Mortal Kombat Review
Fan service undoubtedly, but a hell of a lot of fun!
Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is sought out for the dragon marking on his chest. What he thought was a birth mark is actually a key to his entrance into Mortal Kombat - an inter-dimensional battle between worlds. Earth is on the verge of losing 10 straight, which would allow Outworld to take over the planet. That's a fate Outworld wants guaranteed, and before the tournament starts they send Sub Zero (Joe Taslim) to kill all of the Earth champions. Assembled and protected by Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano), the Earth champions, including Kano (Josh Lawson), Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) and Jax (Mehcad Brooks) must discover their power before Sub Zero kills them like he killed Cole's ancestor, Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) centuries ago.
Mortal Kombat is a straight up insane film. After a brief attempt at plot early in the piece, the film rapidly devolves - abandoning any pretence of a sensible, understandable plot in favour of fan service, and shoehorned catchphrases from the games. Our heroes abandon their families to protect them, only to forget that danger immediately when the plot requires. They travel into the middle of the desert, for a man who was "looking for them" to find them; conveniently 10 yards from his front door. Metal arms that are scrawny originally grow bigger and denser seemingly by magic. Characters with no powers seem unperturbed by apparating gods, lightning and otherwordly characters. Lord Raiden in particular creates problems, intervening only when the plot requires, while claiming he can't intervene - indeed, at one point transporting our heroes to a place between realms where the evil guys can't get them; a place that would have come in handy at literally any other point during the movie.
The real genius of Simon McQuoid's film is that despite the sheer unbelievability of the whole thing, the terrible script and the wooden performances, you don't care. From start to finish, this movie is a blast. It's fast, never stopping for exposition or travel, indeed often to a fault, and always ready to throw the next big fight in your face. The fighting is a hell of a lot of fun, and despite their shoehorned nature, the one-liners and call backs to the games fit like a glove; even for someone who has never played the games.
The acting is pretty sub-par across the board, but with one clear highlight. Josh Lawson's Kano is a laugh-a-minute superstar, constantly engaging on screen and a joy to watch. His performance single-handedly carries the film, creating a strong thread for those uninitiated in the ways of the games to grasp on to. Without him, this would be unwatchable to all but the biggest Mortal Kombat fans, but with him a universal accessibility is granted. It's undeniable that this role is a breakout, and hopefully one that does for him what Pitch Perfect did for Rebel Wilson.
In the end, Mortal Kombat isn't by any stretch of the imagination a 'good movie'. It's cheesy, hamfisted fan service, that is held together by the barest of plots. However, it is an absolute TIME in the cinema - a truly joyous, popcorn film, and for that reason this is one you should catch on the big screen.
Not good, but bloody fun.