Mortal Kombat [Grade: C-]

Director: Simon McQuoid

Story By: Greg Russo, Sean Catherine Derek, David Callaham, Drew McWeeny, & Scott Swan

Cast: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Mehcad Brooks, Joe Taslim, Ludi Lin, Hiroyuki Sanada, Josh Lawson, Max Huang, Ng Chin Han, & Tadanobu Asano

* * *

What did Aretha Franklin say? “Beautiful gowns…” …

yep, that’s exactly what this Mortal Kombat film gives. It looks good, and there’s definitely cool moments…but as a film? It wasn’t necessary. Especially with an R rating. To be honest, Netflix would’ve been a better platform for producing this film since the game’s story mode moves in chapters and episodes with battles intertwined.

I wanted more to the story, or at least more character arc and development. 

* * *

Below are my grades for key components in #MortalKombat that I find to be key in any story/film/series—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character Arc/Development. 

Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start), & Don’t Rush.

I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.

* * *

Theme: C-

Plot & Story: D

Pacing: B

Character Arc/Development: D

General Entertainment Factor: Don’t Rush

Film Enthusiast Entertainment Factor: Don’t Rush

* * *

TAKEAWAYS:

1. I loved the graphics and gore of the fight scenes even though I’m not big on such visuals. 🥴👍🏾

2. My my my…Mehcad Brooks…just, YES! 😍

3. The pacing of the film was pretty good for the sake of prioritizing the action and seeing the characters.👍🏾

4. Um…I wasn’t a fan of how they inserted the fatality phrases in the midst of battle. There wasn’t a more authentic way of having characters say those lines vs making it sound like short video game moments? 🥴

5. However, to piggyback off point #3, pacing didn’t work with bringing the story to life. It moved too fast. 🥴👎🏾

6. And point #5 brings me to the character arc. An opportunity was missed for our main character, Cole. There was so much focus on graphics, the character introductions, and fighting that we never got a chance to see Cole navigate existing in the Earthealm after recognizing the marking and struggling with his visions/dreams. I am SURE had some trauma and questions about his existence. 🤦🏾‍♂️

7. The story is a simple one—collect the marking folks from earth to prepare for a tournament. However, the plot doesn’t allow this story to truly thrive. In addition to my point made with the character arc, where was the development of finding these “Chosen Ones”?  What was Jax doing in his day to day? What conversations was Raiden having with his earth ambassadors, and how? How did Kano come across the individual he fought and essentially “stole” from? The actual game has better storylines than the film. I mean, the most recent MK game with Chronica—this is a much better story. 🤦🏾‍♂️👎🏾

8. I was not a fan of characters using modern day lingo when not on earth…especially when we don’t get any really development via the plot. Yeah, we can assume it’s because they lived on earth, but we don’t get a sense of the time frame, nor how they lived on earth to know if that’s the lingo they’d use. It just felt weird. Especially when Kano and Kabal had their quick exchange. Like, WHAT!? 🤦🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️

9. I did enjoy seeing Sonya Blade in action. 🙌🏾

10. The messaging of this film clearly wasn’t at the forefront. I got the sense that one main theme was around finding one’s purpose/fighting for a purpose. We sort of see this theme come through via Cole, but without that real character and plot development, it doesn’t completely get a chance to manifest. 😔

* * *

Overall, #MortalKombat is a film that really could’ve been more enjoyable as a PG-13 film. Cleaning up the language and just sticking to the fighting is something I could seen many pre-teens enjoying. Essentially, the film came across as a rushed chapter of a typical Mortal Kombat story mode with different battles and their set ups. The issue (because some would say, “exactly! So what’s wrong?”) is that 1. If I wanted this, I could play the game; 2. The game does/did a better job at setting up the story and progression of its chapters and battles; 3. The film felt like it skipped to the last chapter of the MK game story mode—so much was missing or needed. 

For those who love MK or just want to see their faves battle it out with their special moves—you’ll like it…But this wasn’t made for everyone. Where were the writers who did the Chronica storyline for the game? 

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