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The first Mortal Kombat film was far from a masterpiece, but it gave fans of the fighting series what they wanted: characters and settings from the games, an adrenaline-pumping soundtrack, and Talisa Soto. MK was a blockbuster hit, earning over $120 million dollars at the box office.
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, on the other hand, was a critical and commercial failure. Director John R. Leonetti managed to take a successful action/martial arts franchise and turn it into a disaster of biblical proportions.
Here are a few reasons why Annihilation may have tanked. Warning: spoiler city ahead.
Raiden is no longer a Highlander, and Shao Kahn is…well…this guy.
Raiden didn't throw a single punch in the original Mortal Kombat flick, but what the Elder God lacked in fighting abilities he made up for in being Christopher Lambert. Annihilation replaces Lambert with James Remar. A fine actor, but Remar's Raiden is as charming as a colostomy bag.
The emperor of Outworld should be menacing, but Brian Thompson's Shao Kahn is weak and pathetic. I enjoyed Thompson in The Three Amigos, but Mortal Kombat is not a comedy. Well…now it is. After 10 minutes of watching Brian onscreen, I asked my sister who that weird, bald guy was, and she said "I think that's Shao Kahn." I facepalmed so hard it still hurts 14 years later.
Motaro is perpetually horny and could use some moisturizing skin cream on his elbows.
Centaurians are half-horse monsters from Outworld, so why does Motaro look like Malibu from American Gladiators? Actor Deron McBee's face is kind of beastly, but why couldn't a movie with a $50 million budget afford makeup for Goro's archrival?
Peekaboo…I see you!
Ninja assassins cover their faces with a piece of cloth (instead of plastic) for a good reason. Whoever edited Annihilation didn't notice (or didn't care) that Scorpion and Ermac's faces get exposed during their fight scenes. Say…just what exactly is Ermac doing to Sonya in that pic?
Sub-Zero is sneaky because he wears sneakers, and Toad eats lizards for breakfast.
Apparently, the secret to Sub-Zero's swiftness comes from wearing sneakers instead of traditional tabi boots. Seriously, Lin Kuei?
James Remar has a cool voice, but he can't fight to save his life. That's why martial artist Ray Park (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, G.I. Joe) did all the stunts for Raiden and a few other characters. In the scene where Raiden fights three Reptiles, or "raptors" as they're called in the script, you can clearly see Park's face. I thought Shang Tsung was the only shapeshifter in the MK universe.
Gods of thunder need pampering too, and Sheeva loses a cage match.
Halfway through the movie, amid an apocalyptic alien invasion, Raiden inexplicably decides it's time for a new haircut and attire. Worlds are merging, people are dying, and acting careers are ending…but it's ok because Raiden looks totally boss in khaki pants.
The Shokan are among Outworld's most ruthless races, yet Sheeva is killed instantly when Liu Kang throws a cage on her head. Sindel's four-armed bodyguard is by far the most disappointing character in Annihilation.
It's raining tarkatas. Hallelujah!
Shao Kahn kills Rain for not murdering Kabal and Stryker. Kahn slams Rain with his Wrath Hammer, sending the manly purple ninja into a fiery pit. Later in the movie, Liu Kang pushes Baraka into the same pit. But instead of the tarkata, the editor reused Rain's falling scene. Rain sucks so bad he got offed twice.
Feel your animality…your animality…your animality…your animality…your animality…your animality…
Nightwolf trains Liu Kang to unlock his inner beast in order to save Earth. During the final fight of the film, Earthrealm's champion transforms into the shittiest dragon imaginable. Shao Kahn counters with his own sad animality…a six-headed hydra. The special effects look worse than a CG Jabba the Hutt. The battle itself is a mess of dark, blurry shots, accompanied by erotic snarls and squeals.
- Johnny Cage dies in the first six minutes of the movie.
- Shao Khan and Raiden are brothers. Shinnok is their father.
- Noob Saibot lives inside Ermac.
Reading about the horrors of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation might have actually made you want to experience it. That's why I made a video showing the "best" parts of the movie. You will not enjoy this….