Mortal Kombat: A simple formula replicating the guilty pleasures of the original

May 7, 2021
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It’s pretty simple, really – just try to replicate the guilty pleasures of the original. The only big departure in this third (and goriest) movie version of the 1992 fighting bloodfest is the creation of a new character called Cole Young (Lewis Tan).

Cole is a thinly drawn cage fighter with a loving wife, cute daughter and a birthmark that looks suspiciously like the trademark of a video game franchise. And that’s more than enough to make him our sympathetic guide as he’s selected for Team Earth in an annual inter-dimensional scrapping tournament.

Weirdly, we never actually see the competition. This Mortal Kombat is stuck in the training levels as Cole is tutored by sensei Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) and meets his new team-mates – military hard nut Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee), metal-armed Jax (Mehcad Brooks) and foul-mouthed Aussie mercenary Kano (Josh Lawson).

When the rival fighters from ‘Outworld’ gatecrash bootcamp, director Simon McQuoid skilfully integrates the signature moves from the game into the movie.

The pace definitely flags under the weight of its in-jokes but, whenever it looks like it’s getting a bit too geeky for its own good, Lawson pops up with a disgracefully funny and perfectly timed put down. The sexist, racist, hard-drinking Kano won’t go down well with the Australian tourist board but he does ensure the appropriate mix of gore and laughs.



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