Blu-ray
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1.5 stars
Overall Grade
1.5 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
0.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
1.5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
3 Stars
Supplements
0.5 Stars
High-Def Extras
0.5 Stars
Bottom Line
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Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

Street Date:
April 19th, 2011
Reviewed by:
Nate Boss
Review Date: 1
April 10th, 2011
Movie Release Year:
1997
Studio:
Warner Brothers
Length:
95 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

The ending of the original 'Mortal Kombat' was a sort-of cliffhanger, teasing the events of what would happen if a sequel were to happen. Well, the financial success of the first film guaranteed a return trip to the well just two years later...and a lot has changed in two years. For example, the half assed attempt at a story before is now thrown out the window. The structure? Gone. It's pure chaos. This is a film that aims for non-stop action, and it ends up being a massive fan-service parody, an attempt to throw as many characters into the film as possible.

It also starts out on exactly the wrong foot. Watch the trailer, before you watch the film, and you'll notice something. As Techno Syndrome is bumping and calling out the names of the participants, one of the three main characters from the original isn't mentioned. No, this isn't due to some kind of contract dispute, as recasting was obviously not an issue for the cinematographer-turn-director John R. Leonetti. Instead, in the opening minutes of the film, to build up some kind of "tension," one of the three leads is killed off, unceremoniously. There is no regard for the regular world in this film, as the death of this character would be noticed and mourned. There's no pretense that regular people even exist in the world of 'Mortal Kombat.' None. It's as if Earth is only full of warriors, and the other realms are only full of dickheads.

So, Shang Tsung was defeated, and the world was made safe for humanity for at least another generation, right? Wrong! Shao-Kahn (Brian Thompson), the emperor, a man whose facial structure closely resembles Homer Simpson, has brought his armies to Earth. See, apparently he stopped giving a shit about the rules of Mortal Kombat, and in six days, his realm and ours will merge. Our only hope? If Liu Kang (Robin Shou), Sonya Blade (Sandra Hess, recast #1), and Rayden (James Remar, recast #2) can defeat the generals of Shao-Kahn's army, including Princess Kitana (Talisa Soto)'s once deceased mother Sindel (Musetta Vander). Many friends and enemies will cross their paths, seemingly out of nowhere. Get ready for...some ruleless, brainless action!

Alright, so what is so horrible with all of this, aside from Johnny Cage (Chris Conrad, recast #3)'s quick exit from the film? Aside from the point that every second of the original film now doesn't matter? How about, like some kind of RPG series, the main character again has to power up, as apparently all that powering up he did in the first film was forgotten, in order to save the day? How about the way that characters literally parachute into the movie for a scene, and disappear soon after? Can I mention that Shao-Kahn sounds horribly drunk throughout the entire film, or that lens flares are a bigger threat to humanity than the otherworldly generals of death?

Simply put, this is a disaster, from start to finish. Fans hate the film, as it meshes the stories of the second and third Mortal Kombat games into an incoherent blob, where some character's story lines and reasons for existence are thrown out the window. They're just there. I hate the film because it's an incoherent nightmare. Aside from the fact that almost four million viewers have seen a clip of this film on Youtube labeled "The Worst Line in Screenwriting History," every single character is one dimensional. The dialogue they spout is drivel, their actions illogical. And there's this Native American guy, Nightwolf (Litefoot), who insists that Liu Kang get in touch with his inner Animality. In fact, every third word he says has to be "Animality." It's almost as if the dude is a zoophile, or closet furry.

Sure, some of the fighting in this film is cool, and there's some good choreography. Hell, Ray Park ('X-Men', 'Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace') has a stunt part, so, there's at least a few seconds worth of the film that are insanely awesome. But...sadly....the rest is bile. If you like films with those American Gladiator balls, brothers who take on the name of their slain family members (for a scene before disappearing), characters who know plot points that haven't been revealed to them (almost as if they read the script!), or ancient beings who forgo immortality in exchange for a haircut, then 'Mortal Kombat 2: Electric Boogaloo' may be up your alley. It's wall to wall shlock, full of some of the most cringe-inducing moments in cinematic history. If IMDb allowed zeros for scores, you bet your ass this film would have more than any other actioner ever made, even 'Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever'. Yes, this film makes that one look logical, smart, and well acted. If you insist, absolutely insist, on revisiting this feature, I recommend a helmet.

The Disc: Vital Stats

'Mortal Kombat: Random Characters Who Make No Sense' comes to Blu-ray on a BD25 disc, that is Region A/B/C coded, with no pre-menu content. The static menu boasts no audio, and has the same content as the previous, superior 'Mortal Kombat' film, save for the animated feature. Also worth noting: unlike the original, there are no French options this time around. The Canadian import of this film, released in 2010, has a French dub and subtitle track, so keep that in mind, French readers who want to torture yourselves for ninety minutes...

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

New Line's 1.78:1 framed 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode for 'Mortal Kombat: Awful Sequel' is not good. Not good at all. In fact, after the way I was impressed with the original, I had even higher hopes for the sequel, and that's where the whole house of cards came crashing down. Almost everything in this film looks like warmed over death...and not because the film itself is about warmed over death, either.

What exactly is so wrong with the picture? How about the horrible way special effects are handled. They make every shot with them incredibly soft, and let's just say there are a ton more effects this time around. Characters are thrown into obvious effect only shots, with horrible outlines, odd sizing, and peculiar lighting, just to make it look like they were there. There isn't a single effects shot that's sharp, period. But don't forget that, early in the film, Raiden's arm disappears in an effect, as the outlining of his body didn't quite make it against the green screen. Edges have rings, noise is awful, sometimes creating little noise armies trying to take over the world...or Jax's skin. Skin tones are randomly hot, and incredibly inconsistent, where two shots in a row will have pale flesh than absolutely on fire rosy tints. It's insane! The film has random colored tints that add to the inconsistency, as reds and blues dominate the picture, for no reason at all. Also, artifacts. Yeah, they're present, too.

Don't forget that at least twice, the entire picture goes blocky and digital. In the three second shot between 1 minute 37 seconds, and 1 minute 39 seconds, every inch of the picture is jagged. I'm not kidding when I say every inch, and it is impossible to miss. Then, as Sub-Zero fights Scorpion, there is a much quicker flash of Sub-Zero's foot, to show he's not standing in a very good spot, that again is blocked up and ugly. I have absolutely zero compliments for this transfer. None. It's almost as if Warner and New Line knew no one would give a rat's ass about this film, and just chucked it on disc. That would explain why the original looks so much better.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

"YEAH! NOW WHAT?!"

Sorry, I just felt I had to get that oh so ghetto Jax quote in the review somewhere, especially due to the way the camera angle changes for that line reading. The audio for 'Mortal Kombat: Annihilation'? Better than the original, then worse. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is definitely not lacking in power. This one is loud, loud, loud. Bass elements are constant, and quite rocking, while effects all have more roar and depth to them. Localization and movement are utilized consistently, to create a fairly lively, immersive experience, and ambience effects are stellar. That said, dialogue is randomly hollow, while the track itself has a few odd pops in it. If you're looking for a big dumb audio track, for a big dumb film, here it is!

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

  • Theatrical Trailer (SD, 1 min) - The theatrical trailer for the film, in standard def.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

The BD-Live portal on this release is not yet live. It is also unlikely to contain any exclusive content.

  • Mortal Kombat video game trailer (HD, 1 min) - Clips (cutscenes mostly) of the video game reboot of the series. It's almost as if this Blu-ray release were timed to promote it! No! It can't be!
  • Digital Copy - A slip only Digital Copy for the film is included, only advertised on the cover by a sticker.
  • Game Code - Another sticker on the cover indicates this goody. A very sturdy piece of paper stock sports a PSN (sorry Xboxers!) redemption code to unlock the classic Jade attire for the new game.

Final Thoughts

One day, our ruined society will be looked back on by some superior being, and picking through our rubble, they'll discover a copy of 'Mortal Kombat: Abomination.' Soon after, their society will crumble as well. This film has Ray Park for a minute or less, and nothing else. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Take away Ray Park, and I would have had to petition to get the site's first negative score for a film. The New Line Blu-ray features stunted video, powerful but dumb audio, and less extras than the original...and some dude who really likes animals. Save the ten to fifteen bucks you'd have to spend to buy this one, and instead, buy a scorpion, and let it sting you. Repeatedly. You'll enjoy the experience more. Hey trash can? GET OVER HERE!!!!

Technical Specs

  • Blu-ray
  • BD25 disc
  • Region A/B/C

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles/Captions

  • English SDH, Spanish

Supplements

  • Theatrical trailer
  • Mortal Kombat video game trailer (in HD)

Exclusive HD Content

  • Mortal Kombat video game trailer (in HD)
  • BD-Live
  • Digital Copy
  • Game download code

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