Mortal Kombat (Reboot) Review

Salvador Zamora, Entertainment Editor

As theaters begin to reopen, Mortal Kombat (2021) is a welcomed addition to the films available at your local theater and a must-watch if you’re a long-time hardcore fan of the series of videogames or of the previous live-action movies. Given that I’m a fan, I can see this reboot through two lenses, one of a fan and one of a critic. 

To begin, Mortal Kombat does well with paying off its fan service as it essentially borrows from the first game of the series with its many iconic characters and plot points; minus fan-favorite Johnny Cage who along with Lui Kang are seen as the series main characters because they are Earthrealm’s champions. Given that the film does offer enough insight to explain that; essentially there are many realms (dimensions) and Earth’s realm, “Earthrealm” is always under pressure to compete in the Mortal Kombat tournament or else they’ll be invaded by other realms, notably “Outerworld” which is a realm mostly run by deadly, brutal, and evil clans. 

This film primarily follows Cole Young, Sonya Blade, Kano, and Jax. Lewis Tan’s Cole Young is an original character made for the movie and is a welcomed addition to the Mortal Kombat family. His character is actually more relatable and understanding than most of the “cartoon” (meaning bland) characters in this film. Besides Kano who is played excellently by Josh Lawson, who really gives the best performance in any scene he’s in. And despite being a jerk to all the characters, there’s some story and history behind him as well which helps make him and Cole stand out among the rest of the characters; of course besides Scorpion and Sub-Zero (Bi-Han) as their rivalry literally starts and ends this movie. Despite lacking more crucial development or explanation, the actors Joe Taslim (Sub-Zero) and Hiroyuki Sanada (Scorpion) dominate their roles as they really bring the essence of the videogame characters to life. It was fun to see and hear aspects of their history and as said before, the fans would love this.

For the average viewer, however, the film is lacking any real character development as it expects the viewers to know the characters from the games; it really shows how much of a struggle it was to move forward in the first half. Once it picks up, it’s a whole different story and something I believe anyone can enjoy as they explore the characters’ new abilities along with flawless victories, and fatalities. I guess as Jeremy Jahns put it in his Mortal Kombat review, “it’s gore before lore,” but if you are familiar with the brutality of the videogames and can stomach that, this movie is a light breeze when it comes to kills; however it should be advised for sensitive viewers. 

Moreover, the movie was decent and honestly can be a sit back and relax movie, a movie I can actually remember unlike some other sit back and relax flicks. The tease at the end of the film was just amazing and it was literally directed towards the fans; the average viewers would be confused though. Nonetheless, a quick Google search should put everyone on the same page. Also, the credits and the music actually went pretty well together and kept me entertained as I sat desperately waiting for some type of after-credit scene but the movie itself honestly provides enough groundwork for the franchise moving forward. 

Overall it was not a bad debut for the first-time director Simon McQuoid and because he made the movie as a huge fan and tried his best to provide some information in what is one of the most confusing franchise storylines, Mortal Kombat. I’d give the movie a 6 for average fans meaning it’s not bad but something one doesn’t have to dive deep into to enjoy at least. And I’d give the film a 7 for the fans who can honestly see past the flaws, but that’s longtime fans who were aware of the game’s original outing back in 1992 because as a fan who had played the newer games, I was a bit puzzled myself. 

It should be noted that my second watch was far better than my first because I could turn my mind off and enjoy it. However, the score for that would be much more opinionated. I also was able to notice some things I hadn’t before which for fans, the attention to detail is there. But it does feel like some scenes were cut. 

Mortal Kombat is rated R for language and violence and is available to watch in theaters or on HBO Max (15 dollars a month) until May 23rd.