Video game movies are almost always impossible to get right. We've seen 'Tomb Raider' and 'Assassin's Creed' - heck, even 'Prince of Persia' had games with strong story lines but sub-average films. So what happens when a game is made out of what is essentially just a fighting game?
(Please note I do understand there is a story mode and a rich law of the Mortal Kombat universe - but on a surface level, most know it for what it is - a fighting game.)
So the plot is something along the lines of bad guys gotta die or the world will lose the next Mortal Kombat tournament and be overrun forever. Let's all just be honest and accept that we aren't here for a rich plot with masterful character development. We are here for the action - and action is what we're delivered in spades. I swear there was a fight scene every... maybe two minutes? Five at most. Hello, it's literally why we came!
We get a good roster of classic fighters, and the mainstays of the series, Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) and Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada), are an absolute treat. The acting is on par with the script, but once again did we come for nuance or did we come to hear someone scream the word "fatality"? The latter. Obviously the latter. It's these moments that actually got claps and cheers from the audience I saw it with - and I don't blame them. Every strong and unsubtle reference to the video games was lauded; give the people what they want!
Josh Lawson as Kano is by far a standout, providing a very Australian sense of comic relief - it was filmed entirely in Adelaide, so that makes sense. His dry delivery and swearing are a standout for the whole film. Speaking on the comedy, there are definitely a lot of attempts at funny moments, but I found that I was laughing more at the unintentionally funny portions of the film (of which there are many).
With its R rating in Australia, 'Mortal Kombat' is hyper-violent - something you would expect from what was basically the first very violent video game - and it doesn't hold back on the gore. All in all, 'Mortal Kombat' is camp fun that lives up to the video game and all the brutality that made it an icon.