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!”
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Cinema Dispatch: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

I really didn’t want to see this movie.  In fact, if ANYTHING else had bothered to come out this weekend I would have seen that instead, but nope!  Everyone had to make way for this film so I guess I have to try and be professional!  I don’t know, with everything we’ve heard about Tarantino recently it’s just hard for me to get excited to see his movie’s again; let alone support a new one.  Cancelled or not, I just personally feel very much deflated thinking about him and going to see his latest movie just felt like even more of a somber experience.  Still, while acknowledging the very real and very important context of the artist behind the art, is there a good movie to be found here?  I guess we might as well find out…

Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an actor struggling to find steady work in the hectic world of late sixties Hollywood after a rather unsuccessful string of movies following a decent television career playing the lead role on a western.  His stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) has stuck with Rick all this time since he’s had trouble finding work elsewhere and seems to have accepted his lot in life even if he’s basically Rick’s assistant at this point.  Fortunately for Rick, he’s got a decent gig lined up playing the bad guy in some TV pilot which will hopefully get him some attention (otherwise he’ll end up doing Spaghetti Westerns which I guess weren’t good things to be in at the time) and this also means that Cliff has the day to himself which he uses to pick up a hitchhiker (Margaret Qualley) who wants to introduce him to her buddy Charlie who’s got a bunch of followers out in the desert.  Oh, and on top of that Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is Rick’s next door neighbor, and she’s doing stuff as well like… seeing movies and dancing around the house.  Can Rick nail this latest role that may be his last chance to stay relevant?  What will Cliff find at the compound the hitchhiker is taking him too, and will he be able to leave if things get out of hand?  Is it just me, or is Tarantino trying a bit too hard here?  Or perhaps not hard enough?

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“Do you want me to say ‘Nazi scalps’ yet?”     “No, we’re not doing that again.”     “Really?”     “…Okay, let’s not rule it out completely.”

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