Mortal Kombat (2021) Review –

How do you piss off an entire generation of video game fans? How do you piss off an entire generation of moviegoers who always want more? The answer: Take a future director with a passion for video games and give him money, fortune and a damn good judo player. Then mix them in a bowl, pour into an ovenproof dish, and bake for as many degrees of Scorpion’s Breath as you can get from the Netherrealm. Get ready to put your courage to the test and dive into this spoiler-filled Mortal Kombat (2021) review.


Photo: Warner Bros.

Cole Young

I’ll start with the obvious, since too many video game fans probably miss Cole Young already. Director Simon McQuoid and writer Greg Russo have introduced a brand new character, Cole Young, who will be the protagonist and driving force of the story. Lewis Tan played the character well, and the fact that he wasn’t the only one chosen was enough to make him believable. He’s a great fighter and a great addition to the Mortal Kombat legend.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Sony/Jax Brigade Blade

Both characters were very similar in all the versions we’ve seen. Both are special forces and both love each other. They are partners, as always, and would die for each other in an instant. It was nice to see that Sonja finally got powers this time. Many fans who didn’t follow the games closely probably didn’t know she had powers! Jax loses his hands in all versions of Mortal Kombat. We saw in the trailer that Sub-Zero freezes Jax’s hands and destroys them. It was a refreshing take on the typical Jax origin story. Jessica McNamee and Mehcad Brooks played excellent roles in this film.

Photo: Warner Bros.


Could there be a more perfect man for the role of Sub-Zero than Joe Taslim? That’s it. He was as spectacular as our favorite frozen ninja. His on-screen persona was so dominant and intimidating that he stole the show from the other characters in the best possible way. Joe’s casting was a flawless success.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Hanzo Hasashi/Scorpio

Hiroyuki Sanada is another great actor, perfect for his role. He is a true swordsman, and his Japanese heritage was proudly displayed in the Scorpion armor. The opening scene shows Hanzo Hasashi as a fierce warrior in Japan. He was a loving father, husband and leader of Shirai-ryu before Bi-Han and Lin-Kuei killed them all. Sanada brought a lot of experience and emotion to this scene, and it was played beautifully.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Kung Lao/Liu Kang

They are the fiercest of monks and the best of friends. Ludi Lin and Max Huang did well, as did Liu Kan and Kung Lao. Their powers were at their peak in the games, and they certainly looked the same as their characters. These are important characters in Mortal Kombat, and it will be very interesting to see how Kung Lao fares.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Lord Ryden/Shang Tsung

In the 45 seconds that we saw Lord Rayden, I really liked him. Tadanobu Asano didn’t have to do much, other than a roaring voice and shining eyes, but he managed to win me over. Shang Tsung, on the other hand, was a big disappointment. Chin Han is a great actor, but he’s too much fun to play a scary wizard named Shang Tsung. The costume was great, and the special effects during his one sultry scene were very cool. Still, I couldn’t help but imagine Lau in The Dark Knight, huddled away in a corner when Batman comes to kidnap him. They could have done more to make Shang Tsung more intense.

Photo: Warner Bros.


Cabal was a pleasant surprise to anyone who didn’t follow the trailer frame by frame. It was probably a nod to Kabal’s speed abilities that he was only seen briefly in the trailer. His costume was great, and Daniel Nelson was very funny on the respirator. Milina was also a little surprised. Every fan who saw the trailer complained that Milena’s monster mouth wasn’t as grotesque as it should have been. Just before her death, she showed her fangs as the Grim Reaper in Blade 2 and convinced all the doubters.

Photo: Warner Bros.


Finally, the uncrowned star of the show: Canoe. Josh Lawson brought a comedic genius to the role and I loved it! He was handsome, he acted well, and he had the arrogance of Kano in the entire history of Mortal Kombat.


The fights in this film were beautifully choreographed, especially the scenes with Joe Taslim. The combination of melee combat and weapons was the perfect combination of all those things that make battles in Mortal Kombat so great. Personally, I could do without unnecessary cable tricks, like Sonja spinning or flying in her frame while grabbing a knife to stab a reptile. But Hollywood has to stay in Hollywood, right?

Death was cruel and terrifying! Jax cracks Reiko’s head open like a watermelon being squeezed by a YouTube girl with unnaturally strong hips. Kung Lao uses his hacksaw to split Nitara in two, like one of his signature moves from the recent Mortal Kombat reboots. Prince Goro also had an early farewell when Cole opened his forces and stabbed Goro! The wrestling and gore was well done and not overdone as some fans had hoped.


Outworld has won nine Mortal Kombat tournaments in a row and is now looking for its tenth win on Earth. If they succeed, they will, with the permission of the old gods, invade the realm of Earth and thus maintain control over it forever. Sub-Zero and Scorpion are arch-enemies, dating back to the feud between Shirai-Ryu and Lin-Kuei. Sub-Zero is used as a weapon by Shang Tsung to get his tenth victory even before the tournament begins. Cole Young is an MMA fighter among those chosen to defend the Earth Kingdom.

Sonja Blade and Jax Briggs go in search of the other champions to team up against Outworld. Kung Lao and Liu Kang are warriors of Lord Raiden’s enslavement. Overall, the story hasn’t changed much, and that’s a good thing. Small details like choosing champions with dragon tattoos and revealing their skills in moments of great emotion are what really set this story apart from the other films and the entire game series.

Deadly bombing sequences?

Absolutely. Sub-Zero’s death paves the way for Bi-Han’s return as Nob Saibot, my favorite Mortal Kombat character of all time. No doubt Shang Tsung will return to Outworld and the very unlucky Emperor Shao Kang in the next film. We’ll also likely see Princess Kitana and the Night Wolf, both of whom were mentioned in the first film. In the upcoming film, Outworld will invade the Earth Kingdom and the dreaded Emperor will make his appearance. I just hope they find a more intimidating actor for the role than Shang Tsung, who we got in this movie.


I would give this movie an 8/10 and I really enjoyed most of the characters, the plot and the action. I’ve listed above the minor changes I would have made, but other than that, I think this is a top-notch movie. The problem with movies like this is that they can’t please everyone. Some fans are unhappy that it doesn’t quite fit the games. For example, Quan Chi and his personification of mind control/bihan were absent from this film. Some fans wanted the movie to be bloodier than it actually is. Finally, some casual moviegoers will be upset that there were more plots than action scenes. Everyone should realize that this was the first installment of what will hopefully be a reboot of the film franchise. They haven’t made up their minds yet.


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