Good and Gory: Mortal Kombat Movie Review

I recently watched the Mortal Kombat movie that came out on April 23 on my HBO Max account. It came out in theaters, and in 3D, as well as on the HBO Max streaming service. This Mortal Kombat movie is the adaptation of the blockbuster video game franchise and the video game released in October 1992. There have already been 18 video game and 2 movie adaptations, but this is the most current. The movie follows the story of a young MMA fighter, Cole Young, who learns about the history of his ancestors and how he comes from the bloodline of the best ninjas. He learns about the tournaments of Mortal Kombat and how he is one of the chosen champions in the Earthrealm, and must fight off the cheating, awful realm Outworld. Through his journey he meets many other Earthrealm champions who train alongside him to beat Outworld and save Earth.

The costumes that each character wears in the movie really paid homage to the characters in the game, and were practically spot-on. Scorpion’s outfit in the movie focused on the details of his mask, hoodie, and body armor. His mask and hoodie were perfectly done and looked identical to the game.

credit: Mark Rogers, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Whereas, his body armor did not have the classic yellow armor, but instead had a more detailed metal, yellow tinted armor, and I feel that this choice to stray from the traditional armor benefited the luxurious look of Scorpion. Sonya Blade’s outfit was not very complex but stayed true to its origin in the game. My favorite costume, by far, was Sub-Zero. Although his traditional body armor was strayed away from, similarly to Scorpion, to a more opulent look his mask that truly marks his character was absolutely flawless. Likewise, his shoulder pads really added to the distinction of his character and made him embody the true look of a warrior. Last costume that I want to mention is Kung Lao. Although his custom did not match the color of the video game character, his costume still managed to perfectly incorporate exact models of his gorgeous hat, shoulder pads, and belt. 

Moving forward to animations, there were many scenes where the animators truly brought the game to life. On a smaller scale, the eye animations of Subzero, Scorpion, and Kano were very well done, and added an essence to their character that looked so realistic. On a larger scale the animations in battles were such a sight for the eyes. Wherever animations were placed fit perfectly and were profound. Here is my list. First the gruesome slicing of Scorpion’s arm, where Subzero took that blood midair and formed a blade. He then stabbed Scorpions with his own blood.

credits: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Also when Sonya Blade finally discovers her arcana (the inner power of an Earthrealm champion that has the dragon mark) and shoots her pink energy projectile hearts through the body of Mileena. The best part of this animation is not just the pink hearts that Blade emitted but when the shot panned to Milenna on the ground it revealed the massive shot that went through her stomach showing a hole from front to back, leaving only her spine intact. Lastly, the best animation was when Nitara, a vampire who snacks on the blood of people in order to remain alive, working for Shang Tsung, was fighting against Kung Lao. Lao threw his hat into the ground which began to rotate like a saw and once he dropped on top of her wings, led her straight into his hat. The animations truly came to life when Nitara was sawed down the middle, leaving halves of a once known flying, screaming banshee. The animations overall get a 10 out of 10 from me as they truly brought the game to life and incorporated so many of the fighters finishing moves into the movie seamlessly.

The acting in the movie overall would get a 9 out of 10 from me. Every single actor brought their character to life, whether that be through facial expressions, voices, or looks. Casting played a big role in this and I think that the casting job was impeccable. Every single character in the movie side-by-side to the video games looked exquisite. Casting for Scorpion, Sonya Blade, and Jax really did the characters justice. As they all looked like the character’s avatars in the game. The casting of the mother and daughter of Cole Young, Emily and Allison Young, were accurate as the daughter took traits from both parents and looked like she could be their child in real life. The acting was superb as in many scenes you could truly feel the emotions of the characters through the screen, whether that be them facing death of a friend or death themselves. The only reason I would give the acting 9 and not a 10 is the acting of Cole Young himself. Although it fit the lost boy learning about his background archetype he looked almost unphased half the movie and was just lost when it came to reacting to any scenes. For example when Kung Lao’s soul is getting sucked out of his body he is just aimlessly looking, and when Scorpion returns from Hell he just shows no reaction. Other than that the actors did an amazing job.

Overall I would rate this movie a 7 out of 10 as I believe it did a great job providing the fanbase with all the very iconic death scenes, and sticking to the true origin of the game and story. The reason I give it a 7 is because I feel that the addition of some type of context to the story would have made it more appealing to more watchers and reeled in more views. That being said, that is from my perspective as someone who knows the basic context of the story, whereas a die-hard fan would give the movie a 10 out of 10, as they would already know the context and understand every little detail, character, and game reference that production put in. To summarize I definitely think that the movie has been the best movie adaptation of the game, and is worthy of a watch regardless if you know the story and just want to watch an epic, ghastly beatdown.