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Following up the spectacular disaster of competing fighting game turned
movie, Mortal Kombat succeeded where Street Fighter failed. Not a fantastic
movie nor one that goes in my top ten, but Mortal Kombat (without a doubt)
is one of the better game-based-films.
MK wisely avoids inventing plot in unwelcomed places and sticks to the game as frequently as it can get away with. Actually the biggest contradiction that comes to mind is Scorpion and Sub-zero on the same team. Die hard fans will call the screenwriter on this, the rest of us won't care.
All the mistakes Street Fighter made, MK avoided. Instead of colorful campy cameo-fest, Mortal Kombat comes across as a dark tale about a handful of martial artists shot with an exaggerated epic style with humorous undertones to provide comic relief every now and again. Then again, it is ironic that Street Fighter would feel cartoony and Mortal Kombat more concrete when looking at the style of the games (drawn sprites versus live actors). MK is a little silly when reproducing game effects and trademark moves, though now more and more films are moving in that direction (Matrix, anyone?)
The movie's premise is the first Mortal Kombat arcade game featuring a few plot hints (journey to Outworld) and a few characters from Mortal Kombat 2 (Kitana, Jax, a youthful Shang Tsung.)
Christopher Lambert and Cary-Hiroyuki Takawa make the most memorable impact as Thunder God Rayden and Shape-shifting Sorcerer Shang Tsung. Both ham up their performances just enough to remind us that we're watching a live-action video game, but they don't go overboard into Street Fighter's territory. The rest of the cast plays their part straight forward and makes their characters believable.
It's a quick and slick film, gets to the action and gets over with before you can ask too many questions. It's a pretty decent martial arts film, and an outstanding video game' film. And in 1995, it was the best game-inspired film you could find. Today it's still in the top five.
A number of martial artists converge in China, from which they're taken
to a seeming alternate dimension to fight in a tournament that's only
held "once each generation". This time, however, the stakes are even
higher, as the outcome of the tournament will determine the fate of the
Believe it or not, this is the first time I've seen this film, and I've not yet had experience with any of the games, the other films, the animated series, the lunchboxes, or anything else related to the Mortal Kombat universe. After watching the first film, however, I definitely will seek out some of the other material, as I enjoyed the film quite a bit--it earns an 8 out of 10 from me. At this point, however, I can't compare it to any other instantiations of Mortal Kombat.
The film is basically a combination of a classic Hong Kong-styled martial arts actioner and a fantasy that leans slightly to the horror side of that genre. To the film's benefit, it's also not something that either director Paul W.S. Anderson or writer Kevin Droney take too seriously--the film is ultimately an adaptation of a popular video game, after all. There is a tongue-in-cheek, slightly campy sense of humor and playful cheesiness throughout the film, the humor being primarily fueled from two characters, Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby) and Lord Rayden (Christopher Lambert). True, Lambert has a kind of almost smarmy campiness to anything he says or does, in any film, but for me, that's part of his attractiveness--it's a large part of what sold me on the Highlander films.
The fantasy aspect was something I didn't expect before watching the film. It was a very pleasant surprise. Being a huge horror fan, I was especially taken with the set design. The fantasy characters, such as Goro, and the fantasy traits of other characters, were well done and even subtle at times.
As for the fights, which are the propelling force behind the film, they're pleasantly varied and well choreographed, although having just watched Master of the Flying Guillotine (1975) again recently, I was slightly disappointed that the fights weren't more brutal and gory (and in fact, this is one of the areas where I subtracted a point). But they almost make up for the lack of violence but their imaginativeness, especially the fights with Sub-Zero and The Scorpion. That cleverness was required over brawn in most instances was also a nice touch.
Overall, this is a great film that any fans of martial arts or fantasy films should enjoy.
And that really says a lot about how the not-so-current trend of
games-to-movies are received among critics. But this one was easily the
best of all of them. This is easily in a league higher than the likes
of Super Mario Brothers, Double Dragon, Street Fighter, Wing Commander,
the Tomb Raider movies, Resident Evils 1 and 2, House of the Dead and
Alone in the Dark, not to mention that this was one of the few that
actually stayed true to the game, from the costumes to the tourney
fights, from the characters to the plot lines, everything was done
right, and it makes for one hell of a fight-'em-to-the-finish type
But heed my warning: AVOID THE SEQUEL AT ALL COST! Just stick with the original. You won't be disappointed (well, maybe you will, just maybe).
I've always believed that video-games will never make good movies. But
Warner don't seem to understand what a goldmine they're sitting on when
it comes to Mortal Kombat. The franchise has so many characters,
complex back-stories, and mythology that it honestly dwarfs the X-Men.
There is a huge amount of potential in Mortal Kombat. This juvenile
1995 effort only scratches the surface of that potential, but still
manages to be an enjoyable no-brainer.
I remember when this was released back in October 1995. It had been No. 1 at the US box office for three straight weeks. The audience did actually manage to go along with the silly, tongue-in-cheek hokum, and it worked. By modern standards this film is laughably awful. The CGI effects look like they were rendered on a Commodore 64, even when the technology to make much better was readily available at the time. I feel so old thinking about how dated and retro Mortal Kombat is.
A bunch of muscular tough-guys are called to an exotic island to take part in a fighting tournament that could decide the fate of the planet. The Outworld Emperor wants Earth as his new dominion and is one tournament away from victory. His mortal, demonic minions, led by the brilliantly over-the-top Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa as dark sorcerer Shang Tsung, must fight Earth's toughest warriors. All but three are expendable: Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, and Sonya Blade. The film follows them as they fight their way through many colorful environments.
It looks and feels very much like an old-fashioned kung-fu movie. The production design is frequently wonderful, and there's hardly any unlikeable characters. Even 4-armed Prince Goro (brought to life by lovely puppetry) is fun to watch. The story however is paper-thin. Like I said, it could be so much more but the talent or motivation to make such a film in 1995 just wasn't there.
I've never been a fan of Paul Anderson (as a matter-of-fact, he's one of the worst filmmakers currently working), but his US debut is a fun, little pot-boiler with some funky 90s techno.
"Mortal Kombat" in my opinion is just an awesome movie. I think because
I was such a fan of the video games, the days when Sega was the
"thang". LOL, way before Playstation there was Sega! But, I really just
loved the characters and this story just always appealed to me. I think
because also my friends and I enjoyed acting the movie and video game
out. No, we didn't kill each other, we just loved the characters.
Yes, despite this being a typical video game movie, I still think it was cool to watch, still to this day I don't mind watching. It has an awesome soundtrack, excellent moves, and a great look and feel to the movie itself. Just let go and have fun with it, if you enjoyed the video games, I think you should enjoy "Mortal Kombat". It's just cool to watch and keeps you on the edge of your seat in excitement!
'Mortal Kombat' is a fast-paced adventure with unbelievable action and acting. The story is told brilliantly and it makes for a fun, edge-of-your-seat martial arts tale. Two men and one woman enter a contest that will decide the fate of the world - a tournament to end all tournaments. It's a very dark, shadowy film that prides itself on a gloomy atmosphere for which to muster its ground-breaking fight scenes. Few movies in recent years can match the grittiness and pure painfulness of these fights. If you're an action junkie, or just someone who wants a gripping, enjoyable movie then 'Mortal Kombat' is just what you need. A story of revenge, pride, power, weakness, determination, friendship, danger, life and death. Superb entertainment - my absolute favourite.
The only way I can review this is the pros, cons, similarities, and
differences between the game and the movie.
1. The characters from the game series make appearances. Some of these include Kano, Sonya, Rayden, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Kitana, Shang Tsung, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Reptile, and Goro.
2. Scorpion has his iconic "Get over here!" accompanied by the blades that stick out from his hands.
3. Each character for the most part have relatively similar backgrounds when it comes to the movie and the game.
4. MK theme was present in a few fight scenes. The kick-ass theme song that sticks in your head was used in the opening credits and the closing ones.
5. Three words: Johnny Cage's nutshots.
1. Little to no, and I mean NO, fatalities are present in the movie. There is a lot of MK-like action throughout but the one thing that truly made the games awesome is completely left out. To fill you in if you haven't played the games, fatalities are pretty much an attempt (and success) at you being able to brutally murder your opponent in as gruesome style as possible.
2. No blood. I understand that New Line is trying to make the movie more appealing to wide varieties of audiences, but Mortal Kombat without blood isn't Mortal Kombat. This is probably the reason why no fatalities are involved.
1. The movie has some damn good action scenes in it. They were simply entertaining to watch and each fight didn't drag out for a long excessive period of time.
2. The acting wasn't mediocre like I believed it would be. Like so many other game-to-movie crossovers the major appeal is to display the perception of how games "should" be made. I put 'should' in quotes because it fails most of the time, but Mortal Kombat managed to put all of that behind it and made a pretty good movie.
3. Paul W.S. Anderson. Again he has managed to do an awesome job with these video game adaptations. Although it was after, his best work I believe was with the Resident Evil movie seven years later. Personally, I think he's best when it comes to adapting, which is a rare cause when it comes to these types of movies. For example: Uwe Boll. Worst director of all time and he always managed to ruin some pretty good games (House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, Far Cry, Postal).
1. The CGI. Oh my lord was this film's CGI terrible. I mean it was just simply AWFUL. Goro looked like it was animated by a first grader. The visual scenery is great and all the money probably went towards making that aspect look real but they completely ignored this very one distracting aspect.
2. The costumes weren't bad, but they weren't as good as I would have expected. I like how Reptile was a ninja, but Rayden doesn't look anything like he does in the games. An argument can be made that he was in mortal form during the video games to compete in the tournament so that's why they look so differently, but I object to that because he looks just so ridiculous.
3. Like I stated before, no blood is present. It's understandable that the attempt was made to make it PG-13 and all but if this could be remade with more blood...a lot more blood, then it could be made better. That's not something I would usually say, but hey, it's Mortal Kombat, and Mortal Kombat is all about brutality.
Despite the cons and differences it doesn't make this movie any less enjoyable to watch. It's all around pretty good, could have been better, but I'm still fine by what I received.
Nine viewings of Mortal Kombat (MK) may not be enough to convince the
movie fan of its brilliance, but undoubtedly the tenth will provide an
epiphany of Outerworld proportions. MK will no longer be seen as a
cheesy "Rock-em, Sock-em, action flick," but as a revolutionary film
that is as astute as it is subtle. Students of the martial arts will be
mesmerized by the display of skill and talent that is only found in the
greatest of actor-warriors. Students of cinema will be humbled by the
simplicity and utter genius of the cinematography. Students of
philosophy will be enthralled by this film's interpretation of
Heidegger's Dasein and will find their understanding of it born anew.
This film has something for everyone and is without doubt the greatest
film of the twentieth century.
MK3 or bust!
I was living in San Diego (particularly in the suburban armpit of Del Mar)
in 1995, and I remember waiting eagerly well over a year for MK's release.
And it was definitely worth the wait; I saw it a total of 13 times, which
stood as my all-time record for nearly four and a half years. When all was
said and done, it had grossed a strong $70 million domestically, plus $100
I'm not a Mortal Kombat fanatic anymore, but in retrospect MK was one of the most entertaining movies of the 1990s. It was easily the first video game-turned-movie to contain a halfway decent plot, exciting special effects, good acting and spectacular martial arts action, the latter which was before all the present-day "Crouching Tiger" wire-work nonsense. The actors underwent a three-month crash course in martial arts training, and their hard work paid off beautifully. On screen, they looked like they were really performing those moves instead of just imitating them. Unlike previous video game movie washouts like "Double Dragon" and "Street Fighter," MK also had a comprehensible plot that remained faithful to the games, and in the end won a space in gamers' hearts.
Along with the supporting cast of well-renowned martial artists, MK featured a nice cache of actors: Linden Ashby whose screen personalities have all had a bit of a humorous smartass element to them was perfect as Johnny Cage, likewise then-rising star Bridgette Wilson as Sonya Blade and Robin Shou as the film's centerpiece, Liu Kang. Christopher Lambert gave a witty performance as thunder god Raiden (constantly misspelled as "Rayden," much to the aggravation of many MK fans like myself), and nobody cared that he was a French actor playing a Japanese character. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who recently starred in Tim Burton's version of "Planet of the Apes," clearly had a ball playing the evil Shang Tsung, and it showed. (Heck, how many evil sorcerers get to wear cool black leather jackets?)
Unfortunately, save for Tagawa and Wilson, MK unfortunately did not spell the worldwide exposure that many had predicted would come to the stars following the film's success, and the art of animatronics, used here to bring the four-armed Goro to life, is all but extinct in this day and age, but there was no denying that back in the day, the cast and filmmakers knew they had made an entertaining movie. While I hardly watch MK anymore, the bottom line is that it was undeniably a kick in the pants during its time, and for that reason alone it continues to maintain my highest vote to this day. 10/10
MK 1995 is a fine, just fine adaption. But, sometimes movies based upon video games can be crappy. Well, this one was more than OK. No need to tell anything except a few things... a few good things. The acting crew is great Robin Shou (Liu Kang), Linden Ashby (Johny Cage) and Bridgette Willson (Sonya Blade) were great in their parts, Christopher Lambert was fine as Rayden, but his acting was a bit wooden as always. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa was excellent was Shang Tsung, his performance was... well somehow... inspiring. Talisa Soto (Kitana) was also good, but I really found most entertaining none else than Trevor Goddard (Kano), his Kano was very fun! His Australian accent and charisma were just solid! Love this Kano! The martial artist that played Reptile, Sub Zero and Scorpion were amazing in what they do best - kicking some butt! Fights are excellent, the atmosphere is good, the locations and studio sets were good, CGI, well not that great, but OK. It's a great fun! Watch it!
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