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Mortal Kombat 2021 film review. Definitely a good kind of mixed bag

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Funny thing: the theatre I watched this movie in messed up the audio. They made the music loud, while the dialogue & sound effects low, so there are times where there's a fight scene happening & all I can hear is the loud music. When characters are talking in the middle of their fight scenes, I can't hear most of it. This is definitely the theatre's fault since it also happens during the trailer showing in the beginning before the film. I had fun regardless though.


This is 1 week after I watched the new Mortal Kombat film, and now that my excitement has calmed down, I gotta say, this film is a fun watch, even with its story inconsistencies.

Mortal Kombat (2021) - Movie Posters (1 of 3)


Now you'd think from the title alone that this film is gonna be like the original MK film back in the day where it's just a straight-up MK tournament, but it's not. This film is pretty much a backstory chapter for everyone in the cast to prepare themselves for the real Mortal Kombat tournament that's going to happen in the eventual sequels. If you know coming in that there won't be any tournament happening, then it will make the experience better. The plot of the film is pretty much "heroes training for eventual MK tournament. Oh and Hanzo/ Scorpion + Sub Zero 1/ Bi Han's rivalry is at full force". 


The film definitely takes its own spin in the MK lore which may come as confusing for those that are used to how the story goes in the MK games. For starters, the film decides to give explanations on how each of the characters have their special abilities, which pretty much boils down to "get an MK dragon tattoo through birthright, or by killing another person with the MK dragon tattoo so it gets passed on to you, and then unlock your special power if you have an MK tattoo by training hard/ do something that triggers your ability to activate". Which...... yeah that thing doesn't really make sense. I can buy it happening for Kung Lao and Liu Kang, but Jax + Sonya + Kano, the ones that from the games uses gadgets & their own martial arts skills? It doesn't really fit into this explanation, but eh I'll buy it. For now.


It's also pretty weird to have a completely new character Cole Young as the main character POV for the audience as he stumbled upon the war between Outworld & Earthrealm one day when Sub Zero 1/Bi Han comes in like a really badass slasher villain for his family. I know a lot of reviewers out there don't like Cole, but I'm pretty much one that don't mind him for now. He's more like a mix between a couple of existing characters, Takeda, a bit of Scorpion & a bit of Johnny Cage specifically. Since this is the first chapter in a bunch of planned films, I expect him to just start unlocking more of his power that he'll eventually learn to master in the sequels, and even though his power in this film look pretty lame, I can see that it will probably evolve into an even better one when the sequel rolls in, so right now I'm just cautiously optimistic.


Gonna say the positives first about this film: the trailer. It is so damn good that I rewatched this dozens of times before watching the film. A shame that the song used doesn't have the MK notes in the actual version, but it still kicks ass.

The old-school characters in the films are great. Jax, Sonya, Kung Lao, Raiden, Shang Tsung & Liu Kang are quite accurate to their personality in the games. Hanzo/ Scorpion did not show up on screen much besides the intro & the end of the film, but he's awesome when he does. Kano, now THAT is one really good casting. The person who played him is Josh Lawson, and I actually have seen him in this one Australian improv show Thank God You're Here years ago where he just improv his way through stuff & he's so damn good with it.

So I was quite excited to see how well he did as Kano, and he's pretty much one of the best parts of the damn film. Also fun fact: most of the dialogue he said in this film are improvised by him, which makes them so damn funny & great. His Thank God You're Here experience elevated Kano from typical Aussie asshole to best character in the film. Well done Josh, looking forward to seeing him back in the sequel. 


Sub-Zero 1/ Bi Han is also another great part of the film. Unlike the original Bi Han who's a dick with redeeming qualities to him, this Bi Han is straight-up business. He's a full-on badass villain in the modern-day, hunting down everyone that tries to stop him with ruthless efficiency just like a horror slasher film villain, only a martial artist with slick moves & ice powers. This is what I expected out of Joe Taslim, the man knows how to fight & it's badass. 

Joe's actually a big fan of MK, and he actually signed up for the sequels so expect to see more of him kicking even more asses, probably as Noob Saibot which man I can't wait to see!


The fight scenes are also a highlight of the film. They're not shot like shit with shaky cams & actually show the actors doing their moves properly, and the characters did the moves they have in the games, which is so badass on screen, especially the fatalities. There are a couple of "well that fight was...... alright" moments, but no fight in this film is like "wow that is the worst fight I've ever seen" bad. The intro & the final fight are the highlights of the film for sure & I wanna watch them again when they're fully up on youtube later. When the sequels are made, I want these guys to work with the Raid's/ Night Comes for Us' choreography team & make a fucking awesome brutal fight from beginning to end. That will make the next films AMAZEBALLS.


And now to the negatives: what the hell is up with the dialogues??? Aside from Shang Tsung & Kano which are good to really good, the dialogues in this film are just all over the damn place. Cole, unfortunately, has to be saddled with these generic "I'm a hero, let's unite & fight" cookie-cutter stock lines that just sound so generic where he could've been better if he questions the insanity around him more often. His best line was questioning "btw wasn't Kombat supposed to be spelled with C? That doesn't make sense" in the beginning, while for the rest of the film he either let Kano do his zingers or just say plain stuff.


The way the plot progresses, other than the intro & the end, definitely could've been more straightforward. Instead what happened was the first half of the film is good if questionable, and then the second half stumbled as it slipped on a slippery slope, and then back to good again at the end. Anything Raiden said makes me so confused for example because he just said a couple of things that make you question stuff instead of just giving a straight explanation. There's one point in the second half where I was like "hang on a minute, why did they do that even though minutes ago it can't happen because of the existing rules??" Which makes sense since the screenplay writer of this film worked on Wonder Woman 1984 & his co screenplay writer worked on this film as his first. They should've been replaced with writers that worked on the MCU films so everything is more cohesive.


I also don't like how Cole is just put into the middle of a cool fight scene even though it's better if he didn't interrupt the flow of the badass fights. He has a couple of fights that are definitely necessary to show his skills, but there are a couple where he just shows up out of the blue. It's like that moment in the recent Godzilla films where you see the monsters fight, and then you see the humans talking in the middle of the fight. JUST DON'T HAVE THOSE SCENES WHEN THEY'RE FIGHTING DAMN IT!


The music they decided to pick was..... questionable. The ones in the trailer, intro and the final battle (see a pattern here?) are nice & kicks ass, but the ones in the middle are just there & don't really have that catchiness to them. Even the MK theme that they decided to do for the end credits lack the badassery cause they put DUBSTEP of all things in it. I like the effects they do for the background at least.


I actually made a complete version of the mixed up MK11 story trailer on my channel & the commenters all agree that it should've been the song that's used for this film. XD


Lastly, some of the characters are done dirty here, most especially the villains. I know this first film is just setup for the eventual sequels, but man, they wasted Reiko & make him just this guy that wants to cosplay as Shao Khan without any dialogue of his own, Goro's less of a threat than Sub Zero which makes no sense since he was always that one damn sub-boss that took many tries to beat, Nitara from Deadly Alliance but less good just shows up without talking too &........ whatever this guy is.

How Reptile From Mortal Kombat Should Really Look 

No.... NOO... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! No matter how many times they say it, this is NOT Reptile. I refuse to believe that this is Syzoth. This has to be just one of the members of his Saurian Race, it HAS to be. Oh please sequel make Reptile actually like he was in the games!


Overall, this film is mostly an enjoyable time. Definitely could've been better with refinements in the plot & the dialogues, but for a reboot starter, it's definitely fun to watch. Certainly better than MK Annihilation oh God why did that film suck so hard. I give this film "an enjoyable, if messy watch & make you want to see what happen next in the sequel".


7/10. I just hope that the sequel will actually be 10 times better & not be another Mortal Kombat Annihilation. OH GOD PLEASE NO

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