Simon McQuoid directs Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee and Josh Lawson in this video game adaptation reboot about a violent tournament of fighters with supernatural powers.
I was the only person in my cinema screen without a top knot haircut, the only person in my socially distanced row not checking their phone for half the movie. It starts strong with a period prologue that feels like Takashi Miike’s Mortal Kombat but once we are in the present the plot takes the form of a Saturday morning kid’s cartoon. There is way too much exposition, the shooting style is murky and fuzzy whenever not a close-up and the fights are edited poorly. Yet the production values have merit – the Outworld sequences neatly evoke the fantasy stylings of Masters of the Universe or Army of Darkness. As a casual fan of the games I relished seeing the gory fatalities and the character designs. At near two hours, there’s not nearly enough “FINISH HIM!” or “GET OVER HERE!” to really make you again want to sit through the painstakingly set-up sequel. And permanently wisecracking Aussie Kano is mercifully put to bed after simultaneously stealing your attention and swamping the film in poorly written quips. After his grating omnipresence is defeated, you might look forward to a Mortal Kombat movie populated only by the silent, gruff and bland. Personally this scratched an itch that I hope I never have again. A mess but adequate given its pedigree.
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