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Mortal Kombat (1995)

DVD Cover (New Line Studios)
Movie Connections:
Mortal Kombat
> Mortal Kombat (1995)
> Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)
> Mortal Kombat: Legacy (2011)
Genres / Traits:
Action, Fantasy, Fantasy Adventure, Martial Arts, Video Games
Director:
Paul W.S. Anderson Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring:
Christopher Lambert Christopher Lambert
Robin Shou Robin Shou
Linden Ashby Linden Ashby
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Bridgette Wilson-Sampras Bridgette Wilson-Sampras

6.3 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: June 15, 2008
Mortal Kombat. These two words successfully sum up my younger video game days. The massive bloodshed and unique characters reeled my six year old mind in hook, line and sinker; and two years later I was thrilled to learn that it was going to be brought to the big screen. Now, over the years my opinion has been all over the place. I loved it as a kid, but as I grew older and began to understand the series' intricate story lines, I hated the movie for its oversimplified plot and artistic licenses taken. Now that I'm old enough to look past all that and judge the movie on its own merits, I see that it's a pretty fun flick, although certainly not a work of cinematic art.

The Emperor of Outworld has set his sights on Earth, but the Elder Gods have set rules in place preventing him from invading. In order to give Earthrealm a chance to defend themselves, Outworld must win ten Mortal Kombat tournaments in a row; so far, they've won nine. The Emperor has given sorcerer Shang Tsung the responsibility of winning these tournaments, and he is eagerly looking forward to victory. Earthrealm's top warriors are guided by the Thunder God, Raiden; they include Sonya Blade, a special forces agent, Johnny Cage, an egotistical action movie star, and most importantly, Liu Kang. Kang is a former Shaolin monk and a direct descendant of Kung Lao, the monk that defeated Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat four hundred and fifty years ago; he's even further motivated by vengeance as Liu's brother was killed at the hands of the evil sorcerer. They're all great fighters, but none of them have ever faced anything like the enemies they're up against now: Kano, a murderous criminal who killed Sonya's former partner, Scorpion, an undead ninja with a vicious parasite living in his hand, Sub-Zero, an icy warrior with the ability to freeze objects at will, Reptile, a four foot tall lizard that spits acid, and the reigning champion of Mortal Kombat, the four armed Prince Goro. However, each fighter will quickly find out that their worst enemies just might be themselves.

Yeah, I know. That plot sounds retarded. And truthfully, I suppose it is, but it works out a lot better on screen than it sounds on paper. The first portion of the movie focuses on Shang Tsung tricking the Earthrealm warriors onto his island and Raiden explaining the situation, but all that changes once the tournament starts. The plotline then switches over to nonstop action, with about five or six fights in a row, before switching back to actually furthering the story. Now, given the circumstances behind the movie (it being based on a fighting game) this didn't bother me in the least, but I could definitely see how some people could find it boring. In my opinion though, the fights are anything but. Anderson takes a lot of criticism, but I got to hand it to him here, he was smart enough to keep the film relatively grounded. The human warriors have no special powers, and even the supernatural fighters are kept in check. This decision made the film a lot easier to digest, and kept the eye roll moments to a minimum.

Par for the course for these types of movies, acting wise there's not a whole lot going on, with a few exceptions. Christopher Lambert (Raiden), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Shang Tsung), and the late Trevor Goddard (Kano) all put on extremely good shows, while Robin Shou (Liu Kang) and Bridgette Wilson (Sonya) was a bit more in the "meh" category. Linden Ashby was also damned good as Johnny Cage, who filled in the comedic relief role. While he earned a few grins here and there, as a kid I found him hysterical and that is the target audience after all.

Let's be honest, this kind of fantasy martial arts movie has been done countless times before, and they've been done a lot better too. But even so, if you've got nothing to do some night, and this comes on TV, well you could certainly do a lot worse. As for the fans of the series, you'll certainly get a thrill out of seeing Sub-Zero and Scorpion in action, as long as you can get past the ravaging that the story was given. 6/10.
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Mortal Kombat: Annihilation Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III Mortal Kombat: Legacy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze
Blade Blade II Blade: Trinity Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle
Warcraft Pokémon Detective Pikachu Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life Big Trouble In Little China Jumanji
Nirrad #1: Nirrad - added 06/15/2008, 07:03 PM
Probably the best adaptation of a game ever. It actually sticks to its roots unlike every other movie. I was a big fan of this when I was a kid and actually considered Mr. Anderson as my favorite director. Anyways, I still like this movie and a little upset that you reviewed it because I was going to..lol. Already had it started. Anyways, 7.5/10 for me.
Edd #2: Edd - added 06/16/2008, 03:02 AM
GET OVER HERE! 8/10
cky2kendall #3: cky2kendall - added 06/18/2008, 03:41 PM
When you look at it for the storyline, it is just a horrible movie. But the games aren't about that, they are about cutting people up and finishing them off in the most brutal ways possible. So in that respect, the movie does it some justice. Not to mention the characters all looked really cool unlike Street Fighter. Good movie, think I'll save my "Best video game-to-movie adaption" award for Silent Hill though. 6/10
Rik #4: Rik - added 07/03/2008, 11:33 AM
I loved this movie. The only disappointing aspect was the lack of blood drenched fatalities... which was the main highlight of the game anyways.

But the friendship part was kinda cool (where Johnny Cage throws an autographed photo of himself after beating Scorpion).
Tristan #5: Tristan - added 01/10/2009, 12:32 AM
6/10?

Puhleez. This is definitely one of the best video game film adaptations ever made. Not saying much, considering how cheesy it is, but it's a lot of fun.

8/10
Chad #6: Chad - added 01/10/2009, 12:35 AM
For what it's worth, I couldn't even finish this movie. I remember breaking out my copy after this review was posted, watching it for a while, getting insanely bored with it... and then I saw that it had an hour to go. This is coming from someone who loves cheese and b-movies, so yeah.
Lucid Dreams #7: Lucid Dreams - added 07/21/2010, 10:24 PM
This may be the best video game adaptation, but it doesn't mean it's great movie. 5/10
Rest Easy Soul #8: Rest Easy Soul - added 07/27/2010, 10:40 AM
I like Street Fighter better.
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