Introduced as a video game in 1992, “Mortal Kombat” became a feature film in 1995. It went on to spawn a variety of TV shows, animated and live-action, comics and other spin-offs. I never saw any of them.
I went to this new movie reboot with no real knowledge of or nostalgia for the series. My only emotional response at all was a slight cranky resentment that something from as recently as the ‘90s could be an object of nostalgia.
Attractive, athletic-looking warrior types of various races and genders do battle across various locations and dimensions.
Each of them is a master of martial arts or swordsmanship, but each also has his or her own distinctive superpower. One can throw flames from his hands. Another can shoot a ray from his eye. Another has a big metal hat that he can throw like Oddjob’s bowler in “Goldfinger,” or Captain America’s shield.
Another, dubbed Sub-Zero, can turn on the chill like Elsa in “Frozen.”
There’s a giant four-armed ogre that comes across like a Harryhausen monster on crack, minus the charm. Somehow the fate of the earth is at stake in their bloody clashes.
That’s about as coherently as I feel like summarizing the plot.
How faithful it is to the game or to earlier dramatizations, I couldn’t say.
The cast, entirely unfamiliar to me, is pleasant enough company overall, but the standout was an Australian actor named Josh Lawson, as the eye-laser guy. He spits out his vitriolic lines amusingly.
As long as debuting director Simon McQuoid keeps the action and carnage coming, it’s possible to enjoy this nonsense, in a mindless sort of way.
The fights are staged cleanly and lucidly, and with some degree of choreographic panache.
Be forewarned, however: This movie isn’t kidding with its R-rating.
Dismemberment, disemboweling and other gory fates are graphically depicted throughout.
And the language is full-blast obscene, too.
It’s not for the little ones, though adults are unlikely to be overly shocked by these splatter effects.
They don’t have enough dramatic weight to seem truly mortal.