(KGET) — “Mortal Kombat” looks to be the champion of this week’s entertainment options.
“Mortal Kombat” Grade 3 stars: Anyone who heads to a local theater or opts to watch this new action film via the streaming service of HBO Max should not be expecting complex characters, deep emotional elements or even a slightly complicated plot. It’s not that kind of entertainment option.
The entire movie can be described with the kind of one-line phrasing generally seen on the packaging for a videogame – “Fights that have been going on for centuries between warring worlds continue.” It doesn’t get any less complicated than that.
MMA fighter Cole Young (Lewis Tan) suddenly must deal with Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim), an otherworldly Cryomancer, sent to hunt him down. His only hope to save himself and his family is a group of people who have the same weird dragon marking that he has.
Young finds himself at the temple of Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano), an Elder God and the protector of Earthrealm, where he finds out he is one of Earth’s greatest champions and must fight against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe. They battle and battle and battle some more.
There’s obviously an appetite for the kind of action that dominates the “Mortal Kombat” world. There have been 11 incarnations of the video game and this is the latest big-screen adaptation. The less said about the 1995 version the better.
Simon McQuoid – who makes his feature directorial debut with “Mortal Kombat” – has embraced the elements that have made the game so popular. His direction isn’t fancy but does keep the focus clear – it is all about the bloody hits.
Screenwriters Greg Russo and Dave Callaham (“Wonder Woman 1984”) have helped him with a script where when in doubt, go for a big action scene rather than meaningful dialogue. They make a few attempts at giving the tale some heart but that gets beaten out of it quickly.
This latest film based on a videogame works because the special effects and choreography of the fight sequences are sharp and crisp. If you were expecting anything more, then you must be suffering from some weird form of cinematic amnesia caused by the pandemic.
The prime focus of “Mortal Kombat” is mortal combat. Nothing more. Nothing less.
“Mortal Kombat” will be available on HBO Max for 31 days from theatrical release. Please note the film is rated R for language and violence.
New on DVD and Blu-ray
“Test Pattern”: The social thriller offers a look at institutional racism and sexism from a Black female point of view.
“The Violent Heart”: A new love affair rekindles memories of a man’s murdered sister.
“Death Ranch”: Three siblings hide from the law at an abandoned ranch that turns out to be a hunting ground for the Ku Klux Klan.
“Waterboys”: Crime novelist Victor (Leopold Witte) and his cello-playing son Zack (Tim Linde) have an evolving relationship.
“NATURE: Big Bend – The Wild Frontier of Texas”: The frontier land of the Rio Grande’s Big Bend is shown through its iconic animals that include black bears, rattlesnakes and scorpions.
“White Shadow”: A young albino boy must go on the run to survive.
“Body Brokers”: What appears to be a way for a man to deal with his addiction ends up being a scam.
“Annie Get Your Gun”: The 1950 musical starring Betty Hutton as Annie Oakley is being re-released.
“The Little Penguin Pororo Treasure Island Adventure”: Pororo and his animal pals discover a treasure map that brings them to a remote tropical island.
Available on digital platforms
“Reefa”: The film is based on the true story of Israel “Reefa” Hernandez Jr., an 18-year-old Colombian immigrant and art prodigy, who has an encounter with a vengeful Miami police officer that leaves the country reeling from another case of police brutality.
“The Little Things”: Police officer (Denzel Washington) is drawn into a case that he thought had ended years ago. Will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 4.
“Trigger Point”: Retired U.S. special operative who worked in the darkest shadows of the government must come out of hiding to clear his name.
“At Night Comes Wolves”: Sheltered housewife abandons her marriage only to learn that her husband used to be the leader of a doomsday cult that she is about to join.
“The Legend of Hei”: Animated tale of Cat spirit Luo-Xiao Hei who goes on a journey of self-discovery after his home gets deforested by humans. Will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on May 11.