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1A Movie Klub: ‘Mortal Kombat’

Joe Taslim and director/producer Simon McQuoid on the set of New Line Cinema’s action adventure “Mortal Kombat,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Joe Taslim and director/producer Simon McQuoid on the set of New Line Cinema’s action adventure “Mortal Kombat,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Is a good video game movie even a thing?

Three Mortal Kombat movies later, we’re still not sure. The latest film adaptation of the popular video game, released for streaming on HBO Max, is getting mixed reviews.

From a review by Karen Han, writing for Slate:

There is really only one thing that the new Mortal Kombat has to accomplish: Dudes must fight. And on that front, the new movie, directed by Simon McQuoid, and out on Friday, absolutely delivers. No, there’s not that much else going on, but there doesn’t need to be. The whole point of a Mortal Kombat movie is to revel in the action—to yell, “Oh, no!” when a combatant suffers a particularly gruesome injury (a fatality, if you will), and to yell, “Oh, yes!” when someone performs a particularly cool move. There are, blessedly, plenty of opportunities for both.

And another review, by Ben Kenigsberg for The New York Times:

But with so many characters, the movie spends too much time on discovery and not enough on showing those powers in action. Personally, I wanted more payoff from Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) dodging Kano (Josh Lawson) and his laser eye, but you can choose your fighters and feel shortchanged accordingly. While the carnage demonstrates some imagination (can ice cauterize wounds? Did a hat just turn into a table saw?), the rules, extending even to whether death is permanent, are so arbitrary that nothing matters. Test … your patience.

Is a Mortal Kombat movie really a Mortal Kombat movie without… a Mortal Kombat tournament?

We spoke with director Simon McQuoid about the movie and we share excerpts from that conversation. And we’re also convening a panel of experts for this edition of Movie Club.

Find our series Game Mode here.

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