Mortal Kombat is an ancient tournament where the Earth Realm warriors battle against the forces of Outworld. Liu Kang and a few chosen fighters fought and defeated the powerful sorcerer Shang Tsung, their victory would preserve the peace on Earth for one more generation. Taking place now where the first movie left off, the Earth realm warriors live a short period of peace when evil forces from another dimension come to invade and wreak havoc on Earth. They are guided by the forces of Outworld leader, Shao Kahn and his generals such as: Motaro, Rain, Ermac, Sheeva and Sindel. Now Liu Kang, Raiden, Jax, Sonya and Kitana must defeat Shao Kahn in six days before the Earth realm merges with the Outworld.
Directed by: John R. Leonetti
. Starring: Robin Shou
, Talisa Soto
, James Remar
, Sandra Hess
, Lynn 'Red' Williams
, Brian Thompson
, Reiner Schöne
, Musetta Vander
, Irina Pantaeva
, Deron McBee
, Marjean Holden
, Chris Conrad
. Music by: George S. Clinton
Following the tradition of Aliens and Superman II, what we have here is a very decent and well made sequel which finally does justice to the basic premise which their predecessors failed to capture and execute. The only reason I can find for why all this negative publicity, is of course that the reviews were written by people who weren 't related anyway with the Mortal Kombat video game or were not true fans of it.
As a natural result they were confused due to the fast pace of the plot and the way-too-many-characters who were squashed in breathlessly. Therefore I will officially declare that although you have a point, MK II is addressed to the hardcore fans of the game who know the entire history and so will be my review. If you are a fan who hasn 't still watched Annihilation this is a must see. The rest of you should stop reading and stick to the first Mortal Kombat which is a more easy to follow and digestible film with less characters. For the "ordinary" audience the first installment is a decent enough kung fu movie I guess.
First things first: the original Mortal Kombat was a genuine letdown for the fans. It had underdevelopped characters, mediocre script, LOUSY SFX (especially the freezing power of Sub Zero), predictable and rather badly directed fight scenes ( Johnny Cage Vs Goro anyone?) and a quite disappointing climax with the obligatory cliffhanger epilogue as a setup for the sequel. The final result was lame beyond words. Something had to be done and fortunately the sequel came in quickly. Who cares if Christopher Lambert (Rayden) and Bridgette Wilson (Sonya) didn 't reprise their roles and were replaced? Both of them, along with the wisecracking, pretentiously cool, dislikeable Johnny Cage were nothing more than decorative roles existing only due to the storyboard formula of the Mortal Kombat I game. The only likeable star you rooted for was Liu Kang and the narration 's heart beats with him. Thank God Robin Shou returns in the main role. A nice touch was also the return of Talisa Soto as Kitana as her sub - erotic interplay with Kang is interesting and keeps the attention (they share good chemistry). The two of them are great (the acting is miles better this time) and the two substitutes for Rayden and Sonya are passable. I also digged the sceptic, puzzled and simultaneously funny and comedic aspect Lynn Williams managed to infuse to the character of Jax ( who was portrayed very faithfully and kicked a with his bionic fists ) Every part of the sequel is improved: acting, much more convincing and well directed fight scenes and better plot. I really can 't understand why all this whining " why Johnny Cage is killed off so easily? ". PLEASE do some research next time!!!!! This is exactly what happens in the story of the MK II game. The movie begins with the invasion of Shao Kahn 's troops from the Outworld. Then we are introduced to Kitana 's mother the Queen Sindel who is supposed to be Shao Kahn 's bride (just like the MK 3 story) and is probably the key to Earth 's salvation or destruction. From there on the story follows the 4 leads (Jax, Liu, Sonya and Rayden) struggling to save themselves from Kahn 's minions. Yes you guessed right there is plenty of action and the fight scenes are great. The plot is a mix from the stories of MK II & MK III.
I can still hear complaints " woo woo, too many characters too little development ". GIMME A BREAK! This is an action film not a social drama. The ninja choreography and the SFX for the most part are great and are enough to keep you hooked on. Some examples are: the aforementioned freezing power of Sub Zero and the bionic punches of Jax, the net traps by Cyrax, the tele-transport of ErmacNoob Saibot, the great CG Motaro who is frighteningly impressive and compelling, the banshee-esque supersonic screams by Sindel etc. Moreover I would like to point out that most of the characters of the video game are secondary and somehow naturally DESTINED to make a cameo and nothing more. The best example is probably Mileena: in the game she is a clad-in-pink evil duplicate of Kitana, fabricated by the evil sorcerer Shang Tsung. In the film she pops out in one scene and fights Sonya with her triple-edged knives (of course she loses). What did you expect from the script? A whole subplot with Kitana 's two sides and a psychological doubt game about who-is-who a la Uma Thurman in the Avengers? I know that each one of you has a favorite character and hated to see him in blink appearances but you should stop whining and think logically. Cyrax and Smoke are nothing but robots programmed to annihilate Sub Zero after his betrayal. Nightwolf is a mystic Indian Shaman and shouldn 't be seen fighting physically rather than mentally so his brief appearance in a dream sequence as Liu 's mentor was wise. All these characters along with Scorpion or Baraka have cameos and that is the most fair. The focus should be on the leads and not on the henchmen - villains. My personal favorite was the groundbreaking Sheeva and I disliked seeing her written out quickly without any decent fights. The same goes for the weather-controlling Rain but I compromised since the good parts of the film are more than the bad ones.
I will agree that some of the most powerful characters are dispatched easily but the movie needed some realistic action and the leads are constantly on the run, pursued by the bounty hunters. I really digged the fact that the stories and the background was followed accurately and faithfully e.g. the hate relationship between Motaro and Sheeva, the origin and motives of Jade (I won 't say more), the Kitana -' Sindel weird relationship and the fact Rayden sacrifices his immortality to join the tournament (this takes place in the Ultimate MK 3). I won 't say that the film doesn 't have some serious defects.
1) The greatest flaw was of course Shao Kahn. AGHHHH! As soon as he is unmasked his myth is shattered!! The actor did a LOUSY job - he wasn 't even remotely threatening or scary. Where is his commanding chilling voice? Even worse he loses center stage since the main villain seems to be Shinnok from MK4. In the film Shinnok is Kahn 's divine mighty father. Shao Kahn ends up as a weak, whining boy who doesn 't have his will to make decisions and constantly expects his father to find the solutions!!!. GRRRRRRRR......
2) The beyond ridiculous, ingenious plot twists at the end (what were they thinking?????)
3) The ludicrous and corny Animality effects
If you can overlook these facts and concentrate on the merits you will have a nice dose of entertainment. The ending hopefully restores the script and gives the much needed resolution. I should give this a 9 but due to the awful depiction of Shao Kahn I am compelled to give a
This sequel is a very good adaptation of the game, at least for the ones who know the story. I hope that MK 3: Domination will overcome all the script flaws and be even better. In the meantime Annihilation is the best of the bunch.
Review by timefreezer7 from the Internet Movie Database.