Starring: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, Chin Han, Joe Taslim, Hiroyuki Sanada
OUR RATING: ★★½
Martial arts action fantasy reboot directed by Simon McQuoid. Mortal Kombat (2021) follows MMA fighter Cole Young (Lewis Tan), who is unaware of his hidden lineage, or why Outworld’s Emperor Shang Tsung (Chin Han) has sent his best warrior, Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim), to hunt him down. Concerned for the safety of his family, Cole finds sanctuary under Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) and prepares to stand with Earth’s greatest champions against the enemies of Outworld in a high-stakes battle for the universe.
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Our Favorite Quote:'Focus on what you can't deny. Find the truth in you. The pain. It's the ultimate catalyst.' - Liu Kang (Mortal Kombat) Click To Tweet
Hanzo Hasashi: [in Japanese, whispers to Harumi] I am grateful, and blessed, to be with you.
Hanzo Hasashi: [after he’s found his wife and son frozen to death] Bi-Han!
Bi-Han: [in Chinese] The great warrior. Hanzo Hasashi. This day has been a long time coming. The end of your bloodline. Your mighty clan, the Shirai Ryu, have been exterminated by me.
Hanzo Hasashi: [in Japanese] I may not understand your words, but I promise you this, I will kill you.
Hanzo Hasashi: [in Japanese, as Bi-Han stabs him] Do not forget this face.
Referee: Always rely on Cole Young. Human punching bag.
Cole Young: Who am I fighting?
Referee: Fighting? No, no, Cole. Fighting requires both attacking and defending, not just throwing punches. You should try it sometime. Now don’t get sensitive.
Shang Tsung: The prophecy is upon us, which means we could lose the tenth tournament.
Bi-Han: There is no prophecy. Hanzo is a ghost. I killed him centuries ago.
Shang Tsung: Winning Mortal Kombat cannot be left to chance.
Shang Tsung: There will be no tournament, because there will be no opposition left to fight. We will already be victorious. Go now and kill Earth Realm’s champions, Bi-Han.
Bi-Han: I am no longer Bi-Han. I am Sub-Zero.
Jax: [to Cole] You could’ve won today, had you controlled the cage.
Emily: Told you so.
Jax: She’s smart.
Jax: [to Cole] That dragon logo you got, I dig that, man. It’s unique. Where did you get it from?
Emily: He was born with it.
Jax: What do you mean?
Emily: It’s a birthmark.
Jax: You serious?
Cole Young: [referring to Bi-Han attacking them] What the f*** is that thing?!
Jax: Funny. It didn’t sound much like thanks for saving my a**.
Jax: It’s not a birthmark, Cole. It means you’ve been chosen.
Cole Young: Chosen, for what?
Jax: To fight.
Cole Young: You got the wrong person, alright? I’m not the fighter that I used to be, okay.
Jax: No, s**t. But they don’t have the marking. So like it or not, Cole, you’re the guy. As long as you got that marking, they’re coming for you. And they will kill whoever they have to, to get to you.
Sonya Blade: First learned about this seven years ago. Jax and I were on a mission in Brazil to capture a wanted fugitive. When we got there, the target had superhuman abilities. Tore through our unit in seconds. The target had the same marking you do, Cole. When Jax finally took it down, the dragon marking transferred directly onto his skin.
Sonya Blade: It seems that throughout history, different cultures all over the world, they reference a great tournament. But my research shows that there’s realms and species that we didn’t even know existed. That dragon marking, it signifies that you’ve been chosen to fight for Earth. It’s an invitation to fight for something known as Mortal Kombat.
Cole Young: Did you make that last part up? It just kind of sounds like you made it up. I mean, and look, they spelled it wrong.
Sonya Blade: We need to find every last champion before it’s too late. And FYI, most of them are dead already. There’s more to this, Cole. I know it. And I swear to God, I’m going to get to the bottom of it.
Kano: I hate to interrupt your bulls**t, blondie. But I got to pi** again.
Cole Young: Who are you?
Sonya Blade: Kano.
Cole Young: Kano? Kano, what?
Kano: Kano, none of your f***ing business!
Sonya Blade: He’s a mercenary with The Black Dragon clan. Arms dealer, drug runner, murder for hire, scum of the Earth.
Kano: I also give really good foot massages.
Sonya Blade: You were never chosen. Fate has better standards than you.
Kano: Lucky for you, I don’t have any standards. We’ll see if you’re a natural blonde.
Kano: [as he kills Reptile] Kano wins. You f***ing beauty.
Cole Young: What’s the plan?
Sonya Blade: There is none.
Kano: Just working on a Kano graphic novel. I fancy myself a bit of an artist.
Cole Young: He’s a psychopath.
Kano: All the best artists are a little twisted, mate.
Kano: [to Sonya] As if going to help you. You kidnapped me. You tied me up. You threw a knife through my f***ing leg, on purpose. And then that lizard thing took off half my face. Lucky for me, you can hardly notice it. So, yeah, it’s a hard pass for me on the helping you thing. Now get out of me f***ing way.
Sonya Blade: How you planning on getting us there?
Kano: Oh, I got a friend with a plane.
Cole Young: You got friends?
Kano: F*** you, pretty boy. I’m a popular guy. Everyone loves me.
Kano: [spits on the gnome] Oh, bloody garden gnomes. They give me the creeps.
Cole Young: You’re going to give that guy three million dollars?
Sonya Blade: F***, no. I live in this s**t hole. You think I got three million dollars?
Kano: There I was trying to shove this guy’s nuts down his throat. And all I kept thinking about is, what should I get for me mum for Christmas?
Cargo Plane Pilot: Your mom’s been dead for thirty f***ing years, mate.
Kano: Kid can dream. Can’t he?
Kano: Thank you for flying Air Kano. I know you had f*** all choices. Afraid time’s up. Time to jump out of this s**t box.
Kano: I need a break.
Cole Young: You just took a break. Too many beers, huh? Give me that GPS. I’m taking point.
Kano: Ah, let’s look at the score board, shall we? I got us the plane. I know how to find your precious little mountain retreat, or whatever it is. I killed the lizard man. Huh? Any of you rip anyone’s heart out?
Kano: [to Liu Kang] You just shot a fireball out of your hand. How did you do that? Hang on. Hang the f*** on. Does that mean I’m going to get superpowers at any point? It does, doesn’t it?
Liu Kang: [as they reach Raiden’s temple] For thousands of years, this temple was a holy place of worship. And it is essential that we begin your training for the next tournament.
Cole Young: This doesn’t feel like a tournament. So far it feels like an ambush.
Liu Kang: We must start training now. Before our mortal enemies from the Outworld come for us. The fate of Earthrealm is in our hands. There are not many of us with the marking left. So you must train harder, and faster. Because if you fail to discover your inner power, you will never defeat your opponent. They will ravage everything you hold dear. There will be no mercy. You must fight without question. The Dragon has swallowed many before us.
Liu Kang: My lord, I have gathered the remaining champions of Earth.
Lord Raiden: This is what I have to work with?
Lord Raiden: [to Cole] You are in no physical or mental shape to fight.
Lord Raiden: [to Sonya] You don’t even have a marking.
Kano: Hey, hang on. What about me, Gandalf. Where’s my fortune cookie jar?
Lord Raiden: [tosses Kano with a jolt of lightning] Powerless, arrogant.
Cole Young: They tried to kill my family. Help us.
Lord Raiden: There is nothing for you here, only death.
Cole Young: Well, I’m willing to die for my family.
Lord Raiden: Let’s see if you have what it takes.
Shang Tsung: I have come to claim your world. You’re too late, Raiden.
Lord Raiden: It is forbidden to claim victory until the tournament begins.
Shang Tsung: You are correct, Thunder God. The conflict outside of Mortal Kombat is not forbidden. Besides, the other guards are too lazy to stop me.
Kano: This totally make up my superpowers. Think I get it now. It’s kind of like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. Is it going to be fireballs? Is it going to be lightning, huh? Could be s**t. Could be a frisbee hat. You know, no offense, whoever you are.
Kung Lao: The name is Kung Lao. Descendant of the Great Kung Lao. The grand champion of the Order of Light.
Kano: Never heard of him.
Liu Kang: Your inner power comes from your arcana, a gift from the marking of the Dragon. The point of your training is for you to unlock that power. Without it, defeating Outworld will be impossible. Kung Lao and I have discovered our arcana. In the fight pit, you will discover yours.
Liu Kang: [referring to Sonya] A fighter without a marking can never achieve their arcana. And a fighter without an arcana is a liability to the others.
Kung Lao: In Mortal Kombat, talent will only get you so far.
Kano: [to Kang] Put a f***ing shirt on, Magic Mike.
Cole Young: How do I find my arcana?
Liu Kang: It must come from your soul. Whatever it is that drives you.
Jax: [referring to his metal arms] These don’t work. These are not me. I’m useless. Why even bring me here? I can’t help.
Liu Kang: Eat more, heal fast. More training tomorrow.
Kano: You’re f***ing kidding me, aren’t you? F***ing hell. Is he on our side?
Kung Lao: Combat takes intelligence. But you. You’re like a dog. A dog who fails his training classes.
Kano: Well, how about I take that stupid f***ing sombrero you’re wearing, and shove it so far up your a**, you start speaking Spanish. How does that sound?
Liu Kang: Why would you jeopardize the goodwill of the only chance of your survival?
Kano: Princess, why don’t you try being one of them silent monks?
Liu Kang: You’re like an aggressive little bunny. Soft and useless. Angry mentally, physically. You should be on your knees before this man.
Kano: I’ve a better idea. How about you two get on your knees and take turns sucking my sack?
Kung Lao: You failure.
Kano: Failure? F***ing failure? Let me educate you, m*therf***er. I’m Kano! I’m the black f***ing dragon! And who are you two, huh? You’re some f***ing cave-dwelling hippy, twirling his a**l beads, taking orders from this Wu Shu w**ker, who wears a hubcap as a helmet! Now, sit down! Shut up, and pass me a f***ing egg roll!
Kano: That was it, wasn’t it? You all saw that? Laser beam! It’s better than fireballs, you pu**y.
Liu Kang: We are running out of time, Cole. Focus on what you can’t deny. Find the truth in you. The pain. It’s the ultimate catalyst.
Cole Young: [after he’s failed to find his arcana] So where did this come from? And why am I the only champion that had the marking since I was born?
Lord Raiden: Your marking comes from your lineage, Cole.
Cole Young: Lineage? I’m an orphan from the south side of Chicago.
Lord Raiden: You’re a descendant of one of the greatest ninjas to ever walk the Earth. Hanzo Hasashi.
Lord Raiden: [to Cole] The moment he died, Hanzo descended into the Netherrealm, the furthest reaches of hell, endlessly searching for revenge. But his bloodline lived on. I rescued Hanzo’s only surviving child, and hid her in the one place he wouldn’t think to find her. For centuries, the Hasashi marking has passed down through your ancestors. I had a hope the power in your bloodline was still strong in you. Now I know that’s not the case.
Shang Tsung: The great hunter, Nitara. She is beautiful, isn’t she?
Kabal: Yeah. That screech is a real turn on.
Kabal: Did you see a guy down there? A complete f***ing a**hole. Answers to Kano.
Shang Tsung: Kano.
Kabal: Yeah. He’s the reason I live in an iron lung. He’s a low life, piece of s**t scumbag. You’re going to love him.
Kano: [after he’s joined Tsung] You know, the problem with these new lightning sticks, they just don’t make them like they used to. What? You didn’t think you’d actually change me, did you?
Shang Tsung: The undoing of the prophecy has begun.
Jax: [as Reiko yells in his face] Damn! Your breath stinks.
Mileena: [to Sonya] This is not the blood of the Chosen One. Your death has no worth.
Kano: Ah, girls can be so mean. Don’t worry, darling. You’re still good enough for me.
Lord Raiden: [referring to Cole] Thank you for helping my fighter find his arcana. After four thousand years, the Hasashi bloodline still lives on. Bi-Han.
Liu Kang: [referring to Kung’s death] If we’re to die, it was supposed to be together.
Lord Raiden: All the Gods are forbidden from engaging in one realm’s war against another. It is my job to protect Earthrealm, but I cannot save every soul within it.
Cole Young: No. It’s not over, we still need to fight.
Lord Raiden: Cole. The blood on this blade is your ancestors. Hanzo Hasashi’s. I took it from him the day he died. Use it, and the spirit of Hanzo fights with you.
Cole Young: We need to fight smarter. We need to control the fight.
Sonya Blade: How? I mean, they’re better trained, and better prepared.
Jax: Plus, they don’t mind breaking the rules.
Cole Young: We need to split them up.
Jax: What about Sub-Zero? Nobody’s taking him out one on one.
Sonya Blade: Yeah.
Cole Young: We save Sub-Zero for last. We take him out together, as a team.
Kano: [as he’s trying to kill Sonya] This is a bit harder than I thought. Tell me, blondie, how does that feel?
Sonya Blade: [stabs him in the eye with her garden gnome] Feels f***ing amazing, mate.
[Kano’s dragon mark transfers onto her arm]
Hanzo Hasashi: [in Japanese, to Bi-Han] I have risen from Hell to kill you.
Hanzo Hasashi: [in Japanese, to Bi-Han] Remember this face? I am Scorpian now!
Hanzo Hasashi: [in Japanese] You hoped that I would burn in the fires of Hell. But instead I learned to control them.
[burns Bi-Han with Hellfire from his mouth]
Hanzo Hasashi: [in Japanese, to Cole] You have freed me. Take care of my bloodline.
Lord Raiden: The prophecy has been fulfilled. Has the blood on your hands taught you nothing?
Shang Tsung: No matter how many of my people you put in the ground, there will always be another to take their place. Today you have killed my warriors, and you think you have won. But death is only another portal.
Shang Tsung: Next time I see you, I will not bring fighters. I will bring armies.
Lord Raiden: You will return to Outworld at once.
Shang Tsung: Earthrealm…
[Raiden banishes him with a jolt of lightning]
Lord Raiden: He talks too much.
Cole Young: What happens next?
Lord Raiden: Today we are victorious. But there are other enemies to fight. We cannot let our guard down. I’ll assemble a new list of champions. You must find them.
Cole Young: Who’s first?
Cole Young: My days fighting for two hundred bucks are done.
Referee: Oh, you’re finally quitting, huh?
Cole Young: Yeah, something like that.
Referee: Where’re you going to go?
Cole Young: Hollywood.
Referee: Hollywood? What the hell’s in Hollywood?
Cole Young: Not what, who. It’s been fun.
[we see a poster of Johnny Cage]