The Mortal Kombat franchise has had its share of highs and lows in various forms of media. From the soaring heights of 1995’s Mortal Kombat to the below-sea-level lows of 1997’s Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, MK movies have had a great disparity in quality. After several film adaptations, 2021’s Mortal Kombat ushers the live-action films into the modern era, complete with a gritty-yet-campy tone, superbly choreographed fight sequences, and, finally, an R rating. The result is one that is largely positive, delivering a fun take on a familiar tale.
Warning: While I try to remain as spoiler-free as possible, certain elements of the narrative and character appearances are mentioned throughout this article.
Mortal Kombat serves as an effective reboot of the story: A ragtag group of skilled martial artists and mercenaries from Earth must learn how to defeat the powerful, magical forces of Outworld. While the setup follows the traditional route of “Outworld has won nine tournaments in a row and must not be allowed to win the tenth,” various twists are thrown into the formula to make this film feel distinct from the versions of the story that came before it. While I probably prefer the traditional story of the tournament playing out to see who reigns supreme, I’ve already seen that in live-action MK movies, animated properties, comic adaptations, and even multiple video games.
Mortal Kombat does a terrific job bringing the series back to the silver screen, striking the perfect tone for the series while delivering superb fight scenes, a fun plot full of beloved characters, and a respectful take on the long-established lore.
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