I’m glad there’s a lot more momentum being picked up with “Mortal Kombat” as an IP, as the series deserves a cinematic universe. It’s a series filled with mythology, and alternate universes, and monsters, as well as some vicious gore. Despite past flubs with animated attempts at “Mortal Kombat,” Warner Bros. “Scorpion’s Revenge” is a solid return to the animated medium. It doesn’t re-invent the wheel as far as “Mortal Kombat” goes, but it’s a basic meat and potatoes primer that can act as an entry way for new fans.
Hanzo Hasashi loses his clan, family, and his life during an attack by a rival ninja clan the Lin Kuei. Now known as “Scorpion,” he is given the chance by to compete in an inter-dimensional tournament run by the evil Shang Tsung, in order to save his loved ones. Fending off against foes like Reptile and Baraka, while other fighters try to save the Earth realm from annihilation, he comes across the heroes of the Earth Realm: the noble Liu Kang, the warrior Sonya Blade, and the egomaniacal movie star Johnny Cage.
“Scorpion’s Revenge” delivers on a lot of what MK fans want and probably expect from a movie of this ilk. While it’s short, it charges in head first as an action packed tale of otherworldly revenge. Ethan Spaulding’s movie offers a ton more back story behind the rivalry of Sub-Zero and Scorpion, as well as allowing the trio of the original games to flourish. “Scorpion’s Revenge” has considerable focus on all of the characters and gives a great spotlight to everyone, right down to Jax, who proves to be about as heroic as depicted in the video games.
The movie bears a lot of considerable fan service, but it’s also a broader built action fantasy that puts some sharp animation on display, as well as some well done violence the games are known for. Most eye catching is the prologue where Hanzo Hasashi avenges his family, going in to full rampage mode with his sword and his spear. If there’s anyone having a good time in the movie, it’s Joel McHale who is fun and funny as Johnny Cage. Cage is the least polished warrior of his trio, but when he’s in full survival mode he manages to prove he’s so much more than meets the eye.
That said, Jennifer Carpenter’s performance is shockingly robotic and she’s absolutely dull as Blade. I was also not a fan of the film’s chosen villain. While I like Shang Tsung a lot, the whole appearance and presence of Quan Chi takes the air out of Tsung’s gravitas, and makes him feel less imposing. In either case, “Scorpion’s Revenge” is a nice refresher course embracing the old and new mythology and could serve as a neat chaser to the new movie.
Included on the BD and 4K UHD, there’s From Epic Game to Extreme Animation, a five minute sit down with MK co-creator Ed Boon, writer Jeremy Adams, director Ethan Spaulding, producer Rick Morales, and senior artist Tony Goskie, all of whom briefly discuss the franchise’s history, its over-the-top violence, black comedy, and fusing it all together for this new animated production. The Weapons, Wardrobe and World of Mortal Kombat Legends is more of the same with prop designer Cary Lockwood, background painter Tim Szabo, and background designer Hakjoon Kang, for a visual overview of the film including costume design, concept art, character origins, et al.
Mortal Kombatants is a quick run-through of the main characters and their place in the MK universe. The Savage Sound Design of Mortal Kombat Legends is a feature with many of the aforementioned participants, as well as Rob McIntyre and DJ Lynch of Sound Rebels Post Production Sound Services. Finally, there’s the Filmmaker Commentary with Producer Rick Morales and screenwriter Jeremy Adams, who sits down for a candid and enthusiastic track that covers the film’s early development, MK lore, fleshing out the characters, casting voice actors, 1980s movie violence, and so much more.