Mortal Kombat

on August 18, 1995 by Jon Matsumoto
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   The popular "Mortal Kombat" is based not on a work of literature or even an old TV show, but on an arcade game and an animated video. So it's not surprising to find that this teen- and male-targeted flick is an utterly fantastic vehicle for splashy special effects and broadly painted cartoon characters. "Mortal Kombat" is kind of like an amalgamation of a Bruce Lee martial arts film, a medieval adventure movie and a kitschy, doomsday science fiction work. A metaphysical examination of the human condition it is not.
   Aided by a throbbing techno-rock soundtrack, the film exudes an undeniable energy. By injecting moments of wry if uncomplicated humor, director Paul Anderson shows a commendable willingness to poke fun at the film's over-the-top premise and predilections. Still, in terms of storytelling and character development, the darkly stylish "Mortal Kombat" is far too predictable to recommend to anyone not predisposed to this type of propulsive but vacant entertainment.    Starring Christopher Lambert, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa and Bridgette Wilson. Directed by Paul Anderson. Written by Kevin Droney. Produced by Lawrence Kasanoff. A New Line release. Action/adventure. Rated PG-13 for nonstop martial arts action and some violence. Running time: 102 min.
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