Monday, April 26, 2021

Movie Review: If You Like Bloody Video Games, This One is For You

Posted By on Mon, Apr 26, 2021 at 11:30 AM


Now playing at Roadhouse Cinemas and Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18 (while also streaming on HBO Max)

Gory, silly and horribly acted, Mortal Kombat is the sort of garbage that one comes to expect in a movie adaptation of a videogame. And, somehow, it winds up being something short of completely horrible. It’s bad, but it’s not epically bad.

If you’ve never played the game, you will have no idea what’s going on in this thing, and even if you did, you might still find yourself a little lost. This is the second attempt at adapting the game, nearly 30 years after Christopher Lambert made an ass of himself in the first. This one is a definite improvement on the first. That’s not saying much.

The plot involves some business with otherworldly realms battling in competitions involving fire, ice and martial arts, or something like that. Champions with a mark on their body must align to do battle with Sub Zero (Joe Taslim), representative of some other realm inhabited by video game assholes.

The weak link here is Cole Young in the lead role of Lewis Tan. Whether it’s the writing or the fact that he just can’t act, Young is a stiff. And when your lead is a stiff, it’s pretty hard to come out on the winning side with your movie.

Luckily, Jessica McNamee (The Meg) is a few notches better as Sonya Blade, and Josh Lawson gets a few laughs as the badass Kano, even if his character offers up no surprises.

Hey, this movie isn’t made for people who don’t play the games. If you play the games, you might get a kick out of the fight scenes, fight scenes that are loaded with spilling entrails and splashing blood. It’s actually surprising how gory this movie is. Most horror films don’t offer up this level of bloodletting.

It’s all banal, aimless and very messy. It’s also, somehow, a few adjustments away from almost being worth watching. Some better attempts at humor, and a lead who doesn’t make you want to go to sleep, might’ve made this a fun cult offering. As it stands, it’s probably one of the better video game adaptations ever made. It’s shit, but it’s not epically bad shit.

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