23rd Mar2013

Rewind: ‘Mortal Kombat 1 & 2′ Review

by Phil Wheat

MK

MORTAL KOMBAT (1995)

Stars: Robin Shou, Christopher Lambert, Linden Ashby, Talisa Soto, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Bridgette Wilson | Written by Kevin Droney | Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson

Based on the video game of the same name, Mortal Kombat tells the story of a group of martial artists plucked from Earth by the mysterious Lord Rayden to fight in an ancient tournament that sees otherworldy realms compete for the right to conquer the losing realms. So far Outworld has nine wins against Earth, so… so what!

To hell with a synopsis. Just know this: a bunch of good guy martial artists take on a bunch of bad guy martial artists in a collection of some of the best videogame-inspired fight scenes ever committed to celluloid. All the key characters from the game are here – Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, Rayden, Johnny Cage, Kano, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Reptile, even the ridiculous Goro.

One of the best movies ever made from a videogame, in fact it took till this years Tekken movie for anything to come close in my opinion. And to top it all off the film has one hell of a badass soundtrack…

MORTAL KOMBAT ANNIHILATION (1997)

Stars: Robin Shou, Talisa Soto, James Remar, Sandra Hess, Lynn ‘Red’ Williams, Brian Thompson | Written by Lawrence Kasanoff | Directed by John R. Leonetti

Lensed two years after the original, this made purely for the money sequel jettisons everything that made the original film so great – including half the cast, even killing off one of the key characters from the first film two minutes into the flick! Picking up exactly where there the original left off, the film breaks the rules set up by the first film and has Shao Kahn and his minions invade Earth even though they lost the Mortal Kombat tournament. Luckily for viewers we still have that fantastic Robin Shou as Liu Kang to guide us through this shambles – sadly its no wonder Shou was never a bigger draw if he had to star in crap like this.

Like many a videogame movie before it, Mortal Kombat Annihilation has little to appeal to fans of the original game, even if it does contain one of the largest game-to-film character rosters I’ve ever seen… Whether the sequel was hampered by a less than stellar script, studio interference, or having to base itself on a series of games that were becoming ever-increasingly convoluted in terms of story and plot is arguable. Either way give this one a miss and watch the original Mortal Kombat movie on repeat instead.

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