‘Mortal Kombat’ movie was flawed but fun


By Ryan Winters, Staff Writer

Over the course of the last three decades one of the most important parts of our society is undoubtedly the increasing love of video games. Like it or not, the gaming industry has become a powerhouse in almost every part of entertainment. With the likes of the Nintendo Entertainment System, (N.E.S. for short) opening the door for talented people to express themselves, there’s never been anything quite like video games.

Video games have only grown in popularity due to juggernauts like “Call of Duty” or even “Fortnite,” there’s no doubt that video games have played a key part in many people’s childhoods. However, with all these fantastic games on the market, we have to go back to one of the most genre defining games ever made: “Mortal Kombat.”

“Mortal Kombat” has remained a household name throughout the years due to many factors, most of which are due to controversy because of its violent nature. More so though, the series has remained prominent due to the iconic characters and move sets that the western game development studios had never seen before. When “Mortal Kombat” first released in arcades in 1992, there was no telling if the game was going to be a success as the fighting game market was run by “Street Fighter,” but the game immediately took off as a gory new take on the fighting game genre. This of course led to the creation of the ESRB, (Entertainment Software Rating Board) which is how all video games are rated to try and prevent kids from getting their hands on violent content.

Now despite this controversy, “Mortal Kombat” has reigned supreme ever since then, at least the video games did. In 1995, New Line Cinema tried making a movie adaptation of “Mortal Kombat,” a game with little to no story at the time, and this is where “Mortal Kombat’s” legacy is tainted — sort of.

The 1995 film “Mortal Kombat” is both one of the most ironically funny movies, I’ve ever seen, but also one of the most all-over-the-place messes I’ve ever experienced. The casting is both fantastic, but also just super bizarre for certain characters like Raiden. The CGI used in the movie is charming to say the most, but the only reason for this is the fact that this was ‘95 after all, when movies were still limited by anything technology based. With all these negatives in mind though, there is still a charm to the film that I can safely say hasn’t been seen in any other video game movie adaptation.

The film follows a relatively simple plot, one that sticks true to the game as much as humanly possible with how little they had to go on. Three heroes, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade are recruited to fight in a tournament by the name of Mortal Kombat. Now let’s talk about the casting for these three first as they are all quite great in their own right. The actress for Sonya Blade, Bridgette Wilson is actually quite good as Blade. She brings this sassy, doesn’t take crap from no-one, attitude to the character that has become a defining characteristic for the character throughout the years. This concept of characters from the game taking on characteristics from this movie is more common than you would think. For example, the concept of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade being romantically intertwined first started in this movie, which is one of the major plot points for later games like “Mortal Kombat X,” where the two characters have a kid just as powerful as her parents. Most importantly though, this movie set up Liu Kang as one of the most vital characters in “Mortal Kombat” history. Liu Kang is a mixed martial artist that has the power to summon flames from his fists, and transform into a dragon in certain iterations. In the movie, he is portrayed by Robin Shou and is by far the best performance in the movie as he brings the most soul out of all the characters. There is also Johnny Cage, portrayed by Linden Ashby. He has the best fight scene in the whole movie where he goes up against the iconic character Scorpion. However, with that being the best fight scene, unfortunately the scene is just subpar in its entirety which is disappointing.

There are two main things that disappoint me about the movie. For one they decided to cast an Asian god of thunder in Raiden as a middle-aged white man, meanwhile the other characters were all cast in their respective nationalities. However, the other big downside this movie has, which partially does the most damage to this movie, is that the villains are cardboard cutouts of what they are nowadays. The lead villain Shang Tsung is by far the best of the worst villains in this movie as he brings iconic moments to life from the game, such as the classic phrase “Finish Him,” the phrase that has led “Mortal Kombat” to the gaming pantheon. On the other side of the spectrum though, this movie massacred the four-armed giant named Goro, an unbeaten champion in the movie and yet he looks like Yoda who grew 10 feet and started taking steroids to pass the time. Goro’s design in this film is just nightmarish as the bottom half is obviously a human man covered by the top half, which is a puppet. The worst part about Goro in this movie is that he doesn’t even put in a good fight scene, instead they just have him fall off a cliff from Johnny Cage punching him a few times.

At the end of the day, I can’t tell if I love this movie or hate it. It’s certainly not the best movie I’ve ever seen, but at the same time I can’t say it’s the worst. Truth be told it’s a fun movie, especially if you watch it with friends which is what I did. However if you go into it with high expectations, you’re going to be let down. There is a sequel to this movie, but as it stands this could’ve been the only one before they rebooted the movie timeline twice. This film is worth watching at a movie night, but not by yourself.

Luckily there’s a light at the end of this tunnel, a new “Mortal Kombat” movie directed by Simon Quaid, a very popular commercial director for big brands like Playstation, and starring actors and actresses that all have backgrounds in martial arts movies or action films in general. It is truly shaping up to be the best video game movie ever made, which is realistically a low bar; with modern technology and creative minds who grew up with