Mortal Kombat (2021) Is No Flawless Victory

Mortal Kombat Spoiler-Free Movie Review

I have been a fan of the Mortal Kombat franchise since the early ’90s. There are tons of memories playing Mortal Kombat 2 Arcade at my local Pizza Hut. I fondly remember renting the 1995 movie from Blockbuster and being terrified of the first 5 and waiting to watch it during the day. That movie spawned a terrific animated series that dived into the MK lore. We also got a movie sequel that unfortunately did not live up to its predecessor. 14 years later, YouTube blessed up with 2 seasons of a fantastic web series that could have translated onto the big screen. As of recent, we were gifted with the MK 11 video game and the Rated-R animated film Scorpion’s Revenge.

Mortal Kombat Movie Review
Courtesy of Warner Bros.


MMA fighter Cole Young is unaware of his heritage or why Outworld’s Emperor Shang Tsung has sent his best warrior, Sub-Zero, to hunt Cole down. Fearing for his family’s safety, Cole goes in search of Sonya Blade at the direction of Jax, who has the same strange dragon marking Cole was born with. Soon, he finds himself at the temple of Lord Raiden, an Elder God and the protector of Earthrealm, who grants sanctuary to those who bear the mark. Cole begins his training with Liu Kang, Kung Lao, and rogue mercenary Kano as he prepares to stand with Earth’s greatest champions against the enemies of Outworld.

Fatalities are not going to save this Mortal Kombat movie. Despite being violent and providing enough gore, this film just did not do it for me. I wanted to love it but I kept thinking how much I really enjoy the 1995 adaptation. This movie starts off really strong then falls apart right in front of your eyes with the introduction of a new character that many will not care for. Much of the plot is dull and does not make sense. There are too many times where characters magically cross paths without explanation. The best Mortal Kombat characters to grace the screen are Sub-Zero and Scorpion. This movie should have focused more on their long fictional history. I would have loved to see a movie similar to the Rated-R animated film Scorpion’s Revenge.

A talented cast that left their talent at home.

The actors chosen to play the iconic characters just don’t sell their counterparts very well. Outside of Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Kung Lao, and Kano, I had trouble accepting everyone else in their respective roles. Humor was to be expected but this movie’s attempt falls flat as it doubles down on taking itself way too seriously and being scared to add a little cheese. This film was directed by first time feature film director Simon McQuoid who mistakenly decided to take a grounded approach. His inexperience was shown with the films edits, camerawork, and lack of flashy fight choreography.


I give Mortal Kombat a 5 out of 10. Even though it left room for a sequel, it is probably best to reboot the Mortal Kombat movie franchise once again. I highly recommend revisiting the 1995 movie which is more faithful, fun and entertaining!

Rating: 5 out of 10.

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Sean Tajipour is the Founder and Editor of Nerdtropolis and the host of the Moviegoers Society Podcast. He is also a member of the Critics Choice Association. You can follow on Twitter and Instagram @Seantaj.

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