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Mortal Kombat: a tribute to the classic video game

The American film perfectly portrays the essence of the iconic fighting game and makes it one of the great surprises of this year.

Still from the trailer for the movie 'Mortal Kombat'

The new Mortal Kombat movie had the task of surpassing the success of the video game, but also of demonstrating that good films based on games can be made. Photo: YT-IGN

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: Mortal Kombat: un homenaje al clásico videojuego

When the Mortal Kombat movie was announced, the gamer community went wild. It is one of the most iconic franchises in the history of video games that, in its previous adaptations to the film world, had received bad critics by specialists and by the fans themselves.

For example, the specialized medium of HobbyConsolas indicated that the 1995 film directed by Paul WS Anderson was a “festival of poor performances and a script without substance”, which did not allow to portray the essence of a violent and gore fighting game. For this reason, the new Mortal Kombat movie had the task of surpassing this previous work, but also of demonstrating that good films based on games can be made.

The truth is that, after its premiere on HBO Max, the reviews are extremely favorable, which is demonstrated by its success at the box office. The Mortal Kombat movie allows all fans of these video games to be satisfied, but it also falls in love with an audience that may not know this story. Let's see what are the reasons for the success of this film.

The new Mortal Kombat movie

This film, directed by Simon McQuoid, means a true reboot for the franchise. It is clear that his work took into account the negative reception in the previous works of adapting this saga, so the same mistakes are not made. On the contrary: the best elements are taken and perfected in an incredible way.

One of the first issues that fans will love will be the excellent work on the fight choreography. As the public expected, there will be gruesome and savage deaths, which will be closely associated with the personality and classic powers of each of the characters.

The fights are really bloody, but also very dynamic. There is exquisite camera work and very intense training from the actors. For example, according to the SensaCine media, actor Joe Taslim, who plays the iconic Sub-Zero, had trouble playing his character due to the weight of the suit, since he weighed 15 kilos and made fighting difficult for him.

In this sense, one of the keywords that characterize this film is dignity. If the previous films were ridiculous and even bizarre, here the essence of the brutal spirit of the video game is oiled. The film does not try to be more than what it is: there are no brilliant plots or a script that will blow your mind since the important thing is the struggles and the moments of adrenaline.

Being aware of your own limitations means that the whole film becomes simplistic, but also really effective. As the only thing that matters is the fight and the exquisitely choreographed matches, the story takes a back seat and that is not necessarily a mistake. On the contrary: the viewer understands that this is how the game works and fully indulges in the details of the fantasy, very well done thanks to the polished detail of the special effects.

Also read: The best video games of the Justice League superheroes

In the same way, it is completely respectful of video games. The most iconic characters of this saga (Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Kung Lao, Rayden, Sonya Blade, and Jax, among others) maintain the original essence and do not deviate from absurd motivations. That is to say, a general mistake of other failed video game adaptations to the big screen is trying to generate new solemn stories that do not fit the spirit of the franchise.

For this reason, in Mortal Kombat they give a lot of importance to the narrative rhythm, which is pure adrenaline. At no time will you feel that the story loses its way or that there are filler plots that hinder the events.

All this leads to the fact that, as the Meristation website indicates, Mortal Kombat is the “movie we all wanted”. Those of us who decide to see a film of this style are not looking for great technical feats in directing or a script that leaves us perplexed. Actually, we hope to have a good action movie that respects the classic essence and can captivate us for almost 2 hours.

Given the success it is having among fans, it is not illogical that continuations are planned. On the contrary: in an interview with the Just for Variety podcast, Joe Taslim, actor and martial artist who gave life to Sub-Zero in this film, mentioned that he signed a contract with Warner Bros to participate in this and 4 more films, so which is likely to become a movie franchise.

In short, Mortal Kombat not only manages to give a successful restart by eliminating the traces of previously failed adaptations, but it also knows how to honor a historical video game saga. The formula for his success seems to be to give the fans what they want -although without the need for fan service-, limiting himself to a basic story, but with excellent fights with hints of gore that the fans have been waiting for so long.