Mortal Kombat

by Alan Rapp on April 22, 2021

in Home Video

  • Title: Mortal Kombat (1995)
  • IMDb: link

Mortal Kombat movie reviewThrowback Thursday takes us back to 1995 to the first attempt to adapt the Mortal Kombat video game into a feature film. Director Paul W.S. Anderson‘s Mortal Kombat is a flawed, but nonetheless enjoyable, B-movie. The story involves former Shaolin monk Liu Kang (Robin Shou), Hollywood action star Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby), and Special Forces officer Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson) being chosen by Thunder God Lord Raiden (Christopher Lambert) to defend Earth against an evil dimension in a tournament known as Mortal Kombat.

Each fighter has a different purpose for entering the tournament. Cage wants to prove his ability as a fighter (in a secret tournament no one will know about?), Kang is after revenge for the death of his brother (Steven Ho), and Sonya is chasing another competitor in the mercenary Kano (Trevor Goddard). The story is simply a loose structure to fit the various fight sequences, locations, and set pieces. An unapologetic B-movie memorable for Lambert’s mugging and some not too shabby special effects for the time, the film works as a tribute to the video game series without anyone in front, or behind, the cameras, or in the audience, taking the very ridiculous premise seriously.

While the film features some questionable casting, it does fit the tone Anderson is going for mixing the brutal nature of the game with some tongue-in-cheek humor. Shou turns out to be the best casting choice as the reluctant hero turned vengeful avenger hitting just the right notes for a B-Movie’s leading action star. Talisa Soto is cast as Princess Kitana, another competitor but ally to Liu Kang and the humans. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is cast as the over-the-top main villain with other video game characters such as Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and Reptile making appearances for the heroes to defeat. Mortal Kombat isn’t a good movie by objective standards, but despite all its flaws it turns out to a very watchable one for fans of the series or B-movies in general. The film has been released multiple times on DVD and Blu-ray and is available for purchase on several streaming platforms.

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