The fate of the Earthrealm is decided every generation in a tournament called Mortal Kombat. A thunder god by the name of Raiden(Christopher Lambert) represents the earth, by leading his fighters into battle. They are to confront the Emperor of Outworlds finest warriors, who are led by the demon sorcerer Shang Tsung(Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa).
In order to invade the Earthrealm, Outworld must win ten straight tournaments, and they've already won nine, with this tournament being the tenth. Liu Kang(Robin Shou) along with fellow combatants Johnny Cage(Linden Ashby) & Sonya Blade(Bridgette Wilson), enter the tournament with little to no knowledge on what is exactly at stake. When they finally realize it, they have only a short time to prepare for what awaits them. -summary
For starters this double feature contains both movies, Mortal Kombat (1995) and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997) on a single disk. The main menu allows you to switch between either movie and they're both in full screen format. From what I remember, these are the exact same copies that were released individually. If you were or are a fan of these movies, then they're exactly how you remembered them. Now for those who may not know, these two movies are based on the hit video game Mortal Kombat which was released back in 1992, and these two movies follow events and contain elements across the first three games. Fans of the video game will probably get a kick out of seeing some of their favorite characters duking it out on screen. However, serious fans of film and even martial arts may not care for both or either of them. Personally, I still enjoy the first movie and even though I can't stand the sequel, I don't hate it with the same passion, but I still hate it though.
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, Mortal Kombat follows the first game with traces of Mortal Kombat II tossed in. There's quite a bit of fan service here as fans will be treated to watching popular characters face off, such as Liu Kang taking on Tsung, Sonya battling her nemesis Kano (Trevor Goddard), plus the appearance of the four-armed menace Goro. The action scenes are done well enough with some good choreography at times, mainly from the male fighters to be honest. Shou is a competent martial artist, he's pretty quick and believable in just about everything he does. The special effects still look pretty good even now; characters like the manipulator of ice, Sub-Zero, delivers some cool action segments. Not exactly sure anymore, but I believe the special effects for Goro were handled through puppeteering, in any case, he still looks pretty good. I still like the set pieces though, they look like the perfect place to fight for your life. Outworld does have an other worldly feel, too bad the place wasn't developed better. I will also point out the techno soundtrack, because it's very important as it helps the action segments feel bigger than what they really are. It definitely helps during Bridgette Wilson's action scene, because she really isn't that good of a martial artist to me.
The plot mainly follows the three fighters as they best their competition leading to the final battle with Shang Tsung. There are attempts towards character development and even a plot twist here and there, but it's bare bones at best and most will find themselves waiting for the next fight to occur. The acting is much better here than in the second movie. There's nothing even remotely Oscar-worthy, at the same time there isn't anything cringe inducing either. Talisa Soto playing Katana is clearly just a pretty face, but a very pretty face I can look at all day.
This first movie is popcorn entertainment and really doesn't attempt to be anything more. It ends on a cliffhanger making the sequel mandatory viewing.
After the events of the previous tournament, Liu Kang and his friends victory over Shang Tsung is very short-lived. The Emperor of Outworld Shao Khan(Brian Thompson) together with his generals invades the Earthrealm despite losing the tournament. Khan breaks the sacred rules and the casualties begin early. The two realms begin to merge causing global destruction to the Earth. Liu Kang and his companions only have six days to prevent the merger from being complete. The merger of realms is called Annihilation.-summary
One of my friends said this during our discussion on this atrocious sequel: " When this movie looked cool, it looked cool and when it was lame, it was really lame." He is so right. While I was rewatching this last night, I noticed a rise in my enjoyment one minute, then I would begin looking at the clock the next. The movie is a see-saw on your inner action fiend emotions and I credit this to the sloppy action scenes and also poor writing.
Directed by John R. Leonetti, this sequel mainly follows Mortal Kombat 3, and contains elements from Mortal Kombat Trilogy and Mortal Kombat 4. The movie is extremely fan service heavy which is very cool. Leonetti tried hard to appeal to the fans by even giving us a confrontation between Sub-Zero and Scorpion, plus introducing the ninja robots, but it was the failure in execution along with action scenes lacking any type of urgency which worked towards the movie's downfall.
The action segments weren't only badly edited, but some of them lacked more energy than others. The choreography really wasn't good this time, and there were plenty of boring looking and unbelievable spin kicks. Had these "super" beings appeared right here on Earth to take over with their sorry martial art skills, I seriously wouldn't be worried. Musetta Vander playing Queen Sindel, as gorgeous as this woman is, she was really hard to watch during her action segments. Now I will give credit to others such as Sandra Hess playing Sonya Blade, as she was very athletic and even cool to watch. Her acting skills weren't better than Bridgette Wilson, however, her action scenes were more enjoyable. Unlike the first movie where there was a good cohesion between action and music, this movie felt out of rhythm in a way that was too noticeable. It reminded me of that guy in the club dancing techno to a slow ballad. The special effects were really cool to really lame, with the final action scene being one of those, "see it for yourself" moments. The acting embraces the cheesiness and either you'll like it or hate it.
The plot follows Liu Kang (Robin Shou) and Kitana (Talisa Soto) as they try to survive the Extermination Squads, and Kang must learn a new art if he chooses to face Kahn. There are many fights and plenty of characters squeezed in throughout this trip. Although it's cool to see all these faces, it creates problems because many of them disappear without ever returning, and those who don't are killed off in the most unimaginative ways. The story starts out so cool and just goes down hill until it can be almost difficult to watch.
Video games to film have a notorious reputation for being very bad movies; while the first movie doesn't completely follow that trend, the second one gives all naysayers the fuel they need to burn'em. It's unfortunate too because people have to see the second movie in order to finish this, and the trip really isn't worthwhile if you're not already a fan of Mortal Kombat. I can only recommend this to fans of the video games, fans of action movies, and fans of bad movies. Both movies clock in at 196 minutes total.