- Directed by Ethan Spaulding
- August 31, 2021
- Liu Kang-Jordan Rodrigues
- Raiden, Sektor, Kintaro-Dave B. Mitchell
- Johnny Cage-Joel McHale
- Sonya Blade-Jennifer Carpenter
- Jax Briggs, One Being-Ike Amadi
- Shang Tsung, Shao Kahn Soldier, Cyrax-Artt Butler
- Shinnok, Reiko Robin-Atkin Downes
- Kitana, Satoshi Hasashi, Li Mei-Grey Griffin
- Kung Lao-Matthew Yang King
- Kuai Liang / Sub-Zero-Bayardo De Murguia
- Kurtis Stryker, Demon One, Smoke-Matthew Mercer
- Lin Kuei Grandmaster-Paul Nakauchi
- Jade, Lin Kang-Emily O’Brien
- Hanzo Hasashi / Scorpion-Patrick Seitz
- Shao Kahn-Fred Tatasciore
- D’Vorah-Debra Wilson
- Shaggy Rogers (cameo)-Matthew Lillard
The champions of Earthrealm must journey to Outworld and defeat Shao Kahn.
I went into Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms with very low expectations and regularly skipped picking up this film until I found it during a Black Friday sale. I was not thrilled by the first film. This however was a vast improvement over its predecessor. The story here was better and the action started and never stopped along with the characters being better crafted.
In Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge there was a running gag of the character of Johnny Cage repeatedly getting nut checked by Sonya Blade. I was not bothered by Cage being an entitled jerk, but the nut checks were just really bad comedy. Once was funny (?) but the gag was overused. Why would any male put themselves in a position to get hit in the groin more than once? He kept hitting on her and she kept striking him. What masochistic dude becomes attracted to a person that regularly crushes their genitalia as Johnny Cage did with Sonya Blade?
Here Johnny Cage was not getting repeatedly nut checked. He got one but it was not their reflexive joke with the character. Better still they fixed the issues with the Johnny/Sonya relationship. Cage’s feelings were portrayed as less simplistic, and Sonya eventually reciprocates in a fashion that feels natural.
Previously the character of Liu Kang felt like he should have been the central character but was not which gave the last film a disjointed vibe. While he does go into the background for a period in this story, Kang is central for the bulk of the film as his origin is told in a series of flashbacks and the character is integral to the resolution of the plot.
When Liu Kang gets pushed to the center of the story, Raiden becomes his Obi-Wan. One thing I liked was when they discussed why Liu Kang was the Chosen One. Aside from his purity of self, the reason was rather simple and yet logical. It was not some grand design thing but rather because he was just chosen. Raiden picked him and stuck with him.
They managed to give this story not only a fate of the world type feel but a fate of reality type feel. Event after event is tossed at you in rapid succession yet the narrative does not feel overstuffed or overwhelming. They built steady to a very big climax.
There are great action sequences and the gore, while presented because they can, is done a little bit more naturally than just because they can. Characters fall left and right-both good and bad. They do not play favorites here. You get the feeling that anyone could die.
Unlike Scorpion’s Revenge, Battle of the Realms found its voice. This was much more of an ensemble film. Each character helps with and contributes to the story.
In this film Raiden challenges Shao Khan in order to make the final Mortal Kombat tournament occur early. As part of the story Raiden must give up his godhood in order to lead the team as well as compete in the competition. This strikes me as something very significant for the character, yet it’s treated more as just a thing that happens.
The mad god Shinnok attempting to destroy reality seems a little shoehorned in almost as if it was something they were thinking of saving for a sequel. It’s a great idea for a film itself and probably should’ve been saved for (or was intended for) a third story but perhaps they were concerned they would not get another shot. I think this movie would’ve been just as good without that particular subplot, but it is not unwelcomed.
While it does feel like two scripts were merged into one what we get in the end is a very good story with plenty of great action and a little better characterization than last time. They stumbled more often than not in the first film but learned a great deal from that and put it to use here.
Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms is a superior follow-up to the first film. I wasn’t too pleased with the last one but with this vastly improved upon that. You should watch this one as the second half of a two-part story begun in the first film so in other words check them both out.