Apart from a very rich, in-depth plot (heh) and an amazing theme song, what does this movie have to offer to the average viewer? Corny lines, cheap special effects, and arms made of clay?
Okay, so everyone knows the plot of Mortal Kombat. Earth’s greatest fighters, including, but not limited to, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, and Sonya Blade, picked by Raiden (god of lightning), team up to fight in a competition to save Earth. The opponents are otherworldly creatures who go from planet to planet fighting the best of the best, and they haven’t lost in nine planets. The emperor of the fighters from the Outland is named Shao Kahn, who doesn’t fight in the tournament. Liu Kang defeats the best fighter in the tournament, Goro, a 4-armed being, and then goes on to defeat Shang Tsung, who killed his brother. Earth is saved.
In the Mortal Kombat arcade game, one picks his character and fights one-on-one against either another human or the CPU. Fighting against the computer puts one in a tournament, competing against every enemy in increasing difficulty, ending in Shao Kahn.
In the game, one only worries how to beat (and then humiliate with a fatality) one’s opponent by (looking up and) learning all of his favorite character’s moves. He interacts by becoming a character and performing horrifyingly bloody and terrible things to his opponents. One can identify with Liu Kang in the movie (which, by the way, does not have near enough blood in it), but one cannot possibly be transcended in the way that one can by controlling him in-game. The plot, which was okay for the game, would seem to make a terrible film. So, one would think, that movie will never make any money! According to the infallible Wikipedia, Mortal Kombat made over $70 million in the United States. Being a person who has watched Mortal Kombat over ten times in his life, I can take a guess at why this movie made money. It appeals to the youth with heroes and cheezy lines while packing as much action into a 2-hour span as is possible (or was at the time… Crank has just topped Mortal Kombat for the 2-hour action-packing record).
This classic cinematic adventure will certainly be a favorite for young boys in future generations.