Rated R - Running time: 1:30 - Released 11/21/97

Usually, sequels are not as good as the original. There are occasional exceptions to this rule, such as Aliens, The Godfather, and the original Star Trek movies, which all got better before they started getting worse. But this is an example of a sequel just as terrible as the first movie: same stuff, different day.

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. *

Copyright 1997 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

See Current Reviews

See FilmQuips Archive