Movie Review: ‘Mortal Kombat’ Bores Audiences

Photo illustration purchased from

Charles McLaughlin, Senior Journalist

Once again, another director steps up to the plate to make a video game-inspired movie. This time, it’s Australian filmmaker Simon McQuoid and the classic arcade fighter series Mortal Kombat.

The movie follows the same premise as the original video game from 1992 and the 1995 Paul W. S. Anderson movie of the same names. The plot is as simple as can be: there is an evil guy who lives in a place called Outworld named Shang Tsung who needs to beat all of Earth’s heroes in a tournament to take over the world, and so a ragtag group of fighters needs to fight him in increasingly absurd hand-to-hand combat.

While the premise seems to be the easiest bar to cross for a cheesy action movie, McQuoid’s Mortal Kombat failed to bring it together in execution. There are certainly a few standout scenes that had me very engaged, but the greater part of the movie left me bored and disinterested.

The opening and final fights were fun and certainly made good use of the gallons of fake blood that were used in the creation of the movie, which was the number one draw for me with this film: the computer-generated blood in the film is awful.

But despite the use of a few interesting fatalities—very violent finishing moves from the original game series—the movie as a whole could not hold my attention.

The cast is almost full of entirely dry “action people” who communicate entirely through quips and punches, combined with a nice smattering of “serving together in generic Middle Eastern war.” The sole exception to this would be Josh Lawson, who plays a mercenary by the name of Kano. None of the performances are god-awful—they are just uninteresting.

“Uninteresting” is the perfect word to describe a great majority of the movie. It is not as obviously bad as the 1990s movies, but somehow those two still turned out to be more enjoyable as films overall. 

While certainly more expensive and competently made, McQuoid’s version does not have the x-factor that somewhat works when Anderson makes one of his movies. For something like Mortal Kombat, a bad but fun experience is what is expected, so something that ends up being bland is the worst possible result.