Growing up, I found myself more drawn to fighting games than any other genre. Games such as Super Smash Bros and Tekken were among the ones I used to play all the time. But it was Mortal Kombat that truly roped me in and captivated my attention for much of my youth. Unfortunately, as I grew older, I fell out of the loop with the franchise, finding myself less and less invested. However, when the reboot came out, I found myself falling back in love with the series. In fact, I was so smitten with it that I found that the latest entry quickly became my favourite. So when I heard that Mortal Kombat 2021 was coming out, I was cautiously optimistic.
Echoes Of The Past
As fans of the franchise know quite well, there were a couple of, to put it politely, not amazingly received movies. Now the first one I personally quite enjoy, although admittedly the second is not the best experience. At least it was no Super Mario Bros movie.
With a third movie being stuck in development hell for years, Warner Bros decided just to reboot them entirely. A lot of fans, myself included, were at first scared of this news. Video game movie adaptations are not known for being Oscar-worthy films. Traditionally they’ve all been critically panned and done poorly at the box office. It, therefore, didn’t bode well that the latest Mortal Kombat film was the first feature film made by its director.
A Good Entry Point
Mortal Kombat 2021 is not an absolutely outstanding piece. While I have a couple of nitpicky issues, I found myself pleasantly surprised after finishing it. By creating a way in for the viewer with the character Cole Young, Mortal Kombat 2021 goes down a slightly generic route in terms of some of the tropes used. However, it does use them to mostly great effect, especially considering the movie does sprinkle some of that 90’s cheese in there. Introducing Cole, who has ties to another more famous character from the franchise, was honestly the best choice that the director could have made. Fresh ideas such as this helped free the movie from the shackles of what came before.
I do have some issues with the film, and the biggest problem I have is pacing. While I think it works, for the most part, some scenes could have been tightened up or shortened. This would have helped with pacing considerably. My only other main issue is that it relies too much on setting up a potential sequel. While I can understand the reasoning behind this decision, Mortal Kombat 2021 left me wanting more. It constantly teases the tournament throughout but never actually shows it. Instead, it is left for a sequel I’m sure most fans are hopeful for.
Get Over Here
Part of why I enjoyed this movie as much as I did are the references and the fact that it didn’t shy away from gore, and of course, fatalities. Part of what makes the Mortal Kombat franchise as great as it is is the gore and fatalities. The decision to include them here and lean into the R rating was a stroke of genius. The movie just wouldn’t be the same without them.
It also would not be a Mortal Kombat movie without, of course, a fight between Scorpion and Sub-Zero. Not my favourite fight of the film, but it’s definitely the sort of edge of your seat action that makes this one of the best Video Game adaptations that I have ever seen. Hearing Scorpion say “Get over here” was a cheer inducing moment, one of many in the movie.
The majority of the cast nailed the characterisations of their respective characters and personalities, with a highlight being Kano. The only outlier was Shang Tsung, but only because it is likely, he’ll have a more prominent role in the sequel and therefore be a bit more of a threat.
While it was never going to be the greatest movie ever made, it was still a lot of fun to watch. There were undoubtedly going to be some problems with the film, but I found that there was only a handful at best. There really wasn’t a lot that was holding it back from becoming a truly stand-out movie. It is certainly no Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, that’s for sure. I would definitely recommend this to fans of the Mortal Kombat franchise or those who are just looking for an action-packed film.