Mortal Kombat Isn’t a Flawless Victory

It’s a solid video game movie, as for an actual film, well…



The official movie poster for Mortal Kombat 2021. The release date of this film was officially on April 23, 2021 and was released both in theaters and on HBO Max. There were two Mortal Kombat films from the 90s that weren’t very good, as for this film, not too shabby, but there could be improvements.

Owen Etter, Staff Writer

It’s amazing to see different filmmakers these days putting video games and their lore on the big screen with big-name actors. However, one incredibly violent game in particular just released its own modern-day film, and that game isn’t GTA, not Call of Duty, but Mortal Kombat. This isn’t even the first film made about this game franchise, as there were two films made back in the late 90s that were so incredibly bad that they can almost be considered comedies. 

The one that was just released on HBO Max and in theaters on April 23rd, 2021 gives a pretty good standard as to what a video game film should be. This is by no means a Christopher Nolan script that’s so incredibly deep that it has someone thinking about it for days, it’s just pure nerdy fun. With its incredible costume designs, fantastic CGI, cheesy lines, and very gruesome deaths, Mortal Kombat is a really enjoyable film for gamers, but not so much for people who don’t know this franchise or many games.

Upon seeing the trailer and waiting for about a month, I went into this film thinking to myself, ‘all I want is lots of fighting, brutal deaths, and incredibly cheesy lines’ and this film did provide that, but not as much as I wanted. After forming my own opinions and about a day’s worth of thought, I enjoyed how much physical fighting was in this film, but there could’ve been a lot more weight with sound design to different hits. In the games and promos for them, there’s tons of weight behind hits and lots of different sharp objects used to brutalize an opponent, the fights in this film were plentiful, but that weight wasn’t all there.

However, one of the best fight scenes and general scenes overall was the intro to the film because it felt like there was weight to hits, great choreography with long takes, and different items were used to hit opponents. There were also a lot of artistic shots in this, as the leaves with blood, the water buckets falling over when Scorpion heard his wife scream, Scorpion crawling to his still-alive child, and him looking in sorrow at his frozen wife and child. On top of that, when he’s throwing around his knife on a rope and blood is spilling everywhere, it was super awesome and I couldn’t help but laugh at how real it looked, how brutal it was, and how well done this intro was.

Additionally, the scenes with Sub-Zero and Scorpion had the most impact as I knew what the stakes were and I knew the reason why they hated each other. As for when more people came into play and they were fighting, I didn’t necessarily care about any of the characters and if they died or not, yet I still loved every single fight scene. While each character in this film had motives well established in the games, the movie gave no real reason why certain people were bad and good, so that can be a real downside if you’ve never played a Mortal Kombat game yet you’re wanting to watch this film.

That could just be me being tough on this film because I did want a bit of story, but what I felt helped this film out a lot in terms of style and beauty was the CGI of powers and objects, costume designs, and choreography. Aspects like these matter in not just a video game film, but can help with immersion into the sequences and not a single beat was missed with this film. It’s also worth mentioning that the costumes for each character are fantastic and not a single character was given the short end of the stick with their outfit.

Lastly, some general comments about this film, first involving the soundtrack, I was expecting it to further heighten tension and drive emotion, but it was just incredibly average. While that was disappointing, what isn’t disappointing is the clear indication that everyone was just having fun in this movie and it doesn’t take itself too seriously as it’s just a cheesy and entertaining film to watch. Finally, setting up a sequel is bold, but I think that the director and cast will learn a lot from this film and the next one will be even greater.

Overall Mortal Kombat, like its games, doesn’t take itself too seriously and is just a bundle of film fun. Not every movie has to be deep or artsy to be good, as this film was everything that it promised: fights, gore, and cheesy interactions. With that said, this film is rated R for its language and gore, but nothing sexual at all. So if you’re looking for something to brighten your mood, watch with friends and family, and just have a chill night, Mortal Kombat is the perfect film that’ll bring a good smile to your face.