Back in the 90’s, unless you knew a buddy who got the bootleg stuff from Hong Kong and Japan, you were most likely left with films like Mortal Kombat to watch. Instead of colorful campy cameo-fest, Mortal Kombat comes across as a dark tale about a handful of martial artists shot with an exaggerated epic style with humorous undertones to provide comic relief every now and again. A number of martial artists converge in China, from which they’re taken to a seeming alternate dimension to fight in a tournament that’s only held “once each generation”. This time, however, the stakes are even higher, as the outcome of the tournament will determine the fate of the Earth. Sounds great, eh?
Students of philosophy will be enthralled by this film’s interpretation of Heidegger’s Dasein and will find their understanding of it born anew. As for everyone else, we all wondered, did they not realize when they wrote this movie that if they strayed from the storyline at all it would flop? In the case of Johnny Cage some of the stunts are done by JJ Perry, the fight choreographer from Undisputed 2, and Blood and Bone. They are actually pretty entertaining. It’s just too bad the settings look like painted cardboard plastered onto the structure pulled together to make the setting with no form what so ever. Watching this film 16 years later, the first thing I noticed was how badly dated the special-effects are compared to modern films. The computer generated effects look as though they should appear in a video game for the Playstation One.
OK, maybe I am being too harsh. But, sometimes movies based upon video games can be crappy sometimes. Well, this one was more than OK. The narrative itself is extremely simple, with classic binary oppositions of good vs evil and regular humans vs freaks and sorcerers. Definitely a film for fans of the series and people who spent too much time on the Sega when they were younger! Hell, we all need to kick back for a brainless dose of action every so often. Why not this one?
Not the best martial arts movie ever but certainly not the worst. Despite all its weaknesses and utter stupidity, this movie can sometimes be great fun to watch. Thats because of the great music and soundtrack it has. It has some rather interesting locales and some amateuerly constructed sets too. Funnily enough, the most exciting part of this movie was when the final credits were rolling and George Clinton’s MK Title song was playing in the background. Seriously. Anyways, this movie was intended for a PG-13 audience although the games are restricted for adult players. That pretty much sums up the mismatch this movie achieves. In the end, there’s no way around thinking this sick excuse of a franchise isn’t bad.