Highlights Some Mortal Kombat movies and shows have respect for the lore, and others do not. There have been many different takes on the Mortal Kombat franchise when it comes to live-action, including what fans regard as the worst.
Mortal Kombat has been known for decades as a fighting game where blood and guts are as expected as the famous characters Scorpion and Sub-Zero. Where Mortal Kombat sought domination and total Fatality of the fighting game genre, for some fans, it may have succeeded. However, has Mortal Kombat ever achieved the ranks of the best movies, animation, and shows?
There have been a few Mortal Kombat movies, animated projects, and TV series that have met the eyes of fans. Whether they are for better or worse, these Mortal Kombat movies are part of the once “controversial” franchise and its history, even if some would rather Scorpion take them to the Netherrealm.8 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
As a sequel to the original live-action Mortal Kombat movie, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation less than holds up as a movie, and even less so as a Mortal Kombat feature. The film continues from where the first left off, with the victory of Earth Realm and Liu Kang’s victory over Shang Tsung. However, new threats emerge when Outworld’s leader, Shao Kahn, and his generals attempt to merge and conquer Earth Realm with Outworld.
There isn’t much to love about Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Although some might argue that it’s ‘so bad it’s good’, most just regard it as ‘so bad it’s bad’. The martial art stunts leave much to be desired, and the special effects are ghastly. Everything from the plot, direction, and acting just leaves a foul fatality in the mouths of fans.7 Mortal Kombat: Conquest
With 22 episodes, Mortal Kombat: Conquest was a TV series that ran for just a year between 1998 and 1999. The TV series was a prequel to the movies before it and features Kung Lao as the triumphant victor of the Mortal Kombat tournament. After his victory, he must train a new set of warriors to prepare for the next tournament, and thwart Shang Tsung’s evil plans.
Mortal Kombat: Conquest is very much a slow burn, even for a TV series. The show takes a while to introduce its cast of characters, making the beginning few episodes a tad hard to watch. However, the fights are somewhat engaging, and the finale is fairly thrilling.6 Mortal Kombat: Defenders Of The Realm
Mortal Kombat sounds like the perfect series to feature in animation, due to the eccentric violence and hard-to-master fight choreography of its unique characters. However, Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm failed to live up to the bark with its 13 episodes from 1995 to 1996, but it did a few interesting things along the way.
Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm has a pretty solid cast, with big names like Ron Perlman and Clancy Brown featuring in the episodes. The show itself is far more geared towards children, with action-packed and bloodless fights, and a simple plot involving good guys and villains, fighting and scheming.5 Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind
One of the newest entries into Mortal Kombat Legends, this story follows Kenshi in a reimagining of his origins as the blind katana-wielding warrior. Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind is a more unique tale from the realms of Mortal Kombat, and has a strong character arc with Kenshi testing his limits against the powers of Kano and the Black Dragon clan.
However, although there is nothing inherently wrong with Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind, it is with its relative safety as an animated movie that makes it less than engaging. The animated Mortal Kombat movie is simply okay and doesn’t excel where others can.4 Mortal Kombat (1995)
A retelling of the fabled Mortal Kombat series makes its way to live-action with the 1995 movie of the same name. There are some creative liberties with the characters in Mortal Kombat (1995), as three warriors are summoned to compete in a tournament that decides the fate of the worlds. It’s easy to digest, and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa’s Shang Tsung is a standout. Yet, it falters on many fronts.
For some, Mortal Kombat the movie may be a classic. However, for new fans, or those that have yet to see the 1995 take on Mortal Kombat, they might leave finding themselves disappointed by a lot of moments, characters, and plot threads with typical ‘90s cheese and poor execution.3 Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle Of The Realms
Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle Of The Realms is an animated movie that features Liu Kang as the protagonist, and the true champion of Earth Realm. The animated movie shows an all-out war with some iconic Mortal Kombat characters doing what they do best: brutal and bloody hand-dealt murder.
Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle Of The Realms Leaves audiences thrilled with some fairly impressive animated combat. A notable standout is the climactic battle between Shao Kahn and Liu Kang. Outside of the fights, it’s a fairly respectable origin story for the heavy Mortal Kombat lore from the games.2 Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge
One of the most beloved Mortal Kombat characters, and perhaps the most recognizable face, Scoprion gets his origin story with Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge. The animated movie is a revenge tale, showing the origins of Hanzo Hasashi, and the tragedy that turned him into the demonic Scorpion.
There’s a great cast of characters featuring in Mortal KombatLegends: Scorpion’s Revenge, alongside some truly brutal violence. Fans should check out Mortal KombatLegends: Scorpion’s Revenge for an easy watch and a respectable animated movie in the Mortal Kombat universe.1 Mortal Kombat (2021)
A reboot of the Mortal Kombat movies, Mortal Kombat (2021) took the franchise into the 21st century, bringing in all the things fans enjoy about the franchise. The plot revolves around Cole Young, a failing MMA fighter, unfamiliar with the legacy of his blood, and his importance amongst the likes of Raiden, Liu Kang, and the hunting greed of Shang Tsung and Sub-Zero.
It’s nice to see Mortal Kombat embrace some of the charm that keeps its identity so iconic. With fatalities, overwhelming and ridiculous violence, and a fair few catchphrases. Mortal Kombat (2021) is not shy about its identity and doesn’t care about keeping things kid friendly. However, the story and its protagonist can feel somewhat underwhelming when dealing with the creative explosion that is Mortal Kombat.