Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat movies part 2
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Not too long after Street Fighter, the Mortal Kombat movie was released in 1995. When the film was coming out, some fans were rather skeptical due to the failure of Street Fighter, and since the film was being rated PG-13, which meant the violence and gore had to be toned down, however, upon it's release, Mortal Kombat was very well received by fans of the video game, despite mixed reviews from critics, even though Gene Siskel did give the film a thumbs up.
And surprisingly, the film managed to be a box-office success, making it the first video game movie to be financially successful. To this day, Mortal Kombat is considered by many to be one of the better video game to film adaptations.
Now let me say this, I love this movie, it is quite possibly my favorite adaptation (whether it would be of a video game, comic book, or cartoon), and also, it's everything the Street Fighter movie should have been. Now, onto the review.
The plot of the film revolves around three fighters; Liu Kang (played by Robin Shou), Sonya Blade (played by Bridgette Wilson), and Johnny Cage (played by Linden Ashby). They have been chosen to do battle in an ancient tournament known as Mortal Kombat. The whole purpose behind the tournament is that there is another realm known as Outworld, which is ruled by a powerful emperor who wants to take over the Earthrealm, but in order to do so, his best fighters, led by the soul stealing sorcerer Shang Tsung (played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), have to win 10 Mortal Kombat tournaments in a row.
Each of the three main characters enter the tournament for personal reasons; Liu Kang is a headstrong and reluctant martial artist who enters the tournament to get revenge on Shang Tsung for murdering his brother, Sonya is a tough-as-nails Special Forces agent who is only there because she's after a criminal named Kano, and Johnny Cage is a cocky film actor who enters the tournament to prove to critics that he's not a fake like they believe him to be.
Guiding our heroes is the thunder god and protector of Earthrealm known as Raiden (played by Christopher Lambert), who tries to get our heroes into the right path in order to win the Mortal Kombat tournament, and prevent Earth from being taken over.
The film succeeds by sticking to the premise of the original video games, and unlike Street Fighter, where the focus was on Guile instead of Ryu, this film centers around the Mortal Kombat game's original protagonist: Liu Kang. Robin Shou is perfectly cast in the role, and even gives the character more of a deeper backstory than in the video games (originally, Liu Kang was just a Shaolin monk who wanted to win Mortal Kombat), even though he is my favorite MK character. It's a real shame that Robin Shou didn't receive more starring roles after this because he showcases some really good Martial Arts and acting abilities, I do believe he is a better actor/Martial Artist than Steven Seagal and even Van Damme.
The rest of the cast is also well picked and do a great job (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Shang Tsung, Linden Ashby as Johnny Cage, Christopher Lambert as Rayden, etc.)
The plot moves at a brisk pace, and while the film is rated PG-13, whereas the video games were notorious for their large amounts of blood and gore, it does offer the nonstop Martial Arts fighting one would expect from a fighting game movie. The fight scenes are very well choreographed, and often have sort of a Hong Kong flavor to them. There are 3 fight scenes in particular that still stand out well. You have Johnny Cage vs. Scorpion, Liu Kang vs. Reptile, and Liu Kang vs. Shang Tsung.
I also enjoyed the production values in the film, now while the special FX may not be advanced like today's FX, they certainly work well for the time. The set designs and cinematography look wonderful and keep in touch with the game's dark and gothic look and feel.
Overall, while people often debate over which of the video games is better, you have to admit, the Mortal Kombat movie beats the Street Fighter movie any given day, not only that, it performs a Fatality on it. Better fight scenes, better casting, and most importantly, IT'S ACTUALLY A FAITHFUL ADAPTATION! If you want to see a fighting game movie done right, avoid Street Fighter, and watch Mortal Kombat, it truly is the best film adapted from a video game.
-Street Fighter - 1/10
-Mortal Kombat - 10/10