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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> February 1998 >> Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
3 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
February 1998
IMDB Name:
Mortal Kombat (1995)
Paul Anderson
MPAA Rating:
PG-13 for non-stop martial arts action and some violence.

Mortal Kombat is pretty silly as movies go. The focus here is definitely on the fighting, with a healthy dose of special effects and good music thrown in for good measure.

The plot barely exists. In the original video game, there was a tournament. The player picked a character (from a set of seven), then had to fight seven computerized opponents, three pairs of the same computerized opponents, and then two fairly difficult other characters. Leave the machine idle long enough, and it starts to tell you the background behind the characters. Here the plot is also the tournament, but with some extra twists. There are two love interests, one dead brother, one dead partner, and a rickety boat. Oh, and the fate of the realm of other is in the hands of the mortal representatives. If you can't handle the tournament alone being enough of a reason for the fighting, don't watch!

The acting mostly stinks. You knew that already, though, right? The only people here who accomplish anything in their parts are two of the non- mortals: Christopher Lambert and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. Lambert knows that his character, Lord Rayden, is a joke, and he takes advantage of it. Tagawa distorts his face a lot to indicate tension, but beyond that, his acting contribution is in the subtlety of his inflections. OK, maybe it's not so subtle, but it's still the inflections. Particular standouts for the bad acting are stone-faced Bridgette Wilson and every-emotion-makes-me-make-the-same-face Robin Shou.

At this point, you may be wondering why you'd still want to watch the movie. It's simple: special effects and music. The special effects are great! Shang Tsung (as in the video game) takes advantage of his ability to take on the appearance of the souls he has taken from those who have lost to him in a battle. The processes by which Shang Tsung internalizes these souls are pretty nifty. Some of the other magic, like Scorpion's harpoon and Sub-Zero's ice ball, are pretty good, too. The music is perfect for the mood. It does more to make the fighting seem exciting that the fighting itself does, and that's pretty impressive. Kudos to George S. Clinton for distracting the audience from all that mindlessness!

Copyright 1998-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.