Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge (2020)
Warner Bros. Animation
Directed by: Ethan Spaulding
Starring: Jennifer Carpenter, Joel McHale, Ike Amadi, Steve Blum, Artt Butler, Darin De Paul, Robin Atkin Downes
Slowly but surely, movies and TV series based on video games have been seeing a definite rise in quality. The best example of this would be Netflix’s Castelvania series written by Warren Ellis. But the new Mortal Kombat film, Scorpion’s Revenge, is no slouch.
It’s by no means a flawless film. The plot becomes somewhat thin about halfway through, and it ends with the most obvious of sequel hooks. But none of that prevented me from being absolutely delighted by the sheer amount of graphic cartoon violence displayed on the screen.
The violence is the focus of the first and most interesting of the featurettes, From Epic Game to Extreme Animation. Here, the filmmakers focus on the series’ iconic graphic bloodshed, and how important it was to find the correct tonal balance in the film. The gore is how the game was made famous, but to lean too strongly on it would make the film too oppressive or bleak.
The next two featurettes, The Weapons, Wardrobe, and World of Mortal Kombat Legends and Mortal Kombatants do not offer quite the same level of insight. What they tell us about the characters’ designs and personalities (Johnny Cage’s wardrobe is loud because he’s an action movie star, Sonya Blade wears her Army fatigues to show she’s a badass) are conclusions we could have drawn from the film itself.
Which brings us to the final featurette on the disc: The Savage Sound Design of Mortal Kombat Legends. This extra is also quite strong, as it sheds light on the importance of audio in the Mortal Kombat franchise, and the level of work that’s put into making bones crunching and fists punching sound as impressive as possible. Never before could I think the sound of celery breaking or tomatoes being squished sound so graphic, but this proves otherwise.
Mortal Kombat Legends is easily the best adaptation the video game series has had yet. While the obvious sequel hooks leave the film feeling too slight in areas, it’s enough to make me want to see more.