My Thoughts on the Mortal Kombat Movie

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Lucas Pari, Sports Editor

“Mortal Kombat”, a movie based on the long-running fighting game series from Midway and Netherealm Studios was released on April 23rd on HBO Max and was directed by Simon McQuiod. This was one of my most highly anticipated movies of 2021, and while it was yet another movie I had to watch from the comfort of my home, I don’t believe my enjoyment (or lack thereof) was hindered. Spoilers ahead, but if you haven’t seen the movie yet you don’t care so whatever.

Positives

I’ll start first with the things that I enjoyed the most. The first and easily biggest positive, Sub-Zero. Sub-Zero is amazing in this movie. He has always been my favorite Mortal Kombat since I was little, and this movie really does justice to the character, and Joe Taslim does an amazing job. When Sub-Zero is on screen, he holds a very imposing presence. When he shows up in a scene, you know it’s about to go down. In this movie, Sub-Zero is a much more effective villain than Shang Tsung, who is supposed to be the movie’s big baddie, but I’ll get to talking about him later. My only complaint about Sub-Zero has nothing to do with his character or with Joe Taslim, but with the costume designer. Sub-Zero’s suit was pretty much gray and had barely any blue anywhere. I think this was done on purpose to foreshadow this Sub-Zero’s transformation into Noob Saibot, which is in line with his story in the game, but it’s still sad a see Sub-Zero’s suit completely washed of color.

Another huge positive from this movie is the character of Kano. While I don’t like some things they did with his character that we’ll get to later, Kano is nevertheless an extremely entertaining character, and I loved every moment that he was on screen, and the actor (Josh Lawson) does an excellent job playing the character and really brings him to life. Kano is probably the only character in this movie (barring maybe Sub-Zero) that feels like he’s ripped straight out f the games, and he was an excellent choice to be the comedic character, and his banter with the rest f the cast is very entertaining.

One thing this movie promised us was bloody, brutal fatalities, and I’m glad to say that it delivered on that end. The fatalities are gruesome but so awesome to watch. Some of them are ripped straight out of the game and eagerly excited fanboys like myself when they happened.

My last positive for this movie is the stellar opening scene. “Mortal Kombat” opens up with the story of Sub-Zero murdering Scorpion’s wife and child and his entire clan, the Shirai Ryu. The fight choreography is excellent and the performances given by Joe Taslim and by Hiroyuki Sanada as Scorpion are near perfect. It’s a great opening scene, and a very strong one to start off the movie. Too bad Scorpion wouldn’t return until the end of the movie.

Negatives

Now on to the overwhelming negatives this movie had for me. The first and most prominent negative for me I the deaths of beloved and fan-favorite characters in this movie. In this movie, Kano, Kabal, Kung Lao, Reptile, Mileena, and Reiko are all killed off. I do not understand killing off Kung Lao at all. He is one of the coolest and most integral characters in the series, and he gets killed off just to add “stakes’ to the story which doesn’t make any sense because you don’t need to kill off characters to have “stakes”. Kano’s death also does not make any sense. The most entertaining character in the movie, dead, for no reason, just to give powers to Sonya Blade. Another prominent character from the game that was killed off was Mileena. Mileena was so unbelievably misused in this movie> In the games, Mileena becomes the ruler of Outworld for a short period of time. However, in this movie, she is resulted to just a measly henchman for Shang Tsung, just like Kabal.

The way that the characters receive their powers is also pretty dumb. Supposedly, when a character is under great stress during a fight or something, they will be given their powers? Or the powers awaken? I don’t really understand it and they don’t explain it in the movie so I can’t be bothered to explain it here. In the case o Sonya Blade and Liu Kang, their powers are given to them off-screen, which really cheapens the impact of it.

Another huge negative of this movie is the mischaracterization of Raiden, Shang Tsung, and Mileena. In the games, Raiden is a hopeful and positive character against all the odds. But what is the first thing we hear him say in this movie? “This is all you brought me”, in reference to Liu Kang bringing him the champion of Earthrealm, those being Sonya Blade, Cole Young, and Kano. Raiden is always positive and strong-minded, but in this movie, Raiden is negative and has no faith in any of the characters and it really weakens his character. Next is Shang Tsung. Shang Tsung in the games is imposing and is a character that most characters are afraid to fight or stand up against. In this movie, however, Shang Tsung is not imposing or scary. The audience is never scared of Shang Tsung when he is on screen, and it never feels like anyone is in any danger when he’s around, unlike when Sub-Zero is on screen. Shang Tsung is just used to deliver exposition in this movie and he is completely uninteresting. Mileena is also too different than her character in the game. In the game, Mileena was always independent, she was never a measly henchman. She doesn’t follow orders, and to see her be bossed around makes no sense since it conflicts so much with her character in the game.

Overall movie score: 5/10

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