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Thursday, March 15, 2012

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 22 - Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997;
New Line Cinema)
Video game movies are bad.  The reason for this lies in that most games (especially the games they chose to make movies into) don’t typically have enough material in terms of story to justify a film. Also, these films tend to be over-the-top exercises marketed to younger audiences because that is who Hollywood believes plays video games.  Thus, they tend to not try to make a good movie, just one that has enough recognizable characters to bring in the fans of the games to the theatre.  When this trend began, dollars came in, but after fans caught on, and video game movies began to tank, Hollywood began to slack off just a bit.

Mortal Kombat, which opened in theaters in 1995, was successful because compared to other video game movies before it, it was a masterpiece.  It still wasn’t good, but it wasn’t Super Mario Bros. either.  Naturally, given the success of the first one, New Line saw “$$$$” and opted for a sequel.  However, most of the cast did not sign on for the sequel and those that did either appeared for a very limited time, or were already on the C-List, looking for any opportunity for a check.  

In Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, the Earth Realm’s victory from the first tournament was short-lived as Shao Kahn attempts to merge Earth with Outworld and the forces of good have six days to destroy Kahn’s forces and save the world.  So how does it work out?  Not good.  Okay, so this plot is established early, forgotten about entirely, then picked up again at the end.  This movie really just focuses on a series of showdowns between good guys and bad guys in poorly choreographed fight scenes.  

The action in Annihiliation is just as weak as the plot. The very sad-looking CGI mixed with silly makeup effects make this one a dud visually and the battles with cgi characters are never convincing. The fights are tame, the characters rarely use their powers and the thrills are greatly held back by the fact that this is a PG-13 adaptation of a game that was most notable for its violence and this forces many of the scenes that would be pretty intense to be pretty sad.  

The special effects are also really bad here. This is a movie that was a sequel to a successful movie. It was released in theaters and had some decent backing. So, I ask, why the hell does this movie look so bad? I mean, I've seen Sy Fy originals that look ten times better than this crap. Visually it is dank, boring, ugly and uninteresting. Silly CGI skies flash across the screen and this causes the shoddy green screen work to stick out like a sore thumb. The animated creatures look like something out of Clash of the Titans (the original one, not the remake) and the little things that made the first one fun, like the inclusion of levels from the game into the progression of the story, are gone for the most part.
This movie is one of the silliest works ever to be put to film.  Its unintentionally funny dialogue keeps this one just out of the bottom 20 but it loses points for some of the more uncomfortably stupid moments.  In one of the strangest displays ever to grace the silver screen, the new villains, Sindel, Motoro, Sheeva, Rain and Ermac are introduced in a row while they pose and snarl and it is one of the dumbest things you will ever see.  This movie shows that it takes more than action to make an action movie good.

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