A Bloody Good Video Game Movie

Fatality! Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge is a worthy adaptation of the classic Midway video game. Previous live-action and animated iterations haven’t been nearly as bloody or savage as the source material. Scorpion’s Revenge relishes the carnage. Eyes pop, tendons tear, and spines are pulled from flesh like zippers. The brutal finishing moves and awesome fight combinations are successfully recreated. There’s just enough humor to temper the violence. Mortal Kombat fans will be gloriously entertained…everyone else, not so much.

In ancient Japan, Hanzo Hasashi (Patrick Seitz) is ambushed by the merciless Lin Kuei. His village and everything he loves is destroyed by the icy evil of the ninja clan’s leader, Sub-Zero (Steve Blum). In the present, Lord Raiden (Dave B. Mitchell), protector of the Earth realm, prepares his champion. Liu Kang (Jordan Rodrigues) has trained his entire life for the challenge ahead. Raiden knows he will need help if Earth is to survive.

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Hanzo Hasashi awakens in the hellish Netherrealm. No demon can overcome his fierce hatred towards Sub-Zero. He is given a chance to exact his revenge as Scorpion. Meanwhile on Earth, Raiden brings together the ferocious Sonya Blade (Jennifer Carpenter) and clueless movie star Johnny Cage (Joel McHale), to ally with Liu Kang. They travel to an island that separates the realms. Once every lifetime, the evil wizard Shang Tsung (Artt Butler) holds a tournament to the death, Mortal Kombat. If a realm wins ten times consecutively, the other realms will be conquered. The Netherrealm is on the cusp of eternal domination. Can the champions of Earth defeat such formidable evil? Or is the fate of the world in the hands of another?

All the characters from the Motal Kombat games are present in the film to some degree. Scorpion, Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, and Johnny Cage take center stage, but lesser fighters make memorable impacts. Baraka, Reptile, and the bad-assed Goro are no pushovers. Their epic battles play out in various settings across the island. The story progresses as each fighter gets closer to Shang Tsung’s fortress. The script is straightforward and simple. Skulls cracked open like soft-boiled eggs are as cerebral as this film gets.

Joel McHale lightens the mood with well-timed levity. An amusing subplot has Johnny Cage convinced the tournament is an elaborate film set. He earns a few chuckles once the truth becomes apparent. I was disappointed by the treatment of Sub-Zero. My favorite game character starts out strong, but is a villainous letdown.

One aspect of the animation got old quickly. The film slows down to emphasize the gore. The action has blood gushing and squirting directly unto the screen. It looks interesting at first, and then becomes irritating. Several of the fight scenes treat blood like a garden sprinkler on your TV. The dripping down and spraying of viscera on screen is overkill. I can appreciate the nod to realism, but this is an animated film based on a video game. Once or twice would have been cool to see.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge is the first production in the franchise by Warner Bros. Animation. They’re off to a good start. They’ve made a Mortal Kombat film for an ardent fan base. There’s little appeal for anyone else. Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge earns its R-rating with extremely graphic violence, disturbing content, and coarse language. It is not a children’s film. Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge is available digitally from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, with a Blu-ray/DVD release on April 28th.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Movieweb.

Film critic, raconteur, praying for dolphins to grow thumbs and do better.



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