Hollywood has been trying for decades to master the art of translating video games to the big screen. Aside from 2020’s hugely enjoyable Sonic the Hedgehog, the laundry list of video game to film failures is plentiful. From Doom to Resident Evil, from Super Mario Bros to Street Fighter, each film is met with a resounding thud that often begs us to ask one simple question: “Why?” The answer is simple: Video games are a billion-dollar business and have been for many years. In 2020 alone, the PC gaming market generated an estimated $77 billion dollars.
Hollywood is back to take another swing at critical and commercial success with one of the most popular video games of all time. It’s been over 25 years since the original Mortal Kombat hit theaters and while that film provided decent entertainment for its day and age, the prospect of a shiny new reboot has been speculated for years.
Mortal Kombat tells the story of Cole Young (Lewis Tan), a below average MMA fighter, who is unaware that his heritage links him to an ancient martial arts tournament that pits our universe, Earthrealm, versus an evil alternate dimension called Outland. In this tournament, humans with an ancient birthmark of a dragon are : THE REEL By STEVE PETERSON cinesportstalk.com @CineSportsTalk selected to participate in the ancient tournament with Earth’s enslavement at stake. The Outland has sent ruthless assassin Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) to wipe out all those with the dragon mark, thus ensuring a tournament victory by default. Cole meets up with fellow participants Jax (Mehcad Brooks), Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee), and Kano (Josh Lawson) to train with the immortal Lord Raiden and fight for Earth’s future.
Mortal Kombat merely exists to provide fan service to the video game’s faithful following. While the film feasts on over the top gore and visually cool fatalities, it ultimately suffers from an extremely convoluted storyline and some really amateurish and distracting acting that sometimes looks as if the actors are reading lines off a teleprompter. If you are a fan of the source material, chances are you will have a fun and nostalgic stroll down memory lane. If you aren’t a fan, or go into this film with a blind eye, you will most likely find Mortal Kombat to be a painfully dull and alienating experience.
By STEVE PETERSON