Three unknowing martial artists are summoned to a mysterious island to compete in a tournament whose outcome will decide the fate of the world.Three unknowing martial artists are summoned to a mysterious island to compete in a tournament whose outcome will decide the fate of the world.Three unknowing martial artists are summoned to a mysterious island to compete in a tournament whose outcome will decide the fate of the world.
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.
- Sep 22, 2003