"Mortal Kombat" is a piece of delicious 90's cheese that I still love to this very day.
A group of chosen warriors are brought together to decide the fate of the world in an ancient tournament known as "Mortal Kombat." Among them are Liu Kang, a martial-artist out to avenge the death of his brother at the hands of the treacherous sorcerer Shang Tsung; Sonya Blade, a special forces agent trying to track down the man that killed her partner; and Jonny Cage, a washed-up action-movie star who wants to prove to the world he's not a fake or a fraud.
With likable actors, some solid fight sequences and a very fun tone, it's still by an large one of the better video-game-to-film adaptations. The cast excels in their parts. Especially a delightfully hammy Cary-Hiroyki Tagawa as the villainous Shang Tsung and a very fun Linden Ashby as Johnny Cage. The fight choreography is typically very well executed and thrilling, with some standout scenes that still hold up well now in a post-"Matrix" world. And the movie wisely never takes itself too seriously. It has plenty of jokes, gags and fun character beats peppered throughout. I also do have to give some major props to director Paul WS Anderson for successfully translating the arcade game to the big screen. Say what you will about his later films, but he does a very good job behind the camera here.
Is it a particularly great movie? No, not at all. It's formulaic, and silly and at times nonsensical. But is it fun? Most certainly! "Mortal Kombat" is a highly-enjoyable cheese fest. And I adore it. It also doesn't hurt that it has maybe the single coolest theme-song of all time. It still gets me pumped up whenever I hear it.
I'm giving it a 4 out of 5. It's definitely worth revisiting.
Trivia: The autographed photo of Johnny Cage that lands among Scorpion's remains is a reference to Cage's 'Friendship' move from Mortal Kombat 2 (a comedy finisher where after beating your opponent to a bloody pulp you make peace with them by giving them a present or putting on a little show instead of killing them). Apparently many fans considered kicking the tar out of somebody and then giving them a signed photo of yourself to be incredibly egotistical, hence why it appears in the movie.
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