Warner Brothers attempts a flawless victory with its 4K release of 2021’s Mortal Kombat, an updated take on the iconic, long-running video game series. While no one company has yet been able to crack a truly successful, and all-appealing game adaptation, everyone keeps trying, and Warner’s latest effort is solid, surprisingly entertaining, but lacking a sense of fun.
First off, I was absolutely delighted that the hard R was in effect for this film, how else would it be able to portray all the brilliant, and violent fatalities as depicted in the game? The special effects bringing these actions to life are top notch, and look vibrant, and appropriately gory in high definition.
This is a film for fans of the game series, anyone who isn’t a fan may be a little off balance trying to buy into the story, a series of tournaments down through the ages that now holds the balance of who will control Earth(realm) hanging in the balance.
It seems there are forces out there competing for its control, including the villainous Outworld denizens, though it’s never really explained how the contest came about, or why control of the Earth is so important to these other powerful beings, who mention the Elder Gods on the regular.
Drawn into this combat is Cole Young (Lewis Tan) whose bloodline has been tied with the contest for centuries. Alongside Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee), Jax (Mehcad Brooks), Liu Kang (Ludi Lin), and Kung Lao (Max Huang), under the protection of Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) they are trained, develop their inner powers; each has their own signature, and prepare for a confrontation that has no rules but to survive.
It’s fast-paced, features some gorgeous real world locations, solid effects and fight choreography and filled with easter eggs for die-hard fans.
It, however, takes itself a little too seriously, and never seems interested in having any fun. Sure, in this world, the stakes are very high, but everyone buys into the whole story so quickly (in the interest of moving the narrative moving along), at no point does anyone stop, and just say – what the hell is with that girl’s teeth? That guy has four arms? the hell??
The opportunity was there for some stress relief laughter, even if they world is to be taken seriously. Still, for the video game fans, this one is pretty damned entertaining, and the 4K looks and sounds damned impressive with great picture and sound, a gorgeous transfer.
The accompanying blu-ray comes packed with a number of extras including deleted scenes, a look at the easter eggs you may have missed, the film’s fight choreography, a look at some of the fan’s favourite characters and how they appear in this version, as well as a solid exploration of the film’s production.
While this one isn’t going to appeal to everyone, it’s definitely going to catch the eyes of fans who have long been clamoring for a bloodier and harder take on the franchise, no matter how much they may have loved the 90s version.
Mortal Kombat is available from Warner Brothers now!