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Mortal Kombat Review

Mortal Kombat debuts in theaters and on HBO Max on April 23, 2021.Stop me if you’ve heard this one: against all odds, a movie adaptation of a ludicrously violent fighting game with an inherently absurd premise manages to come together as a delightfully cheesy and over-the-top martial arts action movie. If that sounds like deja vu it’s because Mortal Kombat was already made into a movie back in 1995, but this rebooted movie of the same name, directed by Simon McQuoid, follows in those footsteps by respecting the legacy of the beloved game series and its characters, but not quite to a fault. The result heavily caters to fans of NetherRealms’ 29-year-old fighting game series through tongue-in-cheek inside jokes and references, while still doing an admirable job at introducing complete newcomers to these worlds and realms.After a terrific opening that sets up the heated and iconic rivalry between supernatural warriors Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim), Mortal Kombat takes a while to find its footing. This is very much an Avengers-style team-up movie that brings together a large group of superpowered martial artists, but unless you’re familiar with the games it doesn’t have the benefit of being led into by solo movies to familiarize the audience with each character, or what the heck the Mortal Kombat Tournament even is. As a result, the first half is paced awkwardly as it bounces between character introductions, action scenes, and explanations of why this otherworldly cryomancing assassin is tearing up a city street to kill anybody with a mysterious dragon marking.It doesn’t help that Cole Young (Lewis Tan) – a former MMA fighter who is the only major character that doesn’t come from the games – just isn’t very interesting. Despite being such an important character to the overall plot, his backstory of being a former MMA champion who’s forgotten his winning ways feels mostly irrelevant, and his relationship with his family is too underdeveloped to draw any kind of sympathy. He ultimately feels like little more than a character who’s there to represent the unfamiliar audience and have everything explained to him.Mortal Kombat gets a much-needed injection of personality once the morally bankrupt and borderline psychotic Kano (Josh Lawson) is introduced. Kano lights up every scene he’s in with charismatic energy, sharp delivery, and fierce intensity despite fully embracing his role as the comic relief. There’s also just a really fun and interesting dynamic between him and the rest of the cast as they’re forced to tolerate an undeniably evil man.After all of the introductions are out of the way, things pick up in a big way in the second half as the heroes of Earthrealm (and Kano) discover their special powers. It’s a clever way to contextualize the abilities each fighter has in the games and also leads to some great unveiling moments from characters like Sonya (Jessica McNamee) and Jax (Mehcad Brooks).
"There are absolutely some gnarly fatalities that will no doubt make fans smile with macabre glee."
Of course, it wouldn’t be Mortal Kombat without blood and gore, and while the new movie is actually notably less violent than the hilariously gruesome games themselves, there are absolutely some gnarly fatalities that will no doubt make fans smile with macabre glee and others gasp in shock. The special effects that achieve this level of violence are great too, and what’s especially notable about the fights is that they’re not built around digital razzle-dazzle, but rather it’s used to enhance the brutality of the actual martial arts. And in that way, it’s extremely effective. The music is notably less memorable than the incredibly catchy soundtrack from the 1995 movie, but it at least cheekily throws in that iconic theme at the best possible moment.Perhaps the biggest disappointment is the fact that because there are so many characters, several notables are used in ways that squander their potential. The biggest casualty is Mileena (Sisi Stringer), who is reduced to little more than a henchman with just a handful of lines, a couple of fights, and absolutely no backstory. It’s a job that feels like it could have been filled by literally any other character, and putting Mileena – a key and fan-favorite player in the Mortal Kombat games – in that role feels like a waste.

That disappointment, though, is counterbalanced by some truly excellent fight scenes that make up the last third of the nearly two-hour movie. This is an all-star cast when it comes to martial arts, and Joe Taslim and Hiroyuki Sanada, in particular, do an incredible job in bringing the classic rivalry of Sub-Zero and Scorpion to life through their intensely physical fights. In addition to just being an impressive display of one-on-one combat, they are also jam-packed with both subtle and overt references to the games that work wonderfully as little bits of fan service.

Mortal Kombat vs. Mortal Kombat

While not an amazing film by any stretch of the word, 1995’s Mortal Kombat movie, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, was still arguably one of the best examples of a video game movie done right and remained so for many years. It featured memorable performances, most notably from Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa, who embodied Shang Tsung so well that Netherrealm decided to capture his performance for Mortal Kombat 11’s version of the character; it had just the right balance of gore and cheesy comedy to nail Mortal Kombat’s vibe of cartoony ultra-violence, and it quite simply understood what made Mortal Kombat such a beloved fighting game at the time.

Comparing the two movies is a bit tricky because the Mortal Kombat games have changed so much between 1995 to 2021. W.S. Anderson’s Mortal Kombat movie was fitting for what the series was at the time, while McQuoid’s is appropriate for what it has become. Overall, though, McQuoid’s Mortal Kombat feels like a more well-rounded film and ends on a tantalizing note that – I sincerely hope – should lead to sequels that turn out better than the dreaded Mortal Kombat Annihilation.


In a spectacular display of blood, guts, and effects-heavy martial arts battles, this new take on the over-the-top story of the Mortal Kombat fighting games perhaps bites off a little more than it can chew by attempting what is essentially an origin story and an Avengers-esque superhero team-up all in one. As a result, the first half stalls out a bit as it backs up a dump truck of exposition, and even then some characters that really deserve more time in the spotlight end up being shallow and forgettable. Still, it finds its footing in the second half and delivers a gleefully cheesy and entertaining take on one of gaming’s most historic franchises and a solid starting point for future films.

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Mortal Kombat [1995]

First Look at Suicide Squad's Bizarre New Villain!

Mar 26, 2021 - Today's The Fix: Entertainment is all about the surprise villain in the new redband trailer for James Gunn's The Suicide Squad, Starro! The kaiju-like starfish bad guy is a DC Comics classic and one of the weirdest villains in comic book history (that would even give Zack Snyder's Justice League a run for their money!), so it should be no surprise that James Gunn picked Starro to terrorize Task Force X in Suicide Squad 2. The Suicide Squad trailer 2 features Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) leading Amanda Waller's (Viola Davis) team of DC supervillains including Peacemaker (John Cena), Bloodsport (Idris Elba), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), and more to save Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), only to find out she doesn't need saving. The bloody, R-rated Suicide Squad new trailer gives a taste of the violence, humor, and action DC fans can expect in Gunn's latest movie. We explain what to expect from the villain Starro and our theory on who the true villain of The Suicide Squad reboot/sequel may actually be. The Suicide Squad release date is August 6, 2021 in theaters and on HBO Max. But that's not all! IGN host Akeem Lawanson also runs through how the upcoming live-action Mortal Kombat movie is pushing the limits of its R-rating (it'll be interesting to see who makes the most of the R-rating, Mortal Kombat or James Gunn's The Suicide Squad and its evil starfish villain Starro) and how Batman actor Michael Keaton may not be reprising his role as the Dark Knight in the upcoming The Flash movie starring Ezra Miller as Barry Allen. Thanks for watching The Fix: Entertainment and be sure to Like, Subscribe, and tell us your thoughts on today's entertainment news in the comments!

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Mortal Kombat 11 Review

When it was first introduced a staggering 27 years ago, Mortal Kombat always had that reputation of being “That fighting game where you rip people’s heads off.” Known more for its gore and violence than its gameplay. Things have changed since then with MK9 and MKX bringing the quality of gameplay up to meet the quality of violence. That upward trend continues with Mortal Kombat 11, which is not only the best Mortal Kombat has ever been, it’s also arguably Netherrealm’s best game yet. This is one of the most fully featured fighting games you can buy, with both single- and multiplayer modes that will last both casual and hardcore audiences a long, long time.

Mortal Kombat’s defining quality among 2D fighters is that its combat centers around two punch buttons, two kick buttons, and a block button. This is actually more unique than it sounds. While other 2D fighters typically have some combination of light, medium, and/or heavy attacks, with weaker attacks linking into stronger attacks, Mortal Kombat has no such concept. Instead, MK employs a “dial-a-combo” system that requires knowledge of very specific button combinations in order to build a combo. It’s definitely not a super-accessible combat system for newcomers, but fortunately, Mortal Kombat 11 comes with one of the best fighting game tutorials I’ve ever played. It covers everything from basic fundamentals all the way to the most advanced techniques such as frame traps, jailing, and block strings, all while highlighting key concepts and clear instructions on how to implement these techniques.

Mortal Kombat 11 retains all of those unique mechanics that give this series its identity, and of course, the gloriously gratuitous over-the-top and often comedic violence of its notorious Fatality finishing moves. However, surrounding all of that are new fighting systems that feel unlike anything the series has ever seen, and Mortal Kombat 11 is much better for being willing to take these bold steps to keep things fresh.

In some ways, less is more, and faster is not always better.
In some ways, less is more, and faster is not always better. To that end, Netherrealm has slowed the action down substantially relative to the last few games, especially compared to the hyper-rushdown-focused Mortal Kombat X. The run button is gone, walk speeds have been reduced across the board, and super-far-reaching and forward-moving combo strings are much rarer. At first, I wasn’t a huge fan of how slow Mortal Kombat 11 felt, but the more time I put in, the more I started to appreciate how these seemingly small changes added up to change the flow of a match in a great way. With a greater emphasis placed on careful positioning and whiff punishing and less of a focus on all-out blitzing to impose your 50/50 mixup game, fights feel more tactical and rewarding of smart play.In another dramatic and inspired departure from previous games, Mortal Kombat 11 completely changes up how meter management works by splitting it in two. The defensive meter is used primarily for special wake-up options, environmental interactables, and a combo-breaking move called a breakaway. The offensive meter is used for amplifying your special moves to make them safe on block, increase their damage, open up combo opportunities, and more.

The best thing about the split, though, is the fact that it allows Fatal Blows – a powerful move capable of doing 35% damage on its own – to exist independently of meter. Fatal Blows are often extremely fast and difficult to react to, but that’s balanced out by the fact that you only get one per match. If even one player has saved it, the closing moments of every close Mortal Kombat 11 fight feel extraordinarily tense – almost like an Old Western standoff.

The best new addition to the actual fighting of Mortal Kombat 11, though, are Krushing Blows. These special critical hits activate automatically, but only when certain criteria are met: For example, every character has a Krushing Blow tied to their uppercut that will activate if it hits as a counter, or if it punishes a whiffed high attack. While uppercuts typically cannot be used as combo starters, if it is a Krushing Blow uppercut it will launch the opponent high up into the air and open them up to a substantial follow-up juggle without costing any meter.

There’s so much to love about this mechanic, even on just the surface level of it being super satisfying to see an otherwise-normal punch cause a complete bone explosion inside your opponent’s body. On a higher level, though, the addition of Krushing Blows adds yet another level of depth to each character, and rewards a deep mastery of their moveset. It’s also a limited resource, because you can only use each move’s Krushing Blow once per match, so it’s a huge advantage to learn the requirements for each Krushing Blow to maximize their effectiveness.

Temporal Kombat

The story's six hours are big, bombastic, and ridiculous in all of the right ways.
Netherrealm fighting games have always been the best at delivering story modes that are essentially the video game equivalent of absurd popcorn movies, and Mortal Kombat 11 is no exception to that rule. It has no new gameplay innovations to offer, but its six hours are big, bombastic, well-acted (other than Ronda’s Rousey’s portrayal of Sonya Blade, which comes across as woefully inexperienced), and ridiculous in all of the right ways. But most importantly, it fleshes out the entire roster and gives each character some time in the spotlight.The story picks up right where MKX left off (check out my handy Mortal Kombat story recap video to catch up before diving in) and quickly introduces a new game-changing character: Kronika, an all-powerful being with control over time who sets the plot down a path of another impending timeline reset, due to Raiden’s upsetting of the balance of good and evil with his decapitation of the Elder God Shinnok.

This all sets up the fun scenario of a merging of past and present, and it allows for some truly great moments where characters from the present are confronted by their past selves. Also, there are some where characters from the past are confronted with the harsh reality of what’s in store in their future. The Johnny Cages steal the show with their witty banter and the overall juxtapositioning of their two wildly different selves, but there’s also a handful of fantastic character-building moments featuring fighters that have traditionally not had a ton of dedicated screen time, Jade especially.

Krypt Raider

Mortal Kombat 11’s character customization feels like the natural and generally stellar evolution and cross-breeding of Mortal Kombat X’s variation system and Injustice 2’s gear system. The amount of customizable options for each character is utterly staggering, with each character having at least 60 skins, 90 pieces of customizable gear, and a selection of 10 techniques to add on to their core set of abilities. To be fair, most of the skins are simply recolors of the default outfits, but regardless, there are a ton of ways to make your fighter distinct when playing online. The problem is how you get access to them, which is generally not a great time.

The amount of customizable options for each character is utterly staggering.
Some of these items can be unlocked by playing through the story mode, but most are obtained through the Towers of Time and the Krypt, two modes that go hand in hand. Mortal Kombat 11’s Krypt, like those in previous Mortal Kombat games, is a sprawling dungeon filled to the brim with treasure chests that require some sort of currency to open. This time around the loot is randomized, which is a big problem because of the fact that there’s just so much undesirable loot. You may open up an expensive chest hoping to find a new Fatality, skin, character intro, or Brutality, and wind up with just a bunch of gear augments for a character you don’t use, junk tower consumables, concept art, or some extra currency. There are some cool puzzle-solving elements and neat Easter eggs to find in the Krypt, but it’s basically an explorable dungeon of lootboxes and occasional jump scares, and that’s a disappointment.

Then there’s the Towers of Time, which is a collection of challenge towers unified by some sort of theme, and it’s in this mode that Mortal Kombat 11’s biggest problems lie. Some of the towers employ modifiers that make fights actively un-fun to play. Imagine trying to win a fight against an opponent who starts with twice your health, while also having to deal with a constant torrent of projectiles and assist characters. Or an opponent who will shock you for standing close to them for more than a second or two. It’s a challenge, yes, but one that’s more frustrating than fun.

You’re able to use various consumables to give yourself a fighting chance, and they do make otherwise-impossible fights surmountable. But having to resort to miserable tactics, like projectile or consumable spamming, is frustrating, to say the least.

Another issue lies in the character-specific towers, which are the best places to go for unlocking gear specifically for the character you like to play as. For whatever reason, certain challenge towers are blocked off until you perform some arbitrary and repetitive task, like hitting 50 uppercuts, performing 50 Fatalities, or 75 Brutalities(!), which add nothing but a pointless obstacle. Completing the towers themselves already feels like grind, so to have to grind something else on top of that feels ridiculous. To make matters worse, the rewards are randomized, so you might not even get anything that would make the time or effort spent worth it.

As is the case with just about every other Netherrealm game, Mortal Kombat 11 has a Kombat Pack featuring six DLC characters – of which only one, Shang Tsung, is currently announced. The Kombat Pack comes with the $100 Premium Edition of Mortal Kombat 11, or can be purchased separately for $40. That’s pricey, for sure, but it’s not outrageous due to the fact that the starting roster of 25 characters is already so deep.

Update: The Premium Store is live, and thankfully it currently consists only of Easy Fatality tokens and a selection of featured items like skins, intros, taunts, and icons that refresh on a timer. However, the cost of these items is absurdly high considering how stingy Mortal Kombat 11 is with rewarding Time Crystals, the premium in-game currency required for these purchases. It's a relief that Skip Fight tokens aren't being sold, though it makes the frustrating design of Towers of Time all the more bewildering.

Fortunately, not all towers are awful.
Fortunately, not all towers are awful. A few of the gimmicks are fun, like having to fight with the screen turning to black every few seconds, and these do a good job of breaking up the monotony of standard AI matches. And, since they refresh with new challenges regularly, you can always jump to a different tower if the one you’re stuck on sucks.

Taking it Online

With progression as deeply unsatisfying as it is, it’s the superb online mode that’s truly going to keep me coming back months from now. To start with the fundamentals, Mortal Kombat 11 has some of the best netcode I’ve ever experienced in a fighting game. Even matches against two-bar connections on wifi have very little, if any, noticeable lag, which is remarkable given how much other games have struggled under these conditions.

All of the expected options are here: you can play ranked matches, casual matches, or King of the Hill, but you can also play weird AI matches where you pit a team of your own customized characters against someone else’s and watch them fight it out for rewards. You can enhance your fighters in this mode with special augments and even set their AI behavior, but there’s not much else to it outside of a way to keep Mortal Kombat 11 running and still earn some rewards.

The way character customization is handled in ranked play is interesting. You’re able to set your cosmetics however you wish, but every character has two preset competitive variations that you must choose from. What’s weird is that these variations do not exist as premade variations anywhere but in competitive play, so it’s strange that you must actually go and create them yourself if you wish to practice with them. It’s also a bit of a bummer that you can’t customize your movesets in ranked play, especially since some of the best and most effective moves, like Scorpion’s Misery Blade, for instance, aren’t usable at all in ranked. Fortunately, the casual playlist allows you to use whatever you want, and unlike Injustice 2, there are no stat upgrades tied to gear, so everyone’s on an even playing field.


It’s a rare fighting game that hits just about every note as strongly as Mortal Kombat 11 does. Everything from its methodical and deep combat to its fantastically absurd story mode and its rock-solid netcode, right down to its extraordinarily comprehensive tutorial is absolutely exceptional. It’s only when you get into its drawn-out progression that it trips up: the keys to unlocking Mortal Kombat 11’s rich vault of customization options are locked behind the frustratingly gimmicky and grindy barriers of the Krypt and Towers of Time. This series continues to prove that there’s real fighting depth beyond its notoriously gory Fatalities, and this one in particular stands out as a spine-ripping good time.

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Mortal Kombat's Story Explained in 10 Minutes

Mortal Kombat - Movie Review

Mortal Kombat [2021]22 Apr 2021

In a spectacular display of blood, guts, and effects-heavy martial arts battles, this new take on the over-the-top story of the Mortal Kombat fighting games perhaps bites off a little more than it can chew by attempting what is essentially an origin story and an Avengers-esque superhero team-up all in one. As a result, the first half stalls out a bit as it backs up a dump truck of exposition, and even then some characters that really deserve more time in the spotlight end up being shallow and forgettable. Still, Mortal Kombat finds its footing in the second half and delivers a gleefully cheesy and entertaining take on one of gaming's most historic franchises and a solid starting point for future films. From New Line Cinema comes the explosive new cinematic adventure Mortal Kombat, inspired by the blockbuster video game franchise, which most recently enjoyed the most successful video game launch in its history, Mortal Kombat 11. The film is helmed by award-winning Australian commercial filmmaker Simon McQuoid, marking his feature directorial debut, and produced by James Wan, Todd Garner, McQuoid, and E. Bennett Walsh. Mortal Kombat debuts in theaters and HBO Max on April 23, 2021.

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Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms Review

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms arrives on Digital, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack on August 31.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms, much like Scorpion’s Revenge before it, is a movie aimed squarely at the hardcore Mortal Kombat fan. It’s packed with tongue-in-cheek references, an abundance of bone-crunching scenes of gratuitous violence, and story beats that mimic the events of the games. But while Scorpion’s Revenge still managed to anchor its story around Hanzo Hasashi and the tragic origin story of Scorpion through the lens of the first Mortal Kombat Tournament, Battle of the Realms feels all over the place, attempting to tell too many stories at once and not doing any of them justice.

Battle of the Realms picks up where Scorpion’s Revenge left off: with an Outworld invasion of Earthrealm led by a very angry Shao Kahn who’s a very sore loser after Shang Tsung’s failure in the Mortal Kombat tournament. But that invasion doesn’t last for very long because eventually, Shao Kahn proposes, you guessed it, another Mortal Kombat tournament.

Then while that’s going on there’s also other completely disconnected subplots involving the Lin Kuei and the cyber initiative; Kuai Liang and his desire for vengeance against Scorpion for the murder of his brother; Shinnok’s scheming in netherrealm to retrieve the kamidogu, and it’s all just a lot, especially for a movie with a less than 90-minute run-time.

It feels like there could have been four Mortal Kombat Legends movies that each focused on a single subplot, but instead, they were all mashed together into a single movie, and as a result, every character feels flat.

Kung Lao, who is supposed to be like a brother to Liu Kang, barely exchanges a single line of dialogue with him; Stryker just shows up without any explanation of how or why a normal-ass police officer found himself in a battle against supernatural monsters, and Kitana says she doesn’t have a choice but to follow Shao Kahn, but we never get to see that toxic father-daughter dynamic that leads her to want to side with the forces of Earthrealm.

As a result, all of the character moments fall on their face, resulting in a movie that is basically just all about the action and the fanservice, and at least in that regard, it delivers.

There are some gnarly moments of over-the-top violence that any Mortal Kombat fan is sure to appreciate, and Joel McHale as Johnny Cage continues to be a perfect voice casting choice for the obnoxious Hollywood star that’s in way over his head.

Visually, Battle of the Realms is also a bit hit and miss. The backgrounds are gorgeous and do a great job of replicating the looks of locations from the games, like the Lin Kuei Temple from MKX and Kahn’s Arena from MK2. The character designs are far more polarizing, characterized by heavily angular faces with chins that often look just as sharp as some of the weapons they wield. I’m not a big fan myself, though I can see the appeal of the stylized look, especially with how well it meshes with the ultra-violence.

The animation does its job well enough, with some fun fight choreography that is full of small nods and references to the game, though there are certainly some rough edges. Just as a single example: In one fight of Kung Lao vs Shao Kahn, Kung Lao takes a tumble along the ground, and instead of his hat flying off him, as you’d expect it to, it just kind of folds into the ground, only to be completely straight in the next scene, which elicited an unintentional laugh out loud moment out of me.

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Mortal Kombat 11 Cinematic Reveal Trailer - The Game Awards 2018

The nurse asked me, going up to the table, - Now I will bring wet baby wipes. - Don't, - I said, - I have everything. I carry with me both baby wipes and spare pants. Do you think this is his first time. - Are you serious.

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My heart sank with a feeling of unprecedented freedom. She felt wet between her legs. I wanted to run my finger there, but in time I remembered the prohibition against caressing myself with my hands. She sighed sadly.

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