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Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)

DVD Cover (New Line Studios)
Movie Connections:
Mortal Kombat
> Mortal Kombat (1995)
> Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)
> Mortal Kombat: Legacy (2011)
Director:
John R. Leonetti John R. Leonetti
Starring:
Robin Shou Robin Shou
Talisa Soto Talisa Soto
James Remar James Remar
Sandra Hess Sandra Hess
Lynn 'Red' Williams Lynn 'Red' Williams

3.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres / Traits: Action, Fantasy, Fantasy Adventure, Martial Arts, Video Games
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Review by Crispy
Added: June 17, 2008
Two years after the successful Mortal Kombat film was released, this sequel found its way into theatres. And with it came about the beginning of the end for Mortal Kombat's initial run in the limelight. You see, this movie was God awful, and coupled with Midway stamping the familiar dragon seal on all sorts of lame, spin-off games, fans quickly got MKed out.

Anyway, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation has loosely borrowed the plot from Mortal Kombat 3, and starts off right where the last movie ended. Liu Kang has won the tournament, thus the Outworld must restart their winning streak in order to invade. Unfortunately for our heroes, the emperor of Outworld, Shao Kahn, said fuck it and invades anyway; he storms Liu's temple and announces that the realms have begun to merge. Obviously our defending bunch of warriors will have none of this and striek back but Kahn proves to be too much. He kills Johnny Cage and reveals that Kitana's mother, Sindel, has been resurrected and is under his control. He returns to Outworld, stating that the merger will be complete in six days. Feeling completely overwhelmed, the Earthrealm fighters are forced to regroup quickly. Liu Kang is the only one who can defeat Shao Kahn, but his skills are not honed enough, so Raiden sends him and Kitana to find Nightwolf, a Native American shaman who will teach him entirely new skills. Meanwhile, Raiden has gone to the temple of the Elder Gods, demanding answers. In search of more firepower (and a replacement comedic relief character), Sonya has gone to enlist the help of her partner, Jax, who has just had mechanical implants grafted over his arms. None of these missions will be easy however, as Shao Kahn has dispatched extermination squads led by his team of monstrous minions, including Scorpion, a pair of cybernetic ninjas, a foul-tempered centaur named Motaro, another of the four armed shokan name Sheeva, and a whole slew of others. Fortunately, Raiden and Friends are not without a small handful of unlikely allies to even things out.

To put it nicely, this movie is a complete fucking disaster. Paul Anderson passed the franchise off to John R. Leonetti, and it's all too obvious that he was totally clueless in both the story behind the series and how to make an entertaining movie. While it's true that Anderson made some pretty drastic changes to the plot, they actually helped the movie flow much more than otherwise. Instead of having to explain all this backstory, he was able to establish his characters in a grand total of about fifteen minutes and then we get to sit back and watch them slaughter each other. Leonetti just has characters jump in, have a quick fight, then they disappear for the rest of the film. Half of the time they weren't even named on screen. Now granted, logically you would expect the Emperor to have more warriors at his disposal than one of his lackeys, but he didn't have to be so sloppy in how he handled it. Hell, even with the good guys, characters just show up and disappear for absolutely no reason other than to say they were in the movie. It felt like someone just handed him a list of Mortal Kombat buzzwords he had to toss in there, and he slammed in as many as he could, coherence be damned. For example, Nightwolf goes on this long tirade about how the key to victory lies in the Animality, the ability to physically turn into an animal. In the final battle, this skill culminates in a twenty second scrap between a dragon and a hydra in all their shitty CGI glory. Sure, Reptile may have looked horrible, but he was on screen for no more than three seconds before the shoddy effects were masked via his invisibility technique. Here, we got these horribly rendered monsters popping up every twenty minutes. The costumes weren't much better. The simple designs that the ninjas used were replaced by some gaudy plastic affair, and the more monstrous characters were even worse, obviously being nothing more than rubber masks. Anderson knew the value of less is more. Leonetti doesn't have a clue.

Unsurprisingly, much of the previous cast opted out of this nightmare and their characters were recast; in fact, Robin Shou and Talisa Soto were the only two rats stupid enough not to desert this sinking ship. Kind of suits this film though, as acting wise, they were two of the weaker links last time, and neither one ups the ante here. In fact, Shou's delivery has actually gotten worse, but in his defense, so have the lines handed to him. James Remar is the new Raiden, and in no way was he an acceptable substitution for Christopher Lambert. Like the rest of the film, Remar made the character loud and excessive, his attempt at a booming, commanding voice earning nothing more than eye rolls and a yearning for the quiet, sarcastic, raspy Raiden we once had. Also in another change for the worse, Sandra Hess is our new Sonya Blade. Like Remar, she wasn't awful in her own right, but the switch in character archetypes was awful. While Bridgette Wilson made Sonya a driven bad ass, Hess portrays her as a weaker, "girly" character. On the bright side though, Hess did seem a bit more comfortable in the action scenes and she fights Mileena in a mud pit. Bonus points indeed. Our final hero was Lynn Williams as Jax. As I said up above, Williams has replaced Linden Ashby as the comedic relief character, but he's just not funny. Ashby was able to make Cage a cocky but likable guy with a penchant for wisecracks, someone the viewer could get behind. Williams just runs around and whines in Ebonics for an hour and a half. For all my bitching, none of the aforementioned actors were really bad, just in a bad movie. However, Brian Thompson (Shao Kahn) and Deron McBee (Motaro) were both horrible. Mind numbingly horrible.

After forcing myself to sit through this again, it's no wonder that the Mortal Kombat series began to fall from grace not long after. The only good things I can possibly say about this film is that it never really drags, and it really shows just how well the first film was put together. This truly was Mortal Kombat: Abomination. 1/10.
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Nirrad #1: Nirrad - added 06/17/2008, 03:32 PM
Nothing like that first unfortunately. I remember seeing this in the theaters and picking out all the flaws. I did enjoy the final fight though. They just tried to cram as many characters as they could. 3/10 for me.
Rik #2: Rik - added 07/03/2008, 11:38 AM
Cyrax was totally made of plastic and Mileena (a pivotal character in the original storyline) had a 3 minute screentime.

I honestly found it to be good... for a B grade movie. The soundtrack was totally awesome, though.
Lucid Dreams #3: Lucid Dreams - added 07/21/2010, 10:26 PM
You think this is B grade? D grade movies make fun of this. 1/10
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