A Fatality Of The Worst Kind
After the surprising success of the first Mortal Kombat film, Annihilation literally annihilates any glimmer of hope the series had with a sequel that fails on almost every conceivable level. Although Mortal Kombat manages to entertain somewhat with its ludicrously bonkers story, it falls in the realm of “so-bad-its-funny” and actually manages to turn itself into a comedy, even if every element of the film falls way below the standard set by the first.
Accompanied by an out of place, dance-heavy soundtrack, Annihilation picks up where the first film left off with Liu Kang (Robin Shou), Kitana (Talisa Soto) and Johnny Cage (Chris Conrad) victorious against the shadow realm fighters. The celebrations are short lived however when Shao-Khan and his merry band of nasty fighters appear and declare war on Earth. After hastily killing off Cage, one of the main characters in the previous film, the Earth fighters flee to regroup and prepare for a big showdown with Khan after taking on his many minions. There’s no denying that Mortal Kombat certainly has a nostalgic feel to it. The costume design mirrors that of the combatant’s outfits in the games, even if it is horribly cheap and poorly implemented. The upbeat, dance soundtrack is strangely hypnotic but comically mis-matched with the action on screen. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is simply a resounding disaster.
Its really hard to know where to start with Annihilation and in many ways the ironic title typifies the feeling this film produces. The script is really poor with no characterisation and little motivation for any of the characters. Those jumping into the film with no knowledge of the first will be completely out of their depth here and even those returning will find the tedious, cheesy dialogue and poorly acted scenes a grind. Awkward interactions between characters are mercifully brought to an end by a mixture of good and bad choreography in the fights but mostly they’re hilariously bad with dreadful CGI, even by 1997 standards. In many ways, Annihilation feels like a Power Rangers cartoon with worse visual effects and less characterisation. The story is over the top, the caricature enemies lack defining features and the action set pieces are over the top and amazingly a step back from the first film.
In saying that Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is one of the most disappointing, poorly acted videogame adapted films is saying a lot. Especially looking at the other adaptations that have been released in recent years. Mortal Kombat is hilariously bad, so much so that it actually makes it a funny film to watch 20 years later. Its nowhere near the calibre of the first film, with its cliche riddled, cheesy script and poorly implemented visual effects but Annihilation at least manages to produce a good chuckle; a tiny glimmer of light in an otherwise dark and gloomy film littered with problems.