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Critics Review
Mortal Kombat Legends - Battle Of The Realms review: Unpleasant blend of DC, MCU, Star Wars and GoT

Watch any other film from the franchise but Mortal Kombat Legends: (Boring) Battle of the Realms.

1.5
Shaheen Irani
Sep 02, 2021
cover image
Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms.

Story:

When things go out of control, 'God Rayden' transforms himself into a human in order to fight the 'Mortal Kombat' with a dangerous entity named Shao Kahn. However, things take an unexpected (not so unexpected for fans of the series) turn and the power goes into somebody else's hands.

Review:

Mortal Kombat fans might know what the franchise comprises of and so, Legends: Battle of the Realms wouldn't surprise them with anything new. In an animated world, the show seems to be inspired by DC, MCU, Star Wars and even Game of Thrones.

The series begins with a stereotype. On a stormy and rainy day, we see a couple with a child running frantically looking for some shelter. The sounds effects leave a good impact but that is a given with such a storyline. The plot, however, takes you back to the Batman era. The family is killed and their only son survives the attack.

Of course, since the film is animated, there are some real blood-sucking monsters as villains instead of humans or half-humans. Just then, a saviour with superpowers - you guessed it - 'God of lightning' Lord Rayden - steps in and saves the child

poster
Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms.

Suddenly, the plot shifts from Batman to Game of Thrones - with dragons flying in the sky, an army heading towards a castle, a few of them entering it and a giant human-demon breaking the walls and doors to enter the castle. The makers seem to have taken the inspiration since the original Mortal Kombat did introduce a mass candlelight feast, much like the episode 'Red Wedding' from the show.

Then enters a human with combat skills - Kung Lao. His hat alone proves to be deadly, setting an example of how Mortal Kombat included every element that a commercial film requires.

The use of modern technology in the plot is, however, refreshing. There is a slow-mo scene where the bullet hits through the heart and splashes it. That scene is most definitely not for everybody. One to have a heavy heart to be able to watch such gruesome bloodshed.

Even if Mortal Kombat is originally a video game and violence comes along with it, the film takes it a bit too far. The graphics more often than not disturb the storyline of the movie. In fact, it won't be wrong to say that the film 'sees red/blood' literally, way more than the story itself.

The movie continues to be a mockery of the popular franchise. We are introduced to Shao Kahn's army, including a princess named Kitana with a mysterious past and her goofy stalker who feels 'it's about time he was noticed'. The stalker reveals himself as an International action star Johnny Cage in the most pretentious manner. He even goes ahead and names Bruce Lee out of the blue. Later on in the series, he is revealed to be ignorant towards women in general, which could probably be because he is blinded by his good looks and a huge male ego.

Johnny comes as comic relief to the otherwise intense story. However, his presence usually comes with a cringe too.

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Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms.

The accent - American English - is a little too distracting since one can clearly make out that the scenes were dubbed and not in a good way. The dialogue delivery becomes difficult to grasp in some scenes because of improper lip-syncing.

The costumes in the animated version is once again a matter of concern. Women are seen wearing a costume that always shows either their cleavage or pelvic area, objectifying them. Meanwhile, the men are always fully clothed in a way that makes them look like 'Prince Charming'. The makers, including the director Ethan Spaulding, have put very little effort into not sexualizing female characters and showing their true power.

The film features more bloodshed than fights. In the midst of one such fight, we are introduced to a green portal light. Even though Hanzo from Mortal Kombat always had access to portals, this time, the film strongly takes references from MCU's Doctor Who. He makes a rather good first impression. Hanzo is one of the most interesting characters introduced in the film with a flashback which enhances the rather boring and unordinary storyline.

With Hanzo's exit, a strong Lord Rayden comes face to face with Shao Kahn, whom we have only heard of so far. Shao is half-human and half-demon. However, he always behaves more like a monster. Instead of an intense battle between the two strong personalities, we see a one-sided fight which is quite disappointing when it comes to introducing two of the leading characters of Mortal Kombat in one frame.

Soon after, we see a debate between an antagonist who resembles Vision from MCU's Avengers franchise and Hanzo. The Vision (Shang Tsung) turns out to be the Thanos of Mortal Kombat, which does not come as much of a surprise since his personality radiated arrogance since the beginning of the film

Thereafter, we are taken back to the DC world's reference, only this time in Ra's-a-Ghul's world where masks and combat training around the castle is a real thing. However, this isn't a major point of concern since the Mortal Kombat franchise demands this in the plot.

Kuai Liang and Smoke are introduced in an emotional scene. They work for Lin Kuei Grandmaster. The latter makes a fair first impression as a serious, dedicated and yet, humble individual. On the other hand, Kuai has made killing Scorpion his life's motive. The warrior's expressions and the focus of the story completely change once he hears the name of Scorpion.

Grandmaster's character develops into a scary and cold monster. The storyline and direction help build a scary environment to the extent that every time Grandmaster is in the frame, you know something bad is on the way. Unfortunately, his role seemed unnecessary and wasted with very few scenes.

The film uses 3D technology which comes as a pleasant surprise. Thereafter, as soon as we are introduced to the term Mortal Kombat, the film takes a turn for the good.

Todo makes a lukewarm first impression and doesn’t show much growth apart from being one of the most handsome men on the team. His character progresses very slowly and it is too little, too late.

poster
Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms.

Liu Kang is the only character in the movie that actually fits into the character that Mortal Kombat is known for. He screams 'Martial Arts expert' with his professional wear and a not-afraid-of-dying attitude.

The Mortal Kombat begins and while most of them end up in violence, a sequence where women go neck-to-neck is quite worthy of a watch. Sonya is one of the ladies who makes the fight worth every minute, especially when it takes an ugly turn.

Since Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms had already taken a lot of inspiration from DC and Avengers, how could they leave the iconic Iron Man behind? And thus, we come across a robot with fire-hands. We also come across a statue that Shao Kahn and his army appear to worship. That again appears to be a tribute to Star Wars' iconic antagonist - Darth Vader.

The visuals, as expected from an animated film, are outstanding. The film introduces the concept of fire and ice and both these scenarios paint a pretty picture. Of course, the makers were obliged to do so since Mortal Kombat had banked on the concept of fire.

The fight continues and meets an interesting but predictable end. However, the real journey continues after.

Another iconic show Mortal Kombat appears to have referred to is Naruto. While it uses ninjutsu right at the beginning of the film (thunder to kill), we hear about the 'child of the prophecy' and 'the chosen one' towards the end of it. Like Naruto, a character in Mortal Kombat also takes the 'sage mode' (which here is more like the 'Kurama mode') in order to defeat the giant enemy.

There is also a bit of romance in the action-drama. Even though it is an adorable scene, it comes in the middle of an intense action sequence which makes the scene extremely weird.

Many things in the film are difficult to comprehend, especially towards the end. It also turns quite awkward but is expected, considering the movie wanted to go the commercial American way.

Verdict:

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle Of The Realms offers nothing new to fans of the franchise. It picks up references from DC and MCU films, among other classic shows. To top it up, all the movie actually ends up showing is bloodshed, by 'painting the screen red'. Thus, most definitely, Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle Of The Realms can be skipped. Instead, you can watch the original Mortal Kombat or literally any other film from the franchise.

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