What fans of the humongously popular kung fu-lish videogame that this live-action moneymaker is based on will really want to know is whether the victor gets to rip open the chest of the vanquished and expose his still-beating heart. The answer is no. For a plot that essentially consists of a trio of hard-bodied good guys beating the stuffing out of a supernaturally evil army of bad guys, Mortal Kombat, a contentedly empty-headed extended advertisement for the joy of joypads (filmed in cheesily ornate cinema de Hong Kong style), is notably free of blood and gore. And although director Paul Anderson treats the story with appropriate deadpan respect, there are enough sparks of humor (particularly generated by Linden Ashby as a shallow martial-arts actor who worries that he’s a fake, with good reason) to amuse the adults accompanying the 10-year-old boys in the audience. Bridgette Wilson, Robin Shou, and Christopher Lambert (in a fetching silver pageboy) are on the side of good; Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa leads the forces of evil. But the guys in the recording studio who made the ooofff! augghhhh! sounds are the ones who really had all the fun. C+

Mortal Kombat
  • Movie