Mortal Kombat: 4K Blu-ray
(Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray+Digital / R / 2021 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: MMA fighter Cole Young (Lewis Tan), accustomed to taking a beating for money, is unaware of his heritage or why Outworlds Sorcerer Shang Tsung (Chin Han) has sent his best warrior, Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim), an otherworldly Cryomancer, to hunt him down.
Fearing for his familys safety, Cole goes in search of Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) at the direction of Jax (Mehcad Brooks), a Special Forces Major who bears the same strange dragon marking Cole was born with.
Soon, he finds himself at the temple of Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano), an Elder God and the protector of Earthrealm, who grants sanctuary to those who bear the mark.
Here, Cole trains with experienced warriors Liu Kang (Ludi Lin), Kung Lao (Max Huang) and rogue mercenary Kano (Josh Lawson), as he prepares to stand with Earths greatest champions against the enemies from Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe.
But will Cole be pushed hard enough to unlock his arcane, the immense power from within his soul, in time to save not only his family, but to stop Outworld once and for all?
Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the highly expansive Mortal Kombat (2021) coming to 4K Ultra HD video format this July 13th, 2021.
For my money, this Mortal Kombat: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital combo packs sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.
So, what we have is Mortal Kombat presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.
Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHDs, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.
Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.
For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as the first time we are introduced to the newly renamed Sub-Zero - and what he does thereafter to any and all challengers!
Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material - notably the fine detail to the faces of the characters in the infamous Goro Vs. Cole scene, where we get a meaner, scarier, but less talkative, four-armed Prince Goro facing off against Cole and company!
As for the audio, well we have just the choice of: English: Dolby Atmos and English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit).
Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.
OK, well, as for the actual movie, well, taking it from the top (for those new to the movie), and Mortal Kombat is an action fantasy film based on the video game series of the same name.
Directed by Simon McQuoid and co-produced by James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring), it delivers what fans of the franchise have desired after so many years and is also decent martial arts film on its own.
While out with his family one night, MMA fighter Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is attacked by a mysterious figure calling himself Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) and is soon rescued by a man named Jax (Mehcad Brooks), who tells them to seek out his associate Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee).
After Cole discovers Sonya’s whereabouts, she informs him of an otherworldly tournament known as Mortal Kombat, where chosen warriors bearing a dragon shaped mark on their bodies fight to the death to defend their respective realms.
Cole happens to bear this mark, along with Sonya’s captive mercenary Kano (Josh Lawson), and three of them embark on a journey to the temple belonging to Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano), the guardian of Earthrealm.
Upon arrival, the trio meet with the other chosen fighters Liu Kang (Ludi Lin) and Kung Lao (Max Huang), who begin training them to defeat the reigning champions of Outworld.
Movies based on video games are usually of poor quality for the most part. Some range from being cheesy fun, like Mortal Kombat circa 1995, to downright terrible, like Mortal Kombat: Annihilation!
It is interesting how both of those films hailing from the same franchise can be so further from each other on the spectrum, but in this 2021 reboot, we now have a safe middle ground for what a video game-based movie should be like.
One of the main complaints many had about the 1995 film was how toned down it was in order to fall within the parameters of a PG-13 rating. This film, on the other hand, spares no expense when it comes to piling on the blood and gore with its fatalities - heads are sliced open, limbs are dismembered, and hearts are ripped out of bodies!
In other words, this film is considerably more faithful to its source material so long time fans should be pleased to see this. Personally, I only possess a surface level knowledge of the series, having grown up preferring Street Fighter instead, but Mortal Kombat always had my respect for the significant impact it has left on the video game industry.
And I will admit the 1995 film, while not that great, is a guilty pleasure of mine. With that said, I am relieved to finally see a Mortal Kombat film closer in style to the games they originated from, even though I cannot say I am able to appreciate it as much as others might, of course.
Of course, this would not be much of an adaptation of a fighting game series if it did not contain some solid fight scenes, and this one has them in spades.
In fact, I think there was more physical sparring than important expository dialogue, and while this prevents the film from ever being boring, it does unfortunately lead to some underdeveloped characters and glossed over plot points.
Although I did enjoy watching an all-out brawl between opposing fighters, there were times where it felt like characters were simply duking it out for the sake of duking it out, rather than as a reason to advance the story.
I would have liked to have seen more of the internalized conflict between the main heroes before they take on the dangerous enemies from Outworld, as this would have made for a better understanding for what is at stake.
Regardless, for what we got, the fighting was still very entertaining and choreographed well with minimal shaky cam.
From what I can gather, the films characters appear to have been done justice, at least visually, with Josh Lawson as Kano standing out the most. Being an actual Australian, Lawsons portrayal of this loud mouthed, vulgar mercenary was on point and responsible for a great deal of the films comic relief.
Jessica McNamee also did a nice enough job as Sonya Blade, holding her own alongside the rest of the cast. However, I was somewhat underwhelmed with Lewis Tans performance as Cole Young, the main protagonist and an entirely new character created specifically for this film.
Even though he excels in combat scenes, Tans delivery of his dialogue felt wooden and stiff, making it difficult for me to care about him whenever he was placed in danger.
On that note, he felt like a Gary Stu (the male equivalent of a Mary Sue), with everything magically working out for him in the face of adversity.
As for everyone else, they were either there to spout exposition or be name dropped as fanservice for avid followers of the series.
As far as video game film adaptations go, Mortal Kombat (2021) is definitely one of the better ones, although considering how low the bar is, this is obviously not saying a whole lot!
It offers plenty of gory fatalities and brutalities to satisfy fans while also featuring enough regular action to hold a newcomers attention.
There is already talk of a sequel if this film is a success and I welcome the idea of it as there are still many more frontiers to be explored with the franchise, as long as they do not go down the same route as MK: Annihilation.
If only the Street Fighter series could have the same amount of attention focused around it for a new and improved live-action feature. I guess we will have to wait and see!
Taking a peak at one of the Special Features and for me the stand out is the Fight Koreography featurette. Running at just over 3 minutes, it is action packed and allows us to hear the thoughts of director Simon McQuoid about all the blood and violence that he was now expected to film!
Furthermore, Kyle Gardiner (2nd Unit Director / Stunt Coordinator) explains how there was so much more visually done to the scenes to enhance the look of more blood and such, that on set things were not always actually as they seemed!
And for all Sub-Zero fans, we get to hear from the man himself, Joe Taslim, about how the drama in his moves was how he himself began to understand the actions of his character (not to mention that after almost every take, the director had to ask him to slow his moves down, as his hands and arms and legs were moving even too fast for the cameras!
This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:
Deleted Scenes From Game to Screen: The Making of Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat: Fan Favorite Characters
Into the Krypt: Easter Eggs of Mortal Kombat
Anatomy of a Scene
On June 11th, 2021, Mortal Kombat will be available for early Premium Digital Ownership at home for $24.99 on participating digital platforms where you purchase movies.
On July 13th, 2021, Mortal Kombat will be available on 4K, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD. Mortal Kombat will also continue to be available to own in high definition and standard definition from participating digital retailers.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Mortal Kombat will feature Dolby VisionTM HDR, which dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range, and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame.
It will also feature HDR10+TM, HDR technology that optimizes brightness levels and contrast for each scene, making bright areas brighter and dark areas darker to deliver a lifelike viewing experience.
Official Original HD Trailer