Review: Mortal Kombat (2021)

  • Director: Simon McQuoid
  • Writers: Greg Russo, Dave Callaham
  • Stars: Lewis Tam, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Joe Taslim, Hiroyuki Sanada


Films based on video games historically have not fared well. Either the studio missed the mark or tried to make it more inclusive and alienated fans. Mortal Kombat is certainly made for the fans and as far as video game based films, it a heap of fun.

The films starts with a surprising and great prologue set in 1617 in feudal Japan. The family of the warrior Hanzo Hasashi (Sanada) is attacked by Bi-Han(Taslim) and his men, everyone bar Hanzo’s infant son is killed. Fast forward to today and we find ex MMA champion Cole Young (Tan), taking fights at low level bouts for two hundred bucks. Quickly we are told he has the marking, that means he has been chosen to represent the earth realm in Mortal Kombat. The story then goes from there and hits the mystical and supernatural aspects that the game does.

The writing is decent and if you have no idea about the original material then it would seem cheesy but hitting those fan service moments plays well but at the same time that poke fun at it. There is humour sprinkled throughout with a lot of it coming via the character of Kano (Lawson), an Australian turned up to 11, loutish and swearing every third word and really hamming it up (we all don’t talk like that…. not all the time anyway) and he is very funny, if not over bearing at times.

You may or (if you are lucky) may not have seen the previous version of Mortal Kombat, it was watered down and generally not very good. 2021 MK is not watered down. It (thankfully) is filled with blood, impressive fight scenes and yes some well staged fatalities, one the brings to mind the chainsaw atrocity at the end of Evil Dead (2013). Every actor takes their role seriously and it results in a great ensemble.

A little frustratingly and this is somewhat of a spoiler, there is no actual tournament. We are teased throughout the film about it but we never get there and whilst it’s not a huge thing, it is something I would love to see, maybe if they get a chance at a sequel.

Whilst Mortal Kombat won’t be winning any awards and it’s overly long, it will please fans! Go see it.

Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78

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