Director: Simon McQuoid
Starring: Tadanobu Asano, Hiroyuki Sanad, Chin Han, Nathan Jones, Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamara, Josh Lawson, Joe Taslim, Mechad Brooks, .USA. 1h 50m
Despite the long running time, just shy of 2 hours, McQuoid and his team didn’t managed to fill in enough story to fully rewrite the Mortal Kombat universe, however they did manage to cobble together a film just entertaining and intriguing enough to keep a viewer or two entertained for the duration.
Lots of our favorite and heros and villians appear in some guise, but in this remade universe there’s a mix of human and other worldly beings, but in order to fight honorably you’ll have to earn your dragon insignia. and by the end of the film one character has only just about gained their right to fight, so what’s the point of this b movie reboot?
Starting in Feudal Japan, there’s a long history of brave men and women fighting for the braggin rights of being the best, but when Hanzo Hasashi (Sanada) is ambushed by Sub Zero, his only hope is that his infant son lives on to carry on their unique bloodline. Many years later the boy is on his way from £200 a night fighter to fighting to save the planet from evil aliens.. basically.
Cole Young (Tan) is a bright young fighter who’s plunged into the realms of fantasy and whisked away to train to fight and develop his own unique special skills, under the close eye of Lord Raiden (Asano). For anyone who’s played the incredibly long running series of games, there won’t be a lot of inside jokes to keep the film fresh but at least the characters themselves seem fairly on point. But the movie doesn’t know if it wants to eb a homage to the classic or is purely curated to use the characters and work them into a new universe. Mortal Kombat is and probably always will be a tournament film, but the jumbled mess is a series of fights but only levels up by total accident, and it’s just not as much fun without the organization.
“You hoped that I would burn in the flames of hell… but instead, I learned to control them.”
There’s no real hero in the movie, obviously we have to feel for the orphan and his struggles in life and training but Tan just doesn’t seem to have as much on screen charisma to hold the attention with all the crazy action going on. and yet there isn’t enough fighting, not for the insane run time and expectations Hong Kong and South Korean Cinema have some of the most impressive fight sequences of modern cinema, if you chuck the brutality of Indonesia and Thailand into the mix there’s no excuse for this fighting film to have only one semi decent green screen death scene from the delightful Kung Lo.
Clearly enjoying the ability to use updated effects with the well known franchise, McQuoid’s second feature length movie isn’t a total loss but it’s not the cream of the crop either. His sense of humor is played through the talents of Aussie actor Josh Lawson who plays a rough and tough Kano, a man who’s bumbling antics and deadly passions is the only real flare while it lasts.
It could be argued that the movie could be better with some more A-listers, but it has some great talent within, characters from The Raid and Kakihara himself! But it just doesn’t seem to have the self confidence that it could achieve greatness with the talent it has, or maybe rewriting the universe was just too much hard work? The silver lining is that the film has been written in such a way that everyone can come back and fight in the obviously planned sequel, but will that happen with the poor turn out for this stomp styled reboot?
Related: Mortal Kombat (1995),
Lists: Tournament Films Vol1, Tournament Films Vol2,
Spotlight: Tadanobu Asano, Hiroyuki Sanada,