Thursday, 20 October 2011

Films that I hate: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

Not even  looking like Shao Khan. 
This is a cinematic masterpiece. How do you top a now cult classic mystical martial arts films that nobody saw it becoming a huge success and a fan favourite? Um..you don't. The magic happens only once. The signs were  there. Only two members from the original cast returned, Linden Ashby as Johnny Cage hated the script as well as  Christopher Lambert, Paul Anderson was gone and only the director of photography returned....as the director. So what made the first one such a success? The combination of excellent choreographed fights with minimal effect use to create the "wow" feeling and a great soundtrack at the background. What did these assholes achieve though? They figure that if they could copy the above recipe and copy it 20 times, it will work. Unfortunately for them and us, it didn't and it sucked big time. We had 5-6 cool songs in the first one. Well let's put 30 now. We had 6 good fights then, now we have 20. And so on. I am attacking this pile of trash, because "Mortal Kombat" is my favourite pop culture piece in the world. I loved the first film as you have noticed, i adore the videogame and i was utterly disappointed even at the standard of a 13 year old, when i witness the destruction of all my expectations.

Yes this is Shao Khan. Start laughing now
A stinking turd this is. First of all, the plot makes no sense. whatsoever. Shao Khan is a brother to Rayden!? and they have the same father, Shinnok (where is the mother in all of this? just sayin....). The film begins with the invasion of Shao Khan, then we move towards the core of the earth!? through american gladiator ball styles in various places, followed by a trip to outworld where Rayden opens a portal to go to earth again, but we are in outworld!? oh fuck it i lost count. Additionally, Rayden mentions that Sindel is the key for the forces of Earth to kick ass for no reason, only for this to be a plot point so he can lose his powers (he could have stopped the whole damn thing on his own), Johnny Cage dies and is remembered as an  handsome extra with sunglasses and while the film has a happy ending and everything is restored like they used to be-the destruction of earth!?,, Raiden is being revived- Cage is not! What is going on??? Liu Kang has to pass three tests from fan favourite Nightwolf, and he succeeds only in one.-the first. However, the challenges are never mentioned again during the film... The number of pointless subplots in this film is astonishing to say at least. Cage's death, his relationship with Sonya and his emotional impact on our heroes psychology, the love story!? between Liu and Kitana , Nightwolf's three tests and more are randomly being thrown at the big screen just to fill in the time between the excessive and awkwardly choreographed fight sequences. All the above are supported by a childish and unbalanced script with the most laughing out loud lines ever:

"I thought our victory close those portals!"
"What it closes, can also open again!?"

"Mother! You are alive!"
"Too bad you! will die!"

When somebody is yelling a line, somebody else replies with the same concept but with the opposite idea. Look at this:

"You will never rule this world!"
"As long as the portal remains open, your world becomes my world!" 
"The earth was created in six days"
"So too, shall it be destroyed!"

The majority of the dozens of special effects look ridiculous as they looked ridiculous back in '97. You got bigger budget and yet you managed to make your film looking even older than the original. From the animality transformations to CGI monsters and unique icy abilities coming from nowhere, the visual effects are a MESS. And i am generous... Aw fuck it you may say. At least we can see some choreographed kung fu sequences. Actually, you do not get that either. Whereas the first one had different martial art styles for each character and allowed the audience to engage themselves in their fights even using POV, the second film has such fast ly edited and elaborately wire fu fights that they end up looking silly. People literally flipping left and right, jumping  10 metres in the air for no reason, doing somersaults and backflips...It is so obvious that wires were used but you need to see it to believe it when every single fight has individuals doing superman so many times. Take for example the fight between Jaxx, Sonya and Cyrax. There are so many spinning turns, jumps, flips and other acrobatic moves that are unfolding in front of your eyes that we cant take seriously what we are seeing. I thought i was watching the national ballet or something. On the other hand, others are so poorly staged due to the lack of skills from the actors. The final battle at the end is pathetic, boring, dull and inspiring. Especially when Kitana is fighting Sindel. Why Sindel doesn't use her powers to whoop some ass???? Ah..no budget...hey wait a minute. You had a mystical character in the first one (Shang Tsung) and we saw the full extent of his powers....Cheap fucks.

They got Cyrax right at least visually but he is just filler for more fight sequences and has no personality whatsoever
Furthermore, the costumes are just terrible. From the wigs, to the design and the masks, they seems they have been made from polyester from your local halloween store. I could accept bad movies. They are fun to watch. But when filmmakers are serious about their film no matter how shitty it is, it pisses me off. And not only that, but having unbelievable movie goofs that an idiot could spot from a mile away is catastrophic. The editing, the close ups, the outdated make up and so on tear apart the movie experience. When Baraka appears you could see that he is wearing a mask and the blades are attached to his prosthetic arms (i have attached the photo in all of its glory). There isn't even the slightest effort to make MK:A to look visually pleasing. Scorpion suddenly has human eyes!, Shao Khan talks without opening his mouth, jade's hair go from being tided back to ponytail and then again to their normal form, every time she swaps sides (from good to bad and then good), three reptiles are appearing through the walls, Rayden fights two!?, stock footage was used for the death of Baraka. from earlier on! ... and i could carry on! For the love of god, what a lazy piece of shit this film is!

The horror the horror. That is Ray Park wasted in the role of .. Barakka with plastic arms1!
Performance wise, every line is being delivered with such a straight face that you can't help but laugh. Check out Brian Thompson as Kahn. He is being enough i guess for the role, but his over the top acting is truly fascinating to watch. He is yelling and screaming like a dog (he is even making the noises!). Put him next to Shang Tsung from the first film...and you clearly can see a huge difference both in acting and skills. I am not even going to talk about the rest of the cast. While some are ok-ish, others manage to be even worse that BT. 

The only saving graces i could find, are the photography, some of the bizarre sets that surround our heroes, the soundtrack and the main theme. Nothing more. This film is beyond terrible. And it is a shame because this could have been even better than the original with the proper care and craftmanship. Instead, it destroyed the franchise and the careers of the promising Robin Shou and Talisa Soto. Go and die you horrible piece of shit. With amateur directing, horrible special effects, a non-existent script, hundreds of mistakes and a line between trash film and cinematic abomination, this DID destroy all expectations. If you watch it with friends in a halloween night and being drunk you will have a blast!

2/10