When a movie is based on a video game like Mortal Kombat you really can’t expect too much. If you’re a fan of the games all you can really hope for is that they do your favorite characters justice and that the fight scenes are really good. If you’re not a fan it’s just the latter. However, Annihilation, the 1997 sequel, offers neither of these things. The tagline on the case reads “Destroy all expectations” and that is exactly what this film does, though probably not in the way it was intended.
Picking up where the first movie left off, Liu Kang (Robin Shou) and crew are still celebrating their great victory over Shang Tsung. However that victory is short-lived as the portal (assumed to be closed until the next generation) suddenly reopens and the evil Shao Kahn (Brian Thompson) pops out with his Queen, Sindel (Musetta Vander), his generals and his army. Kahn kills one of the main characters right off the bat and vows that the Earth will be destroyed in six days. So now it’s up to Raiden (James Remar), Liu and the others to gather the forces of good and defeat the forces of evil.
Any semblance of plot is abandoned. What follows are boring useless scenes that serve only as filler between the endless barrage of fight scenes that fill up the bulk of this movie. Now, if these were the best fight scenes ever put on film, that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, but these are the most lifeless and monotonous fight scenes ever put in a major motion picture.
There is zero character development. The characters on screen have about as much personality as they do in the video game. At one point Liu meets up with Nightwolf and is told he must pass three tests in order to master the power of Animality, turning into an animal to fight. He only faces two of the tests before the end of the film where he changes into a giant demon thing anyway to fight Shang. A fight which, by the way, has some of the worst CGI I’ve ever seen. Sure this was 1997, but come on!
That is the other big problem with this film. At best it looks like a bad episode of Power Rangers. In fact I think there are scenes from ‘63’s Jason and the Argonauts that look better than anything in this film. The whole things seems to be poorly shot on green screen and the costumes look like something you could buy at your local costume shop come Halloween.
The acting across the board is pretty bad, but I by no means blame the actors. Some of them were chosen for their fighting skills like Lynn Williams and Deron McBee who were both regulars on American Gladiators so you know acting isn’t going to be their strong suit, but they do the best they can, and Williams gives one of the better performances. Then there is James Remar who has proved on both Sex and the City and Dexter amongst many others that he can indeed act. No the script and director are purely to blame for the failure on this front. All the actors do the best they can with the drivel they’ve been given to say.
Mortal Kombat fans generally liked the first film. Hell even Gene Siskel gave it a thumbs up, but I don’t see how anyone, MK fan or not, could enjoy Annihilation. I will say it does have a few “so bad they’re good” moments so if you’re into that it might be worth a rental.
This film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound with English and Spanish subtitles. This was a terrible looking film to start with and I think putting it on blu-ray only highlights how truly poorly this film was made.
Mortal Kombat: The Video Game Trailer This is the trailer for the newest game that game out this year. Honestly, I don’t think they should have included this, because everything in it looks 100% better than anything found in Annihilation.
You also get a digital download of the film and a code to download the Jade Classic Character Costume for the new game on PS3.
The one thought that kept going through my head while watching this, outside the fact that it reminded me of Power Rangers, was that I’ve seen better special effects from random dudes on YouTube. Sure technology has changed by leaps and bounds in the last fourteen years, but with a $30 million budget, I think it could have looked a little better than a bad TV show.
New Line Cinema presents Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Directed by: John R. Leonetti. Starring: James Remar, Robin Shou and Talisa Soto. Written by: Brent V. Friedman & Bryce Zabel. Based on the video game series: Mortal Kombat. Running time: 95. Rating: PG-13 for nonstop martial arts violence. Released on Blu-ray: April 19, 2011.
Tags: James Remar, Mortal Kombat, Power Rangers