FIGHT LIKE SOMEBODY'S WATCHING
Latest Mortal Kombat takes a buzz-saw to people and to the art of the screenplay
Early video games are not known for their inspirational dialogue (or attention to spelling). Mortal Kombat, which was released in 1992 and has spawned more than 20 sequels, included such zingers as “Gotcha!” “Brutality!” “Toasty!” “Fatality!” and of course “Get over here!”
Ed Boon and John Tobias, creators of the original game, get screenwriting credit in this newest cinematic knock-off, but there are three additional writers, who presumably worked long and hard to arrive at lines like: “Pain is the ultimate catalyst.” Or: “The fate of Earth is in our hands.”
Lewis Tan stars as Cole Young, an expert fighter wasting his talent on $200-a-night matches. He's approached by Jax (Mehcad Brooks), with news that the dragon on his chest is not the birthmark he assumed, but a sign that he's been chosen to fight for Earthrealm (you may know it as just Earth), against the warriors of Outworld, a tough and cheat-y bunch of scoundrels.
Cole quickly finds Sonya Blade (Jessica Mcnamee), whose fighting style includes an impressive array of unnecessary acrobatics. Then there's Kano (Josh Lawson), a motor-mouthed mercenary who throws in his lot with Cole and Sonya on the hopes of striking it rich.
The video game is known for its extreme violence, and the movie, with its hard-r rating, follows suit.
More than one character is disarmed — as in, he won't be high-fiving anyone any time soon — and one particularly gruesome fatality involves someone being buzz-sawed in two with a hat so sharp it would have Odd Job hanging up his haberdashery.
As such, Mortal Kombat delivers essentially what it promises, catchphrases and all.
I particularly enjoyed the thinking that went into the climax, when the heroes decide they should split up and each tackle one bad guy in a solo match, before reconvening to engage in the boss battle together.
It's almost as if they know they're in a movie!