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: Deadpool 2

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Deadpool 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by David Leitch

The first Deadpool was really solid for what it was, and I know that sounds like a backhanded compliment, but it only SORT of is!  It was not so much a movie in its own right as it was a proof of concept for a character to show how something this dark, comedic, and off the wall can be done in the super hero genre.  It makes sense considering this character had pretty much been struggling to prove itself for years as a cinematically viable presence what with the awfulness that was Origins Wolverine (there was an even a stinger for him to return in later X-Men films) or even that CG rendered test footage that became the big car action scene in the real film.  I wasn’t THE MOST thrilled with the end result as a movie, but I was glad that Ryan Reynolds found a character perfectly suited for his capabilities as an actor and that a studio was finally ready to back him up on that.  Now that EVERYONE knows who Deadpool is and are ready to see him in action outside of an origin story, is there enough left to work with to make the amazing film he truly deserves, or was he just a gimmick the whole time and lightening won’t be striking twice for this one?  Let’s find out!!

After getting his revenge, resolving his character arc, and making a boat load at the box office, Deadpool AKA Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is living his Merc with a Mouth life full of blood, snappy quips, and awesome days with his lady love Vanessa (Morena Baccarin).  Sadly the good times won’t last forever and Wade is basically left to his own devices which can only spell doom and gloom for those foolish enough to get in his way… unless of course you’re made entirely out of metal.  Oh hey!  His best buddy Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) is made of metal!  Maybe he can get Wade out of his funk and FINALLY get him to join the X-Men!  Thing is, that’s KIND of a monkey’s paw wish as he DOES indeed join the team (as a trainee) but right away screws things up when a young mutant named Russell (Julian Dennsion) gets himself into trouble and Deadpool comes to his aid in a manner that doesn’t QUITE meet the X-Men code… or the law, and winds up going to Mutant Jail which is apparently a thing.  If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s ALSO a half cyborg dude named Cable (Josh Brolin) pulling a Terminator by coming back to the past to save the future and it SEEMS to involve both Wade AND death, so Deadpool certainly has his work cut out for him in order to escape prison, keep the kid from ending up a reprobate like himself, and stopping the Future Cop from whatever the hell it is he plans on doing.  Will Wade learn how to not just be an irreverent jackass, but an irreverent jackass with a HEART?  Just how far will Cable go to complete his mission, and how much collateral damage will Wade have to suffer because of it?  He may not be the best man for the job, but is he at least the FUNNIEST one!?

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“This isn’t really going as I planned.”     “Do you want to take a break?”     “No no no!  I’m good!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Den of Thieves

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Den of Thieves and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment

Directed by Christian Gudegast

You know, after The Commuter turned out to be a giant pile of nonsense, I don’t know if I’m up to getting even more of it shoved directly into my face with yet another gritty Cops and Robbers story that looks about as good as a January dump job would.  Maybe I’m wrong though!  Maybe my expectations are so low after seeing Liam Neeson fight The Illuminati on a train that something much more grounded will be a welcomed change of pace!  I highly doubt it, but if last year taught us ANYTHING, it’s to not give up hope even if everything is telling you that THINGS ARE ONLY GONNA GET WORSE FROM HERE!!  Does this manage to be the cinematic oasis in the crappy wasteland known as January Releases, or is this sucker yet another mirage that crush our spirits and keep them crushed until around March?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with the theft of an armored car by a bunch of BAD ASS criminals led up by Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber) whose crew of Merry men includes Levi (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson), Bosco (Evan Jones), Mack (Cooper Andrews), and the new guy Donnie (O’Shea Jackson Jr) .  The crime is investigated by a crew of BAD ASS sheriffs led u by Nick Flanagan (Gerard Butler) whose posse of shitty lawmen includes… uh, okay I don’t think any of them other than Gus (Mo McRae) got a name, BUT THEY’RE BAD ASS!!  They’re so BAD ASS in fact that they break a WHOLE lot of civil liberties in the process of tracking down Ray’s crew and finding out what they’re up to.  It turns out that Ray wants to rob the Federal Reserve of all its discarded money that is set to be shredded, but with BIG NICK breathing down his neck, the plan becomes that much more dangerous; even if they’ve got an armored truck to work with.  Can this den of thieves pull off a scam that no one has ever been able to pull off, especially if they’re being watched the whole time?  Will Nick and his pals put their dicks back in their pants long enough to do some ACTUAL police work and arrest these guys at some point?  You know, come to think of it… why should I care about ANY of them!?  They’re all bad!  Wait… what if… the title of the movie… IS REFERRING TO BOTH GROUPS!?  MOVIE SHOCK!!

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WHAT A TWIST!!

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