You would think that a massively successful video game franchise like Mortal Kombat would be a sure fire win on film. Historically though, it’s been a mixed bag. The original 1995 version is beloved by fans, but the sequel, Annihilation, could not be more hated. Over the years, there have been other attempts, mostly animated or in Youtube short form (both received fairly well), but there hasn’t been a feature attempt at bringing Mortal Kombat to life in almost 25 years. Until now.
HBO has taken a pretty big risk attempting to reboot Mortal Kombat on the big(ish) screen. Both the director and one of the writers are untested, and the two biggest names in the movie, Hiroyuki Sanada as Scorpion and Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero, spend most of the time off-screen or behind a mask. The rest of the cast are all pretty fresh faces. Not that that’s a problem, but in this day and age not having a big star is a risk.
Alas, the risk has paid off. The fresh faces work to keep the audience from “oh that guy”ing the whole time. And the director and writers turned out a pretty solid script. Did it need an invented character to act as a boring audience surrogate? I don’t think so. However, Lewis Tan did a decent job despite his character being a bit of a nothing burger. Plus he was handsome and we like that shit.
Of course, the real star of Mortal Kombat is, and always has been, the gore. The beautiful, silly, over-the-top gore. And it is out in spades here. One downside of 1995’s MK is that it’s PG-13. Sure at that point only one game had been released, but even in all its 16-bit glory, it was a gorefest. Here in MK 2021, it is ramped up to match the complete absurdity of future Mortal Kombat games. And it does so amazingly well. The effects look great, and there are fun callbacks to early games and more recent ones alike.
Overall we kinda loved Mortal Kombat. It’s stupid fun and you can’t really go wrong with that these days. What did you guys think? Did you love this fresh take or was the gore too much for you? Let us know over on Twitter or in the YouTube comments! We want to know where you stand! For now though, grab an eggroll, GET OVER HERE (again), and settle in for today’s episode of So…I’m Watching This Show!