Ah Mortal Kombat... or should that be MORTAL KOMBAT!
The arcade game arrived in a baptism of fire with controversy surrounding it in 1992. I enjoyed the visuals and gore and the game held me in thrall at a newsagents I frequented on my way to school. There were many times when I was nearly late for school due to playing the arcade game and getting quite far as I spammed Raiden's flying torpedo move. I loved the games series in the 90's on the Megadrive and when the movie was announced I was intrigued but not enough so to watch it at the cinema. Whilst looking through the available films on Amazon Prime I saw the film was available and so I finally had the chance to scratch this itch and so I took it!
The plot is basic fighting game 101; Mortal Kombat is a once-a-generation tournament in which fighters battle for the fate of their worlds. The evil sorcerer Shang Tsung and his evil underlings have won 9 tournaments in a row and if they win the tenth one, they will gain the Earth. Three humans are manipulated by Raiden, ably played by Christopher Lambert, to take part in the tournament and defeat this evil whilst also fighting their own demons (metaphorically speaking). Liu Kang, wants to avenge the death of his brother, actor Johnny Cage wants to prove that he isn't a fake martial artist and military officer Sonya Blade wants to avenge her partners death at the hands of Kano, an underworld boss.
Will the ragtag group overcome their personal issues and win Mortal Kombat? Of course they will but it's the journey that matters in this story.
The movie is incredibly cheesy with one-dimensional characters but the well-choreographed action sequences make it all worthwhile. The dialogue, whilst corny, has Johnny Cage deliver a few great one-liners and the techno-trance beat soundtrack sits well alongside the high octane fight scenes. The film design should be praised as the atmosphere of the first 2 games is conveyed well with the set and the lighting in the film being quite impressive.
Overall the unpretentious nature of the film gives it heart, in its earnestness to tell the ridiculous story the film has a lot of personality and character. Paul W. S. Anderson is an able if unremarkable director, he is most famed for his sci-fi and video game film adaptations (the most popular of which is the Resident Evil film series) and this is one of his best adaptations.
If you are looking for a guilty pleasure then this film is definitely worth your time, it is good cheesy fun!