Out of all the fighting games out there right now, Mortal Kombat is the one that is doing the best. Mortal Kombat 11 is a smash hit that’s nearing the release of its final DLC character (mother fucking SPAWN!!), although more are likely to come. An animated movie is in the works, featuring some DC-style animation and a decent voice cast. It’s not lighting the world on fire, sure, but by fighting game standards? This franchise is doing super well!
Although not making EVO 2020 is a pretty rough blow. But that doesn’t change the fact that this series has been doing really well recently!
Which is why I want to take the piss out of it. So I’m going to talk about one of the franchise’s many low points! I’m gonna talk about the original Mortal Kombat movie!
It’s no secret that video game movies are bad. They’ve been slowly getting better in recent years, with hits like Detective Pikachu and even the recent Sonic movie, as I’ve discussed before. But holy shit man, these things used to be bad! And few were as bad as Mortal Kombat!
Although Mortal Kombat: Annihilation somehow managed to be worse. But that’ll have to wait for another day. I’m not sure my body can handle two of these things in one day.
Plot: Remember Mortal Kombat on the Sega Genisis?
Let’s talk about the best part! Because we all know Mortal Kombat has always been about the story! Especially in the 90s!
Outworld, a neighboring dimension, is out to invade the earth (Earthrealm). In order to do so, they must claim ten victories in the Shaolin Tournament, a magical martial arts tournament fought to the death. In order to stop them, Rayden summons three warriors to help him: martial artist Liu Kang, police officer Sonya Blade, and ego-driven movie star Johnny Cage. Together, they need to defeat the warriors of Outworld and save Earthrealm!
Holy shit, this premise is cheesy! Granted, it’s a kung-fu movie from the 90s! Even if it weren’t a video game movie, it wouldn’t be all that distinct. The problem is not the premise.
It’s literally everything else!
It’s super hard to pick just one thing to start with because basically everything in this movie is wrong! Each character is flat and uninteresting and the dialogue is atrocious to the point of it coming across as comedy! It’s so bad, so unabashedly awful, that it loops back around and becomes amazing!
This is not a good story. Not by any means. But that’s part of what makes it so enjoyable! It’s a complete disaster that makes you wonder how a human could possibly write anything worse!
Then the next Mortal Kombat movie happened and made this movie look like a masterpiece.
Visuals: Eye Cancer
You know those brutal attacks in the modern Mortal Kombat games where the character stabs the other guy in the eyes with their weapon? Yeah, it’s that. That’s a visual metaphor for this visual segment.
This is not a good looking movie. Not a single shot looks even half decent! They’re all marred down by low-quality film, unconvincing sets, hilariously bad costumes, and CGI so bad that it makes MK1 on the Genisis look like fucking Death Stranding! It’s so amazingly incompetent that it shouldn’t exist!
But, to give credit where it’s due. The music in this movie is actually awesome! Particularly the movie’s main theme song. You know the one. If you’re even remotely familiar with not only this movie but with the MK franchise as a whole, then you know the song I’m talking about. You probably started singing it immediately after seeing the words Mortal Kombat in the title! It’s the song that should always play every high-quality laser tag match!
Also, as cheesy as it is, the action in this movie is actually pretty cool! The choreography is neat and it goes well with the music! They lack any real narrative weight, but I’d be lying if I said they weren’t a fun time!
Unfortunately, that’s about it. This is a very unpleasant movie to look at in all but a few exceptions. It is an absolute mess.
Performances: Who the fuck cast this thing?!
Seriously, the casting director did the worst fucking job ever.
Normally, I’d bring up at least one stand-out actor for their performance. Unfortunately, that’s kind of not possible in this case. Not a single actor in this movie did a very good job. They are all equally bad.
And equally hilarious!
Honestly, I’m not sure who to blame here. It could be that all these guys are solid actors working under a bad director. That’s more possible than a lot of people like to believe. Either way, regardless of who’s fault it may be, none of the performances in this movie are very good.
I know this movie is an easy target. It’s been a punching bag for well over twenty years! Calling this movie bad is about as bold and difficult a statement as saying that Fallout 76 is broken!
Still, this movie is a great time! It’s a great case of ‘it’s so bad that it’s good’! If you go into it with that mindset, you’ll definitely have a great time! But if you go into it expecting a genuinely great movie, then you need to go look somewhere else. It is a bad movie that you watch to make fun of.
Which is more than I can say about most video game movies. So… I guess that’s good?