Going to the movie theater is often about so much more than just watching a good story. I watch good stories play out on my television all the time. Going to the movie theater is often about enhancing the experience of that story. And the best films give you the ability to completely immerse yourself into a story because of the theatrical experience. However, sometimes just simply seeing a fun movie with a cheering audience makes all the difference. ‘Mortal Kombat’ is one of those movies.
There is no doubt that the story is thin, the dialogue is pretty weak, and the exposition is ridiculous. Still, there is no doubt that this tale gets you from point A to point B in a swift and entertaining manner. More importantly, this adaptation gives you just about every bit of fan service you could ask for in a ‘Mortal Kombat’ movie. It’s got the one liners, fatalities, fight sequences, and nearly every classic character that fans love. Plus, it’s actually pretty funny at times.
This humor is almost exclusively due to the smart ass Aussie actor Josh Lawson and his performance as Kano, but he’s not the only bright spot in a mixed bag of performances. Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, and Joe Taslim are all pretty good as Scorpion, Raiden, and Sub-Zero. The rest of the international cast mostly just look the part, but bring very little to their collective roles. Still, they look the part and are decent place holders for dialogue that is only intended to get you from one thing to the next.
The real reason you come to a movie based on a fighting game is to see that game come to life and that’s where this movie shines. The way each character gets their powers, uses their moves, and takes out their opponents is top notch. I always had a soft spot for the campy nature of the original ‘Mortal Kombat’ film, but it’s really not ‘Mortal Kombat’ without the fatalities. I’m sure that many who could care less about this game will just find it gross or unnecessary, but fans were clapping and screaming at the theater I saw this movie in.
And that’s really the thing I want to encourage the most. If you still haven’t gotten your vaccine, and can’t stand masks, then by all means watch this movie on HBO Max. However, if you are vaccinated or willing to sit threw the movie with a mask, go out to see this with a theater of fans. It’s nothing really special as a piece of storytelling, but it is a reminder of why we love the movie theater. Which is something I personally missed, a lot.