MORTAL KOMBAT: ANNIHILATION
Just as in Mortal Kombat (1995), we learn that a video game does
not a movie make. Cheesy, fake, martial-arts-type fighting between humans
and quasi-Greek godlike creatures, with about as much plot as a porn flick.
Robin Shou reprises his role as Liu Kang, who has to save the world
again armed only with his fists, his feet, and the invisible wire
tied to his belt loop. Along with his friends Katrina (Talisa Soto), Jax
(Lynn Red Williams), Sonya Blade (Sandra Hess), and Rayden (James Remar),
he fights, thinks, fights, argues, fights, reasons, fights, postures, and
fights. And we suffer through his second journey toward the "Mortal
Kombat," the contest that is going to save the world (and all of us
unsuspecting chumps in it) from the evil Shau-Kahn (Brian Thompson). Although
there are some clever computer-generated effects, there are others that
are so half-baked they are laughable, and any attempt at reality of story
is hopelessly muddled in cyber-bytes. Liu Kang's struggle between his confidence
and his sense of revenge is just as shallow as ever, and underneath all
the snarling and maniacal laughter, there isn't enough acting to shake a
stick at. Also, Shou and Soto are the only returning actors, although all
the characters are the same. That should tell us something.
You know, we don't expect martial arts movies to be Oscar winners. We
can excuse Jackie Chan and Chuck Norris for bad plots and bad acting, if
there are at least some cool fights. But even the combat is lame in this
series. I mean, the Power Rangers are more believable than this!
And at least they have a little characterization. There is no characterization
here except anger and arrogant bravado.
I mentioned porn earlier, and that is one noticeable difference between the original and the sequel: this one is a lot sexier. Not surprising, since the movie is obviously aimed at teenage boys. There are spandex bodysuits and leather bustiers galore, lots of girl fights, and even a mud-wrestling scene. Lap it up, guys. *
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