It needs no introduction. Many of you lived and witnessed the craze, played the video game till your fingers bled, gone ballistic to point of no return over it, but still, it was one hell of a trend. From it's beginning in 1992, still to nowadays, Mortal Kombat is renowned as one of the best fighting game.
Back then, near the end of the 90's, as many other popular video games before that, producers decided to produce movies. Well, as good as it gets, it's a quick cash-in for young and crazy fanboys from all over the world, as I was back then, but that's another story. I bought those old movies on dvd some years ago, kinda nostalgic ya know, and popped up one good ol' fashioned movie night.
Only thing I can say is...times changes...so do our tastes.
But hey, here's some random memories ;)
Mortal Kombat (the movie, duh):
I was psyched when I first heard about it. I remember, back then, I was always at the arcade spending my well-earned weekly allowance in those, guess what, games. So seeing the trailer at my local cinema, that was it: seeing the tournament in full motion picture was my ultimate goal in life (hey I was a kid, so yes, something as childish as that could do it anytime :P).
Then, about a week or so of daily annoyance, my parents did bring me there. Okay, i'm over-exagerating here, but, it was almost like that.
Well, it was perfect. I could barely blink from the fight scenes, from the first duel between Liu Kang and that black guy, to the final confrontation with Shang Tsung.
Who didn't laugh went Johnny Cage punched Goro in the family jewels? It was so like is trademark move.
Who could not join he roaring fandom when Scorpion lauched is "get over here" line?
And best of all, the finale, when we all knew there would be a sequel to extinguish our lust for more blood?
Okay okay, maybe it wasn't that much of a fancraze as I remember, but, hey, don't they do a lot worst in those anime conventions? ( Not that I have something against that, just that fanboys (and girls) can overdo their enthusiasm for something they like.)
-Looking back at the plot, the first movie had a strong storyline. It followed the same plot of the games, which was good. Who need any further explanations when watching a kung-fu movie? There's an evil sorcerer who wants to conquer the world, and to do so, he must win ten straight victories at a tournament called Mortal Kombat. What better synopsis do you need? Well, that's enough for me.
-Many people complained about Christopher Lambert playing the part of Raiden. Don't know why. I liked the Highlander trilogy (well maybe not the third part, but great sword battles, indeed.), so, as for my humble opinion, he did a decent job impersonating the god of thunder. Yeah, I know, Raiden kick @sses in the games. As a playable character, I was well disappointed when he didn't manage to do that flyin' move. But, wait, just by two strokes of lighting, he beats Scorpion and Sub-zero. If that isn't power, I wonder what this is.
-Sonya Blade. I must say that she had little room in the whole. Just one measly battle against her arch-nemesis - Kano, who, must I said, also deceived me by dying so soon, and in his first confrontation..., laaaaaaame.- and after that, no more part. Just serving as the maid in distress.
-One of the first movies I saw using CGI. HA! Looking back at it, damn, those were awful, but at that moment, it was, wow. Remember those cartoons, Reboot? Yay, you know what i'm talking about. Filmmakers were still experiencing with computers, so It is excusable for so bad CGI. Must admit that the Goro puppet was badass, though. Great job for the little mobility given by such a kind of costume it was. It's a feat in itself.
-What about fight choreography? I know that 3 years later The Matrix would revolution the way we saw fighting scenes for the decade to come, but still, the actors did some of the stunts by themselves, and that's incredible. Action-paced, the duel between Scorpion and Johnny Cage still is one of the best in my book. Gotta love that sawed-off skull ;)
In a few word, watching it again brought back good times. Still enjoyable, definitely worth it's twelve bucks.
Mortal Kombat II: Annihilation:
Many years later, the craze began going downhill, so was my interest in the franchise. But still, I was eager seeing the sequel, rejoicing to follow the second part of the story.
Well, I was impressed with the intro, summing up were the last movie left. Then...pure...misconception began.
Adding the characters from the third installment was surprising. But hey, at least I knew where this was going.
I enjoyed the movie if I remember clearly.
Also that I remember how sh***** my tastes were about movies. Just for exemple, I enjoyed Star Wars episode 1 when it first came out...how wrong was I.
Looking back at it, I'm still asking myself: How the hell could I love such garbage?
-First, the quotes. The sceenplay is so thin, even a fifth-grader could write a better movie than that.
Example: Kitana: Mother!...You're alive!
Sindel: Too bad you're going to die!
Argh, the pain is unbearable. And the bad acting doesn't help.
-Fight scenes...Okay, I let this one a thumbs up. Even if some moves are impossible, the battles were enjoyable. Lots of acrobatics, finishing moves and more bad guys to senseless beating. I particularly fond of this scene of sub-zero vs scorpion, even if they are on for just a few minutes, which brings me to the following point...
-Characters exposure: The producers wanted to put as many familiars characters has they could, so much that the movie has less time for character's developments. Even Liu Kang became boring in his butched quest to find his inner-animality.
At least they gave some decent fight scenes for Sonya Blade. We even get to see her burning kiss fatality, in a more realistic way than I imagined.
Some others had just a mere appearance, before finding their demise.
-Another thumb up: Raiden going Kung-fu. We finally see the true warrior potential of the god of thunder. Man, why didn't he just kept his powers and kick the sh** out of Shao-Khan? Yay, I know, the gods forbidden him to do so...life a bi*** sometimes....
-Characters demises: This is one of the stupidest points. Some of them don't even die in a blaze of glory. For example, Rain, another of those ninjas who saw the light in Ultimate Mortal Kombat, dies when Shao Khan pounds him with his hammer into a pit of fire, just because he disappoints his master in his task. Or Sheeva, who gets cruched under that cage when Liu Kang rescues Kitana. Or Jade, devored by that really fake CGI monster...Argh, even the devouring was a shame. Pointless killing, just to save time.
(another bunch of cannon-fodders...)
-Pointless and shameless scenes: The whole movie is plagued with those. With those death scenes mentionned above, the screenplay gave us some pretty bad situations; from the lame dream sequence of Liu Kang (but Jade was hot, nonetheless), to Kitana trying to reunite with her mother (which was a really bad way to ambush), to the death of Johnny Cage by a quick neck-snapping, and the final, and worst, duel against Shao-Khan.
Oh yeah, when each of them tells who they're going to fight in the finale, we see: Kitana choosing her mother (well, okay, that's fair), Jax vs Motaro (two big bullies against one another, promising), Liu Kang keeps the Lord Khan to kick his @ss personnally (naturally), and last, but not least, Sonya takes on Ermac. It's not the fact that she decides to fight him, it's more due to the fact that she SAYS she will be fighting him : HEY, he's the only friggin' fighter left! Deal with it!
Yay, watching it again bought back good memories. But man, what was messing with my head that I found this really bad movie entertaining? It's like watching the third part of the Blade Trilogy (sorry for those who liked it). It had a solid background, and still, they managed to fail miserably.
I do not suggest owning it on dvd, except if you're a hardcore fan... and like crappy movies...
As for me, my love for the serie went, ironically, to annihilation with this very title.
Now I do not play the recent games. Why? Better things to do than playing video games I guess. Its only a phase that have gone with the years. But, surely, many of you will remember those times where senseless violence emerged from the gaming world, and how astonished we were in our young eyes.
Let the tournament continue until next time...