Cinema Dispatch: Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros

Directed by Simon McQuoid

Honestly, I was never much of a Mortal Kombat fan.  More of Tekken guy when it came to fighting games, but there’s no denying the cultural impact that the franchise has had and it’s impressive just how long they’ve been going with the series for it to only get better and better as time goes on.  I remember Mortal Kombat 9 being an excellent reboot that got me into the series for a bit, but even at the games’ peak it still can’t touch that AWESOME 1995 movie directed by Paul WS Anderson!  I just rewatched that movie like a year ago and it still holds up as a fantastic martial arts movie that finds the right balance between what fans want from the games and making into a coherent movie.  There have been other attempts since then to get the series off the ground in non-video game forms, but this is the first big step WB has taken with it since acquiring the franchise in 2009.  Does this bring Mortal Kombat to the big screen for a whole new generation of fans in a bold and exciting way, or will we all still be clutching our VHS tapes of the original film by the end of this movie?  Let’s find out!!

As you’d expect from a Mortal Kombat movie, the story is set right before the start of the tenth Mortal Kombat tournament where Earth Realm’s greatest fighters try to overcome the unstoppable warriors of Outworld, and after nine consecutive losses in a row it’s Earth’s last chance to avoid complete and utter devastation as Outworld will finally be able to invade Earth if they win this time!  So who exactly will be participating in this generation’s tournament?  Well we’ve got some of the classic standbys from the franchise like Liu Kang, Jax, and a begrudging Kano (Ludi Lin, Mehcad Brooks, and Josh Lawson), but the real hope for humanity comes in the form of Cole Young (Lewis Tan); a new character for the series and someone with an unexpected history to this tournament that slowly reveals itself as he is recruited by Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) to seek out Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) and his crew so he can learn the techniques and Mortal Kombat Magic necessary to win this tournament!  All is not as cut and dry however as Outworld’s leader in the tournament Shang Tsung (Chin Han) has his own crew of Mortal Kombat characters and is not waiting for the tournament to begin before sending them out to destroy the fledgling Earth team.  With opponents such as Sub-Zero, Mileena, and Goro (Joe Taslim, Sisi Stringer, and Angus Sampson) hunting them down, do these heroes of Earth even stand a chance of MAKING it to the tournament; let alone becoming strong enough to win it?  What is Cole’s history with this tournament, and will it be the key to Earth finally getting one over on Outworld?  You know, most Fight Camps are AT LEAST eight weeks, so shouldn’t Raiden have gotten these guys together BEFORE the tournament was like a week away?  And we all wonder why Earth Realm lost nine times in a row!

“Look, I’m sorry! I set some time aside to watch The Flash, and then I had to watch Legends of Tomorrow, and it just turned into a big thing! Nobody’s perfect!”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Mortal Kombat”

Cinema Dispatch: Skyscraper

SKYSCRAPERCD0

Skyscraper and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber

I for one will NEVER turn down a Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson flick even if it looks as freaking ridiculous as this Die Hard knockoff looks to be!  The guy is an unstoppable force in Hollywood and the fact that almost all of his movies are least SOMEWHAT enjoyable is a good indication of why that’s the case.  This one looks to be no different in any significant way, but hey!  More of what we love from the guy can’t possibly be a bad thing… right?  Does this manage to be fun despite its silly premise and unbelievable set pieces, or is there a limit to what even THE ROCK is capable of carrying?  Let’s find out!!

Our hero is Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) who’s a former FBI… SWAT… Solider… something, who’s spent the last ten years working as a private security consultant.  See, he had to retire after… the incident, which may have taken one of his legs also led to him meeting his wife (Neve Campbell) who he then married and had two kids with (McKenna Roberts and Noah Cottrell) so six of one half a dozen of the other!  Anyway, he’s landed his biggest job yet as a third party verifier of the security and safety systems that are put in place at THE PEARL.  What is THE PEARL you may ask?  Well it’s the largest skyscraper IN THE WORLD (it sure would suck if someone had to climb it later in the movie) that was built by Chinese billionaire Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han) and is about to open its upper floors to renters; provided of course they pass Will’s safety check which will secure them a reasonable insurance policy!  Well as exciting as all that sounds, things start to go south as a crew of well-trained criminals (led by Roland Møller) not only infiltrate THE PEARL but also get total control of their security system, and they set fire to the upper floors in an attempt to smoke Zhao out of his penthouse and get whatever it is he’s hiding up there.  There’s just one problem!  Okay, actually two problems.  Will’s family was STAYING on one of those floors they just so happened to set on fire, and Will himself was outside THE PEARL as part of his security check and now needs to find a way inside.  So not only did you piss him off by putting his family in danger, you’re gonna force him to face heights, smoke, and absurdly high temperatures as well which is just gonna get him THAT much more angry at you!  Can Will somehow infilitrate the burning building and save his family before it’s too late?  What exactly is Zhao hiding, and is worth all the destruction these bad guys are causing?  Wait, is he SERIOUSLY gonna try to jump that!?

SKYSCRAPERCD1
FLAP YOUR GIANT MUSCULAR ARMS, DWAYNE!!

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Skyscraper”

Cinema Dispatch: Ghost in the Shell

GITSCD0

Ghost in the Shell and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Rupert Sanders

Honestly?  I’ve been looking forward to this movie for months!  Now that’s not to say I thought it would be GOOD as the trailers didn’t seem to have much going for them, but there’s always hope that a property this primed for a big budgeted thrust into the mainstream will bring something interesting to the cinematic landscape, and even if that fails it will at least create a renewed interest in the original franchise and possibly some interest in making more movies like it.  I’m not the only one hoping for another live Action Dragon Ball, right?  As bad as Evolution is, it’s at least ENTERTAININGLY horrible!  So does this manage to subvert expectations and ACTUALLY be a solid entry in the Ghost in the Shell franchise, or was this project doomed from the start?  Let’s find out!!

In the near future where this movie takes place, we’ve successfully been able to recreate Deus Ex as the human population is becoming increasingly more mechanized through robotic augmentations and cybernetic implants.  However, now that every Average Joe can have a bazooka grafted onto their arm, Future Tokyo (at least I think that’s where this is set) has created a new Government Security Force known simply as Section 9 which deals with terrorist threats raised by Bionic Bad Guys!  One such Bad Guy is Kuze (Michael Pitt) who’s been offing several robotic scientists who work for the Hanka Robotics corporations, and it’s up to The Major (Scarlett Johansson) along with her team of Section 9 bad asses to stop him!  At least that seems to be the idea, but as the investigation goes on, The Major starts to question if she’s been told everything or if secrets are being kept from her.  You see, she’s basically just a brain in a metal casing which means she’s the most augmented-est person in the whole world, but that might not be ENTIRELY the truth.  Can The Major uncover the truth behind these mysterious killings and the motivations of the terrorist behind them?  What will she find once she digs a bit deeper into her past!?  Most importantly… how did they manage to make this feel so uninspired!?

GITSCD1
“BANG!  I guess…”

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Ghost in the Shell”