By Kharisma McIlwaine
For young people who came of age in the 90s, one of the games that stood out the most was Mortal Kombat. The video game was developed by Midway Games and introduced to the world in 1992.
Gamers fell in love with its iconic characters, catch phrases like “get over here” and “finish him” and the battles. Mortal Kombat was also known for being brutally violent — especially for the time in which it was released. Its characters were revisited in several films, comic books and games.
Simon McQuoid directs the 2021 film “Mortal Kombat” in his feature directorial debut. With a screenplay written by Greg Russo and Dave Callaham and the story by Oren Uziel and Russo, this film serves as a reboot to the “Mortal Kombat” film series.
“Mortal Kombat” stars Hiroyuki Sanada as Hanzo Hasashi/Scorpion, Joe Taslim as Bi-Han/Sub-Zero, Lewis Tan as Cole Young, Jessica McNamee as Sonya Blade, Ludi Lin as Liu Kang, Mechad Brooks as Jax, Max Huang as Kung Lao, Sisi Stringer as Mileena, Josh Lawson as Kano, Tadanobu Asano as Raiden, Ng Chin Han as Shang Tsung and Elissa Cadwell as Nitara.
“Mortal Kombat” is a classic fantasy tale of good vs. evil. The story begins in 17th century Japan with the Lin Kuei assassins attacking the village of Hanzo Hasashi, a member of the rival Shirai Ryu clan. Bi-Han who leads the assassins, unmercifully murders the wife and eldest son of Hanzo.
After an epic battle, the youngest daughter of Hanzo that was hidden, is carried to safety by Raiden. Fast forward to Cole Young, present day. The struggling MMA fighter battles in cage matches for little to no money. As an orphan, Cole frequently has visions of a burning Hanzo. He is completely unaware of his lineage and the true meaning behind his dragon shaped birthmark.
After what seems like a random attack against Cole and his family at the hands of Sub-Zero, Special Forces’ Major Jax rescues them and reveals the truth about Cole. His birthmark is in fact a marking only given to those chosen to defend Earth from the evils of the soul-eating sorcerer Shang Tsung.
Armed with the knowledge of Cole’s bloodline and the prophecy of Hanzo’s bloodline thwarting his plans for the Outworld realm to take over Earthrealm, Shang Tsung sends his vile warriors on various missions to kill and destroy all of the Earthrealm fighters. At the push of Jax, Cole seeks the help of Sonya Blade, another elite warrior. Sonya Blade leads Cole and Kano, a member of the Black Dragon organization, to Raiden’s temple. While there, the trio and Jax who was seriously injured by Sub-Zero, set out to find their arcana powers. They train alongside Liu Kang and Kung Lao in preparation for an epic battle where the fate of Earthrealm lies in the balance.
The fighting sequences in “Mortal Kombat” remain true to the brand. They are gory, and not at all for the faint of heart. The fight choreography is beautifully done, and the training sequences are particularly captivating.
Additionally, the film offers backstory for some of the main characters, which adds more weight to the fight sequences. There is a lot at stake. The banter between Kano and everyone he interacts with, also brings in a layer of unexpected but very enjoyable humor.
Fans of the Mortal Kombat characters will relish in the nostalgia of seeing their favorite characters intact fury and their powers in all of their glory. Some characters were notably missing from the movie,such as Kitana and Johnny Cage, but they will more than likely make an appearance in later on in the film series.
If you want action, a dose of nostalgia and graphic fatalities, you will enjoy this film.
“Mortal Kombat” opens in select theaters and is available to stream on HBO Max on April 23. Check your local listings for safety protocols and showtimes.
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