Nostalgia Critic Real Thoughts On: Mortal Kombat

So HOW many people liked this movie again?

See Part 1 of the Nostalgia Critic review here – http://channelawesome.com/nostalgia-critic-street-fighter-mortal-kombat-review-part-1/

And Part 2 here – http://channelawesome.com/nostalgia-critic-street-fighter-mortal-kombat-review-part-2/

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.

51 comments

  1. I’m getting the feeling most of these videos have a recurrent argument.

    “I liked how dark this movie was” or “I wished this movie was darker or scarier”.

    I mean the arguments in itself aren’t bad, I mean from what I understand people like to be challenged, see new things, get something from a movie. But retreading the same comment again and again and again is kind of boring. [In short get a thesaurus]

    In regards to this movie, I suppose in a way it was appropiate for its audience, and I also assume since videogames were still seen as toys for kids it was understandable the decision to put it a PG-13 I mean at least in comparison to making Alien versus Predator PG-13.

    I may be wrong, but as far as videogame movies with very loose thin plots I think it’s still the best one. If anything it’s still a genre of movies that still hasn’t gotten of the bad precedents it has had, even with videogames that have “meatier” plots.

    • “I’m getting the feeling most of these videos have a recurrent argument.
      “I liked how dark this movie was” or “I wished this movie was darker or scarier”.”


      And then they go on to wonder how a movie like Man Of Steel got made.

  2. So, your main criticism is that it was made as a PG-13, so didn’t have as much gore as the games. Could you see them making an 18 certificate though? Could they have included fatalities such as ripping out a head along with the spine with a 15? If they’d had a higher rating would enough people have gone to see it for it to turn a profit?

    I like this film, but I think it feels like a ‘tv movie’. The vibe is darker but a bit like Xenia Warrior Princess or something of that ilk.

    • During the early 90’s, MK’s demographic was mostly 13-15 year olds, so they had to make it easier for kids and their parents to watch the movie.

      I was 17 in 1995 when it came out and my friends and I saw it with no problems. I enjoyed the movie enough to not really care about the PG-13 rating and the lack of gore.

    • Exactly I mean it’s not a good argument now, but with things like Power Rangers. I suppose it was fitting for the time the rating.

  3. I don’t care if it isn’t considered a good movie by others I still like Mortal Kombat and I’m still gonna watch it because I enjoy it

  4. everyone keeps saying “story doesn’t matter in fighting games, MK’s plot is weak, etc”, and I really don’t agree. the fact is, unlike the Walker brothers here, what sucked me into MK was not the gore, it was the plot. and it was excellent, especially for its genre, it was unique, by MK2 there was a universe where all the characters were distinct if not in the look, but in the backstory and motivation (all that died after MK4, but the original trilogy is still great) and none seemed out of place (unlike Tekken imo). sure, the only way to write an MK movie is to write it as a B-movie (look at story-modes of MK9 and MKX, great examples of that). you either go over the top, or you go hyper-realistic, like MK Legacy1 tried to, and that can also be a lot of fun. but I don’t get when people dismiss the rich lore of MK and say “gimme gore, gimme fatalities, they’re the only thing that matters!” now, and even back then, in 1995, there was no way to incorporate so many characters and stories into 1 movie (they tried – we got Annihilation), that’s why I see MK on screen only as a trilogy of movies, or as a series. here’s to hoping that one day this new MK movie that K. Tancharoen wrote will be made, and we’ll get the MK movie this franchise deserves.

    • I have to agree with you there, MK does have a much deeper and (relatively) more coherent lore compared to most fighting games and seems to really care about the details, and actually develops it from game to game.

      • The movie K. Tancharoen was pitching was technically retooled into Mortal Kombat: Legacy. It’s pretty good, just be sure to be current on your knowledge of MK because it expects you to know the stuff it’s not explaining.

        • yeah, I have seen both seasons. I meant the script that he wrote after Legacy was done. he even tweeted a picture of an excerpt of it, showing that Kabal, of all characters, was going to be in the movie. then Tancharoen left the project, and nobody (or should I say, Warner Brothers) have picked it up since. they announced that there’d be a new series based solely on MKX, but that also seems to have gone nowhere…

  5. Tthis is probably just a case of differing tastes. It’s generally accepted among the MK fandom that the first movie was good, enough so that it affected the games; Kano wasn’t Australian in the first game (he was half-Japanese or something), but the fans loved movie Kano so much that they made him Australian. Fans also really like Johnny and Christopher Lambert Raiden, and the “$500 sunglasses” line is kind of a meme. The fight scenes aren’t superb, but they’re still pretty good. The MK games, while gorey and gritty, have always been pretty tongue-in-cheek as well, and I think most fans knew what to expect when going into the movie.

    I can understand the second movie being “so bad it’s fun to watch” but I think a lot of MK fans just see it as being way to groan worthy. MK Annihilation pretty much does everything wrong what the first movie got right. The first movie may not be technically good, or R rated, but I think fans love it because it managed to still capture the presentation or “spirit” of the games regardless. It avoids a lot of the mistakes these kinds of adaptations make, like characters being out of character, or just not “getting it.” It was just campy enough, just like the games were.

    • Granted, Raiden is acting very out of character and Scorpion and Sub-Zero weren’t exactly bad guys, but no one had much idea how these characters were “supposed” to act back then. Point is though, most fns aren’t too hung up over these changes and just accept the film as the adaptation that it is.

      • Sorta the same reason I can’t blame the Street Fighter movie for not taking into account the… we’ll say “complex” story everynerd knows from the Alpha series, which only came out way later. I’m pretty sure even Akuma only came about during SF2’s 10th re-release or so. (Capcom can re-release SF4 with two new characters as many times as they want; they’ll NEVER top that era. …I hope they don’t take that as a challenge.)

  6. Wolfy Snackrib

    I can’t believe by how far Doug and his brother can miss the mark when discussing a movie. Sometimes Doug is spot on and really nails it. Other times, he’s a whiny child, like his The Matrix view “I don’t like The Matrix, that must mean it isn’t really a good movie like everybody says it is!”, and he resorted to making an entire review of ad hominem attacks with very few legit arguments, and those arguments do not amount to much. Doug can be such a slave to his subjectivity. The nerd is a far better reviewer of movies because he truly loves movies and can see the value and qualities in even the very bad.

    As for Mortal Kombat, is a great classic of a cult movie. Not great like we’d call Memento or Reservoir Dogs great, but great like we’d call Idle Hands great. It doesn’t matter that there are glaring holes in the story, it doesn’t matter that some effects are crappy as hell or that some moments from some actors are hilariously awkward. This is one of those magical cult movies that radiates with charm and love and the only reason Doug is unable to see it is because he’s throwing a childish tantrum about changes that were made as well as the lack of gore. True, shame there wasn’t much gore, but they managed to make hell of a fun movie. Even Ed Boon, the creator of Mortal Kombat seems to enjoy it a great deal. Think it’s a coincidence that within Mortal Kombat X there’s a ton of random quotes in the menus from the movie as well as movie references in the dialogue?

    As for Raiden being different in the movie, he was AN IMPROVEMENT. He had great charisma, influence, leadership, and you just sensed what tremendous power he had. He barely needed to use his power. He had all the power but used his wisdom to let the fighters fend for their own realm and win, that is impressive. Is there seriously anyone here other than Doug and his brother that does not love the raspy, dark and deep voice of Lambert as Raiden as well as his trademark Christopher Lambert laugh?
    How the fuck can they not enjoy moments like “The fate of billions will depend upon you, HE-HE-HE… sorry”?
    Yes, that is a subjective point of course but the reason the movie has a huge fanbase is not for naught. Doug asserts the movie to be so boring and uneventful, anyone who enjoys this movie even just a little would have no idea of what he is talking about. To me, Mortal Kombat is one of very very few movies that when I finish watching it I immediately get the urge to rewatch it. On a scale of 1 – 10 of how entertaining and fun this movie is to watch, I consider it a 10, similar to how much I enjoy watching The Mummy.
    I would not defend Mortal Kombat as one of those Oscar worthy great movies of great performances. It is sort of good, sort of bad, but it has so much atmosphere, character, charisma, fun, magic, you can tell effort was put into it of a different kind than what critics favor.

    Also, why do they hate Johnny Cage? I fucking love Johnny Cage and although I can definitely see why some humorous moments are misses to a lot of people and to me as well as an adult, most of his humor works. I find him an improvement over the game version of Johnny Cage as well. Although in Mortal Kombat X, he had pretty fucking good character. He was good in MK9 as well but not as good. Still I love both game Johnny Cage and movie Johnny Cage.

    Bottom line though, Doug and his brother are not fit to criticize this movie. They’re making asses out of themselves.

    • spot-on, dude! on mk AND The Mummy too!:)
      damn, Lambert is to this day one of my favourite actors, and moslty because of his portrayal of Raiden. he freakin’ created the character, there was nothing explaining personality in the games back then. Raiden truly got his full character in MK9, but the new Raiden is kinda bland.
      as for Walkers’ criticisms, it’s clear that they did play MK in the 90s, but weren’t huge fans and sure aren’t fans now. but those who had been die-hard fans when the movie came out and who still play old and new games in the series, all of their points don’t make much sense. it’s a solid B-movie made at a time when pretty much no one knew how to make a videogame movie, in it was made with RESPECT for the sourse material (something that, ironically, Paul W.S. Anderson is not known for now:D).

  7. Okay, so I caught this movie a year ago and I still haven’t finished this movie yet. I TOTALLY agree with you as to it being dull! That was my sole problem with the movie! All they really needed was like 3 plot scenes and then the rest should have been fight scenes. One scene to set up the overall plot, one scene to have a verbal climax, and then an ending scene like “We survived Mortal Kombat.” Done. There was too much talking. I don’t mind it being PG-13 because I barely ever like R-rated movies. The song: Great. I don’t mind the damsel in distress thing in movies but just be consistent with a character. If a character kicks butt through 90% of a movie, be consistent! I’m not a fan of Mortal Kombat. I’m a Soul Caliber girl. This is just a casual opinion.

  8. I was in high school when the first MK came out in theaters and while it wasn’t perfect, I preferred it far more than Street Fighter which came out the previous Christmas in 94.

    I would say the best part of the movie was when Johnny Cage did his signature split move and hit Goro in then balls. I remember the entire theater was laughing at that part.

    The first MK movie has always been the best live action adaptation of the franchise in comparison to the abomination called MK Annihilation and the Konquest TV series or whatever it was called.

  9. Im a blood hungry man,but I still love this movie. It was entertaining,had likeable characters and the acting was pretty good. Also the characters were visually represented well. I didint need someone head to be ripped off for the movie just some good fights and I got that.

  10. No. You guys are right. This movie sucks.

  11. FightClubHuBBs

    There was at least 8 deaths in the film. That’s a higher body count than most slasher films.

  12. Drake Clawfang

    To answer your question Rob – no, I didn’t play the game. And I like the movie fine. Is it good?? No, hell no. But for some dumb action movie to put on now and then, it was fine. And for you to say you would have liked the film better if it dispensed with the plot and was just mindless action, honestly, if they did people would complain it’s just mindless action with no story or characters.

    What you didn’t mention is that video game movies are a no-win scenario. Very few video games, if any, have storylines that can be adapted to movies in a way that do the original justice. Video games tend to take up 30-40 hours of playtime, padded out with quests and sidequests, playing messenger tag with folks, boss battles, fighting enemies, exploring dungeons, etc. A movie these days is about 2 hours long; there is no way to squeeze all that plot from a video game into 2 hours unless you trim stuff out and reorganize the plot structure. By their nature, movie adaptations of video games have to fall under Pragmatic Adaptation. And then the fans will complain the movie didn’t do the games justice because it wasn’t close enough to them. And ofc mainstream audiences and critics have the reverse reaction, a movie that hinges too heavily on the games will not attract them because they have not played the games.

  13. Everyone mentions the song. But the song, Tecnho Syndrome, predates the movie by a good margin. It was actually written to go for an album for the console releases of the video games, over a year before the movie.

  14. Another “look how unauthentic my review was” video.

    • The Mysterious M

      What’s that supposed to mean? Unauthentic? They have said this multiple times, the Nostalgia Critic is not a real person, he’s a character. The reviews were written with the intention of being extremely negative and over-the-top for purposes of comedy.

  15. The Mysterious M

    So many times I’ve thought about renting this. But I’ve seen Annihilation on TV so many times, and it just gets worse every time. But people seem to enjoy the first one.

    Plus, Cary Tagawa is one of my favorite actors.

  16. Macgyver644200

    “We’re like mutants. Trust a few, fear the rest.”

    Sorry, first thing that came to mind.

    Anyways, your talk about the intro reminded me of something similar. I haven’t seen Superman Returns since I saw it in the theaters, but I remember thinking it was alright, partly because I wanted to see an old-school Superman movie, but also because of the awesome intro (possibly the happiest I’ve ever been at the movies). I wonder if I’d enjoy it as much without said intro. I’d be interested in seeing you review that movie.

    I’d also be interested in seeing the contents of that bookshelf.

  17. Is Mortal Kombat a good movie? No. Is it an enjoyable movie? If you’re in the right mindset, certainly.

  18. Are they kidding, of course I played with Sonya as well, I played with everyone except Raiden, because I felt he was to cool to be played by unworthy me.
    Liked the movie as well, but it’s true, I was rather young.

    p.s.
    Doug thought that abomination Batman foreaver to be better than Batman returns?
    Well seems like someone had awful tastes. It was a truly and utterly awful movie and I never understood how so many people had to see the only slightly worse Batman & Robin to realise how bad Batman Forever was.

    • The Mysterious M

      Well actually, in my opinion, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin are two different kinds of movies. Batman Forever is a guilty pleasure. Everyone publicly condemns it, but secretly they watch it. It’s so corny and stupid that it’s good.

      Batman and Robin on the other hand is a “so bad it’s good” movie. Like MK: Annihilation is for Video game movies, Batman and Robin is “The Room” of comic book movies. People hated what it was supposed to be. But they found enjoyment in the fact that it was just so incredibly dumb.

      • Personally I don’t know anybody that saw Batman Foreaver more than once, but I don’t know many comicbook fans…
        But for me, what you say is certainly not the case, I saw it once, was dissapointed and wouldn’t see it again, since I can always find a better way to waste my time. It’s true though that Batman and Robin is kinda enjoyable bad.

  19. I really enjoyed the movie as a child. One thing I would never call it was boring as you fellers did. The change of scenery alone felt like an adventure. We had the excitement of guessing the match-ups, freaking Sub-zero and Scorption, all the impending fights, the occasional special move from the game and the presence of a monster/creature (Goro) was always a massive bonus for me as a kid. Although Sub-Zero, Scorpion and Goro couldn’t have died in more humiliating (I suppose the writers thought would prefer “clever”) ways.

  20. I always thought the actor who plays shang sung was perfectly cast. He’s just got one of those evil looking faces. “Your soul is mine!!”

  21. What right do you have to say prequel fans are in denial? How dare you say our feelings aren’t legitimate?!

  22. I really enjoyed this movie when I was younger, but I saw it again about 1-2 years ago, and yeah, I really don’t like it nowadays. I groaned at almost every comedy scene (except most of Raiden’s humorous moments) and the fighting is surprisingly dull. I also grew up watching most of Jackie Chan’s movies, and yeah, those f*ckers still great as all hell – fighting wise. This is so bland in comparison.

  23. Am I the only person who likes Mortal Kombat, but not the gore?

  24. Rob Walker, can you please stop mispronouncing Asian character names?

    There is literally no excuse for it when the original media pronounces the names for you on the original audio track. It’s Shang Tsung with an “-ung” as in “hung”. I don’t care if you think the letter “u” represents the “oo” sound in Asian languages. It’s a transliteration so the phonetics do no always match up. You have to go by what the creators of the character tell you the name should sound like. You come off sounding like you think you know how to pronounce it more correctly than the guy who invented the name. You kept doing it in Avatar the last airbender too and its fricken annoying.

  25. Also, the Flaming Torch?

    Stop embarrassing yourself.

  26. The Leonardo hate is getting really old. Get with the times, he doesn’t suck anymore.

  27. I saw this movie at about 13 or 14. I loved this movie…but for the same reason as Doug said. It was way better than the other films and it actually had a connection to the actual game. I liked the movie and the story of the characters so much (maybe it’s because I’m female? lol) that I didn’t even take notice of the lack of, well, fatalities and stuff and I played the games at the time. The only time I actually was like, “Hey, no fair, where’s the fatality” was Goro. I was like, “NO WAY! HE USUALLY BEAT MY HEAD IN!” lol It actually didn’t hit me until my aunt saw it (we got it on VHS when it was released) and she knew the game and she asked us, “Where are the fatalities, blood, and violence?” lol My cousins and I looked at each other and we were like, “Hey, you’re right.” lol

    Loved the soundtrack too. We had it on cassette. lol

    I still like Mortal Kombat way more than Street Fighter. At least they tried to match the games’ story and the setting made sense, unlike Mario Bros and Street Fighter….but maybe it was because of the soundtrack. I dunno. I just still like it…despite the fact that it’s so totally flawed (looking back on it).

    As for Annihilation….I just can’t…no. I saw that in theaters too. I was so disappointed. For me, that movie isn’t like “The Room”….it’s just…so bad it’s bad to me….and I missed Lambert. 😛

    Oh and as for Sonya getting tied up in the end of the first movie…well, it’s because they seemed to combined games 1 and 2 story. In game 2, she and Kano, were prisoners of Shao Khan, but they killed out Kano.

  28. I LOVED the first Mortal Kombat live-action movie sooooo much! And i’m not even that big of a fan of the games (i’m a street fighter fan first and foremost).

    This is one of my all-time favorite movies! Great cast, great sfx, great fights, great soundtrack, etc.

    This is also still THE BEST videogame movie adaptation to date!

  29. Sorry, but i totally disagree.

    1-Yes the gore was part of MK’s appeal but many players at the arcades (at the time, MK’s core audience) didn’t even know how pull off the fatalities and you could play all the arcade fights without pulling a single fatalities, now things have changed, we have brutal X-rays, insane fatalities that everyone can pull off (even blindfolded if they pay some money XD) .. so it seems you are both overestimating that importance of gore in Mortal Kombat’s appeal back then and seems to be basing it based on how integral it is nowadays, so saying the movie doesn’t work without gore just doesn’t make sense.

    2-Again, target audience was from ages between 8 and 13, those were the arcade audience so by making the movie PG13 they were able to allow most of their core audience to see it, also consider it a long advertisement for the game so younger viewers who didn’t hear about the game before but stumbled upon the movie would later become fans of the game.

    3-It was and still is a very faithful adaption of the early MK games, right down to the corniness and silly stuff we all know and love about MK, it feels that the makers of the movie knew their source material and that the removal of gore was a conscious choice (or even a financial one) not an oversight or out of ignorance, that was unlike most video game movies at the time (and even still now) were you feel the movie makers didn’t know anything about the source material.

    In short it’s a cult classic … i really don’t understand what standard are you really judging this movie based on .. considering everything about the time it was made, the state of video-game movies at the time and it getting everything about the game right (except the removal of the gore) it is a good movie .. score wise i’d give it a 8 out of 10.

    • I know you can’t please everybody but, seriously, what do they expect? The first Mortal Kombat movie had a great cast, endearing characters, great soundtrack, great SFX, great fight scenes, etc. What more can you ask for?

      Although keep in mind that Doug isn’t exactly the audiance for this type of movie to begin with. He leans more to the comedies and the less serious type of movies. When it comes to a quality action movie or fight-flick like MK1, its like he just has no appreciation.

      Just look at the way he talked about the 1982 Conan movie!! OMG. At the begining of the movie, Conan’s family & village is being straight-up SLAUGHTERED. And Doug’s all like, “Booooring! Nothing is happening, nothing is happening, etc”.

      I love the NC but, let’s face it: When it comes to a quality action movie or fight-flick like MK1, he simply has no appreciation.

  30. Doug and Rob blame the violence toning down Hollywood executive beaurocrats.

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