DUH DUH DUH- duh duh duh DUH DUH DUH duh duh duh
-aaaahh, Mortal Kombat
. How better a way to define the early to mid-1990s; a time when Nirvana & grunge had irrevocably altered music with its cynical whining replacing hair metal, movies were starting to be made ABOUT movies (Scream
, etc.), and everything as a whole was getting more and more EXTREME with each passing month (comics were going through it ever since the 1970s, but the Image Era made it a part of the business once and for all). I can think of very few video games that were as influential as the original Mortal Kombat
- in terms of what it brought to the industry, it's virtually unchallenged outside the ranks of Street Fighter II, Super Mario Bros., Pong
and others- MK
, along with Night Trap
(a silly horror-themed game demonized for being a "Murder Simulation"), was single-handedly responsible for the Video Game Ratings Guide and senatorial hearings into violent video games. It's actually really hard to express just HOW BIG this series was to my generation of kids- I was only eleven when the first one came out, and nearly every kid I knew was bat-shit crazy for it.
Hell, Mortal Kombat
is basically the watershed moment that took games to their current levels of violence and extreme behavior- that horribly-violent push that make it okay for Kratos to nail Aphrodite with in-game boobage in God of War
, and for giant Hell-beasts to be made out of whatever blood/brains/sperm combo they were made of in... well, every First-Person Shooter ever. There were violent games before it, but this was the first REALLY, REALLY FAMOUS one. So much so that the most-common video game jokes in the "Mainstream Media" will either be revolving around old-school Pac-Man
type stuff with beeps and boops (IT'S TWO-THOUSAND TWELVE, PEOPLE!! ENOUGH WITH THE 1980s SOUND EFFECTS!!), or blood-spurting Fatalities (ie. "Bonestorm
" in The Simpsons
One thing I liked about Mortal Kombat
was the way EVERY CHARACTER had a reason for fighting. This stands out compared to Street Fighter
, where you get idiotic stuff like "I'm fighting to raise money for my Mexican food restaurant" or "I'm a big fat guy who thinks he's the rival of Ken Masters when he's really just the way Japanese people view Americans!", and tons of stupid character designs. At least most MK
characters have real, solid PURPOSE, feuds and rivalries, and some kind of motivation. A friend of mine noticed that while playing the game, pointing out that it was more fun that Street Fighter IV
because the characters actually have a REASON for doing things, and their decisions actually matter to the overall story.
I'll go into the various games a bit, but my knowledge basically extends to the third one, then starts again with the last release- I sort of got out of video games after the late 1990s, and mostly played my friends' systems. Most of what I heard of the "3-D Era" games come from other sources, though they're generally considered to be the Dark Ages of the franchise, despite the occasional success. Personally, I just hate all the newer characters- aside from some good stuff in Mortal Kombat III
(the Cyborgs and Sheeva look pretty cool), the character design element peaked with MK II
. The 3-D Era games have terrible, unbecoming new characters who royally stink, in my opinion, ESPECIALLY once they started just funneling crappy ideas into the roster.
Mortal Kombat (1992):
-So two young kids in the video game industry, Ed Boon & John Tobias, got together at Bally Midway, and set to work on some digitized game. Tobias, a low-end comic book artist who moved on to make graphics for Midway's fledgling video game department, wanted to work with the new "digitization" technology (ie. putting live action people into a game as actual characters), and they realized that a Fighting Game would be ideal, since you could use a minimum of sprites on the screen at once, AND make them big enough to be seen. As luck would have it, Boon himself was interested in fighting games, and so a partnership was born. With Street Fighter II
then tearing it up in Arcades and at home, they had their "proof-of-concept".
Gathering up some people they knew (they either knew legit fighters, or knew guys who knew legit fighters- Tobias' buddies from High School played Cage/Sub-Zero/Scorpion, Raiden and Kano. Kano was buddies with Liu Kang, and also knew Sonya Blade... it was very much made "on the cheap", but not nearly as much as the basement-made knock-off Way of the Warrior
was a couple years later), they basically came up with a weird backstory involving their favourite kung-fu movies and horror-based stuff. The game itself is actually MUCH worse than the Capcom/SNK games of the era, but was cleverly disguised behind a then-pretty and fascinatingly-new exterior of live-action actors and Harryhausen-esque Boss Fights, in addition to buckets of blood. Every character had the exact same moveset (most games differentiated the TYPES of punches that different characters threw- in MK
they all used the same High/Low Punch and Kick attacks, and a Block button). Special Moves (the only thing that differentiated the characters) were done by tapping things instead of the charging/D-Pad Motion tricks, and tended to make fights look fairly ugly, especially at the Fatality stage, where you could finish a guy off with on super-bloody elite attack.
The stuff in the first Mortal Kombat
was SHOCKING for the time, taking the type of things that gaming was getting up to at the time and basically putting it out into a much bigger thing than Super Smash TV
and other violent games were doing (some REALLY old games were straight-up porno/Faces of Death
, but had terrible graphics). We'd seen blood in games by then, but TEARING A GUY'S HEAD OFF ALONG WITH HIS SPINE? Parents and politicians FREAKED, and of course the attention made it MUCH cooler for my generation (a friend tells me he'd never considered watching Beavis & Butt-Head
until a teacher told his class that the show was awful and that they shouldn't watch it- some authority figures just have NO IDEA how to make kids NOT do something). It was easily bigger than Street Fighter II
once it came out, and Capcom had a new challenger (mostly in the States; Japan was more into the animated stuff and Virtua Fighter
The plot is awesome, and doesn't take itself too seriously (really, the games never did, despite being bloody and ultra-violent): Shang Tsung, an immortal shapeshifting sorceror, is out to take over the world, and needs to win ten straight tournaments over Earth's fighters to do it because of some junk with Earth's gods. Sound hard? They've currently won nine. So now Earth has one last shot at it, or they face extermination at the hands of Tsung and his master(s).
The God Raiden is there with the Earth fighters, alongside obvious Ryu-type "Hero Archetype" Liu Kang (a Bruce Lee sort of guy), Jean-Claude Van Damme-type Johnny Cage (based off of the initial attempt by Boon & Tobias to make a Van Damme game with their technology), and government agent Sonya Blade. Sonya's enemy Kano is a villain, and there's a pair of ninjas from a clan called the Lin Kuei (we would see A. FREAKING. LOT. More of these characters): Sub-Zero the assassin, and Scorpion, an undead warrior out to kill Subby for offing him and his family. Shang Tsung is of course the boss, but the real champion of Mortal Kombat is Goro, the four-armed claymation Shokan warrior (and the game's most iconic character). The Secret Character is Reptile, in a move that changed fighters forever- he was the first Secret guy in any Fighting Game, and after that, we'd see them in TONS.
Mortal Kombat II (1993)- The Ultimate Sequel:
-Not even two years after the original, Mortal Kombat II
came out in Arcades, and was an even BIGGER smash than the first one was- it basically did everything sequels need to do: It took everything that the first one had, then improved on it. The digitized graphics went up several notches in quality. The costumes improved and got more colourful than the plain "this is what they had at K-Mart" qualities of the first one. The roster of seven got increased up to twelve, there were THREE Secret Characters, and the Boss from the first game was included as a regular character. Where every character only had one Fatality in the first, now you had TWO per guy. The first game had one Stage Fatality (The Pit, where you could Uppercut a guy onto the spikes), and this one had two (a new Pit, and an Acid stage). The number of Lin Kuei Klones was upped to FIVE. The Sub-Boss was upgraded from Goro to Kintaro (more colours; more spikes). And the Final Boss was bigger and badder than Tsung before him- Shao Kahn himself.
Hell, at later stages of the game (Arcade Cabinets were upgraded as often as computer games today- the sign of unfinished, rushed products that make me prefer Consoles... until they inevitably start/started to do the same thing), they included some REALLY goofy stuff, with "Friendships" (to "counter-act" the controversy surrounding the first game, they added some deliberately-goofy moves where you would make friends with your beaten opponent instead of killing him, like Johnny Cage giving him a signed photograph or something) and "Babalities" (turning them into a tiny infant).
Reviews were generally excellent in America and Europe, though the Japanese didn't like it so much, Famitsu
(THE gaming magazine of the Orient) gave it middling 28/40 grades- after all, the basic game itself was unchanged, and all the fighters were still basically klones of each other. Of course, Famitsu
only gives really good scores to Japanese-made games for the most part (the disconnect between U.S. & Japanese gaming was occuring even then, but is more pronounced now that Japanese games are noticeably suffering in popularity and funding). Nowadays, the game doesn't really "hold up" as well as the Capcom or SNK games do- the characters are limited to the same movesets as always, and some guys are REALLY cheap thanks to the way their moves work- Jax & Mileena were noticeably cheaper/better than other fighters, to the point where an MK
Tournament is a silly prospect.
But in all, it was entertainment at its finest when you were twelve and wanted to see some horrific ultra-violence. The plot was increased to transport all the fighters to Outworld, where Tsung's boss Shao Kahn would kill them all and steal their souls. The roster upgrades were excellent- Sonya & Kano were dropped from the first game (so was Sub-Zero, but he got a replacement in his younger brother), and in their place was Reptile & Shang Tsung (brought to the full roster from MK I
), Kitana & Mileena (palette-swap ladies- Kitana was the stepdaughter of Big Bad Shao Kahn, and Mileena was an evil clone-type), Jax (Sonya's partner, who's now looking for her), Baraka (an Outworld warrior) and Kung Lao (a heroic descendant of the man who was killed by Goro before the first tournament). The Secret Characters were all palette-swaps once again- Smoke (a grey smokey ninja) and Noob Saibot (a silhouette shadow ninja, named after the creators) were joined by Jade, a palette swap of Kitana/Mileena. The Bosses were Kintaro (a Shokan like Goro, but with tiger-stripes) and Shao Kahn, a huge Demon-God type of guy.
This game actually made me my best friend in Middle & High School, as a kid named Jordan (whom I'd previously argued a bit with, as his friend was a kid who beat on my in gym class rather frequently) knew that I was into video games, and that I'd had a Strategy Guide from GamePlayers Magazine
. He asked to have it, as he'd just purchased MK II
, and I agreed- but in an uncharacteristic move, I abruptly asked if I could come play, too, and pretty much from then on I had a new buddy. Oddly, a lot of my friendships were made in a similar way- mutual interests causing me to break out of grumpy introversion once in a blue moon.
Mortal Kombat 3 (1995)- Bloody Disappointing:
-Mortal Kombat 3
was kind of seen as a disappointment when it first came out in its early modes. See, while the roster was upgraded, some VERY popular characters were missing (Raiden & Scorpion, namely, but also all of the Female Ninjas and Baraka), and the graphics and system were identical to MK II
- it was just seen as "Bloody Disappointing" (to quote GamePlayers
magazine). 3-D Fighters were becoming more and more popular as the '90s went on (Tekken, Toshinden
& [/i]Virtua Fighter[/i] were all big names at the time), and the game was little more than a minor upgrade to what people were rapidly figuring out wasn't as great a game as they'd thought. It didn't help that the MK
"fad" had hit its peak with MK II
and the Feature Film that came out a while before. Fads are generally known to only be able to last for three years or so (looking back, Transformers, Dragon Ball Z, He-Man
and pro wrestling were only mainstream popular for about three years and change), and this was basically it's "time" in the limelight.
I also thought the new characters REALLY, REALLY SUCKED. Dropping Raiden & Scorpion and giving us crapstain designs like Stryker & Nightwolf was pathetic, Sindel was uninspired, and when they just kept ADDING to the Lin Kuei Klones, things got really bad (a red guy and a purple guy? Really?). The new "Animalities" were goofy additions (though rumored since MK II
- you turned into an animal to eat the other guy). Later upgrades turned into Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
(which brought back Scorpion and the lady ninjas) and Mortal Kombat Trilogy
and increased the roster (at the expense of having several glitches), but it was too little, too late. The sour feelings of the first releases kind of held over, and it was the end of the "big period" for the Mortal Kombat
series- game magazines, which once heaped the 90% scores onto the series, were now rewarding all of Midway's efforts with 65-70% scores for what was basically an IMPROVED version of what came before. Such is life when you're no longer the hot new thing.
The plot was basically that Shao Kahn was pissed about losing the second tournament to Liu Kang (again, The Hero), and so used some goofy Plot Device to force his way into Earthrealm and take it over. And so Earth died, its souls harvested by Outworld and Kahn, which begs the question of just WHY KAHN DIDN'T DO THAT IN THE FREAKING FIRST PLACE instead of waiting hundreds of years, but these games were never that plot-intensive. So now Earth's few survivors are rebelling against Outworld, and the stakes have never been higher.
The Roster: Liu Kang, Kitana & Kung Lao are there to lead Earth's forces, alongside Sonya & Jax (Sonya having returned from MK I
) to avenge the death of Johnny Cage (though he'd return by MK Trilogy
) and stop Kahn. They add new characters Stryker (the sole New York City survivor, a cop), Nightwolf (Native Stereotype) and Kabal (guy injured by Kano's Black Dragons), and oppose Outworld's forces- Shang Tsung gets another chance, and then there's Mileena again, Sindel (Shao Kahn's queen with Medusa Hair), Sheeva (a FEMALE Shokan in a monokini) and Kano (returnd with Sonya and joined Outworld). The Lin Kuei are now going Cybernetic, creating palette-swap Cyber-Ninjas Sektor & Cyrax, and sending them after Sub-Zero, who's fleeing his old masters because he doesn't want to get Cyberized. His buddy Smoke has been involuntarily Cyberized, and there's ALSO old-school Lin Kuei designs like Scorpion & Reptile coming back, as well as Ermac & Noob Saibot. Kahn returns as the Final Boss, and his Sub-Boss is now the Centaur Motaro (also motion-captured like Goro & Kintaro were). Consoles added Chameleon (who could turn into male or female ninjas) & Rain (another Lin Kuei). Altogether, it's the biggest MK
roster yet, dropping only Baraka and Raiden from the last game.
Mortal Kombat 4 (1997)- Shitty 3D Comes Home:
-The end of an era, as this game finally bit the 3-D bullet and went with polygonal graphic, which was inevitable- many actors from the earlier games had sued Midway for royalties, necessitating a new "cast" for MK 3
, and digitized graphics looked like ass by 1997 anyways. Of course, early CGI stuff actually looks WORSE than any graphics you'd find on the Super NES or Genesis, as I've discovered in recent years (first-gen PlayStation games do NOT hold up, I tell you what).
Mortal Kombat 4
is different in a few other ways, too- there was a Weapons System introduced, arena objects can be used, and you can use each other's weapons. The plot is that Shinnok, an Elder God from another realm than Shao Kahn, has escaped with the help of the sorceror Quan Chi, and now he's after Earthrealm. The doomed & lamented Sega Dreamcast made Mortal Kombat Gold
as a launch title, but it failed to help the console's chances (it failed for numerous reasons- a weaker set of launch games, no good Sonic
game, and it was a bit too "Japanese" in concept for the Western market, and Sega horribly mishandled itself for YEARS surrounding its release)- it added six returning characters, but that was it. Despite the updates, MK Gold
was considered rather mediocre (ESPECIALLY considering how 3-D fighters were packed with awesome titles at the time), getting middling 60-70% ratings from most sources. It was considered enough of a failure that it killed the franchise for about four years or so.
The returning characters are Liu Kang, Jax, Johnny Cage, Noob Saibot, Raiden, Reptile, Scorpion, Sonya & Sub-Zero, along with Goro from MK I
(a long overdue move). They're joined by Fujin (Wind God ally of Raiden), Jarek (a Black Dragon member, replacing Kano), Kai (Liu's friend), Meat (a bloody skeleton), Reiko (Shinnok's general), Quan Chi, Tanya (a traitor to Kitana's realm of Edenia) and Shinnok (the Boss). This was the smallest roster in quite some time, though inevitable given the limits of technology in this era, and most of the new characters stink (something that would not really get fixed). MK Gold
brought back Baraka, Kitana, Mileena, Kung Lao, Cyrax & Sektor.
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2003)- A Bit of a Success:
-Another end of an era, as this game actually debuted ON THE CONSOLES, what with the death of the Arcade market and all. It changed a lot of Mortal Kombat
, introducing the ability to switch between three fighting styles at-will (two martial arts and one weapon-based form), and now every character has unique "normal attacks". As a consequence of this and the better graphics, special moves are reduced to 4-6 per guy, and everyone only has ONE FATALITY (blasphemy!!!). The game proved fairly successful, reviving the dying franchise now becoming known for being not as good in retrospect, and for spawning bad side-games.
The Plot: Quan Chi has returned from Netherrealm after Scorpion threw him there in his ending from MK 4
, and teams up with Shang Tsung to form a "Deadly Alliance" to bring back the Dragon King and kill the Earthream. Amazingly, they first kill LIU KANG AND SHAO KAHN, two of the biggest icons of the series, in order to "refresh" the franchise & villains. Raiden gives up his Godly Powers to join Earth's heroes and stop them.
The Roster: Raiden, Kung Lao, Johnny Cage, Kitana, Sub-Zero, Kano, Reptile, Scorpion, Jax, Sonya Blade & Cyrax return from prior games. New characters are Kenshi (a blind warrior), Bo' Rai Cho (a drunken master), Li Mei (Outworlder), Nitara (vampire), Frost (Lin Kuei girl ninja), Mavado & Hsu Hao (Red Dragons), and Drahim & Moloch (Oni from Netherrealm). Blaze (a fire elemental) and Mokap (a motion-capture-guy Joke Character) are Secret Characters, and Shang Tsung & Quan Chi are the bosses (you fight a different one based off of which character you're playing). A later Tournament Edition
release saw Sektor, Noob Saibot and new character Sareena from the Sub-Zero
Mortal Kombat: Deception (2004)- Konsidered Actually Pretty Good:
-This game was more or less like Deadly Alliance
, upping Fatalities back to two per guy and adding a Suicide move to avoid the enemy using a Fatality on you. There's a big "Konquest Mode" RPG game where you play Shujinko, a monk gathering items for the Big Bad. The Plot: The Dragon King mentioned in MK: DA
is named as Onaga, and comes to conquer our realms after beating Raiden, Quan Chi & Shang Tsung. In fact, the Deadly Alliance WON the last fight, killing several characters! The game actually did really well (selling better than any other MK
game, in fact- the increased size of the gaming community paying off), and won numerous awards, and got about the same reviews as MK: DA
did, though the guy from Fighters Generation
sure hates the series.
The Roster: Returning characters are Liu Kang (as a zombie!), Noob-Smoke (a merger of Noob & Smoke), Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Sonya, Kenshi, Ermac, Baraka, Mileena, Nightwolf, Kabal, Kenshi, Li Mei, Tanya, Raiden, Jade, Sindel, Goro & Shao Kahn. New characters include Ashrah (demon seeking redemption), Darrius & Hotaru (rival resistance leaders), Dairou (a mercenary out to kill Hotaru), Havik (wants to revive Shao Kahn), Kira & Kobra (new Black Dragons), and Shujinko (an old warrior deceived by Onaga to gather his Items of Power and now fights him). Mortal Kombat Unchained
for the PSP added Blaze, Frost, Jax and Kitana, but with limited movesets (they're transplanted over from MK: DA
* Weirdly, in this game there's three guys all caught up with each other's plots- Hotaru, Dairou & Havik. I guess they wanted to throw some new storylines out there.
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (2006)- The Series Dies:
-The last in the official series, Armageddon
drops one of the fighting styles from the previous two, and adds a Kreate-A-Fighter mode, but is mostly the same game. The story is a jumbled mess, basically involving Gods intervening because all the Kombatants are going to destroy the universe with their power or some junk. This is the final game in the original MK
chronology, as it rebooted after this. And they REALLY knew this was the last game, because there are SIXTY-TWO FIGHTERS in this game (!!!). There are two new guys in Taven (the new Hero character) and Daegon (his evil brother), but everyone else is an old character- basically every fighter that has ever appeared in the series. Obviously, with this amount of characters there's no chance for any kind of game balance, but that was never really common to MK
Mortal Kombat (2011)- The Series Revives:
-ahhhh the ninth Mortal Kombat
game. Basically ignoring all the post-MK III
titles for the most part (Raiden, suffering at the end of Armageddon
, sends a message back in time to his past self, who tries to set the future right), it's a retelling of the first three games' stories- this game is basically an homage of everything that was crazy about the Mortal Kombat
series. It's horribly bloody, full of gore and viscera, completely disgusting, and contains the most vulgar, slutty costumes ever seen on female characters. And it is BEAUTIFUL. It's like the weaponized version of everything I hated about the Image Era of comics, but turned so far to the over-the-top extreme that it goes all the way from "too much" to "awesome again". My friend had an MK
Party with his co-workers and all their wives, and even THEY got into how silly it was- the ladies laughing at Mileena's ho-bag outfit and going "OOO-ooo-OOOHHHHH" with a stripper pose.
The game is sort of like the earlier ones (dropping the "Multiple Fighting Styles" and "Weapon Fighting" things that the 3D games had been known for), but with buttons linked to individual limbs (like Tekken
) and a Super Meter that allows you to build points to unload a HORRIFICALLY violent shot that crushes your opponent's bones in an X-ray image (this clip was used on The Daily Show
to shock the audience, and MAN did it work). The Fatalities were upgraded to be beyond bloody, with deaths including a crotch-first chainsawing and someone being yanked apart like a wishbone by two dudes (used on the same show, which shocked everyone AGAIN).
The roster is massive, taking pretty much everyone from the first three games, plus Cyber Sub-Zero, Quan Chi (from the 3-D series- their only representative here) and Kratos from God of War
(which owes the MK
series a tremendous, tremendous debt). There's even a full Story Mode, essentially adding bits of story to a bunch of fights where you play the good guys.
The game was a nostalgic hit, coming out at the right time and being at a perfect level of silly.
Mortal Kombat X (2015)- The Latest One:
, actually the tenth game in the series, is the last one released so far. An updated version, Mortal Kombat XL
, was released the following year.
The Plot: Two years after the defeat of Shao Kahn, Shinnok (the Boss of the fourth game in the series, which if you'll remember, was rebooted) debuted with an army of Netherrealm demons and revenants made up of heroes who died in the last game's story. However, he was defeated thanks to the sudden super-powers of JOHNNY CAGE, and imprisoned. Twenty-five years go by, with, again, JOHNNY CAGE having married Sonya Blade and produced a daughter- tragically, the couple divorces.
Cassie Cage thus becomes our new Main Character, and various other characters have children, too- Jax's daughter Jacqui Briggs and Kenshi's daughter Takeda round out the roster, along with Kung Lao's cousin Kung Jin. The Emperor of Outworld is now Kotal Kahn, who has a peace treaty with Earthrealm... but he's engaged in a civil war with deposed Empress Mileena. An amulet containing Shinnok is our "Macguffin", as everyone fights over it- Mileena has it, but Kotal has her executed and claims it for himself, as he feels Earthrealm cannot be trusted to keep it safe. Finally, Kotal's second-in-command, D'Vorah, steals it. Shinnok is summoned, and only Cassie can defeat him, using the same powers once possessed by her father.
The Returning Cast includes Johnny Cage, Jax, Sonya Blade, Kano, Kung Lao, Raiden, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Mileena, Reptile, Kenshi, Ermac, Shinnok, Quan Chi, Goro, Tanya, Bo'Rai Cho, Liu Kang & Kitana. Legacy Characters are Cassie Cage, Jacqui Briggs, Takeda, Kung Jin & Kotal Kahn. Total newbies are D'Vorah (an Evil Vizier), Erron Black (a Earthrealm cowboy in Outworld), Tremor (Bronze Ninja), Triborg (a combination of Lin Kuei Cyborgs), and Ferra & Torr (a pair of symbiotic fighters that brawl as one). Expansion Packs add various characters from horror movies- Jason Voorhees, The Predator, a xenomorph (from Aliens
) and Leatherface. A mobile game re-adds Baraka, Jade, Shao Kahn, Kintaro and then brings in Freddy Krueger.
-There are three additional games to the franchise that feature side-characters and side-quests. Mortal Kombat Mythologies- Sub-Zero
(a digitized-actor side-scrolling fighter prequel), Shaolin Monks
(Kung Lao & Liu Kang act out Mortal Kombat II
) and Special Forces
(Jax fights Kano's forces). All are generally considered pretty bad, with the latter being the worst. Let's just say that non-Fighting Games were not John Tobias' specialty. Mortal Kombat Versus DC Universe
was controversial, in that it was a new MK
game, but contained various strangeness like having goofy, less-bloody "Fatalities" and the usual problem involving DC games with multiple characters (ie. "Why did The Joker just kick Superman's Ass?"). A sequel, Injustice: Gods Among Us
, came out in 2013, and Injustice 2
came out in 2017.
-There's a general rule out there that all Video Game Movies must suck. This is generally proven time and time again (anyone who suggests that Super Mario Bros.
was a good movie needs to be kicked in the genitals, and the Street Fighter
movie is so infamously bad that it's now enjoyed ONLY as a "So Bad It's Good" movie- a dying Raul Julia hams it up as Bison. And yet... the first Mortal Kombat
movie is beautiful. Just stunning. Imagine Young 14-Year Old Jab sitting down in the theatre to await this strange movie... only to bear witness to "MORTAL KOMBAAAAAAAATT!!!" and the biggest, most raging techno soundtrack EVER combined with giant explosions, fire, and a bad-ass Dragon symbol flying around on screen. It was like a microcosm of everything that young teenagers like, combined into one sensory-overload of greatness. It combines cheesy acting (Christopher Lambert is AWFUL; there, I said it), kick-ass fights, real-looking impacts (instead of Expendables
-style cut-aways from punches), special effects/CGI and awesome characters to make for a GREAT Martial Arts Movie.
What the first movie had in spades, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
lost- it was just new characters introduced one after the other (the first movie actually uses them perfectly- introduces some guys, gives 'em a few scenes, then kills them off at the hands of the main characters), to the point where Scorpion and Sub-Zero show up for ONLY ONE DAMN SCENE, Cyborgs are brought in to die in seconds, and Lin Kuei ninjas show up all over the place. The special effects didn't even hold up for the time, with Motaro looking like crap in particular. Just an awful mess. The movie made a profit (about twenty million dollars), but did poorly enough compared to the first film (a monster hit that made $122 million) that, combined with the failing of the franchise, made for no sequels.
There was even a short-lived TV Series, which I remember being kinda forgettable, but Mortal Kombat: Konquest
has its fans.