- MORTAL KOMBAT
- Starring: Lewis Tan and Josh Lawson
- Directed by: Simon McQuoid
- Rated: R
- Running time: 1 hr 50 mins
- Warner Bros.
I can hear the pitch now. Couple of guys walk into Warner Bros. and layout their idea for a film based on the early 1990s video game MORTAL KOMBAT. “It’ll be great,” they tell the studio boss. ‘Every thirty year old with kids will want to take them to see a movie based on their favorite childhood video game. And, because we obviously don’t know that kids can’t readily see an “R” rated film, we’ll fill it with vulgar language and buckets of blood!” Mission accomplished.
The story in a nutshell: bad-ass bad guy kills bad-ass good guy and his family, but doesn’t know there is a baby hidden under the house. Centuries later, we meet Cole Young (Tan) who is, of course, an MMA fighter. That loses. A lot. An orphan (of course again) Cole has a family of his own, including a young daughter who is his corner-person when he fights. Sadly, despite her constant pleading, he won’t throw the uppercut, so he taps out a lot. But even though he’s a loser in the octagon, Cole has one thing the other fighters don’t. A strange dragon marking on his body. What could it mean?
Poorly written – I imagine the script was basically there to put a few minutes between fight scenes – and way over the top, MORTAL KOMBAT is exactly the kind of film I wouldn’t want my 37 year old son to take his kids to.
The dialogue, what there is, is very heavy handed, with words of wisdom that fall on deaf ears. Another issue with the dialogue is that some of the film is subtitled, with the subtitles telling you if the characters are speaking Japanese or Chinese. Later in the film they drop identifying the dialect. When one character speaks to Cole in, if we were paying attention, we know is Japanese we can’t help but hope for a subtitle that reads “I have no idea what you’re saying” (English).
While the fight scenes do liven up the film some, the violence is over the top. Yes, in the video game you killed your opponent in nasty ways. Usually your opponent would explode in a red burst and their bones would rain down. Violent, yes. But not like this. Here heads are crushed with a bloody splat, limbs hacked off and various blades are buried deep inside bodies, only to be removed in a geyser of blood. Heck, one character is split down the middle vertically with organs spilling out like quarters from a slot machine. Definitely not the MORTAL KOMBAT I remember playing.
A loud, rambling blood-fest, MORTAL KOMBAT is a great concept gone horribly wrong.