Turn Back the Clock
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
Genre: Action / Martial Arts / Fantasy
Distributed by: New Line Cinema Home Entertainment
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When I heard that there would be a sequel to Mortal Kombat, I was thrilled. I had loved the original film and found it to be one of the better adaptations of a popular video game to film in quite some time. The movie had ended with the promise of a sequel and I couldnít wait to see Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Never have I been so disappointed in all my life! I should have known what I was getting myself into when the movie's tagline was revealed - destroy all expectations...yup, all expectations were definitely destroyed!
Annihilation picks up where the original film left off. The fighters of the realm of Earth have just returned with Raiden (James Remar) from Mortal Kombat victorious, with every expectation that their realm will be protected for a generation. After all, thatís what the rules of Mortal Kombat say, right? Unfortunately, Shao Khan (Brian Thompson) never has been much for rules. He invades the realm of Earth, forcing it to merge with his own realm. It is up to the survivors of Mortal Kombat and a couple of new friends to destroy Shao Khan and prevent Outworld from merging with the Earth realm.
Sounds simple enough, right? The film creators even try to keep to the events in the game by killing off Johnny Cage (Chris Conrad), much to the chagrin of Sonya Blade (Sandra Hess). After that, the movie is a disaster. Considering that Cageís death occurs in the first ten minutes of the film, thatís a long time to sit through a complete mess of a movie.
The first problem you encounter is that very few of the original filmís cast members have returned for its sequel. Gone are Christopher Lambert as Raiden, Bridgette Wilson as Sonya Blade and Linden Ashby as Johnny Cage. They at least got a look alike to play Johnny, but Sonya goes from a tall, dirty-blonde with long hair wearing monkís robes in the end of Mortal Kombat to a short blonde with shoulder-length hair wearing a white athletic t-shirt and shorts. Raiden is a shadow of his former self with a lot of power, but none of the mystique Christopher Lambert brought to the role. Even more disappointing are the stunted performances by Robin Shou and Talisa Soto (Liu Kang and Kitana) thanks to a poorly written dialogue courtesy of the script writers.
Whereas the first film focused on a few important characters, it would seem that Mortal Kombat: Annihilationís creators wanted to feature as many characters as they possibly could: Mileena, Motaro, Cyrax, Smoke, Jax, Sheeva, Rain, Barak, Jade, Nightshadow and Sindel. Unlike the first film, none of these characters receive any development, some just appearing in fight scenes and just as quickly disappearing. Sub-Zero (Keith Cooke) returns on the side of Earthís fighters in this film, fights Scorpion (J.J. Perry) and disappears just as quickly.
The chemistry that was so clearly present between the actors in Mortal Kombat is non-existent in Annihilation. The storyline begins well, but dies a nasty death as too many characters are brought into the pot. Event the fight scenes are lackluster and, often times, ridiculously unbelievable as viewers take in some of the cheesy and impossible cable-assisted maneuvers. I took a personal exception to the mud match between Sonya and Mileena. Really? A mud wrestling competition using martial arts in the middle of an action film. Ugh!
The only saving grace of this film is its incredible soundtrack featuring songs by KMFDM, Megadeth, Pitchshifter, Rammstein, Psykosonik, Urban Voodoo, Manbreak and more. The DJ remixing of many of these songs gives the soundtrack a metal meets dance meets techno flare. I rushed out to buy the soundtrack and love listening to it to this day.
I purchased the DVD version of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation in hopes that there would be an explanation for such a disastrous failure in too liberally cut scenes. But there was no commentary availableÖno deleted scenesÖno explanation for the disaster that was this sequel.
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation wasnít worth the price of a movie ticket and thatís saying a lot considering the fact that the price of a movie ticket in 1997 was fairly cheap. Thereís a reason that most of the original cast didnít return to make this film and there was more to it than just filming conflicts, like a poorly written script, lousy fighting scenes and non-existent character development. Fans of the games might want to punish themselves by watching this movie anyway, but if you donít have to, enjoy the first Mortal Kombat and stay away from Annihilation altogether.