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“Mortal Kombat” movie review: Does it live up to its expectations?

“Mortal Kombat” premiered Apr. 23 on HBO Max and in theaters. (HBO Max)

From an arcade video game to one of the biggest video game franchises in the world, “Mortal Kombat” has solidified its place in video game culture.

With its controversial and graphic violence, extensive world building, and video game lore, this game has broken down many barriers in the gaming world. 

However, with the new 2021 film, if you are a fan of the Mortal Kombat franchise, then this movie can either be extremely disappointing or everything you ever wanted.

The film follows Cole Young (Lewis Tan), a cage fighter who hasn’t had any luck at winning any of his matches in a long time.

The beginning of the film shows his family’s origin story, where his ancestor Hanzo and Hanzo’s whole family are murdered by Bi-Han (Joe Taslim). Later, Young meets with Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) after Jax (Mehcad Brooks) notices he has a birthmark.

She explains to him that she and Jax had been following and researching the dragon shaped mark. Blade then tells him that it signifies that he has been chosen to compete in the Mortal Kombat tournament.

The film spends a lot of time following the fighters of the Earth realm as they prepare for the tournament against the Outworld. This tournament seems to be especially important because Outworld has won the last nine tournaments. If they were to win again, they could take over Earth. 

While many of the fighters are already trained in martial combat, they must focus their efforts on discovering their powers gained from the dragon’s mark and how to use them. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see the powers in use as much as I would like.

The combination of action, violence and drama in this gory film made it worthwhile. As far as graphics go, it is an improvement from the 1990 adaption of the videogame.

However, it was a little strange to see the characters not wearing the costumes that they are most known for, even if it was to fit today’s style.

The film includes plenty of references from the franchise that will satisfy fans. However, the lack of proper character development and sometimes cheesy acting took away from the overall experience.

I recommend going to check it out for yourself if you are a fan of the franchise. If you want to watch a film to turn your brain off, this would be the way to go.

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