Since the international industry set its gaze on them in the first half of the 90s and they began to proliferate exponentially to this day, adaptations of the video game to the big screen, with honorable exceptions, have always been associated with products of dubious technical and artistic quality; a constant especially notorious when it comes to live action based on fighting games.
It is not necessary more than a look at real-action feature films based on such juicy licenses as ‘Tekken’, ‘Street Fighter’ or ‘Dead or Alive’ to realize this, to appreciate even more its recommended animated versions —The ‘Fatal Fury’ of 1994 is still a delight—, and to find in the ‘Mortal Kombat’ franchise a strange oasis thanks to the shot of nostalgia directed by Paul WS Anderson in 1995 and the recent piece of animation ‘The Legend of Scorpion ‘.
Since the first advances of the new cinematographic approach to the universe created by Ed Boon and John Tobias – now in the hands of NetherRealm Studios – came to light, everything seemed to indicate that the people of Warner Bros. had hit the nail on the head. to capture all the character of the original; and after having enjoyed each and every one of his kaffers 110 minutes of footage I can confirm that this new ‘Mortal Kombat’ has everything to dazzle the fandom with a show that, despite its status as an obvious first stone, she falls in love with self-awareness, explicit violence and respect for her source of inspiration.
When Anderson embarked on the delirious feat of bringing ‘Mortal Kombat’ to the cinema, he had the advantage that the video games released so far – two, specifically – could not fully exploit his lore and narrative due to the limitations of the medium by that then. Now, with story modes that have little to envy a regular movie – tremendously the peculiar reboot of the ninth installment—, much more is needed to appeal to the most seasoned viewer in the field.
To do this, screenwriters Greg Russo and Dave Callaham, along with director Simon McQuoid, have chosen get rid of any hint of solemnity, imposed gravities and excesses of exposure —That there is, and without being too subtle, but in the right measure— to offer a story developed at full speed and with the automatic pilot on, and delivered solely and exclusively to the purest entertainment.
Despite its shaky foundations, largely made up of a jumble of clichés that include prophecies and the rigorously chosen, the whole works like a charm within the uncomplexed tone of the tape and the general joke that reigns in her. A title like ‘Mortal Kombat’, at least in my case, is not looking for an impeccable dramaturgy and a solid structure, but to enjoy the essence of the saga without having to leave our fingers pounding the buttons of a control pad . And what if you enjoy it.
Ultimately, and without alienating a potential neophyte audience, the film does not stop shining due to its nature as a festival of winks that are not afraid to wear meta punctually, and ranging from repertoires of movements and fatalities to the rivalries of the moment, going through recognizable scenarios and a character design in which Sub Zero and Scorpion stand out; interpreted by some Joe Taslim and Hiroyuki Sanada flawless that invite you to dream of a prequel focused solely on them – the prologue is tremendous.
All this referential cocktail has been transferred to the screen in a way that, except for specific digital excesses, looks like a thousand wonders. The remarkable work of cinematographer Germain McMicking —’True Detective 3’—, combined with McQuoid’s camera work and staging — surprising considering that this is a debut — translates into combat scenes as colorful, forceful and wild as you would expect, and in a variety of codes that is not afraid to flirt with terror at times and that does not skimp on blood and guts.
Judging by the closure of this refreshing animated titled ‘Mortal Kombat’, it would not be unreasonable to think that, if it works as it well deserves at the box office, Kung Lao, Sonya Blade, Jax and company will return in a second installment. With it being half of absurdly funny, gross and revelry that this, I will surrender to their pleasures of head and without needing to claim me to the cry of “Get over here!”.