Starring: Christopher Lambert and the bimbo extra from Saved By the Bell
Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson
Release Date: 1995
Mortal Kombat: the movie did more than launch an irritatingly bad theme song that spent the latter half of the nineties being heard in Karate classes throughout the country. It also brought the first movie based on a video game that a majority of gamers thought was halfway decent. The thing is, most gamers have shitty taste in movies. How else would you explain the success of Japanese Anime?
Every fighter from the original Mortal Kombat is present, and they also have an extra token black guy (who isn’t Jax), because every American Kung Fu movie legally has to have one African-American good guy get killed. Rayden who is played by Christopher Lambert. The only other person in the movie that you may recognize is the actress who plays Sonya Blade, who also appeared regularly as the token dumb blond in Saved By the Bell. Seriously though, you can have a good movie without any known actors or actresses, but if your biggest star is Christopher Lambert then there’s a very good chance that your movie sucks. He just doesn’t do good movies. It isn’t his style.
Mortal Kombat is about some annual tournament that the good guys have to win in order to save the world. The story is told through a series of random fights with lame attempts at exposition sprinkled throughout the movie.
Most of the fighters in the movie aren’t even that great at martial arts. It’s hard to tell if any of them even knew how to throw a punch before getting involved in this movie. And even after that, I can’t imagine that they trained for the movie for any longer than a week. I’m sure Sonya Blade did really well in her self-defense for women class, but I hardly think that that qualifies her for this big fancy, trans-dimensional fighting tournament. I remember seeing this movie when I was thirteen, and liking it. As it turns out, I was an idiot when I was thirteen.
Movie Quality: Take every kung-fu movie that was ever made that had anything to do with a tournament, Americanize the movie, remove all of the fighting ability, incorporate elements of a popular video game’s plot then huff a bunch of ether, and you get Mortal Kombat. That being said, it’s still one of the better movies that has been made, based on a video game.
Faithfulness to the Game: As far as I know, every single voice sound bite from the original Mortal Kombat is contained within the movie. It doesn’t matter how awkward it comes off, the producers of the movie were determined to make sure that phrases such as “Flawless Victory” and “fatality” were said in the movie. It didn’t even matter to them that it was said by Shang Tsung (the main villain) in reference to himself immediately after winning a fight. It’s kind of odd really, since twelve-year old gamers are the only people who actually do that.