SPOILERS FOR A RECENTLY RELEASED FILM
I must’ve played a Mortal Kombat game at some point, right? I know I’ve played Street Fight and I was of course at least somewhat aware of the ongoing Mortal Kombat story/franchise, but I couldn’t really tell you much. Scorpion and Sub-Zero wear the same outfits, Kano pees too much, and Mr. James Remar was Lord Raiden in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. I don’t have anything against the franchise, but I just absolutely suck at fighting games. My husband–a professional gamer compared to me–is a fan, so he was more excited to watch the new Mortal Kombat than I was, but I was still up to watching people brutally murder each other!
The story follows Cole Young (Lewis Tan, AKA Shatterstar in Deadpool 2) who is… an original character, right? He’s descended from Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada, AKA Shingen from The Wolverine), but he’s not the Scorpion that people would recognize. He also never goes by that name, so original character. I’m cool with that. He’s only alive because centuries ago, Sub-Zero absolutely sucked at his job as ninja assassin. Seriously, your one task is to kill Scorpion and his family, but you miss the baby and don’t even stick around to watch him die? It’s this level of sloppiness that carries into the present, where he captures Cole’s daughter and… I’m going to say wife and not girlfriend. Either way, Subby encases them in ice, but they’re still alive? This movie has buckets upon buckets of digital blood, but you’re squeamish about killing a defenseless woman and child? Whatever.
Anyway, the most important Mortal Kombat tournament ever is quickly approaching, but evil lord Shang Tsung (Chin Han, AKA Lau the accountant from The Dark Knight) is a dirty cheater and wants to kill the opposition before the tournament even begins. That’s right, this movie is just the prelude to the actual Mortal Kombat tournament! Here’s hoping they get their sequel! Shang Tsung’s minions include monster mouthed Mileena, harpy lady Nitara, Reiko and his hammer/maul, Kabal who is a discount Darth Vader, and four-armed Prince Goro. What is he prince of? Unclear. In fact, all of these henchmen’s motivations and backstories are completely left out, which I do understand. The heroes get story beats and moments (mostly), but the evil guys who die are just there to be evil and die, ideally in cool ways.
But Cole isn’t alone in fighting off Shang Tsung’s minions. His allies include badass soldier Sonia Blade, her partner Jax (Mehcad Brooks, AKA Jimmy Olsen from the Supergirl series), vulgar Aussie Kano (AKA the best character), fireball shooting Liu Kang, and Kung Lao was also present and did some stuff. I knew a bit about Jax, so it was not a surprise at all when he fought Sub-Zero and got his arms torn off. It was a surprise when his “arcana” manifested and his mechanical arms–which already had some sort of crazy tech in them to be so responsive–turned into BIG metal arms, because why not. Arcana, super advanced technology, what’s the difference? Sonia is the real supporting character, and her hatred/rivalry with Kano was fun. Well, it was fun until Kano inevitably betrayed everyone, but still. Liu Kang got barely any screen time, and Kung Lao got even less before he died. The heroes are protected by Lord Raiden, this time played by an Asian actor (Tadanobu Asano, AKA Hogun from the Thor movies) instead of some white guy!
I don’t mean to talk bad about this movie. It’s not supposed to be some soul searching epic drama, and trying to think of it as one is a disservice. It’s a fun action flick with characters getting murdered in over the top and outlandish ways, staying true to the spirit of the Mortal Kombat name. Seriously, they previously tried making PG-13 versions of this? The 90’s were a mistake. Anyway, I may not have known much about the characters, but my husband did and was helpful pointing out things like how it was a little weird that the movie sets up Scorpion to be a hero while Sub-Zero is a villain. I’ll take his word on that; the only reference I got was when Kano’s first line of dialogue was about him needing to piss. Ha ha! I understood that reference, mostly because his peeing opening in Mortal Kombat 11 became a meme among thirsty gays! Pun very much intended!
Also, there’s a rumor circulating that WWE’s The Miz wants to play Johnny Cage in the sequel, and holy shit this needs to happen. Cage is some kind of Hollywood asshole, right? It’s perfect casting!
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