It may not be a flawless victory but the new Mortal Kombat movie is a fun time for fans of the game franchise.
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A silly and dated new attempt to transport the classic fighting game to the big screen is a late-night drunk watch at best.
In fairness, you can say that Mortal Kombat is pretty much exactly what you expect it to be. It’s clearly meant as the first film in a renewed franchise. But for me, it’s game over.
Those who just want to watch a cool, competent and only semi-dumb action movie, though, can thank god for small favors like that.
And to cap it all off, Mortal Kombat commits the sin that so many recent Hollywood adaptations of existing properties make these days – it’s all set up. Everything that happens here can be written off as exposition laying the groundwork for a sequel, where the real kombat can begin. It’s a ruse; a come-on; a side-show with a very loud barker out front. “We can’t show you that stuff just yet, but come back next time and we might!” The thing is, we’re all suckers enough to probably fall for it.
The film lacks real formal verve, neither depicting the fights in super-coherent long-takes or frenetically edited chaos cinema; it strikes a sort of middle ground. Perhaps perfunctory is more or less the word you’re seeking to describe it in toto? Regardless, a “Flawless Victory” for lifeless corporate cinema.
The action film is as unpretentious as Charlie Sheen eating a Krispy Kreme doughnut at Six Flags. In short: blissfully dumb entertainment.
Frankly, the original Mortal Kombat arcade game had a better sense of narrative momentum; at least there the fights progressed toward a final showdown with the big bosses. Without spoiling this Mortal Kombat, it mostly feels like a giant prologue to something else. Still, for sheer visual panache, intricate fight scenes, and the fact that it’s not an out-and-out embarrassment, Mortal Kombat rates very highly on the list of video game movies.
True to the game, the violence is both ghoulishly creative and gratuitously extreme.
This is an unapologetically violent video-game-turned-movie, filled with gore and also brimming with flat dialogue, whether it’s big-picture speechifying or mostly lame attempts at snappy, action-movie banter. One might reasonably surmise longtime fans of Mortal Kombat would have a better time playing the latest version of the game than watching this origins story.