Mortal Kombat Legends Battle of the Realms Review – Flawed, But Serviceable
The Mortal Kombat Legends sequel goes all out with the brutal and violent violence that the franchise is famous for. The sequel to Scorpion’s Revenge delivers on some points, but the film still has its flaws that prevent it from being an accurate adaptation of the popular fighting video game.
Mortal Kombat Legends, Battle of the Realms is the direct sequel of Scorpion’s Revenge. This animated adaptation of the first Mortal Kombat game serves as the direct sequel. Shortly after Scorpion’s Revenge was released last year, the film was teased immediately and confirmed. This duology is the first Mortal Kombat animation since Defenders of the Realms in 1996. These films, along with the live-action movie, were the first films to receive a rating R. This is in keeping with the reputation of the fighter games for their blood and gore.
Story: A messy adaptation
Flashback scenes to Liu Kang, long-time MK character, open the film. It felt too much like a DC hero’s origins to me to consider it serious. Although it is nice to have backstories for our characters, the scene was too inappropriate for an MK story. It’s not a bad thing, though. This adaptation gives us more insight into Liu Kang and Raiden’s relationship, which was necessary in the games.
We are redirected to Scorpion’s Revenge after the flashback. This is where the film’s central conflict is shown. Liu Kang and Raiden are joined by the Earthrealm heroes to fight Shao Khan in a Mortal Kombat tournament. This is an adaptation from the second Mortal Kombat.
Although the tournament had potential, many fights were just a series of gory and brutal fights. It was clear that there were character deaths. However, it’s Mortal Kombat. But, it felt confusing to see how some characters kill others while leaving others alive. This is more a complaint about the villains. I was unable to care about their brutality and threats because of it.
A B-plot involves Scorpion and Sub-Zero. The plot centers around Sub-Zero’s quest for revenge after Scorpion’s death. The conflict with Sub-Zero is only temporary as other villains and characters are introduced to the B-plot. It makes it messy. The conclusion was disappointing because both plots failed to mesh together.
Characters & Performance: Select your Fighter!
Most of the cast from Scorpion’s Revenge is back for the sequel, with Stryker and Kung Lao joining. It was wonderful to see the film use Mortal Kombat‘s large cast for film. This made it a delight for anyone who has played many of these games. But I wouldn’t let my hopes get too high. Many of the newcomers get overlooked for being part of the original cast. Kung Lao, Stryker, or many other fans would be disappointed by how little they do.
They were all amazing voices. Matt Mercer returns to his role of Stryker in Mortal Kombat, which is a personal favourite of mine. Joel McHale’s portrayal of Johnny Cage is always a delight. Patrick Seitz will forever be the Scorpion voice, and I’m happy to see that he can still voice the character in these films. Sub-Zero would have been better if he had more screen time than his rival. Since we’ve seen a complete movie about Scorpion, I believe it would be best to let the other characters shine.
I think that understanding Scropion’s role would have helped me to appreciate Liu Kang this time around. He needed to be more developed and had more scenes with Raiden and Kung Lao. The romance subplot, which began in the first film, felt forced and rushed, especially the last. Their romance would not be appreciated by those unfamiliar with the games as much as the fans who have followed them through the various entries.
Editing and Pacing: A Not-So Flawless Victory
The film’s main problem is its pacing. It felt like the film wanted to do too much but couldn’t keep it all in check. It was especially detrimental to the tournament. Because the film essentially skimmed through a lot of these scenes to make room for the rest of the plots, it was difficult for me to cope with some of the more emotional scenes and deaths. The film’s final scene was particularly slow, with subplots blending into the main conflict to create the final conflict. Sub-Zero and Scorpion’s plot to insert themselves into the main conflict felt forced. This should have been an idea for a different movie.
The quick transitions from fight to fight are done well, despite the slow pacing. The film’s final acts are filled with action. There isn’t a dull moment. The action is what you want to see. Battle of the Realms uses x-ray cuts for characters’ bones to break, just like the first film. This is a nice touch that calls back to the older games that used the mechanic.
Cinematography and Sound: Fatality
Battle of the Realms is one of the first Mortal Kombat films to be rated R. You’ll find plenty of blood, blood, and all the gory stuff MK lovers are used to. It’s obvious that it’s not for the faint-hearted or those who don’t like blood. It’s a pleasure to watch the fights, which are beautifully choreographed and animated. The fights are accompanied by a stunning sound design. This adds to the brutality and allows the audience feel each death and injury.
The movie is not too serious thanks to the animations and bright colors. The source material for Gritty Mortal Kombat is just too boring. The same game allows the fighters to be friendly and silly to their opponents instead of taking their heads off. Warner Bros. includes a Shaggy meme at the beginning to show that they have fun with it. It could have been much more enjoyable if the story wasn’t too serious.