To say Mortal Kombat exceeded my expectations would be true, but that is in part because they were exceedingly low to begin with. I did really enjoy this movie but I am wondering how much of that has to do with my decision to watch the first two failed attempts Mortal Kombat (1995) and Mortal Kombat Annihilation (1997) right before it. Anything looks better when framed with how far we have come. The absolute star of this was Josh Lawson’s Kano, to learn a lot of his dialogue was improvised only makes it more impressive. The movie’s biggest failing is that it papers over its one big issue with admittedly great CGI and fight scenes The fight scenes aren’t exactly the choreographed masterpieces of a John Wick film but I appreciated them upping the gore value all the same.
That big issue is its lack of plot development. Outside of an excellent opening seven minutes, nothing is really explored. You could argue that it is setting up a trilogy but they seemingly kill off the most compelling characters. The villains are given no motivation whatsoever. Cole, the newly crafted protagonist doubts his purpose for about five minutes of screen time. Sonya and Jax are special forces but that tells you nothing. Lui Kang and Kung Lao should have been the real focus of the movie. Again, Kano declaring that he wants a “fucking superpower” is about the only clear motive in all of this.
This movie is better than both previous Mortal Kombat’s, Street Fighter, DOA, and that weird Chun Li film. It’s good enough that I want to watch the sequels to see where it goes and who will play Cage. But is it good enough to be more than a -1? Nah.