Mortal Kombat

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Back, back, forward and down, down, up, I think. Those are the two moves I can remember off the top of my head. Both are for Raiden. I think I would have muscle memory for a bunch of others if I played again. That’s the original Mortal Kombat too. I had Mortal Kombat 2 on my first PC. Loved watching my friends play Mortal Kombat 3, with all those amazing combos. They were so fast! The speed that you could play those games was so cool. So, Mortal Kombat has been in my gaming life for a quite a while. The first movie also caught my imagination. It had such a distinctive soundtrack. It was one of, if not the first, movie soundtracks I ever bought. A crazy and cheesy action flick that my teenage brain loved.

And here we are again with a fresh coat of cheese and fireballs, but will it satisfy you? I doubt it. But I guess it depends on how desperate you are for entertainment. Or maybe you had Scorpion tell you in a dream to “GET OVER HERE, and buy a ticket!” There is another way you could enjoy this movie which I’ll get into later. But for now let’s start with the story.

WARNING: This is the RED BAND trailer

It’s terrible. Ok, what’s next? Well I mean, it’s not surprising is it? Who’s going into a Mortal Kombat movie expecting much? Sure, they could have written a good one! But that was never realistically going to happen. It would be a funny troll of me to say “yer yer, If you’ve seen Knives Out then you’re gonna love Mortal Kombat”… I could try and do some spoilers here about the story, but I don’t actually think I could. It would be like trying to drown in a centimeter of water.

The cinematography is mixed and messy. And here I also think they play a bit dirty. The first and the last scenes of Mortal Kombat look really good and that’s where a majority of the ‘wow’ marketing material comes from. They even released the first seven minutes of the movie to push it. But the rest of Mortal Kombat does not look that good. The first and last scenes also have Hiroyuki Sanada (who plays Scorpion).

He’s a great actor and has an awesome onscreen presence, but he’s gone for the guts of the film. So, it’s a bit cheaty if you ask me. It reminds me of Godzilla with Bryan Cranston. though not as bad as Battleship where they had Liam Neeson for five minutes. It’s a sore loss when he’s not there. Most of Mortal Kombat also feels like it’s shot with the B-team, with a reduced scene-by-scene budget. It’s a jarring new movie-making formula.

The special effects and action. Now here’s where we come with some expectations. This is probably why we would go to a Mortal Kombat movie. And it’s solid. Just keep in mind the formula I mentioned above. Now, the games of Mortal Kombat have come a long way since I was sitting on the carpet with my PlayStation 1; a little bit of pixelated red coming off the other pixels that was your character. Well, those days are soooo gone. The latest Mortal Kombat games have really cornered the market in over-the-top, brutal and violent gore.

The makers really don’t limit their imaginations much with the amount of digital blood they spill. And this has put a lot of pressure on the movie. But they couldn’t make a R23. Some people wanted to be paid so what I found was the action was most often quite reserved. But like only three or four times they tried to step it up. And have a moment of over-the-top violence.

But the problem with that is each time it happened it was really awkward. Because it just didn’t fit the tone of the movie. Mortal Kombat is most often trying to be funny with jokes and offhand remarks and then Kung Lao finishes Mileena by sawing through her head from the top right down the middle to her shoulders so you could see her brains, skull, the inside of her neck and mouth flop out. You could feel it in the audience, you could hear the sound of a hundred distasteful faces being pulled while reaching for something to drink.

Now, I have a surprise for you and a way you could enjoy Mortal Kombat. After the first scene the acting and dialogue is unbelievably bad. That’s clearly not the surprise. But there was one weird ray of light from a very surprising source: Kano! Played by Australian Josh Lawson. I don’t know if he had a different writer or he lost his script and had to wing it but he was laugh-out-loud funny. He would make fun of the other characters, even of the concept of the franchise as a whole.

He effectively turned the movie into a spoof every time he grabbed the limelight. One thing I can say about my Aussie neighbours, is that they are truly the best comedic swearers on the planet. And Lawson brought his birthright to the fore. It made it all the better as others tried. They all sounded ridiculous as theirs fell flat, but his Aussie swears soared like fuk’n eagles. And it wasn’t just me laughing; his jokes were landing with the whole audience.

So, there is a way to enjoy Mortal Kombat. Watch it from Kane’s perspective. That’s what his name should be because then his Aussie mates would call him Kane’o. As a group watch the movie and ridicule it like Kane’o does.

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