After over a year of anticipation and excitement, the new Mortal Kombat movie finally arrived last week in theaters and on HBO Max. For this particular fan, after watching the movie I wish it was delayed another several months to get things right.
This was not a good movie.
In fact, it didn’t look very advanced or evolved from the 1990s versions of the movie, and that says a lot. From the terrible story-telling, to the questionable acting, Mortal Kombat seems stuck in it’s own vicious cycle of mediocrity.
What makes this a bigger punch in the gut was seeing the potential the movie had, based on the first seven minutes of the film. The opening sequence was the kind of story-telling, acting, and advanced vision that this franchise has desperately needed, and it should have set the table for even more.
Sadly, it peaked during those first 7 minutes, and it toppled downhill ever since.
“Hunted by the fearsome warrior Sub-Zero, MMA fighter Cole Young finds sanctuary at the temple of Lord Raiden. Training with experienced fighters Liu Kang, Kung Lao and the rogue mercenary Kano, Cole prepares to stand with Earth’s greatest champions to take on the enemies from Outworld in a high-stakes battle for the universe.”
Cole Young’s character was completely hollow. There was no real connectivity with the story, no depth to his connection to the universe in which Mortal Kombat exists. Cole was just a guy who happened to have a mark, and happened to have skills that he didn’t know he had. While this could be explained further in a sequel, the lead character was forgettable, and was more of annoyance to the film as he took fans away from what they really wanted to see.
As awesome as Kano, Kung Lao, and even Liu Kang (at times) were, Cole and the lack of focus on the badass Mileena (who only had her signature teeth for the final few seconds of her role in the film), Mortal Kombat was clunky, boring, and laughable.
It’s likely that a sequel will bring more to the story, and allow the team to put together a more suitable film. This version seemed overly rushed, just for the sake of getting it out there and raking in the money. Recently, it was reported that Mortal Kombat took in $22.5M in its domestic opening and currently sits at $50.1M internationally (this weekend’s international numbers have yet to be reported) for a global total of $72.6M, so the money was there to be made.
Had this movie been shelved for another several months, when more money could be allocated to it, and a longer cut offered, the results would have been better. The Snyder cut of Justice League proved that fans will dive into, and watch, a 4 hour movie that is carefully laid out.
Mortal Kombat should have, and could have been much more.
The true fatality is to the hopes that it would be.
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