If you are looking for the Adventures of The Bad Movie Twins they continue on the Mortal Kombat: Annihilation preview. That’s right! This week we’re watching Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation to finish the Franchise-zzzzz cycle. These are films we saw in our childhood (obviously), but never got the full BMT treatment. They also serve as the transition to our second cycle of the year: The (Not Quite) Worst Films Ever. These are films that were at one time posted on the wikipedia page for the List of Films Considered the Worst. All such films are listed in the “Talk” section for the page. For people who don’t know the “Talk” section of wikipedia pages are where you can get a glimpse into the minds of crazy people. Let’s go!
Mortal Kombat (1995) – BMeTric: 40.0
(It’ll be above 6.0 on IMDb soon. The BMeTric is shocking high I think. I was honestly under the impression that Mortal Kombat was the first non-qualifying video game film ever. For some reason I thought it had managed near 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. Nope. Legitimately every single video game film ever qualified until Tomb Raider of last year! WTF. Watch out for May, because I have a feeling Detective Pikachu might be our first fresh video game film ever made.)
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Shou, Ashby, and Wilson are among those kompeting in a martial arts tournament with nothing less than the fate of Earth in the balance. Elaborate special effects and impressive set design are helpless against a weak story, uneven akting, and komikally thin karakters. Mostly one fight after another, as you might expect from a movie based on a video game. Followed by a sequel.
(Boo, Leonard got to it first, how am I supposed to add superfluous k’s to things once the joke has been done? For a 1.5 star review it is actually pretty mild. At least, you can kind of see how it ended up getting kind of reasonable reviews: set design.)
(That set design though. For real though, Christopher Lambert, what you allowing them to do to your hair? And the CGI for real looks absolutely awful. The series of action shots with their names being whispered beneath them. MORTAL KOMBAT!!!! I’m in!)
Directors – Paul W.S. Anderson – (Known For: Death Race; Future BMT: Resident Evil: Retribution; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter; Resident Evil: Afterlife; Resident Evil; Event Horizon; BMT: Pompeii; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; The Three Musketeers; Mortal Kombat; Soldier; Notes: A BMT fave married to a likely future BMT fave Milla Jovovich… we just haven’t seen enough of her films I don’t think, but she has a lot.)
Writers – Ed Boon (video games) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Is technically credited for having the record for the longest working video game voice role since he has voiced Scorpion in all the games and this film.)
John Tobias (video games) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Mortal Kombat; Notes: The character Noob Saibot is an anagram of his and Ed Boon’s names.)
Kevin Droney (written by) – (BMT: Wing Commander; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Wrote on The Highlander TV series. He also wrote a book called Le Missionnaire in the 80’s but it was only released in France… so I guess we have to learn French now.)
Actors – Christopher Lambert – (Known For: Highlander; Hail, Caesar!; Bel Canto; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Fortress; Subway; White Material; To Kill a Priest; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Beowulf; Fortress 2; Southland Tales; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; The Sicilian; Loaded Weapon 1; Gunmen; Knight Moves; Resurrection; The Hunted; Electric Slide; BMT: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Who would have thought we’d watch two Lambert films so close together. Married to Diane Lane for several years.)
Robin Shou – (Known For: Death Race; Future BMT: DOA: Dead or Alive; Beverly Hills Ninja; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Apparently trained Milla Jovovich for her role in the Resident Evil franchise.)
Linden Ashby – (Known For: Iron Man Three; Wyatt Earp; The Joneses; Mr. & Mrs. Bridge; Future BMT: Prom Night; Resident Evil: Extinction; 8 Seconds; BMT: Mortal Kombat; Notes: Replaced Brandon Lee in Mortal Kombat after his sudden death in 1993.)
Budget/Gross – $18 million / Domestic: $70,454,098 (Worldwide: $122,195,920)
(Obviously a huge success. Literally just turn around and green light the sequel, definitely can’t be a total joke catastrophe after this success right?)
#11 for the Action – Martial Arts genre
(Rush Hour 1, 2, and 3 are three of the top 4 on the list. But this is surprisingly good for a BMT film, only being beaten by The Last Airbender. Came as the genre was waning a bit in the 90s, right before Jackie Chan and The Matrix breathed new life into it.)
#6 for the Video Game Adaptation genre
(This is our 15th BMT film I think. This was a true early days of the genre, prior to it struggling to land any kind of hit in the 2000s. Really has kicked up a notch since 2015 in both large theatrical releases and gross. Possibly bodes well for the future.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 38% (12/32): Despite an effective otherwordly atmosphere and appropriately cheesy visuals, Mortal Kombat suffers from its poorly constructed plot, laughable dialogue, and subpar acting.
(Appropriately cheesy? These is no such thing. The reviews are quite interesting. Most of the big print critics gave it tepidly good reviews. Reviewer Highlight: The most intriguing is a glassy-eyed follower whose right hand shoots out a hissing reptile that can extend itself for miles. Exotic creatures like these make watching Mortal Kombat feel like being in a high-tech fun house. – Stephen Holden, New York Times)
Poster – Sklog Fight (C)
(This is basically as mediocre a poster as you can get. It’s short and sweet but clearly riding on the known property that is the symbol. A little weird they chose to move away from the video game font/color scheme and make both much more boring.)
Tagline(s) – Nothing In This World Has Prepared You For This (C-)
(So I guess this is a play on the fact that it take place literally out of this world? I’m not in love with it. Long. Repeats the word this, which make it hard to think about. And only vaguely informative. Everything about the poster and tagline says “don’t ruin this for the video game fans out there… just do as little as possible.”)
Keyword(s) – based on video game; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.8 House of the Dead (2003); 87.9 Street Fighter (1994); 87.6 BloodRayne (2005); 86.9 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 86.1 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 84.7 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 79.6 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 73.4 Far Cry (2008); 69.9 Wing Commander (1999);
(Getting there. Far Cry and BloodRayne don’t technically qualify, but I bet we could get one of them in via Bring a Friend fairly soon. Super Mario Bros. might very literally be one of the biggest bad movies we still haven’t watched for BMT. I’ve seen it in real life dozens of times, just not for BMT.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robin Shou is No. 2 billed in Mortal Kombat and No. 6 billed in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 2 billed) who is also in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 2 + 6 + 2 + 2 = 12. There is no shorter path at the moment.
Notes – Ed Boon, co-creator of the original video game Mortal Kombat (1992), starred as the voice of Scorpion.
Brandon Lee was said to have been originally cast as Johnny Cage, but died before production began. (Sad stuff)
Jean-Claude Van Damme turned down the role of Johnny Cage to do Street Fighter (1994). The character in the games was originally based on him. (I mean, fine choice. There probably should have been a terrible Street Fighter sequel as well)
Bridgette Wilson-Sampras performed all her own stunts (refusing to use a double), including the fight scenes. She dislocated her shoulder during one scene, but they were able to fix it on set, without any recurrence. (I love Wilson-Sampras fun facts)
The film’s soundtrack went platinum in less than two weeks.
At around 6 minutes, Steven Spielberg, an avid fan of the Mortal Kombat series, was set to make a cameo appearance as the director in Johnny Cage’s first scene. However scheduling conflicts forced him to back out. Nonetheless, the “director” character in this scene does resemble Spielberg, which is most likely a reference to this. (Ha!)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa was the filmmakers’ first and only choice for the role of Shang Tsung. He came to the audition in a costume, and read his lines while standing on a chair. Shang Tsung was depicted as relatively younger in the film in order to avoid the excessive makeup that would have been required to duplicate his aged appearance in the game.
Chris Casamassa was hired to work as a stunt ninja. At the audition the producers were so impressed that he got the part of Scorpion. (I mean … you have a character whose face is covered 100% of the time. Don’t you usually hire stunt men for that? It feels like a Darth Maul or Snake-Eyes situation)
At around 1 hour 12 minutes, when Reptile in his chameleon creature form takes over the body of an Outworld statue and rises as a green ninja, you can hear, very quietly, a voice say “Reptile”. This is the voice of Shao Kahn, and was sampled directly from Mortal Kombat II (1993).
Christopher Lambert also voiced Rayden in the French dubbed version of the film.
Originally the character of Kano was Japanese-American. However, Ed Boon and John Tobias were so impressed with how Trevor Goddard portrayed him that they retconned Kano’s history in future games to make him Australian, which they thought was Goddard’s nationality. They later learned that, although Goddard gave Kano an Australian accent, Goddard himself was actually born in England but had claimed to be of Australian descent. (What the hell is this fact?)
Bridgette Wilson-Sampras had read and auditioned for the part of Sonya Blade several times, but due to the long casting process, she chose to do Billy Madison (1995) instead. Christina Applegate was also considered for the role but Cameron Diaz was cast after the producers saw dailies of her from The Mask (1994). However, Diaz broke her wrist during training, just before filming. Fortunately, filming on Billy Madison had just wrapped, making Wilson available again. She happily took the role, even if it meant that she had to be flown to the set the next day, and had to train for the big fight scenes in between shooting the rest of the movie.
The locations in Thailand were so remote they were only accessible by boat. Cast, crew and equipment had to be transported by long canoes. An outhouse was built in a secluded area near the set so that the crew didn’t have to make constant trips to and from the mainland. (That’s how you get those vistas baby!)
Robin Shou originally turned down the opportunity to audition for the movie, assuming that he’d be cast as a stereotypical Asian villain. He reconsidered at the advice of his agent. (And the rest is history I guess? Not that Shou became some mega star after I suppose)
The coined phrase “Flawless Victory” (a match where the victor sustains no attacks from their opponent) was used regarding four matches in the film. However only two of the matches meet the criteria: Sub-Zero’s first match against a henchmen and Johnny Cage’s match against Goro. (Nerd! You are such a nerd!)
Robin Shou said that in the original script he “was supposed to fall in love with Talisa Soto [Kitana]. I was looking forward to it, but they thought we have so much action, we don’t want to add romance to it. They cut it out.” (Smart move. Probably part of the reason it got reasonable reviews)
Steve James was to have played Jax but died a year before production on the film began. Gregory McKinney, who replaced James, died in 1998. Both actors died at the age of 41. (That’s nuts. Steve James died of pancreatic cancer, but I can’t find anything about McKinney surprisingly)
According to the film, the Outworld fighters have won nine straight victories of Mortal Kombat and only need one more in order to take over Earth. Given that the tenth tournament takes place in 1995, this means that the Earth-realm had been participating since 1725 (considering the battle taking place once a generation means every 30 years). (That’s a bad losing streak. I don’t necessarily hate Outworld, I just find it boring that they win all of the time you know?)
Gary Daniels, Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp were considered for the role of Johnny Cage. (Gary Daniels? Who told you that? Gary Daniels in a fake moustache?)
Michael Jai White was slated to play the role of Jax. Ultimately, he left in order to do Tyson (1995). He would eventually end up portraying Jax in Mortal Kombat: Rebirth (2010) and Mortal Kombat (2011). (Neither of those are real films though, you know?)
A music video was created for the KMFDM single “Juke Joint Jezebel” and featured clips of fight scenes from the movie, but it was pulled by MTV due to complaints about its violent content. (Oh you mean this thing?)
Quickly after the movie’s box office success, director Paul W.S. Anderson was asked by New Line Cinema to helm a sequel, but he had set his mind to doing something completely different, and accepted the offer to do Event Horizon (1997) instead.
Director Paul W.S. Anderson nicknamed Bridgette Wilson-Sampras “RoboBabe”. (That’s weird and offensive … I choose not to believe it for now)
Included in the movie novelization was a detailed opening scene of an unsuccessful joint mission of arresting Black Dragon members by the Special Forces and an international task force, which culminates in Kano killing the task force’s lieutenant who is designated therein as Sonya’s murdered partner. (I have a policy that the instant a novelization is mentioned I’m out)