MORTAL KOMBAT Review: No Flawless Victory, But Gory Video Game Reboot Should Please Fans

MORTAL KOMBAT Review: No Flawless Victory, But Gory Video Game Reboot Should Please Fans

Warner Bros.' Mortal Kombat movie has been available in The US for a few weeks, but its only just released in the UK and Ireland. Find out what I made of the ultra-violent reboot after the jump...

With a first-time director at the helm and a relative lack of any big-name stars, it's probably fair to say that nobody was really expecting too much from Warner Bros.' Mortal Kombat reboot, but an impressive trailer and the release of an excellent opening sequence setting up the bad blood between Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) gave fans hope.

Unfortunately, that prologue marks the highest point of the movie, and things go rapidly downhill with the introduction of Mr. Cole Young (Lewis Tan).

It's never a great sign when a new character is introduced to lead an adaptation of a long-established franchise (it's been confirmed that Cole was a studio-mandated addition), and while Tan's washed-up MMA fighter does have intriguing ties to a fan-favorite kombatant, he's simply not engaging enough to keep us invested in his story. It doesn't help that Tan seems way out of his depth in a leading role.

Most of the other characters do fare better. Jax (Mehcad Brooks) and Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) provide decent backup as Young's allies, and even though Liu Kang and Kung Lao get lost in the shuffle, actors Ludi Lin and Max Huang do a terrific job of bringing the classic characters to life. Josh Lawsons Kano is also a major highlight, delivering plenty of vulgar humor and snarky one-liners.

Mortal Kombat' is nostalgia bait for 90's kids, but doesn't have what we  loved about the game

Scorpion and Sub-Zero were arguably the most important characters to get right, and although they don't get nearly enough screentime (Scorp, in particular), the few scenes they do share are among the strongest. Their final encounter is a joy to behold, and will make you wish the story was more focused on their rivalry.

It's a shame, then, that the plot is all over the place. This won't be an issue for some (yes, the action is the draw here), but it would have been nice to at least establish compelling reasons for these guys to want to tear each other apart (maybe some kind of tournament would have done the trick?) as opposed to relegating most of their big showdowns to what amounts to little more than anti-climatic montage.

Thankfully, most of the action is top-notch, and a couple of gruesome fatalities are utilized to jaw-dropping effect. That said, some of the fight choreography in certain sequences left a lot to be desired, and there's a bit of sloppy editing on display in the later battles.

Mortal Kombat is far from the flawless victory we were hoping for, but it's still an undeniably entertaining watch, with plenty of gore to satisfy fans of the ultra-violent video games. Might be a good idea to ditch Cole Young and make Liu Kang the main protagonist of the sequel, though.

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