Because we didn’t go to Comic Con this year, Mek and I decided to throw ourselves a pity party instead—or what I like to call . . . Alterna Comic Con!
On the schedule for Day One? “Worst Video Game Adaptation” Movie Marathon. Obviously, there were many possible contenders. Sadly, some nominees were not available at the video store, which is why you won’t see a recap for Super Mario Bros. anytime soon.
Still. We did quite well with the movies we got. First film up?
In retrospect, perhaps “Destroy All Expectations” was not the tagline they should have chosen.
This entire review will include SPOILERS for this movie and the first Mortal Kombat. Sorry. It may also be even more sprawling and random than my other reviews. If you do not wish to be spoiled, please stop reading here.
Shao Kahn is a cheating cheater who cheats and invades the realm of Earth, even though his forces were defeated the last time around. It’s up to a handful of annoying humans, Kitana, and a ex-god with a bad haircut to engage in MORTAL KOMBAT and save the world.
1. Ohmygod, I don’t even know where to start. See, the first movie is cheesy and silly, but I love it. It’s an awesome guilty pleasure. This movie . . . this movie goes so bad so quickly, it’s almost unbelievable. You have to be trying to be this awful, right? Right?
Okay, so let’s see. Well, Shao Kahn invades Earth, right? He then proceeds to tell everyone that Earth was created in six days . . . cause, sure, Raiden totally fits into Christian mythology . . . and that the Earth will be destroyed in six days as well. The seventh day, mankind will rest . . . in peace!
I shit you not, this is an actual line from this movie. There are no words to describe how atrociously bad the dialogue in this film is. And . . . we’re really going to take six days to destroy the world? Really? My god, Shao Kahn. You’re making James Bond villains look positively proactive in comparison. (And considering that you kill not one but two of your own bad guys . . . not just unnamed henchmen, mind you, but actual characters from the games? Wow, dude, you kind of suck.)
2. In fact, Shao Kahn is good for exactly one thing: making you miss Shang Tsung.
I always liked Shang Tsung, but I don’t feel like I fully appreciated him until I was stuck with Brian Thompson as my main villain. For starters, it’s hard to keep your Big Bad ominous and creepy when you introduce his big meanie daddy into the mix. More importantly, Thompson just has no charisma of any kind in this movie. His voice is an unusual one—probably why he gets cast as a villain as often as he does—but it’s not, say, Christopher Lambert’s voice. He can’t just rely on it to be creepy for him.
I miss you, Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa. I miss your sneer and your constantly changing hairstyles. If there is ever a third movie, please, please come back. I don’t care if your character’s dead. That didn’t stop Scorpion. It shouldn’t stop you.
3. Of course, there were very few actors from Mortal Kombat who bothered to return for the sequel. While I’m sure they’re all much happier for it now, let’s take a quick look at some of the most hideous recasting that’s ever occurred in film history. For instance:
To be fair, Raiden does start off the movie with long hair. The haircut happens later, after he arbitrarily becomes a mortal for about the same reason that anything else happens in this movie . . . cause.
It should be said, though, that James Remar? James Remar is not a bad actor. You know this, if you’re a fan of Dexter where James Remar plays Dexter’s dead daddy. (It’s not a spoiler.) But here . . . he’s just . . . so . . . American. The voice is so wrong. The whole thing is so wrong. The second Remar opens his mouth, you just can’t help but laugh. It’s too awful to really be anything but funny.
4. Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage are also recast in Annihilation. Johnny Cage’s recasting is painful, even for the entire, oh, four minutes that it lasts. Before he can fuck up the movie too badly, though, Cage bites the big one. It’s a pretty needless death, and I can only assume it’s a giant fuck you to Linden Ashby, who was apparently the only actor who decided not to return after reading the script. (The others had scheduling conflicts.)
5. Now, Sonya Blade . . . oh, Sonya Blade. In the first movie, she’s played by Bridgette Wilson, who’s mostly enjoyable (albeit not terribly believable) as a badass cop out for revenge. But honestly, if Shao Kahn made me miss Shang Tsung, Sandra Hess made me want to fall to my knees and beg forgiveness for every time I have ever insulted Wilson’s acting ability.
Please forgive me, Ms. Wilson. I knew not what I said.
6. Sonya’s best bit . . . that is, her most unintentionally hilarious bit . . . is when Jax demands to know what the hell is going on with all these ninjas and robots trying to kill them every five seconds. See, Raiden decides to involve Jax in all of this Mortal Kombat business because . . . well, because Raiden has special logic, as I’ll elaborate upon in a later note. But since he wasn’t around for the first MK tournament, Jax has absolutely no idea what’s going on. He says to Sonya, “If I’m going to die today, please tell me why.” Not exactly an unreasonable request.
Sonya’s exceptionally pouty response? “Nobody told me why Johnny had to die.”
Wow. Just . . . wow.
7. Speaking of responses that make no sense . . . Sindel is Kitana’s once-dead, now alive-and-very-evil mother. When Kitana sees her for the first time, she understandably (if unnecessarily) says, “Mother . . . you’re alive!”
Sindel’s response? “Too bad YOU . . . will die.”
It’s even better with all of Sindel’s posing and finger-pointing. Seriously. I shouldn’t have even transcribed it. Watch this majesty for yourself.
8. Okay, back to Raiden’s special logic. Raiden comes to conclusions that appear to make no sense at all. Like, he just feels that Kitana is somehow the key to all of this. Why?Cause. He similarly decides to swing by and pick up Jax, despite his not being good enough for the first go around at Mortal Kombat. Oh, and in what could be the most poorly written attempt at character development I’ve ever seen, Raiden also decides that Jax’s bionic arms are a weakness holding him back.
Okay, Raiden. Okay. I think I speak for everyone when I say, “What-the-fuck-ever.”
9. You might be curious to know how Raiden and the others travel to pick up Jax. Well, you might not, but let me tell you anyways: they travel through faster than light, giant cat toys that are hidden all around the center of the earth.
It may not be the most absolutely ridiculous thing in this movie . . . but it’s definitely in the top three.
10. It’s kind of amazing, really, how much worse the special effects become in the sequel. Even for the 1990’s. They’re pretty hilarious.
11. In the games, an animality is used to turn your character into an animal and maim the crap out of your opponent. (Supposedly. I’ve never actually used an animality before. Babalities, though, now those are hysterical.)
In the movie, however, your animality is your spirit animal, or something. It’s all very Hollywood Native American. And, apparently, dragons count as actual animals. Good to know.
12. It’s worth pointing out that trying to search for someone who will seek you out? That’s . . . kind of a contradiction in terms, isn’t it?
13. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation has an annoying habit of throwing in a ton of random characters without bothering to introduce them to you or give them more than a four minute fight sequence. They don’t bother to tell you who Mileena, Noob Saibot, or Ermac is. They completely drop characters like Nightwolf and Sub Zero . . . once they say something inscrutable and profound to Liu Kang, that is. They completely waste perfectly good opportunities for fight sequences with Sheeva and Sindel . . . and the one with Sindel is particularly bad, since her character is far more pivotal to the storyline. The whole point of this one fight is for the good guys to abduct Sindel in an attempt to turn her good again . . . and she’s captured and knocked unconscious offscreen while we watch Raiden randomly fight some fucking lackeys. Like, what?
Honestly, this movie’s stretched so thin with characters, it’s a wonder the film has any sense of coherency at all.
14. Sonya and Mileena get into an actual mud wrestling match . . .
. . . okay, so the mud fight’s actually kind of hysterical. No real complaints there. The clip above includes some of Sandra Hess’s and Lynn ‘Red’ William’s stellar acting, as well as my favorite Sonya quote that I listed above.
15. Finally, when Scorpion—miraculously alive after the first movie—pops up to kidnap Kitana, what does he say to Liu Kang and Sub Zero’s Identical, Good Twin Brother?
Honest to God. That’s what he says.
*Sighs.* I think I need to put my head down.
I may need to buy this movie for fifty cents somewhere and host a Bad Movie Bashing night. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is in a class of its own, people.
God . . . I can’t . . . I can’t . . . Irina Pantaeva as Jade. Simply because she doesn’t annoy me as much as everybody else in this movie.
Believe in yourself. Or, if you have an evil brother, just kill him already. Indecision kills, Raiden. Just ask Johnny Cage.