Mortal Kombat [2021] ★★

The “Mortal Kombat” franchise has been part of my life for over 25 years. The video game was on every possible system in the 90’s (even the Gameboy, if you can believe it), and every kid on the block was talking about it . In 1995, my parents took me to see the original movie, which was an incredible experience at the time. Sure, the film itself was corny and ridiculous at times, but I still have fond memories of it, and I still find myself revisiting it every now and then. When I heard that they were rebooting the series, I knew we’d be in for something special with James Wan as a producer. But now that I’ve seen it, I can tell you that I was disappointed with the end result. Don’t get me wrong, fans will still get a kick out of seeing their favorite characters on the big screen again, and the action-sequences are skillfully staged. But there’s still something missing (spoiler alert: an actual tournament). The plot is generic enough: MMA fighter Cole Young has been chosen alongside earth’s champions to stand against the enemies of Outworld, led by the sorcerer Shang Tsung. Cue the brutal action sequences and the corny one liners. Look, I’m not condemning this reboot just for the sake of condemning. I just feel that they could have taken their time with it. After a solid first 20 minutes (including a pulse-pounding opening sequence featuring Scorpion and Sub-Zero), the story degenerates into a series of cliches, and never gives us a reason to root for all these characters. I’m not comparing it with the 1995 movie in any way (which had its own problems), but if you’re going to reboot a franchise, at least make it memorable enough. And ultimately, this is my problem with this movie. As a fan, I still look forward to a sequel (if any), but so far, I’m not entirely sold on this.

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