"Reel Reviews: ‘Mortal Kombat’ is back from the dead for gruesome fun" by: Jessica Shepard

   I grew up playing a number of fighting games, but none caught my attention so much as the “Mortal Kombat” series and the two mid-90s movies that came with them. 
   The music, characters and finishing moves were unique and definitely violent. 
   But, most of all, it made martial arts look more interesting than some people in boring uniforms chopping wooden planks in half with their bare hands. 
   Plus, it had a fairly decent plotline: save Earth from being invaded by evil forces. 
   So, all that extra violence and gore was just a motivator to save the world as we knew it! 
   Mortal Kombat is a martial arts fantasy film directed by Simon McQuoid in his feature directorial debut, from a screenplay by Greg Russo and Dave Callaham and a story by Russo and Oren Uziel. 
   It is based on the video game franchise of the same name created by Ed Boon and John Tobias, serving as a reboot to the Mortal Kombat film series. 
   The film is rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, and some crude references and is 110 minutes long. 
   Mortal Kombat was released theatrically internationally on April 8, and was then released in the United States on April 23, simultaneously in theaters in 3D and on the HBO Max streaming service. 
   The film stars Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, Chin Han, Joe Taslim, Max Huang, and Hiroyuki Sanada. 
   In 17th-century Japan, Lin Kuei assassins led by Bi-Han (Taslin) attack and kill members of the rival Shirai Ryu ninja clan and Hanzo Hasashi’s (Sanada) wife and son. 
   Hanzo kills the attackers before falling to Bi-Han and taken to the Netherrealm. 
   Lord Raiden (Asano), god of thunder, arrives and takes Hanzo’s surviving infant daughter to safety. 
   In the present, the realm of Outworld has defeated Earthrealm in nine of ten deathmatch tournaments called “Mortal Kombat,” intending to conquer it. 
   However, an ancient prophecy is uncovered, stating that the “blood of Hanzo Hasashi” will unite a new generation of Earthrealm’s champions to prevent Outworld’s victory. 
   Aware of this, soul-eating sorcerer Shang Tsung (Han) employs warriors to kill Earthrealm’s champions, identified by a distinctive dragon mark, before the next tournament begins. 
   Meanwhile, Cole Young (Tan), a former MMA champion, and his family are attacked by Bi-Han, now known as Sub-Zero. 
   However, Special Forces Major Jackson “Jax” Briggs (Brooks) rescues the Youngs, directing them to safety and to seek out his partner, Sonya Blade (McNamee), while he stays behind to fight off Sub-Zero, who freezes and shatters his arms. 
   Cole tracks Sonya to her hideout, where she is interrogating a captive mercenary named Kano (Lawson). 
   She reveals that she and Jax have been investigating Mortal Kombat’s existence and that the dragon mark can be transferred to anyone who kills the original bearer. 
   The hideout is attacked by Shang Tsung’s acid-drooling lizardman assassin, Syzoth, but a reluctant Kano kills him with Cole and Sonya’s help. 
   They then travel to Raiden’s temple and meet Earthrealm champions Liu Kang (Lin) and Kung Lao (Huang) before being brought to Raiden himself, who is critical of the newcomers. 
   From there, the story line kind of sags behind the need for action and I’m totally alright with that. 
   I do have to admit that his reboot of the franchise is stunningly cinematic, too – definitely worth it on the biggest screen you can find!

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