Mortal Kombat Review

A Look Into the New Mortal Kombat Movie


By Forbes

Sage Armstrong, Writer

Warner Brothers released their new cinematic take on the classic video game franchise “Mortal Kombat” in April of 2021. The movie was not only released in theaters but also on HBO Max. For those who don’t know Mortal Kombat is a fighting game that was made in 1992 that started as an arcade game. As of late, the franchise has been converted to a console and PC game. The latest release being Mortal Kombat 11.


I’m one of many who grew up with the Mortal Kombat games so I was very excited to see this film. Going in I had mixed feelings on if the film would meet my expectations due to the previous attempts on a movie version of the game. The first being in 1995 and the second in 1997. These movies were severely looked down on for the low quality and bad writing.


Although I ended up liking the movie a lot as a whole I do have some critiques.


The movie version follows a man named Cole who is not a character in the Mortal Kombat games. At first, I found the decision odd, and I still do, but I ended up liking his character arc. Cole is a descendant of Hanzo Hasashi, a member of the Shirai Ryu clan. Hanzo was also one of Earthrealm’s champions in the Mortal Kombat Tournament. Unfortunately, the Shirai Ryu were massacred by the Lin Kuei resulting in Hanzo turning into a vengeful spirit from the Netherrealm that is deemed Scorpion. Fueled by hate he swears to avenge his family.


Cole as a descendant of an Earthrealm champion is called to compete in Mortal Kombat to defend earth. The Mortal Kombat Tournament was created to give other realms a chance to defend themselves against Outworld as they grew too powerful. For Outworld to conquer the other realms they must win 10 consecutive tournaments. The ability to participate in the Mortal Kombat Tournament is signified by a dragon marking, which indicates that they can unlock their Arcana, gaining a special power of some form.


Although the Mortal Kombat Tournament is mentioned multiple times in the film, it is never actually shown. This is because Shang Tsung and the warriors of Outworld have chosen to fight dirty by attempting to kill the champions of Earthrealm before there can even be a tournament. Outworld has already won nine previous tournaments and winning the next one would allow them to invade Earthrealm.


First of all, I found the pacing incredibly slow. We go through the whole movie without seeing the actual tournament which is the namesake of the film. I can only imagine there will be a second movie but if they plan on following the game’s story it will take at least 6 movies with their current pacing.


I was also extremely disappointed with the number of crucial characters that don’t appear in the movie. One of my favorite things about the games is the strong female characters and while we still get that through Sonya it’s a real shame we didn’t get to see Jade or Kitana.


By gamesense


Another big problem I had was some of the “creative” choices made by the director. Mileena is featured as one of Shang Tsung’s heavy hitters but with the consideration of her backstory, it makes no sense. Mileena is a clone of Kitana mixed with Tarkatan blood. Kitana is not only the daughter of Shao Kahn, Emperor of Outworld, but she is one of Our World’s top assassins. So the fact that Mileena exists in this adaptation means that Kitana does too yet they chose not to include her.


Now onto the things I enjoyed. I think the fighting scenes were phenomenal. The choreography of the action sequences truly impressed me. It all flowed very well and some scenes look like they’re straight out of the game which wasn’t expected given how gory the games are. 


I also enjoyed the more emotional parts in the film including Cole’s family. He is driven by the need to protect his wife and daughter and he does. We also get to see Sonya and Jax’s friendship which is so similar to the games. These characters have people to protect and while it’s featured in the games it’s not until the later games. 


The ending was also very strong. Bringing in Scorpion to fight Sub-Zero was so fun to see not only because of their rivalry but the fight scene was amazing. You see Cole and his ancestor fight side by side to not only save Cole’s family but also avenge Hanzos. The ending also included a possible hint towards a sequel by adding a cut scene with Johnny Cage, one of the original characters.


All in all this film was good. It had all the gore of the games, brought in new interesting characters, and gave the nostalgic vibes that I wanted. 


With the film already bringing 51.3 million dollars to the box office in its first month according to The Numbers and Mortal Kombat 12 is expected to release in April of 2023 a sequel is highly anticipated.