All you have to do is kill him.
Mortal Kombat has had a past with movies. Not a great past, and not a particularly good past, but a past nonetheless. The 1995 film directed by Paul Anderson is widely regarded as schlock but fun schlock, and while the acting was terrible the sets were well crafted and the whole thing has become a cheesy nostalgia product here in the 2020s. In fact the folks at Netherrealm put out skins for Mortal Kombat XI both based on likenesses from the film and even bringing back their voice actors to dub the lines. That’s pretty kool.
The 1997 Mortal Kombat Annihilation film was total dog shit, as was the animated film The Journey Begins. So on hearing that not only would there be a new animated Mortal Kombat movie but that it would be direct to DVD I can’t say I had my hopes up. I’ve actually had this disc in my possession since around May and haven’t had the motivation to watch it. Something about the film being liquidated stock by Redbox for $3 just a month or so after release didn’t get my hopes up.
Thankfully the movie wasn’t $3 at Redbox quality.
Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge is essentially a retelling of Mortal Kombat the original. We’re all familiar by now with the essentials; Every generation a martial arts tournament takes place to determine the fate of the realms. If Earthrealm loses another tournament then the demons from Badguytopia legally get to squat in their houses, eat their lunch, and beat their children. Raiden (Dave B. Mitchell) nabs Liu Kang (Jordan Rodrigues), Sonya Blade (Jennifer Carpenter), and Johnny Cage (Joel McHale) as his warrior roster to protect Earthrealm. While Liu Kang has been training most of his life for this tournament, Sonya Blade is more interested in taking down Kano (Robin Atkin Downes) and saving Jax (Ike Amadi) while Johnny Cage thinks he’s shooting a movie.
You might think that Warner Bros. would call on the the voice actors from the game to play themselves in the animated film, and they did to an extent. Notably missing is Andrew Bowen (Johnny Cage), William Stephen (Jax), Kari Wahlgren (Kitana), and Matthew Yang King (Liu Kang), among others. Strangely Ike Amadi is here as Jax when he plays Shao Kahn in the game.
I’d like to point out for one second that Raiden is a complete asshole. The dude summons Johnny Cage by giving him a part in a fake movie and then doesn’t tell him that he’s going to be fighting for his life even once they’re outside their universe and thus past the point of no return. He does this because it’s funnier in his mind, and Johnny doesn’t figure out it’s all real until Baraka is about to murder him.
What a dick.
Imagine a director’s cut of the original Mortal Kombat that has more Scorpion scenes. We see the extended backstory of Scorpion and how his entire clan of ninjas is killed by the other clan of ninjas in the form of the Lin Kuei. Scorpion of course is killed and taken down to the Netherrealm where he is offered a chance to get revenge on Sub Zero for killing his wife and child at the Mortal Kombat tournament. Blah blah blah, we’ve all been here before.
The animation is pretty darn good and really the fight scenes are what people are here to see. Animation is smooth and they throw in the gimmick from the Mortal Kombat games where you see x-ray slo-mo scenes of people getting their ribcages crushed and bones broken. It’s awesome.
Otherwise I have to say this movie is utter crap. I think what genuinely ruined it for me is that the story takes a backseat to the whole choppy smashy stabby stuff, and if you start to think about it even a little bit it all falls apart in spectacular fashion. The main characters never face any real resistance and mow nameless thugs down by the dozens until the plot needs them to get beaten up.
Scorpion for instance comes home to find his entire clan killed by another ninja clan. The entire clan apparently ran train on with no apparent Lin Kuei casualties in the process. What a crappy group of ninjas, apparently never on alert for the ninjas they’ve been at war with. Scorpion then proceeds to wipe out dozens of Lin Kuei ninjas single-handedly without breaking a sweat. He does this long enough to draw out a sick soundtrack number before encountering Sub-Zero who, since the movie needs to happen, defeats Scorpion without much effort.
The same can be said for the movie’s protagonists. Johnny Cage manages to avoid getting as much as a cut despite assuming that Baraka is an actor in the completely fake movie they are shooting. Baraka cuts his shirt and Johnny gets pissed and decides to run away only to pretty much escape by pure luck. Liu Kang can dodge bullets with no apparent effort. I’m not joking. Characters are shown to be easily outmatched in power only to suddenly go 180 and beat that adversary down without issue.
If Mortal Kombat had actual stakes it would be a pretty neat film. It doesn’t, making the whole endeavor feel like a massive waste of time.