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Mortal Kombat

‘Mortal Kombat’ first appeared in 1992 as an action-packed console game. Since then, it has become a worldwide phenomenon covering all sorts of media. Books, comics and other merchandise have seen it rake in big bucks. ‘Mortal Kombat’ isn’t its first foray into film. The 1995 and 1997 movies have their admirers with their spectacular martial arts fighting scenes on full display. Don’t expect anything subtle with ‘Mortal Kombat’ as its multitude of fist fights mask its wafer-thin script.

Washed up martial artist Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is on the run. Hunted by deadly assassin, Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim), Cole is unaware of his hidden powers. Learning he is a defender of Earthworld, he has to protect this realm against Outworld’s evil forces. Cole enlists a group of fighters, including Sonya (Jessica McNamee) and Kano (Josh Lawson). Pitting their might against Outworld’s powerful combatants, Cole’s team must save their world from shadowy domination.

‘Mortal Kombat’ is Simon McQuoid’s directorial debut. In terms of story-telling, it barely taxes his skills. As a choreographer of high-octane action, ‘Mortal Kombat’ benefits from his visceral flair. It needs plenty of it as the rest of the film is a bust. From one-dimensional characters to the pedestrian plotting, ‘Mortal Kombat’ has little else going for it. One doesn’t expect a masterpiece with this type of flick, but a modicum of effort in crafting an engaging tale would have been welcome.

If you want to see good acting, ‘Mortal Kombat’ barely has that. Most of the performances are woeful. The cast aren’t there for their thespian skills but to show off their muscled bodies and fighting prowess. They deliver on that score as does the endless combat sequences which are very faithful to the game. The set design and cinematography successfully bring out ‘Mortal Kombat’s’ comic-book flavour, making for a pleasing visual feast.

‘Mortal Kombat’s’ brief run-time reflects the script’s threadbare nature. As mindless entertainment ‘Mortal Kombat’ is reasonable without being amazing. Logic and pure drama aren’t what it needs, although it misses a sense of ridiculous fun. Given the game’s ongoing success, more movies will likely follow despite the low-grade hijinks it delivers.

Rating out of 10: 4

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