When exposition beats action: the disappointment of “Mortal Kombat”

Source: HBO Max

Source: HBO Max

The “Mortal Kombat” movie flailed with too much exposition, clunky dialogue and too many scenes cut in a single sequence.

The movie, streaming on HBO Max, follows the struggles of Earthrealm (Earth), which has lost the past nine Mortal Kombat tournaments. If they lose the tenth, the alien Outworld will invade.

To ensure Earthrealm’s defeat, Shang Tsung (Chin Han) orders the ice-powered assassin Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) to hunt down and kill the Earthrealm champions. After Sub-Zero attempts to kill Cole Young (Lewis Tan) and his family, he is thrust into training for Mortal Kombat.

“Mortal Kombat” droned on through its 1 hour 50 minute runtime. Only the first 13 minutes of the movie were full of emotion, jam-packed with world-building and fight scenes, which made it the best part of the film.

The movie fell into the trap of too much exposition at once. It had a classic murder-wall explanation scene in order to explain what Mortal Kombat was.

This could have been easily removed and the movie would have been no worse for wear.

Throughout the movie, lines were annoyingly repeated to reference the video game series. Classic phrases like “flawless victory” and “get over here” were shoehorned in.

The finale of the movie felt rushed, with multiple fight scenes cut together. You couldn’t get engrossed in the action of one fight scene because it would soon cut to another.

Only the costume design felt fitting. The military fatigues of Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee), and the ninja costumes of Sub-Zero and Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sabana) were all grounded in the same universe.

“Mortal Kombat” was a good action movie but did not break any new ground.

4 out of 5 stars.