Mortal Kombat, as if it needs an introduction, is the famous ultra-violent fantasy fighting video game, based on a tournament of deathmatches. The result of these matches determines the fate of the various realms – of which Earth is one. Mortal Kombat: Legends – Battle of the Realms is the latest entry in the franchise’s ongoing quest to conquer other forms of entertainment media. This is the second half of the story that started in last year’s animated release Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge. Viewers really need to have seen that animated kick, gouge, and chop gorefest before checking this one out as it addresses several plot threads that were left dangling like entrails at the end of any given match.
It’s not really a requirement to have played the game to enjoy these films, but it’s certainly useful. For one thing, it’ll prepare you for the stunning amount of stylised violence these animated films contain. They are literally dripping with blood, severed limbs, popped eyeballs, decapitations, and ruptured organs. They are not for the squeamish, sensitive, or easily upset. As violent as the live Mortal Kombat film of this past summer was, it doesn’t hold a candle to these two. And as Scorpion’s Revenge was only the opener – this one is where all hell is literally and figuratively let loose.
Inspired by the Mortal Kombat 2 and 3 games, Lord Raiden wants a conclusive end to Shao Khan’s terrorising of Earthrealm after the events of Scorpion’s Revenge. He proposes one final winner-take-all tournament. This will bring together the surviving characters from the first, as well as new ones, who’ll be familiar to fans of the games. Plotwise, that’s pretty much it. It’s practically ten minutes of exposition mixed with seventy minutes of unrelenting martial arts carnage. Match follows match to determine the ultimate winner with barely time to breathe. Truthfully, it’s like watching a video game being played by someone else. But there are some surprises as the writers were given free rein to kill any characters they wanted, and undoubtedly some fans will see their beloved favourites come to some spectacularly bad ends.
It’s a well-executed film (in every sense of the phrase). It’s clearly aimed squarely at the adult market and never shirks away from its well deserved 18 certificate. No doubt someone somewhere will think it’s “just a cartoon”, buy it at the supermarket for their kids, then get outraged and go running to the media. But until then, enjoy the punch to the guts and the kick to the head that this celebration of outrageously impossible violent fantasy delivers.
The Blu-ray disc features a seven-minute 'making of' feature, audio commentary, interviews with the voice cast and a gag reel.