulldozer‘s for arms- but he’s still no match for his opponent. Conversely; Kang puts up a fight against the lighting fast Kabal, as his brother Lao uses his Arcana to Utterly Eviscerate Nitara- whom Shang seemed to have genuine affection for. As such; he takes it upon himself to personally kill Lao.
Meanwhile; Cole licks his wounds from training and enjoys dinner with his family. He talks with his wife about his fate and his lineage, and she tells him to simply “follow his heart.” But the time to decide is cut short when Goro attacks. A nice scene in which Cole tries to outsmart and outmaneuver Goro in the shed ensues……..but Goro is A 4 Armed GIANT. So any tactile plan that Cole comes up with will be overwhelmed by Goro’s raw physical prowess. So he is left with only 1 option: Fight.
Over the course of the battle; he’s able to awaken his Arcana- which manifests in the form of Golden armor and tonfa’s to match. Using his new powers; he kills Goro and goes with Raiden to defend the temple. Back there; Cole helps Kang fight against Kabal, while Jaxx and Sonya face off against Kano and Mileena. They end up getting pushed off the cliffside, Kano uses his Arcana to knock some debris onto them.
Meanwhile; Raiden faces off with Shang and Cole ends up fighting against Sub-Zero again. As it looks like they are about to be defeated; Raiden transports the lot of them to “the space between realms-” Jaxx, Sonya, and Kang all disappear. Cole and Lao however are kept by Shang and Sub-Zero. Sub-Zero is eager to snuff out Hasashi’s bloodline, but Lao doesn’t make it easy on him. However; he is ultimately killed in the end by a joint effort from the both of them. Cole is taken to meet with the others, where he informs Kang of Lao’s death. The time to mourn will come later, however, as they now must think of a plan to deal with Outworld.
Cole ends up suggesting that they “force” the Mortal Kombat tournament to happen prematurely- to take on Outworld 1 at a time the way it was intended to happen. And once they’ve taken out Outworld’s Champions; they team up to take on Sub-Zero together. Mortal Kombat happens; Outworld can’t cheat; it sounds like a good plan. So Raiden gives him something that may just turn the tide against Sub-Zero: Hanzo’s Kunai- still stained in his blood. He tells him that using it will “allow Hanzo’s spirit to fight alongside him.” The Fights:
- Sonya vs Kano
- Liu Kang vs Kabal
- Jaxx vs Reiko
- Cole vs Mileena
Over the course of their battles; Sonya fights against Kano in her junkyard home. Kano taunts her for not being a Champion or having an Arcana, so Sonya shows him that she doesn’t need that shot to fight- and KILLS HIM WITH A GARDEN GNOME!!! Seriously; she jammed its pointy hat into his eye. And- as per the rules of Mortal Kombat- Sonya takes Kano’s place as a Champion Of Earthrealm. We are shown that she awakened her Arcana off screen when she comes to help Cole against Mileena- displaying the ability to shoot Supersonic blasts from her fists. Would have liked to see how she awakened it, but it’s like my brother said: “If she didn’t awaken it offscreen; she wouldn’t have used it the whole rest of the movie.” So I can live with it; it’s not like it breaks the whole movie for me.
Meanwhile; Jaxx crushes Reiko’s skull, killing him off. And as for Kang; he takes out his frustration at the loss of his brother on Kabal- using his Super Flashy Arcana to INCINERATE Kabal. Like; he melts the ground and turns it into magma, and then creates a GIANT FLAMING(Chinese) DRAGON that devours the lighting fast Kabal.
With all 4 of them defeated; the Earthrealm Champions stand poised to defeat Sub-Zero in combat. However; the Frozen Assassin took their battles as an opportunity to draw out Cole- as he goes to the Young’s unprotected house and kidnaps his wife and daughter. The condition to release them: Cole must face Sub-Zero alone. Which takes us to a very familiar set: The underground ring where Cole had been earning his money. Sub-Zero froze the place over to give himself a “homefield advantage,” and ambushes Cole from behind a frozen punching bag.
The fight goes pretty much how everyone expected: Sub-Zero’s DOMINATING Cole in combat, and torturing him by making him watch his family freeze to death in ice, and likewise torture the Young’s by making them watch their patriarch die. So, in an attempt to save himself and his family; Cole uses the Kunai Raiden gave him, and begins to absorb the Hasashi blood left on it- summoning the one and only Scorpion!!! Together; Cole and Scorpion take the fight to Sub-Zero, and manage to free the Young’s while they beat the dog sh!t out of Mr Zero. Scorpion does his trademark fatality and melts Sub-Zero with Hellfire. Sub-Zero has been Defeated. And with that; Scorpion and the Hasahi bloodline is free of the Age old feud.
Scorpion departs back to the netherworld(I believe) as Raiden and the Champions arrive and with blankets to help the Young’s warm up. But this downtime is short lived, when Shang arrives. He sends his Warrior’s corpses back to Outworld, and vows revenge on Earthrealm before being banished by Raiden.
With the tournament now over; Earthrealm has to prepare for the next sneaky invasions from Outworld. So Jaxx books he and the other a flight out to Los Angeles, where they hope to find a new Champion. Cole walks away from the Underground MMA circuit because he’s now part of something “bigger,” and walks off with Jaxx- walking by a poster promoting an upcoming fight: “Johnny Cage.” I wonder who they’ll find when they get there…….?
Before we start, I feel that I should clarify that I was reminded of the sequence of events in the movie by looking it up on Wikipedia. As such; I might have messed up somewhere. I’m sure those of you who remember the movie perfectly or just saw it and looked for other people’s thoughts are gonna let me know what I messed up, or if I messed up some piece of lore. In which case; I apologize. But I REALLY wanted to talk about how cool this movie actually was. Starting with something I think should ALWAYS be important when it comes to an adaptation: Faithfulness To The Source Material.
Now, don’t get it twisted; I’m not one of those people who hated season 1 of Invincible(Amazon Prime Superhero Animated Series- Give it a watch) because it was “too faithful to the source material” or a “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure’s Purest.” I just prefer when an adaptation can find a way to “be its own thing,” but doesn’t trample on the source material. No, I’m not kidding; People were ACTUALLY complaining about Invincible being “too close to the original comics.” Like; WTF? Were these just haters who needed something to poke a hole in? In any case; look at going from Manga, to Anime, to a Live Action adaptation. Specifically; take the Dragon Ball franchise.
Look at the original 42 volume manga(from Goku meeting Bulma to him flying off with Uub) in comparison to the 2 anime series Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z(which in and of itself is the first difference; the whole manga was one continuous thing and NOT 2 different series). Like; look at all the filler material they added- how much they extended the fight scenes and changed up the dialogue. When you’re adapting a pre-existing product; you’re allowed to take some liberties- so long as it doesn’t stray too far away from what the series is about. In the case of “Mortal Kombat;” the movie creates a storyline of it’s own, but manages to capture the characters and their personalities almost 1-to-1. Even down to using lines from the games- which really popped me when I heard them. Like when Kano ripped out Syzoth’s heart; he exclaims afterwards “KANO WINS!!” like the announcer does.
Or when Lao eviscerates Nitara- he uses his hat like a buzz saw to slice eviscerate her, and then he summoned the bloodied hat back to him, and he said “FLAWLESS VICTORY” as he looked down at the 2 halves of her body, and slicking the blood off the blade of his hat. My Mother LOVED that scene, I’ll tell you what. And of course; there’s Scorpion’s ever iconic “GET OVER HERE!!!!!” Legendary stuff you got right here. He even put an end to Sub-Zero with his fatality from the game. Though I really like Jaxx’s against Reiko.
Then there’s also the fatalities presented, which were pretty darn accurate from everything I’ve heard. Between Jaxx and Kano’s fatalities; I think I like Kano’s more. It’s definitely my favorite from the movie, especially that delivery of Kano’s line- that scene was just done AMAZINGLY. So Kano’s is my favorite from just personal enjoyment. That said; the Fatality that was the most appealing visually was DEFINITELY Kang’s against Kabal. I don’t care if this movie is rated the WORST MOVIE of All Time: That was the Coolest Fatality in the whole movie. I mean; the man MELTED THE GROUND and trapped Kabal, and then brings down a FIRE DRAGON on him!! That was such a cool way to finish a battle- and it wasn’t even all that gory or visceral- he just burned a man alive and that was the end of it. Super Flashy- not super bloody.
Which brings me to another really good thing about the movie are the special effects- such as Kang’s fatality, Raiden’s powers, Shang stealing souls, or even Kano’s arcana. I had heard prior to the release of the movie that some people were upset with the use of CG, but it all looked fine from what I could tell. It’s like; did you expect them to use practical effects to simulate the fatalities? Would that have even worked? I feel like people were just looking for an excuse to hate on this movie.
Other affects I like was Kabal’s warp speed and use of his sword- it made all his fights cooler. And don’t even get me started on his suit. It was the perfect blend of menacing and cool. His voice was also kind of horrific, especially when he was persuading Kano. He was like “They’ll give you every f*cking thing your heart desires. All you have to do is listen to their offer and double that. Then double that, and triple it.” He was kind of talking down to Kano like “Come over to our side, you f*cking moron,” but it was also him genuinely trying to bring Kano over to Outworld’s side.
Speaking of the “Big Man;” Let’s talk about Kano. You know; I recently watched The Boys on Amazon Prime. I have………..several thoughts about that series, but I have a lot of Good things to say about the character “Butcher.” I like his voice; his vernacular; his character arc and somewhat hypocrisy when it comes to Supers in that series. And everything that I like about him is reflected in Kano. They both strike me as the type to hate looking at the other for the obvious similarities, but also for their alignments and beliefs. Whereas Butcher seems to begrudgingly betray his allies, and bounce back and forth on the idea, or would betray someone he had already planned to kill; Kano would do so without a second thought and not even worry about the consequences. In this way; they would and would not get along.
But I also liked the scene when they were eating dinner were Lao and Kang were belittling Kano and his lack of commitment to this cause. They told him all kinds of sh!t like “you won’t be sh!t even if you had 100 days to train,” calling him a “Fat, lazy Pig” and whatnot. They were just disrespecting him on every level to try to awaken his arcana. Meanwhile; Kano just wanted them to pass him a f*ckin’ eggroll. Not only did Lao STEAL it, but then he started talkin’ all that sh!t. The F*ck, man. I’m surprised Kano didn’t try to kill you when he changed sides. That actually wouldn’t be that bad of a fight, would it now?
Cole- as some fans may know- is a character created specifically for the movie. An “Original Character” created for newb’s like me as a introductory point to this franchise. He serves his purpose well; he’s the one the character explain the world to and is very easy to like and imprint on. But as a character himself; there’s not much going on. I mean; his life as a former MMA fighter isn’t that big of a focus, and his family is good for an emotional connection. But as a “Person;” he’s actually pretty bland. And I mean; it works for the first movie he’s in- it’s easy to get into when your main character is easily relatable and easy to understand. But I hope that the next movie develops him as a character- give him some depth; explore his past more and how the Hasashi blood line thrived like it did; the circumstances around his leaving MMA; I just want to know more about him, and see more of what his Arcana can do.
I like how Scorpion looks in the movie- specifically the outfit they chose. It’s not accurate, but as I said: It doesn’t have to be. Plus; I think it would have clashed against Sub-Zero’s suit, sense they’re pretty much the same anyway. So the outfit decisions- A+. At least; Scorpions was. The rest were kind of average. Though in their defense; that’s more than likely “by design.”
I really like the characters from Outworld- I don’t even have one in specific that I like more than the others. Well- that’s not entirely TRUE; while Shang Tsung was a fine antagonist- I honestly didn’t care about him. He didn’t “hit” me with either as the “sympathetic villain,” or even as the “Pure Evil Monster.” I wasn’t “compelled” to do anything but just watch him boss around his subordinates or suck up souls. I can’t even REMEMBER a lot of the dialogue he had. So if Cole is just “fine;” Shang was just boring. Not like “The Movie Could Have Done Without Him;” more like “He could have used more scenes.” And Nitara was only memorable because of Lao’s fatality.
But the 3 that I’m talking about most prominently are of course Mileena(played by the beautiful Sisi Stringer), Kabal(Daniel Nelson), and Goro(Voiced By Angus Sampson). I think I mentioned it once before, but I really liked Kabal’s dialogue and design- he was just a really cool character to see in action. I know I already talked about how much I loved his exchange with Kano, but there was also when Shang summoned the Outworld champions to plan a sneak attack. He told Shang about Kano. calling him “A Real Snake.” Goro’s dialogue during his fight with Cole was cool enough- he didn’t talk much, but the lines he delivered REALLY hit……..even if I can’t recall any of them. This movie was really short- clocking in at 110 minutes(1 hr 50 mins). But it did well in establishing this movie franchise.
I think one of his lines was about how Cole didn’t have his “heart” in the fight, but I’m not entirely sure. However; I remember a lot of Mileena’s scenes- particularly during her fight against Sonya. I just think the actress is really pretty, but I liked seeing her fight. And how when they were deciding who would fight who; Sonya wanted to fight “the b!tch with the teeth” again. And of course; her accuracy. Neat characters from Outworld- I’m curious if they’ll come back and how they would go about doing that.
……………I THINK those are all my thoughts on the movie, ladies and gents. I really liked it- more than I thought I ever would. It’s actually pretty crummy how I wound up seeing the movie. So; I and my brother’s are lving with my paternal grandmother for a little over a year now. My mom wanted to do something with me and my brothers because she really misses us, so she left it to us to decide on an activity to do together. She suggested stuff like bowling or mini-golf, and I was genuinely interested in doing that stuff.
But because it had to be a group decision(one of several reasons why I hated group activities in school); we had to choose something we ALL wanted to do. And they didn’t want to do any of that other stuff. So we went with our usual “default” option: Go See A Movie. But while I wanted to go see Demon Slayer: Mugen Train in theaters; the younger brother pointed out that it was on a website where we watch shows like Jujutsu Kaisen, Dr Stone and all. So going to see it in theaters would have just been a “waste of time and money.” And considering my mother; I don’t think she would have enjoyed that, looking back at it.
We couldn’t think of a movie after that, so we just gave up and went to see “Mortal Kombat.” I had NO interest in this movie WHATSOEVER. In fact, when we got to the theater; we found out that GODZILLA VS F*CKING KONG was still out! Needless to say: I was a little more than p!ssed the h#ll off. But then I sat down to watch the movie and…………well; YOU read this far. You tell me how it went?
I think that sh!tty circumstance and lack of interest lead to me enjoying the movie so much. They say that having low expectations makes it harder to get disappointed- and makes the actual product seem better. All things considered; you would think that this would be my favorite movie in existence. But no; it couldn’t dethrown Chronicle. The only movie that might have been able to do that was Captain America: Civil War, and that was only because of the circumstances surrounding THAT movie. Which may as well have been the opposite of this one. It goes to show how the moments surrounding an event can influence said event.
But what do I ultimately have to say about this movie. In conclusion; I think that the 2021 “Mortal Kombat” is a really fun movie to watch in theaters. Like; you grab a bucket of popcorn and just watch people fight each other til their SKULLS get crushed. It’s also a fun family movie to watch at home if you have it available on HBOMax or get the physical DVD like I plan to. If I had to give it a rating: I would have to say that it’s a 7.6/10- the movie’s cool; the effects are cool; the characters are game accurate; and it did well to set up a new franchise. But Cole was kind of just “there” for the audience, while Shang was just kind of dull and boring. But if you’re looking for a good time; this movie is what you’re looking for!
And yeah, folks; that’s all I got for the lotta ya today! I hope you enjoyed my first non-pre-typed post in a while. Until next we meet, my lovely’s; stay safe out there. Later!