AN EMPIRE OF WORDS

Mortal Kombat (1995)

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Occasionally there will be a film every so often that is simply terrible, so mind-numbingly bad that turns out to be quite entertaining. Mortal Kombat is probably my first experience at a video game franchise made into a movie. This has become a more increasing theme with Warcraft, Angry Birds and Assassin’s Creed all reaching the silver screen. The most popular adaptation to date would probably be the Angelina Jolie-led Lara Croft films.

Being a Mortal Kombat film, one thing would be necessary to include, the characters, heroes and villains alike. It chooses to focus on Liu Kang (Robin Shou), Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby) and Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras) as they fight against the Outworld for the fate of the Earth. It’s a basic boiled down story of good vs evil for the fate of an object, this case being the Earth.

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Under the guidance of Raiden (Christopher Lambert), Liu Kang, Cage and Sonya are set with the task of winning the tournament to save Earth being taken over by the Outworld. This is down to a set of rules that proposed if the Outworld won ten consecutive Mortal Kombats, they could gain control of the world.

This film is rife with what is expected, action-heavy sequences, upbeat technobeat music and of course, slow motion. The nineties really loved their slow motion scenes, and this goes double for Mortal Kombat. Even the little side jumps and front flips warrant a slow motion capture apparently. And I haven’t a clue what was happening with the soundtrack, parts of it was rightfully teasing the Mortal Kombat theme and downright upbeat enough to keep in time and tune with the action sequences, however there seem to be parts that wouldn’t go amiss in a nineties disco rave.

Although this film is adapted from a video game franchise, the success in writing the story without any background knowledge required is excellent. However, the rest of the story isn’t the most groundbreaking, as it carries all the other overused elements of a good vs evil story.

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Director Paul Anderson added in ‘easter eggs’ for the fans of the video game franchise. Apart from the really enjoyable theme throughout the film, there are certain catchphrases famous throughout the Mortal Kombat universe. Notably, Scorpions “Get over here” and unleashing this weird creature from his hand and Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) reciting the “Flawless Victory” and the ever-famous “Finish Him”.

Often when I’m watching a film, the script largely passes me by, however, I can still notice a bad script. Mortal Kombat is one of these cases. It was so painstakingly bad, I wasn’t expecting the drivel to pour out of the actors mouths as it did. The effects aren’t exactly the most eye-catching either, Prince Goro seems to be an enlarged version of a Gorgonite (The good toys from Small Soldiers). That’s not to mention the off-cue punches/kicks and the oh-so-obvious miniature scale models being destroyed instead of the life-sized buildings.

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If you think this sounds up your street, then the news gets even better. It holds on for an hour and forty before bowing out. Throughout the stomach-churning script, the easily-foreseeable story and the terrible-yet-homourous fight sequences, the film still remains entertaining to a good level. If anything, this film is a gem. Not often does a terrible film become entertaining and require rewatches. Somehow, Mortal Kombat does.

It’s perfect for a terrible movie night alongside Troll 2.

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Author: Nathan Harris

Currently studying Film & Television studies and Media Writing at Derby University. Hopefully wanting to become a film critic/journalist.

One thought on “Mortal Kombat (1995)

  1. I remember the time when the film came out and it was awesome (even though I agree it is bad).

    Thanks for reminding me of the fun of watching them all 🙂

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