It has been over two decades since the last Mortal Kombat movie was made, and this is the third of the series. Based on the video game franchise (of the same name) it features all the players the gamers would know of: Subzero (Joe Taslim), Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee), Johnny Cage (Dane Reese), Kano (Josh Lawson), Liu Kang (Ludi Lin), Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) and Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada).
For plot development, there are more characters embedded in the film, and they are the new fighters for the mortal world – Cole Young (Lewis Tan), Jax (Mehcad Brooks) and Kung Lao (Max Huang). Although Mortal Kombat has the typical type of martial arts backstory (such as ancestral deaths that must be avenged), the mortal versus the immortal has the modern touch – the changing of realms through portals, and superpowers (which must be unlocked to fulfil ‘the prophecy’).
Much of the plot centres around Cole Young (Lewis Tan) discovering his fate, and for comic relief, Kano. Although the plot development of the film is adequate, Lewis Tan’s performance is a fraction wooden and does little to engage the audience, however Joe Taslim as Subzero makes his presence felt – this is a combination of his character and the actor’s skills. The film’s real drawcards are the fighting scenes, bringing the game to life, and the amazing visual effects.
There is a part in the film with simultaneous fighting scenes, and it has been exceptionally well directed. Whilst capturing the best parts of the action, it does not hurt the eyes with the speed of the switching scenes nor the quick fighting moves. It was directed by Australian commercial film director, Simon McQuoid, and as his first feature film, it makes an outstanding impression.
If you are wondering why it is rated R, it is because of the death scenes. Although it definitely earns its R rating, don’t let it put you off; the highly graphic death scenes don’t feel as gory as some other lesser rated films. Perhaps this is because it is not based on a hyperreality and the deaths feel less real, for example in real life people don’t die because someone has covered them in ice. Yes, you do also see a head explode however in some ways the game-like finales of death are less terrifying than a recreated murder scene.
If you have never played the game yet enjoy martial arts or fantasy type films, this is worth the watch. The production of Mortal Kombat took place within Adelaide Studios, although other locations within South Australia are featured. This makes the film especially exciting for us here in Adelaide!