“Get over here!”
The instance that line was uttered by Scorpion in the first Mortal Kombat game and he threw that spear into his opponent, you knew he was going to be popular. Despite the character not really being a main part of the series main storyline involving Earthrealm, Outworld, Elder Gods and whatever, the spear weilding, yellow garbed ninja with a flaming skull for a head is basically the face of Mortal Kombat.
Which only makes sense that when Warner Bros. was going to make a Mortal Kombat animated film, they decided to focus on Scorpion’s side of the tale in Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge.
By the way, while the digital version of the film is already out, people who are waiting for the physical release will have to wait an additional week to watch this. With respect to the latter group of fans, I will be making this a SPOILER FREE review.
Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge is, in essence, a retelling of the events of the first Mortal Kombat video game. It all takes place on an island where the tournament for the survival of Earthrealm hangs in the balance. Shang Tsung and his group has already won several of these Mortal Kombat tournaments and, if they win once more, Outworld will take over Earthrealm. The thunder god Raiden, the guardian of Earthrealm, has picked three warriors, the shaolin monk Liu Kang, the Special Forces soldier Sonya Blade and martial artist turned actor Johnny Cage.
Now, you may be wondering where Scorpion fits in all this. Well, that’s the thing. He’s not in the tournament to save Earthrealm. He’s only reason for joining was because he made a deal with the Netherrealm sorcerer Quan Chi to be resurrected and steal some macguffin from Shang Tsung. But he also will get a chance to get revenge on the man who killed him, his entire clan and his family, the Lin Kuei ninja Sub-Zero.
This is actually kind of a problem because it feels like there are two stories competing for your attention: the actual Mortal Kombat tournament and the actual Scorpion’s Revenge plot. This is kind of a problem because, while the two plots do converge by the end, the connection between them is superficial at best. There is very little connective tissue between them besides the entire thing taking place on an island where Mortal Kombat is taking place.
Another issue with the two tales is that there a little too complex for their own good. Warner Bros. decided to add a few twists and turns to the “classic” story from the first game. I appreciate the thought but they just added a little too much. I would’ve been okay if this they just focused on the actual Mortal Kombat tournament and not all the plot twists that just serve to make you forget there’s supposed to be a tournament to the death here.
Of course, as this is Mortal Kombat, you expect the film to be a super bloody affair. Thankfully, Warner Bros. was very happy to oblige! Scorpion’s Revenge doesn’t shy away from the gory battles and there are more than a fair share of decapitations and flaying of arms. They even went the extra mile to mimic the X-Rays, Fatal Blows and Krushing Blows of the current games by giving viewers a glimpse of the carnage that’s happening inside their bodies.
But the beautiful brutality wouldn’t be as good if the actual fights weren’t fun to watch. It’s a good thing that the Kombat in Scorpion’s Revenge is pretty well choreographed for the most part. Some battles do get a bit too hectic and crazy for their own good but they’re easy to follow and the animation is rather smooth.
As good as the fight animation is, I do have an issue with the general art style. For something as gritty and dark as the Mortal Kombat franchise, I expected the overall art direction to follow suit. Instead, we get the basic angular lines we’ve seen from the previous Warner Bros. animated outings from their DC Original Animated Universe line. It’s not bad but everything just looks a little too clean and same-y. Everyone, even Sonya Blade has very square jaws! The weirdest design choice I still haven’t gotten over were the choice to have each characters’ knuckles be black lines instead of actual bumps. It’s just weird!
The voice acting is phenomenal across the board. Warner Bros. got the guys who voiced Scorpion and Sub-Zero from the newer Mortal Kombat games so they sounded just the way I pictured them. They didn’t get the other voice cast for the games but the guys who did the voices for Shang Tsung, Raiden and Liu Kang did a fine job, nonetheless.
However, the standouts for me are Jennifer Carpenter’s Sonya Blade and, most especially Joel McHale’s Johnny Cage. Jennifer Carpenter has a really good “serious” sounding voice so she does fit the character. However, it’s Joel McHale who steals the show. It certainly helps that Johnny Cage gets the best and funniest lines but I can’t help but think that Joel McHale got some leeway to adlib some lines, particularly the ones where he mumbles under his breath.
Now, despite me giving some really high praise for the fight scenes and the voice acting, I can’t really recommend going out and getting Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge. At least, I don’t think it’s worth buying. I say it’s a good watch but it’s not something that I would watch over and over again. The two separate plots don’t congeal to make one good story and the art style is very meh. I can safely say, however, that this is a fun time but it’s not really worth a full price buy.
If you can rent Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge, I do suggest that you do that. But if the only way you can see it is to buy a copy, I say you can simply wait it out until it goes on sale or something like that.
Have you seen Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!