Review: Mortal Kombat (2021)

From New Line Cinema comes the explosive new cinematic adventure “Mortal Kombat,” inspired by the blockbuster video game franchise, out to rent via on demand services from 6th May 2021.


In “Mortal Kombat,” MMA fighter Cole Young, accustomed to taking a beating for money, is unaware of his heritage—or why Outworld’s Emperor Shang Tsung has sent his best warrior, Sub-Zero, an otherworldly Cryomancer, to hunt Cole down.  Fearing for his family’s safety, Cole goes in search of Sonya Blade at the direction of Jax, a Special Forces Major who bears the same strange dragon marking Cole was born with.  Soon, he finds himself at the temple of Lord Raiden, an Elder God and the protector of Earthrealm, who grants sanctuary to those who bear the mark.  Here, Cole trains with experienced warriors Liu Kang, Kung Lao and rogue mercenary Kano, as he prepares to stand with Earth’s greatest champions against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe.  But will Cole be pushed hard enough to unlock his arcana—the immense power from within his soul—in time to save not only his family, but to stop Outworld once and for all?

I found the story to be a perfect video game adapted screenplay. It plays into the lore surrounding the game while creating a new and original plot. A story about revenge, redemption and the rise of the underdog which are three key elements to any action movie. Creating a new character for the movie in Cole Young was a gamble when you have a vast amount of characters to draw from the source material but it didn’t bother me as his character fit well into the dynamic of the movie. It feels as though the story was written about Cole and Mortal Kombat was then built around him rather than him being forced into the Mortal Kombat world.

As is the trend with big budget Hollywood movies these days there always seems to be an element of humour. I appreciate with this movie rather than making every character have quippy one liners like other franchises the humour comes from one character. That character being Kano who some have said stole the movie. Kano certainly makes for a fun character with his vulgar and offensive performance. 

Mortal Kombat is a screenplay by Greg Russo and Dave Callaham (“Wonder Woman 1984”), from a story by Oren Uziel (“Mortal Kombat: Rebirth”) and Russo, based on the videogame created by Ed Boon and John Tobias.


What I absolutely loved about this movie is that it’s a martial arts movie packed full of legit martial arts actors. You can see the passion and dedication in every fight scene and from behind the scene footage you know some of the blood is real. When you build a cast with actors like Lewis Tan, Ludi Lin, Hanzo Hasashi, Joe Taslin and Max Huang you know you’re getting some fast paced, realistic and well choreographed action.

The film is helmed by award-winning Australian commercial filmmaker Simon McQuoid, marking his feature directorial debut, and produced by James Wan (“The Conjuring” universe films, “Aquaman,”), Todd Garner (“Into the Storm,” “Tag”), McQuoid and E. Bennett Walsh (“Men in Black: International,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”). 

Bringing the hugely popular property to the big screen, McQuoid led a team of Australian and U.S. filmmakers, including director of photography Germain McMicking (“True Detective,” “Top of the Lake: China Girl”), production designer Naaman Marshall (“Underwater,” “Servant”), editors Dan Lebental (“Spider-Man: Far From Home”) and Scott Gray (“Top of the Lake,” “Daffodils”), visual effect supervisor Chris Godfrey (“Hacksaw Ridge”) and costume designer Cappi Ireland (“Lion,” “The Rover”).  The music is by Benjamin Wallfisch (“Blade Runner 2049,” the “IT” films). Richard Brener, Dave Neustadter, Victoria Palmeri, Michael Clear, Jeremy Stein and Larry Kasanoff served as executive producers.


The diverse international cast reflects the global nature of the brand, with talent spanning the worlds of film, television and martial arts.  The ensemble includes Lewis Tan (“Deadpool 2,” Netflix’s “Wu Assassins”) as Cole Young; Jessica McNamee (“The Meg”) as Sonya Blade; Josh Lawson (“Bombshell”) as Kano; Tadanobu Asano (“Midway”) as Lord Raiden; Mehcad Brooks (TV’s “Supergirl”) as Jackson “Jax” Bridges; Ludi Lin (“Aquaman”) as Liu Kang; with Chin Han (“Skyscraper”) as Shang Tsung; Joe Taslim (“Star Trek Beyond”) as Bi-Han and Sub-Zero; and Hiroyuki Sanada (“Skyscraper”) as Hanzo Hasashi and Scorpion.  Also featured are Max Huang as Kung Lao; Sisi Stringer as Mileena; Matilda Kimber as Emily Young; and Laura Brent as Allison Young.


I’m going to just get straight to it and say I loved Mortal Kombat. For me this is now the best video game adapted movie and my favourite movie I have seen in 2021. Packed with crazy and insane moments of brilliant action, expertly executed martial arts and a superb, diverse cast. Lewis Tan with every movie steps closer and closer to becoming one of the biggest actors in Hollywood and I have everything crossed for a sequel.

I watched this via a Sky Store purchase and received no incentive to review this movie. All images and artwork are courtesy of Warner Bros and their respective owners.

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