Movie Review

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

Reviewed by: Tyson Gibson
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
10-25
Genre:
Action/Adventure
Length:
108 min.

Starring: Robin Shou, Talisa Soto, Brian Thompson, Sandra Hess, Lynn Williams, James Remar, Musetta Vander / Director: John Leonetti / Released by: New Line Cinema

Ever see the original “Mortal Kombat”? If so, you’ll see nothing new in this second film, save for the addition of the subtitle. Initially, I thought the theatre was trying to trick the audience by showing the original “Mortal Kombat”.

Thankfully, the story is different enough to consider it a separate movie, though I still had a strong feeling of deja vu throughout. They even rehash what the original “MK” was about, just in case you had forgotten. To have a premise for the story, it seems that Shao Kahn (Brian Thompson) has broken the rule of Mortal Kombat that Earth can win its independence and is taking over the Earth despite the fact that this was already accomplished in the first film.

Shao Kahn makes the threatening statement, “The Earth was created in six days, so too shall it be destroyed and on the seventh day, mankind will rest… in peace!” Oooo… Never fear! The original fighters Sonja (Sandra Hess) and Liu Kang (Robin Shou) are back, with a little help from Rayden (James Remar) and Kitana (Talisa Soto), and this time, they have a lot more gods to destroy to save the world from merging with Outworld!

Although the film was advertised as having made improvements over the original, film quality was obviously not one of them. The actors (even the new ones) still cannot act, and even though there were several opportunities for some fancy photography, the film makers opted for plain shots. The fighting wasn’t exciting and much of it had the appearance of fakeness. It seems that the producer (Lawrence Kasanoff) simply relied on the popularity of the well-known arcade games to carry this movie.

It is not without any redeeming quality, however. The storyline was better than the original, even though the dialog was still weak. There was a surprising lack of blood and language which credits the producer with keeping the target audience in mind. I was also surprised (and pleased) to hear the reference to Creation made…

However, it seems that the writers (Friedman, Zabel) forgot to credit the Creator. Instead, they opted to bring in elder gods composed of the elements of earth: wind, water, and fire. The only moral that a Christian could squeeze from the story is teamwork and the importance of family as Rayden insists on the discouraged fighters to help one another. Also, Rayden seems almost a Christlike character in that he sacrifices himself for mankind because he loves them so. Ironically, he is killed by Shao Khan who shoots him with something that looks like a pentagram. Hmmm… interesting. Still, it’s reaching. Besides these weak morals and analogies, the movie is not worth your money.

Year of Release—1997

Viewer Comments
…in case anyone missed it, Rayden was one huge Jesus metaphor. Think about it: he so loved the mortals that he became one of them, eventually dying for them, and subsequently resurrected…
—-Bryan Arminio, age 18
I just saw MK2, and I would have to extend a very powerful statement of “Don’t you dare do it!” to anyone wanting to waste a hard earned $6.25 on the flic. The movie has absolutely no redeeming value. Character development is nonexistent. The story line, while very “out there,” might have been interesting if I had cared anything about the characters. Unfortunently, while the first film was an exhibition for some great martial arts footage, the follow-up appears to be nothing more than a poorly produced ballet crossed with a rejected “Power Rangers” script.

This is one of those movies that you walk out of laughing, not because of quick wit or humorous situations, but because the film was so unbelievably stupid. Parents looking for a film to take their children to should pass right by the lack of substance offered by MK2, and look for something with a little more heart to it. Anyone else who wants to still see the movie, wait until it is released on video (which will probably be within a month.) Then, you will be able to make fun of the film in classic “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” form, without annoying the people sitting around you.
—-Mark Sweat
I saw “Kombat” this afternoon and it was a ton better than the original (which is not saying much). There is still little plot development or story, but people come for the fights—and they’re pretty good. The death count is slightly higher than the first (still less than five deaths). The best features are the jaw-dropping effects and the pumping techno music. The producers should be applauded for (again!) not being careless with their money and spending under $30 million for the production. I’d give it a 7 out of 10. Note: Rayden and Sonya have new actors and there is a death that is also surprising. There is a lot of violence for those who want to know. The worst of the language is a extremely rare “bat out of….” There is no sex, though a little bit of cleavage… Both the language, gore and sex rated the same as the G-rated “Hercules”…
—-Zack, age 16
“MKII” is basically incoherent. It appears that action scenes were taped together with bits and pieces of dialogue. It was obvious when computer animation and scene-splicing was being used. It was also violent! True, it is a martial arts film but there were several scenes of people getting their necks snapped. Finally, the casting could’ve been done better, the Rayden character just did not fit the part well at all. From a Christian perspective, the movie references “elder gods” and some of the characters are “immortal” since they come from another realm. While this “grain of salt” is large to take, the heros of the story are told to “trust themselves” and “be confident in yourself.” Basically, it is saying you don’t need to believe in God, trust your strength and ability. Which is an improper message for people of any age to hear… A bit on the fleshy side, ladies wore revealing outfits. Men with rippling muscles going shirtless. Even though nothing was completely revealed, it still is not very appropriate for a movie targetting younger viewers trying to harness some of the success of the arcade game.
—-Tim Emmerich, age 30