Take it from me: you don't need to be a video game fan, or even a Mortal Kombat
fan, to enjoy this movie. You won't be watching for a complex storyline or particularly fleshed-out characters, though; while Mortal Kombat
seems to redeem itself with its diverse casting, the actual meat of the film unfortunately falls a bit flat. For die-hard fans of the games and/or movies, disappointment may come in the form of a main character completely original to the new film or the cheesy video game one-liners. Alternatively, as a casual fan, you may take complete and utter joy in the delightful crudeness of the characters' iconic lines, the elaborate stages reminiscent of the epic game stages, and of course the overly theatrical and entirely unnecessary amount of blood and gore.
This year's film features an entirely new character as its main, Cole Young (Lewis Tan), whose heritage is to blame for why he finds himself hunted by legendary villain Sub-Zero. He finds and trains at Lord Raiden's temple with Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Sonya Blade, Jax, and Kano to ultimately defend the universe from enemies from Outworld. It's really not much more complex than that, but the numerous fight scenes we get to witness are fun and well-choreographed.
My first ever introduction to Mortal Kombat
was shortly after I started dating my husband, when I got to witness several nights of passionate gaming, my favorite of which was always the martial arts fantasy game. I was appalled by the crudeness, enthralled by the creativity, and absolutely horrified by the gore. Until this year's re-imagining of the martial arts video game film, I'd never watched one of the films, and after hearing more about its white-washed past, I can be certain I never will.
However, 2021's release of Mortal Kombat
aims to correct at least some of their past misgivings, as they cast a multinational group of actors for the film; already far superior to past films which- despite the source material dictating differently- apparently cast an array of white actors portraying non-white characters.
Director Simon McQuoid was insistent the new cast was authentic to the source material and those cultures, and took extra care during filming to ensure as much, which was appreciated by actors on set. Ludi Lin
, who plays Liu Kang, was impressed by McQuoid's determination, and went on to discuss what it means to him to be part of a cast where he's not the only Asian actor