Mortal Kombat (1995) - USA
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
Back in the 90s, the “Mortal Kombat” video game remains highly popular and it’s not entirely shocking that a film production was made as a result. “Mortal Kombat” is a film made for millions of fans worldwide and whilst it contains many elements of Bruce Lee inspired characters and quotations, it is ultimately a cheesy B-movie action extravaganza that is filled with overacting, over the top magic and plenty of corny dialogue to round out the proceedings. As a film, it provides a rare Asian representation in a leading role for Robin Shou whose performance is clearly attempting to duplicate Bruce Lee. In fact, the whole film is structured like “Enter the Dragon”, fight tournament on a remote island reached by boat off the shores of Hong Kong.
Robin Shou (“Tiger Cage 2”) takes on the famed role as Liu Kang and manages to have good physical presence, but fails to deliver in terms of acting skills and his constant overacting does not entirely succeed. Shou manages to show some good moves and involved the film’s best fights including the finale with key villain Shang Tsung played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. In fact, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa remains the lone shining light as he is credibly evil and suitably menacing throughout. Linden Ashby plays martial arts star Johnny Cage, is essentially lifeless, meanwhile, Bridgette Wilson fails to add much to one of the few heroine in the film. Christopher Lambert appears as the Lord Raiden, the god of thunder, is more laughable than memorable. Talisa Soto makes a good appearance as Princess Kitana, but lacks any sort of character development to a conflicted role.
All in all, “Mortal Kombat” is the kind of fanboy cheesy B-movie that succeeded commercially largely due to the huge video gaming. Director Paul Andersen managed to go on and craft a directing career of video games adaptation, but lacks the quality and depth required to make “Mortal Kombat” a better cinematic experience. The fight scenes, magic effects, costume designs and cheesy dialogue manages to provide enough mindless entertainment factor for fans of the video game, for others, they are better off re-watching “Enter the Dragon” again.
I rated it 5.5/10