Mortal Kombat (1995)

(Second Viewing, On Cable TV, December 2017) I’m not sure if I first saw Mortal Kombat in theatres or on VHS (probably theatres, and probably because there was a girl involved), but after twenty years the biggest memory I kept from the film was its soundtrack. (I kept the CD in heavy rotation in my late nineties playlist.)  Watching it again shows a film that has visibly aged, but perhaps not as much as I had feared. The early-CGI special effects are clearly dated, showing a lack of sophistication and restraint that calls attention to the effects rather than their usefulness. The dialogue is not particularly good, and the plot is a serviceable way to get characters moving from one action set-piece to another. On the other hand, the actors are likable: Robin Shou is terrific once the action starts, Christophe Lambert gets a great excuse to play a cackling version of his own persona, and one of the few things I did remember from the movie was Bridgette Wilson’s film-long progression from ponytail-headed tough professional to curly-haired blonde kitten by the time the film ends. Visually, director Paul W.S. Anderson made a splash with this Hollywood debut and much of the film still holds up decently well even after the wave of arthouse martial arts movies of 1999–2009 from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to Hero. While I acknowledge that a heavy dose of nostalgia in a big factor in re-watching Mortal Kombat, I wasn’t as disappointed as I thought I’d be by the result.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *