1992 saw the release of, at the time, a near photo-realistic and ultra-violent arcade beat’em up called Mortal Kombat. Straight from the warped minds of Ed Boon and John Tobais it soon topped the charts spawning a series of games that continue today and is widely regarded as one of the best in the fighter genre. With the success, it was inevitable that Mortal Kombat would eventually make its way onto the silver screen but surprisingly it only took Hollywood three years to make it happen. In 1995 English Director Paul W S Anderson took the helm in what would be his first of many video game to big screen adaptations, the plot is loosely based on the events of the first game but also borrows from its sequel.
A selection of Earths greatest warriors are gathered by God of Thunder Raiden, portrayed by Highlander star Christopher Lambert, to be representatives for the Earth realm in a contest conveniently known as Mortal Kombat. An out and out brawl of a tournament dreamt up by the Outworld Elder Gods where ten straight wins earn the right to invade and enslave the losing realm. What really surprised me about Mortal Kombat, besides Christoper Lambert’s terrible accent, was the shocking similarities that it bears to the 1973 cult classic Bruce Lee movie Enter the Dragon.
You may think this a strange comparison but I kid you not in my statement, they are pretty much the same film. Yes, one copied the other but what Mortal Kombat did was build upon a very solid story, framework and intense fight scenes but added the characters we all love. And that’s why overall it’s a more fun movie experience. Flawless victory!
The Immortals – Techno Syndrome
The main theme tune that accompanied the movie was an absolute thumper that set the tone as the credits rolled in. Provided by Belgian techno duo as part of their side projected band, The Immortals. The track was originally titled Techno Syndrome but due to the film’s success it is now universally known as the Mortal Kombat theme song. Better than anything Lalo Schifrin managed on Enter the Dragon.
Goro would kill Bolo
We all fear the big guy, Goro was about as big and bad as they come. The advantage he had over everyone was an extra set of arms, all the better to pin down an enemy whilst beating them to death at the same time. I guess it would also come in handy in the john. Although there is no question that Goro would eliminate Bolo if they ever went toe-to-toe in the ring sadly both came to an untimely demise from a simple shot to the nuts.
Bridgette Wilson was the perfect Sonya Blade
Sonya Blade was the stuff of young boys dreams and slightly more appealing than her movie counterpart Jim Kelly who played Williams. Both characters strangely took on the role of the minority character in their respective films. Sonja is the wholesome American Sweetheart that takes no crap as commanding officer of the United States Special Forces on a mission to take down crime syndicate the Black Dragon and its head mercenary Kano.
Johnny Cage does the Splits
Hotshot, playboy, cocky movie star Johnny Cage is all about the big time and originally based on martial arts movie actor Jean-Claude Van Damme. Both are famously known for their ability to instantly drop to the floor legs akimbo in a sight to make any man squeamish but our Johnny did it in style leaving a signed autograph as memento.
Zub-Zero and Scorpion
Everyone’s favourite sidekicks Sub-Zero and Scorpion are what help to elevate Mortal Kombat above Enter the Dragons offerings. They are Ying and Yang, fire and ice perfectly adding a spark of excitement every time they are on the screen. With the film including a selection of their best finishers, it was a visual treat!
So there you have it, just some of the reasons why Mortal Kombat the movie goes up against Enter the Dragon and in almost every way improves on it. Why not have your say in the comments below.