Best videogame to film I've seen so far
Originally written 6-30-10
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 whom 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
Mortal Kombat is the best videogame to film adaptation I have seen to date. Videogames to film have a notorious reputation for being very bad films. Not only because a majority of the time they stray too far from the source material. Most of the time they're just very bad films altogether. However, this is something even a non fan of the game can get into.
I no longer watch these type of films expecting to relive the video game. I have been disappointed numerous times, therefore I watch them simply as a movie and forget everything that I know; but from a fans perspective. I was very pleased with Mortal Kombat when it made its debut in theatres and I still like the film. Now with the exception of introducing a couple of characters from the video game sequel, and the somewhat misuse of Scorpion(Chris Casamassa), and Subzero(Francois Petit), the film is very faithful to the game.
The story is very easy to understand, to include the plot is straight forward and very easy to follow. There is also quite a bit of character development, and the fighters each have their own goals which has nothing to do with being the best fighter to ever live. Their goals are actually very realistic which can make the characters somewhat easy to relate to.
The acting is pretty decent from where I see it. However, I still have a hard time buying into Sonya's character. Her acting was almost as stale as her fight scenes. Bridgette Wilson is not a convincing martial artist at all, and I found her form to be a little sloppy at times. It's understandable why she wasn't given many or longer action scenes. Tagawa as Shang Tsung does an excellent job as the lead villian, but I can't remember him ever doing a bad job in being a villain.
The fight scenes are well choreographed and very low on gore. Robin Shou is definitely the best in this area. He's very athletic and agile, to include his techniques have very good form. However, with the exception of Kano(Trevor Goddard)and Sonya's mediocre exchange, most of the fights are very entertaining but a couple were way too short. The standout battles are Liu Kang vs. Reptile(Keith Cooke) and Cage vs. Scorpion. You will see some excellent exchanges here.
The characters also display some of their trademark moves from the videogame with intentions on giving the fans something more. The biggest problem I can think of is after the Kang/Reptile fight leading to the end, the final battle doesn't hold up well at all in comparison because that previous fight was so good. The special effects are hit and miss at times, but the four armed warrior Goro whom is a half man/half dragon looks great even by today's standards. You also get a few close ups of his ugly face.
For the most part the set pieces are very good. They seem to be a perfect fit for a life or death tournament to take place. The deserted island gives off a dark feeling. You just know these men and women are fighting for their very lives, and there is no safety on this island at all, it's victory or death. If it was me, I would have it no other way.
For those out there whom may not realize how important music is in film should definitely see Mortal Kombat. I just don't believe this film would have been half as good if not for this particular soundtrack consisting of techno. Each and every last song fits perfectly with what was going on at the time. The music made certain fight scenes much easier to get through.
Mortal Kombat also has a very good ending, even though there's a bit of cheese in there. The film ends leaving it wide open, thus making it mandatory to see the wretched sequel. Possibly, the best feature of this film has to be the fact anyone can watch it. It's not only for fans, a non fan isn't required to have knowledge of the videogame. Everyone will know exactly what's going on, and why a certain person is doing what. For this reason it's easier for me to recommend this. Plus the fights, story, and excellent soundtrack at the very least makes it a rental.
Pros: Nice set locations, very good fights, excellent soundtrack, solid acting
Cons: Can be cheesy, some fights are too short, forces you to watch the awful sequel