Posted on April 22, 2021 at 7:00 pmB-
|Lowest Recommended Age:||High School|
|MPAA Rating:||Rated R for some crude references, language throughout, and strong bloody violence|
|Profanity:||Very strong and crude language|
|Violence/ Scariness:||Pervasive peril and violence, very gory and disturbing images, characters injured and killed including a child|
|Diversity Issues:||Diverse characters|
|Date Released to Theaters:||April 23, 2021|
|Date Released to DVD:||July 5, 2021|
“Mortal Kombat” is a movie based on a video game. So, let’s be real here. We’re not looking for or even expecting complex characters or surprising plot twists. We’re here for the martial arts carnage and a few middle-school-level wisecracks, and that we get.
Character development? I’ve seen more complex backstories on Cabbage Patch Dolls. All you need to know is there are good guys and bad guys and the stakes are the very future of the planet, which, it turns out, turns on, you got it, mortal combat, trial by combat — to the death. Oh, and don’t expect it to make a ton of sense, either. Just sit back and watch the fights.
It begins with a pre-credit sequence set in an edenic 17th century Japan, with a devoted farming couple, their gallant young son, and infant daughter. As the father (Hiroyuki Sanada as Hanzou) is out getting water, bad guys arrive, led by B-Han (Joe Taslim), whose awesome fighting skills are enhanced by his ability to manifest ice. He will later be known as Sub-Zero. He says he is there to avenge, but we do not get any details. Only the baby survives, and she is taken away by a glow-eyed guy who travels via lightning named Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano).
Skip ahead to present day, where Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is fighting for $200 a bout and not doing very well. He is devoted to his wife and daughter. And he has a mysterious dragon-shaped birthmark, which identifies him to those in the know as a champion. one of those designated to fight for the good guys. Not much time for narrative here. Or anywhere else in the movie. It’s battle, battle, training, battle all the way.
Which is a good thing, because the martial arts are great and, for those who are fans of the game, let me quote Wikipedia:
The basic Fatalities are finishing moves that allow the victorious characters to end a match in a special way by murdering their defeated, defenseless opponents in a gruesome manner.
The finishing moves/fatalities are suitably gruesome. Like guts falling out of ripped-open torsos and being sliced open by a buzzsaw like a side of beef. And gallons of spurting blood. As for the script, well, it has exactly what you’d expect, a lot of “the prophecy is upon us” and “winning Mortal Kombat cannot be left to chance,” portentousness, “if you fail to discover your inner power you will never defeat your opponent” pep talks, plus some middle-school-level “humor.”
So, fans of the game will enjoy the call-outs to their favorite characters and inside information and those who are not familiar to the game but like to see martial arts fights with lots of gore will be suitably entertained and even look forward to the sequel.
Parents should know that this film has extended and very gory and graphic peril and violence, along with strong and crude language and references.
Family discussion: Which power do you think you could manifest? How do you fight people who do not follow the rules?
If you like this, try: The game and the “Mythic Quest” and “The Guild” television series.