Warner’s 2021 reboot of Mortal Kombat makes its way to 4K UHD Blu-ray with a spiffy video transfer and ear-ringing Dolby Atmos audio track.
The Production: 2.5/5
In 17th century Japan, Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) has come home to a peaceful life with his family. That is soon interrupted when his nemesis Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) arrives to wipe out every living member of Hanzo’s family, ending in a deadly martial arts duel between these two ninja assassins. Bi-Han believes himself to be victorious, sending Hanzo to his death. However, Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) arrives on a stream of lightning (looking like a character out of John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China) to take the hidden infant daughter of Hanzo to safety.
Flash forward to present day, and we meet Cole Young (Lewis Tan), a washed-up MMA fighter trying o support his family on occasional $200 fights at the local boxing gym. After losing another match one evening, Cole and his family find themselves under attack from Bi-Han, who now calls himself Sub-Zero, until they run into former Special Forces Major Jackson “Jax” Briggs (Mehcad Brooks), who distracts Sub-Zero long enough for Cole and his family to escape, but not before Jax directs Cole to find Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee). As it turns out, Cole is a blood relative of Hanzo, destined to reunite selected Earthrealm warriors to defeat the Outworld warriors led by Sub-Zero. However, the Outworld warriors are hot on the trail of Cole, Sonya, and her prisoner Kano (Josh Lawson), and after a brief defeat of Syzoth (a lizard-like creature capable of invisibility), Kano agrees to lead Cole and Sonya to Raiden’s temple for training. This all leads to a few showdowns between the Earthrealm and Outworld warriors before the credits roll.
Based on the popular video game series by Midway, Mortal Kombat has been rebooted as a film franchise by Warner/New Line, not afraid of the graphic gore and violence of its video game origins that the previous films and television series shied away from. Even with the more blood and guts this time around, Mortal Kombat is still a rather dull film, mostly due to its one-note characters and performances. Our heroes are boring, and the movie makes the viewer feel like they have been invited to watch someone else play the game. The story or plot, as thin as it is, exists solely for the purpose of hanging action sequences that likely pay homage to the games. Since I have never played Mortal Kombat, I cannot be sure. However, I did nod off several times during the movie’s 110 minute running time.
3D Rating: NA
Per IMDB, Mortal Kombat was captured at 4.5K resolution on Arri Alexa LF and Mini LF cameras, then completed as a 2K digital intermediate in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio with Dolby Vision HDR for its premium theatrical engagements. Warner’s 2160p HEVC-encoded upscale is impressive, using HDR10 to assist with color grading and contrast. Detail is quite good, providing well-defined textures in fabrics and set designs. Much of that detail is occasionally lost in shadows, but more due to just the low light rather than crushed blacks (which are literally non-existent). Colors are vivid without appearing overly saturated, with the palette often leading towards browns.
Mortal Kombat’s default Dolby Atmos track is a very active mix, immersing the viewer into its video game world as various sounds move around you seamlessly. LFE is strong, adding emphasis to its crunches, smashes, and explosions. Dialogue is often mixed almost too low at times, having to reach for the remote and ride the volume buttons during much of the movie (even after re-calibrating my speakers).
Special Features: 3.5/5
The UHD disc contains no extras (standard Warner MO), with all of the special features appearing on the included Blu-ray edition of the film.
Deleted Scenes (1080p; 4:13): Four scenes have been included – Extended Cole Nightmare and Longer Kano Plane Story, Sea of Spikes, Kung Lao and Liu Kang Meet with Raiden in Chinese Garden, and Sub-Zero Confronts Shang Tsung.
From Game to Screen: The Making of Mortal Kombat (1080p; 21:30): A better than average EPK piece on bringing the video game to the big screen.
Mortal Kombat: Fan Favorite Characters (1080p; 16:51): A very quick look at 11 of the characters featured in the film.
Fight Koreography (1080p; 9:05): A quick look at the fight sequences in the film.
Into the Krypt: Easter Eggs of Mortal Kombat (1080p; 4:11): The film’s director, Simon McQuoid, highlights many of the Easter Eggs that can be found in the film.
Anatomy of a Scene (1080p; 11:57): A brief look at seven sequences from the film – Hanzo Hasashi vs Bi-Han, MMA Fight: Cole vs Ramirez, Sonya vs Kano, Scorpion vs Sub-Zero, Reiko vs Jax, Kabal vs Liu Kang and Mileena vs Cole.
Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy in UHD on Movies Anywhere.
Mortal Kombat is a very good audio and video presentation, but the film itself is rather boring. Definitely only for fans of the franchise.
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