Mortal Kombat ★★★
Starring Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Joe Taslim, Ludi Lin
Let me start off this review by saying I know nothing about Mortal Kombat, other than it's a brutal beat 'em up game from the 90's where people fight each other in some sort of poorly explained contexts. I could also end the review there, but that would shroud the film in a more negative light than it deserves.
Mortal Kombat ticks all the boxes of a video game movie. After the merciless murder of his ancestors; Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is discovered by other champions of an ancient tournament known as "Mortal Kombat". He must train up and discover his true power to battle a team of villainous fighters and prevent the enslavement of Earth. It sounds ridiculous, it is ridiculous...but it is completely aware of its own ridiculousness.
The array of supporting characters (who I assume are characters you can choose to fight as in the game) are what hold this movie together. Particularly Josh Lawson's Kano, the 'comedic relief' who somehow manages to break the mould albeit with some minor outdated pop culture references.
The main antagonist, Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) is arguably the most developed character, with barbaric abilities that make him a truly terrifying spectacle.
Anyone complaining about the amount of fighting throughout the 110 minute runtime clearly walked into the wrong screen. The staple of the series comes across as well choreographed and as blood-soaked as necessary to convey the ferocity for fans of the original.
Where the film is fails is in its awful and generic dialogue. You can guess what each character is going to say before they've even said it (partly the reason why Kano stands out so well as he was an exception to this rule). Although, it's worth nothing that nothing is as bad as the infamously meme-able line in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation:
"Mother you're alive!"
"Too bad you...will die!"
However, the movie's strongest aspect is something you wouldn't expect at all: the soundtrack. Benjamin Wallfisch delivers a killer orchestration for the action and blends it perfectly with the atmospherics of a synthesised video game world. It truly elevates everything on screen up to eleven.
On the whole, it's not a flawless victory but it's far from the fatality many foretold it would be.
Mortal Kombat available in cinemas now!