“Mortal Kombat” was directed by Simon McQuoid in his first feature film. This serves as reboot of the film series that ended in 1997 but is the 3rd film based on the video game franchise of the same name. The film stars Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, Chin Han, Joe Taslim & Hiroyuki Sanada. Following the box office failure of 1997’s “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation”, the third film went through development hell for nearly 2 decades until 2010 when Warner Bros. & New Line began putting together a concept for another film after a short film was released in 2015.
In 17th Century Asia, a mysterious ninja clan known as the Lin Kuei and their leader, Bi-Han (Taslim) targeted a rival clan’s leader, Hanzo Hasashi (Sanada) of the Shirai Ryu. In the present day, a washed up MMA fighter, Cole Young (Tan) and is family are targeted by an assassin with freezing abilities, Sub Zero, who is actually a genetically modified Bi-Han. Cole is warned by Special Forces Major, Jax Briggs (Brooks) that the mysterious dragon marking Cole has means that he has chosen to compete in an ancient tournament known as Mortal Kombat. Jax, who also bares the dragon mark, warns Cole that Sub Zero and others will sent everyone who has it. As Jax & Sub Zero fight, Cole must find Jax’s partner, Sonya Blade (McNamee) who is investigating the dragon mark & the tournament. Sonya doesn’t have the marking but her captive does, the mercenary known as Kano (Lawson). Cole, Sonya & Kano are bought before the God of Thunder, Lord Raiden (Asano) and the 2 shaolin monks, Liu Kang (Lin) and Kung Lao. Raiden explains that those who bare the mark have chosen to defend the realm of Earth in the sacred tournament from a demon sorcerer, Shang Tsung (Han) and his warriors which include Sub Zero, the four armed half man & dragon, Prince Goro, among others. Now, Raiden must prepare the chosen warriors for any and all attacks from Shang Tsung and his men and stop their deadly invasion.
You would think that if they based on the arguably the greatest fighting game franchise ever that the movie would follow the simple storyline. This movie however doesn’t follow the same storyline but instead favors a new one in which our main character is not from the game. The “Cole Young” character is not all that interesting nor fit within the mythology of the franchise. I understand the idea of the reboot but when bring in outsiders, that’s a big gamble and here it just doesn’t fit. The family man concept does not fit in this storyline. Other than that, the movie very entertaining and has just enough fan service to keep fans of the game satisfied. In my opinion, the “Cole” character should’ve been Hanzo Hasashi cause his revenge plot would’ve benefit much better than Cole and when he turns his alter ego, it would’ve made a the solid ending much better. Even Kano’s performance was very entertaining and much more enjoyable than Cole.
Overall, this was solid movie with great fight scenes and the right about violence and gore. My only complaint is the not so interesting lead character and his storyline. If you take it out or replace him with a fan favorite, the movie could’ve been better. The movie had a theatrical release as well as on the streaming service, HBO Max. Word is that they are i talks for a potential and the ending does leave it open. My excitement is somewhat opened for another film like this one.