1995’s Mortal Kombat is hardly what I would consider a cinematic masterwork. It’s a one big giant kung-fu cheese-fest with a strange story structure and a fair share of hammy performances. But it was fun. Faithful to the source material for the most part and had some fun action.
Compared to Mortal Kombat Annihilation, that film deserves to win an Oscar for best picture.
Mortal Kombat Annihilation achieves a rare feat. A feat that’s so rare that it’s shared by only one other film. It made me miss Paul W.S. Anderson being on the director’s chair. Anderson is a very flawed director, but at the very least, he can be relied on this make his movies look like an actual movie. Annihilation made me wonder if I just stumbled onto a low-budget fan film—no disrespect intended to actual fan films, of course. Nobody would have to pay to watch them in a theater back in 1997—a very cursed year for sequels.
On a technical level, this film is an utter disaster. The greenscreen is noticeable from within Annihilation opening setpiece. There seems to be no attempt to make the basic effort to make sure that the actors kinda, maybe blend a bit with going on in the background. And how about their special effects. The first film’s CG was pretty terrible, but it was used far more sparingly. On the other hand, Annihilation seems proud to show off its special effects at every possible turn. The costumes, while trying to stay truthful to the games, look amateurish. And the sets lack any of the charm and mood that was so present throughout the first film.
Even for a film that came out in 1997, it still looks abysmal. The main highlight can be found in the climax. In which two characters transformed into monsters for a battle of the ages. A horribly ugly, ugly fight that is more laughably bad than actually thrilling. And unlike the previous film, there is none of that cool atmosphere or use of colors to make up for the poor effects.
The film can be described best as one long action scene. Which isn’t too different from the last film and wouldn’t be so bad if it was actually good. The editing is haphazard, and any of that first film’s kinetic energy is all but of a shadow of itself this time around. It’s just one mindless action scene one after the other that fails to generate any sort of excitement.
However, what may cause its audience to get invested is to watch how terrible the performances and dialogue. From the returning actors to new faces, no one is doing anything good here. At best, they’re just very bland. At the very worst, they might as well be one giant sandwich that threatens to swallow the film whole. And the dialogue is consistently quotable for just how unnaturally corny the delivery ends up being.
There are two things about Mortal Kombat: Annihilation that I can say can been seen in the realm of positivity. The main theme is back for all of around 30 seconds. Secondly and more importantly, however, is that I was consistently entertained throughout. Make no mistake, this is an utter failure on every level. But it never bored me. It’s a film that should be viewed in the same light people have come to view other trainwrecks like The Room or Birdemic. A cinematic mess that does everything wrong at every turn to the point that it just becomes fascinating.
I want to watch this movie with other people. I want them to know what I had to sit through. They need to be as amazed as I was with just how incompetent the filmmaking is. For them to bask in the glory of the awful special effects. Or the terrible script and performances. I want them to know about a movie called Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.