Mortal Kombat Review

'Mortal Kombat' is in cinemas now. 'Mortal Kombat' is in cinemas now.

For the uninitiated, 'Mortal Kombat' – which began as a 1992 arcade game – follows a group of fighters who participate in a multi-dimensional death battle called Mortal Kombat.

In this third film in the franchise, MMA fighter Cole Young (Lewis Tan) seeks out Earth's greatest champions in order to stand against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe.

The characters and their special finishing moves (known as fatalities) are a large reason for the cult following of this franchise, and this South Australian-made film features a wealth of local talent in the roles.

Queensland actor Josh Lawson who portrays Kano – a staple character of the 'Mortal Kombat' franchise – proved a regular scene-stealer, a sentiment shared by many based on the raucous response to his many hilarious one-liners. (Hearing "Kano wins" delivered in a thick, ocker accent after the character tears an opponent's heart out was a cinematic treat.)

Indeed, delighted whoops and applause from die-hard fans erupted throughout the film's 110-minute runtime, as every iconic move and catchphrase was executed with finesse.

From Kung Lao's "Flawless Victory!" after a particularly gruesome triumph, to "Get over here" by Scorpion, the nostalgic hits just kept coming.

Directed by Simon McQuoid, this latest adaptation of the martial arts fantasy film franchise is a visual masterpiece.

The movie's primary villain, Sub-Zero, executes ice-themed attacks that are beyond cool, and the use of the sound of ice cracking to foreshadow his arrival off-camera is truly chilling (puns fully intended).

While there are brutal action sequences galore to satisfy the bloodthirsty, it is the fight scenes between Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) – and later their climactic deciding battle as their aliases Scorpion and Sub-Zero – where ancient martial arts prowess is gloriously on show.

Littered with coarse language and strong bloody violence including dismemberment and exploding heads, the film's Restricted (R 18+) rating is justified, however to the relief of this weak-stomached viewer, the extravagant gore only induced one dry heave (albeit, some of the grislier scenes were watched through splayed fingers).

The film is not without touching elements of humanity however, particularly as the Earthrealm characters discover and embrace their super powers (or arcana).

Mehcad Brooks does a fine job of conveying Jax's quiet acceptance of his cybernetic arms, while (spoiler alert) Jessica McNamee's broad smile perfectly expresses Sonya Blade's triumph at becoming a champion.

With all-round amazing performances by the assembled cast, the entirely CGI half-human antagonist Goro was a bit of an annoyance, but how else do you convincingly portray a four-armed, bellowing behemoth?

Based on the cheer that went up when the final scene alludes to Johnny Cage being the next Earthrealm champion to be recruited, a sequel to this reboot would not only be warmly received, but highly anticipated.

'Mortal Kombat' is screening in cinemas now.



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