Get over here! and join me as I offer a review of the newly(ish) released movie reboot of the much-loved gaming franchise.
Now cast your mind back to yesteryear, or 1992 to be exact, and you’ll remember a classic computer game released on many platforms. My console of choice was the Sega. Much like the game, the film adaptation told the tale of a group of fighters from earth, or the earth-realm, thrown together and sent to a mysterious island to take part in a tournament.
Full of fan service, one liners, finishers and recognisable characters, the 1995 movie quickly became, not only a favourite with fans, but a cult classic too. The inevitable sequel less so, and the less we say about that the better.
Jump forward 26 years and we have been treated to a modern-day reboot. I think we all know how reboots can go… *cough* Ghostbusters: Answer the Call… So, there was some deserved apprehension from fans of both the films and games.
Thankfully this seemed to be in good albeit fresh hands with Simon McQuoid who brought it back to gruesome life. Without hanging on the subject for too long, there was authentic casting in the forms of some of the Asian characters, so white washing isn’t something that this film can be accused of.
Cast interviews gave early hints that the finishing moves in the film would stay true to the game, and boy did they deliver. My favourite being Kung Lao killing Nitara – he rams his razor edged hat into the ground and runs Nitara through it, easily cutting her in half.
The main crux of the reboot story does differ from the original quite a bit, but for me this was a welcome change. We are introduced to a new character Cole Young who is an out of luck MMA fighter paid to lose. He is seemingly unaware of his heritage and therefore cannot understand why, Emperor of the Outworld Shang Tsung, has sent his best warrior Sub-Zero to hunt him down. Once he has learned of his destiny, he is tasked by Lord Raiden, protector of the Earth-realm, to go in search of other champions to fight together. Normally, this would have been done in the form of a tournament, where an earth-realm fighter would go up against an outworld fighter. However, the Emperor is trying to sabotage the tournament, so it doesn’t happen.
A lot of early criticism was because there wasn’t a single tournament in the whole film, but in fairness this is explained and for me it works. The ending also sets up a sequel that would surely then lead to a tournament, as our hero Cole sets off on a trip to Hollywood in the hunt for a much-loved character from the game and first original film.
All in all, I really enjoyed this film, certainly more than I expected. It was true to the source material whilst offering some fresh perspective and if I am honest the gore added a much-needed element that the original film missed. I would certainly recommend with a solid 8/10.