When does “so bad its good” go too far? Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is the answer to that! The original Mortal Kombat was a fun, cheesy watch, even if it wasn’t meant to be, but this?! Yikes… Our first sequel in this marathon is quite the disaster, and killed the movie franchise dead. Annihilation is a very apt title, though Armageddon would have been just as good! (Yeah, that was a poor way to link the two reviews, but ah well!) Let’s take a look anyway…
The evil Outworld emperor Shao Kahn opens a portal to Earthrealm and has resurrected his queen Sindel, Princess Kitana’s long-deceased mother. Earthrealm is therefore in danger of being absorbed into Outworld within six days, a fate which reigning Mortal Kombat champion Liu Kang and the other Earthrealm heroes must fight to prevent…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
… Yeah, that’s not a bad live action costume, really… Sure.
It once again uses the source material rather than ignore it like most other films in this marathon, including decent costumes for Sektor and Cyrax…I’ll give them that much… I guess.
Erm… Errr… Hmm… The soundtrack is quite catchy sometimes…?
“FEAR ME!!” “No.”
Annihilation gives you the feeling that somebody wrote the screenplay as if they had tonnes of money at their disposal, and then when they didn’t they ran with the script anyway. Right from the get-go everything feels 100% cheaper, from the new “actors” like Sandra Hess as Sonya and James Remar as Raiden, who is no Christopher Lambert, and Lambert was barely Christopher Lambert in the original…(huh?) Robin Shou as Liu Kang and Talisa Soto’s Kitana are the only returning actors, not they were good actors to begin with. Then we get new characters like the incredibly un-intimidating Brian Thompson as Shao Kahn, or the big old “funny black guy with attempted cool quips” Jax, played by Lynn Williams. I’m writing these names, and I don’t know any of them. Shocker.
Then for some reason someone saw the Animality type of Fatality in the games and decided that should be a thing, so we see Liu Kang travel in search of Nightwolf via metal roller balls deep below the Earth (Wha?) so he can be taught his Animality. That’s actually the line, Nightwolf tells Liu Kang that he has to find his Animality! This leads to the final fight between Liu and Shao Kahn where they both turn into incredibly poor CGI monsters and do battle with each other… I mean… Jeeee-sus. Someone really should have looked at that scene, looked at the budget and just went “Nah, we’d better not.”
Er, oh, um… Wow! Look at them go, two Animalities having a colossal battle! Edge of the seat… *sigh* stuff…
There are weird moments as well, like Scorpion kidnapping Kitana away from Liu Kang and shouting “SUCKERS!” in a really cheesy, immature way. Or the fact that they kept the new Sub Zero from MK3, but he only appears and then leaves in five minutes, never to be seen again. They cast Rain and Montaro, the latter of which can barely move due to his centaur lower body being too expensive to actually move believably, and then kill the former off without a fight, despite the fact he would have provided a cheaper fight. Sheeva is in the film but her four-armed effects pale in comparison to Goro from the first film, and she’s killed in like 10 seconds, probably due to the difficulties of filming with the crap arm effects…
There are so many other moments of awfulness too. A scene where Jax fights some sort of skinless dragon thing that was once again made entirely out of CGI, and therefore looked SO BAD, even at the time (I watched this on TV about a year after its release, and I knew how bad the CGI looked, even though CGI in films was still relatively fresh…) so many bad explosions, often with people jumping towards camera is super stereotypical fashion. It’s all just… so very cheap and crap, and even the fighting is simple and unexciting with no attempt at good choreography.
The story I hear you ask? What story? Shao Kahn invades Earthrealm, our “heroes” travel the Earth in search of strength or allies and overcome their really cliché weaknesses (Sonya doesn’t trust anybody then learns to trust them… again, Jax relies on his cybernetic arms but turns out his real ones are just as good… somehow, and Liu Kang gains confidence and new inner strength thanks to passing two of Nightwolf’s challenges, with the third just not being mentioned again, and never seen…?) all the while Raiden becomes mortal to help his realm, dies, and then becomes an Elder God. Liu fights and kills Shao Kahn while his allies finish off the other rabble. The end.
“What do you mean I wasn’t in Highlander? What a horrible thing to say…”
My thoughts? Well, erm… NOT GOOD. I get how this could be funny to watch in one way, but for me it goes TOO FAR with its cheap crapness. Mortal Kombat was the perfect level of cheesy badness, this is just… badness. Best consigned to the bin and forgotten about. It exceeded my memories of it, and lived up to its reputation, that’s for sure!