Allow me to present to you the new turbocharged Mortal Kombat 2021 movie edition. It’s got all the things you would expect from this type of movie and more. Bloody and gruesome action – check. Familiar characters and some new faces – check. Story of epic proportions – well, somewhat check. And finally, great special effects – most definite fucking check. This is the third movie based on a hugely popular video game franchise. So, it’s surprising that this is the first R-rated movie in the series, the first two being PG-13 rated. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a lot of brutal and sometimes even too graphic fights. And equally cool and interesting characters, including a couple of monsters.
I was there Gandalf, three thousand years ago, when the first video game swept across the world. And I was there when the first movie took the world by storm, back in 1995. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (Event Horizon, Resident Evil) it was more similar to a well-done video game cut scene than an actual movie. Mortal Kombat 2021 is a full-blooded action movie with a decent main story and juicy action. It’s definitely worth your time, especially if you’re a fan of the game. Sure, it could have been better but there’s enough meat on the bones here to satisfy even the hungriest of zealots.
It is the year 1617 of our Elder Gods and everything seems peaceful on the Hanzo Hasashi compound in Japan. Here members of the Shirai Ryu clan live and train under the command of Hanzo, along with his wife and son. However, after an attack from a rival clan led by Bi-Han, almost everyone ends up dead. Everyone but Hanzo’s infant daughter. She was saved by Raiden, God of Thunder. Fast-forward to the present day and Earth is in mortal danger. If it loses one more Mortal Kombat tournament, the forces of evil will take it over. There’s, however, a slimmer of hope, as the ancient prophecy tells a story of Earth’s champions united by a descendant of Hanzo Hasashi. As Raiden started gathering his fighters, so has Shang Tsung, only in the Outworld. The stakes could not be higher as the showdown starts getting closer.
To translate a quite simplistic story of a video game into an engaging movie is a difficult task. To get the atmosphere just right, to satisfy both the fans of the game and those who never played a minute of it. The story is anchored around the new character Cole Young, a washed-up MMA fighter with strange markings on his shoulder. To me, Cole Young is Baraka, but I guess we’ll have to wait for the sequel to see. And while Raiden and Shang Tsung were slightly miscast, the rest of our crew is awesome. I especially loved Josh Lawson as Kano and Max Huang as Kung Lao. All this may be just me being nostalgic as fuck about the game and original movie. I mean, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa from the original was THE Shang Tsung. And I would love to see Donnie Yen of his Yip Man fame as Raiden.
Finally, I’m sure you’re not going to watch Mortal Kombat 2021 deluxe edition because of the story. You’re here for the entertainment, action, and special effects. Despite small problems with pacing, the rest of the stuff is just awesome. Visually, the movie is stunning and the special effects believable and very graphic. They even went a bit overboard with Jax in my opinion, but hey who doesn’t love a bit of bizarre gore. The fights are very well choreographed and exciting, just what every martial arts movie needs. Just for fun, you could check out Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky, an over-the-top Hong Kong martial arts movie. And if you’re craving for more of juicy fights check out The Raid: Redemption.
Director: Simon McQuoid
Writers: Greg Russo, Dave Callaham, Oren Uziel, Greg Russo, Ed Boon, John Tobias
Cast: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Joe Taslim, Mehcad Brooks, Matilda Kimber, Tadanobu Asano, Ludi Lin
Fun Facts: At 58, Hiroyuki Sanada is the oldest actor to play Scorpion.