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Mortal Kombat Is The Best Actioner In The Franchise (Which is not saying much)



Mortal Kombat Is The Best Actioner In The Franchise (Which is not saying much) 5

Mortal Kombat

Starring  Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asan;

Directed  by Simon McQuoid

Rating: **

The  opening  sequence in 17th century  Japan is saturated  in  an orange glow and a  bloodied red both colours mingling in a display  of martial-arts skills, brutality and compassion that  looks like  a choreographed ballet as  the archvillain Sub-Zero(Joe Taslim)  executes  Hanzo and his  family.

 To call the opening  of   Mortal Kombat a visual feast  would be  no  exaggeration. Sadly  the hypnotic  prelude makes  way for contemporary times.We meet feelance fighter  Cole  Young(Lewis Tan) and  the  prelude is  cleverly played out again on  a  contemporary  setting, with Cole’s family being attacked  by  Sub-Zero .

There is a fiercely psychedelic   feel and  flavour to  this fight, with  Cole being whisked by a government agent who loses his arm but gains legendary  status.Clearly the colour palates  used in the two opening fights, one  in 17th century Japan and  the  other in futuristic America,  reveal the hands of a  director who knows  how to mix bouts  of  bloodshed with  lots  of  flamboyant  colours and  lights that  beam  down  on a world that’s about to end unless  Cole gathers together other like-minded  combatants  who can save the world  from Sub-zero.

  From this  point onwards I  stopped trying to make sense of  the unnecessarily  tangled plot. The zigzag of location and action is   mind-boggling. The best way to enjoy Mortal Kombat is  to go with throw…and I do mean throw. The  characters get tossed around in time zones separated  by centuries exchanging sword swipes and  blade  attacks    until they land  up in the  temple of  Raiden(Tadanobu Asano) who   trains the champions  to fight  Sub-zero.

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 But before that there is  so much relentless action , the  narrative seems  to creak and groan under the  strain of emphatic set-action  pieces designed  to set  the adrenaline racing.

 In truth the  screenplay suffers from  nervous exhaustion,  or perhaps I mean  nervous exhilaration  piling on  the  plot developments with an anxious energy that monkeys  exhibit  during the mating season.

 There  is way too much happening on the screen  at any given moment.So you can kiss that loo break goodbye.Speaking of  kisses,  there  is  something slurpy happening between  Cole and the delectably  spunky Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee). The romance never gets a chance to breathe  freely.

This  is  the kind  of  action film that sequeezes the life  and breath out of every character and emotion until  we are left watching a drained-out  stunt spree where  the action definitely speaks louder  than words. And  makes more sense  too.

All said and  done this the  third part of  the Mortal Kombat series is  far better than the first two films as long as you don’t figure  eout which world is  dominating  in the game of oneupmanship and  what that  tattoo mark on the  combatants’ arms  are meant to  be, and why   films about martial arts  continue  to enthrall audiences decades after Bruce lee died. While  the plot  inhabits martial arts temples  , Shao Lin trembles.