Mortal Kombat (1995)

Mortal KombatStarring Robin Shou, Linden Avery, Bridgette Wilson, Christopher Lambert, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa.
Written by Ed Boon & John Tobias.
Directed by Paul Anderson.

Grade: C+

Review by Karlo Kavagna.

Perhaps you've played the video game, kickboxing your way through level after level of supernatural ninja assailants? If so, you're ready for the movie version. Mortal Kombat is a tournament to the death (duh) that takes place every twenty-five years. If the forces of darkness, led by sorcerer Shang Tsung (overplayed by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), win ten mortal kombats in a row, the world will be subjugated to a tyranny of evil and bad spelling. Shang Tsung's minions have won nine tournaments already. Now, a handful of mediocre actors must fight to save the world, armed only with their knowledge of martial arts. Apparently the rules of kombat prohibit automatic weapons.

Mortal Kombat features the Highlander himself, Christopher Lambert (who has himself saved the world a few times), as Rayden, the cross-eyed, French-accented god of light. Rayden has chosen a trio of Americans to lead the forces of good: Robin Shou, who tries hard to remind us of Bruce Lee, Linden Ashby, who tries hard to remind us of The Evil Dead's Bruce Campbell, and the oddly under-aerobicized Bridgette Wilson, who tries hard to seem credible as a policewoman and fighting expert. All three actors fail in their efforts, but that's not the point. Director Paul Anderson is concerned with ACTION, and there is plenty of it. Never mind the ridiculous premise or the plot holes so large you can sail a dragon ship through them. Just pop in another quarter and another villain appears, the throbbing rhythms of the title track by the Immortals kick in, and the next fight begins!

Although the final kombat is somewhat antiklimactic, the komputer-generated visual effects are stunning, and less gory than you might expect. This movie is highly rekommended to fans of The Crow, Army of Darkness, and the kollected masterworks of Christopher Lambert, to which we can add this gem. Mortal Kombat is the ideal summer matinee: only $4.00, and perfectly disposable.

Review © August 1995 by AboutFilm.Com and the author.
© 1995 New Line Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

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