Mortal Kombat (1995)

Once every generation a tournament to decide the fate of Earth arises. Raiden (Christopher Lambert) leads Earth’s warriors to take on Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) and the Emperor’s forces of darkness.

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Cast: Christopher Lambert, Robin Shou, Linden Ashby, Bridgette Wilson, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Talisa Soto

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for non-stop martial arts action and some violence

Fun Fact: Sean Connery was considered to play Raiden but, he turned it down.

Everybody knows about the game Mortal Kombat. It was a huge series back in the 90’s and still is to this very day. This film was in the beginning of studios adapting games into films. Now the track record for these are terrible but, where does Mortal Kombat stand with them?

The production quality is outstanding for what it is. The locations look nice and the characters look like they do in the game. Scorpion and Sub-Zero look like they do and Goro is an impressive practical effect. In the era of CGI, it’s nice to go back and see some of the practical effects that filmmakers would work with. Goro was done by Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis, who did special effects for the Alien franchise. The martial arts in the film are fine and it isn’t goofy looking and the cinematography on the action scenes are shot well.

Another thing is the music is awesome. It really gets you excited and the action scenes fit in with the techno like music. I would suggest you pick up the soundtrack and it would be perfect if you do some workouts.

The thing that brings down the film is the story. While it’s a basic story on a tournament to save the world, you would also need to expand that part of it. Shang Tsung has this obsession with Sonya Blade that you really don’t know about. My guess he was just using her to have an easy win in the tournament. The characters go through these moral lessons that really doesn’t belong in a Mortal Kombat film. Why would we need to see and be told why Johnny Cage needs to stop being a egomaniac? Do we really care about that?

Overall Mortal Kombat is a decent film. It has a fantastic production value and great music. If it had a more polished story we would have a video game adapted hidden gem.

Verdict: Middle Ground

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