Mortal Kombat: Scorpion's Revenge (4K UHD)
It’s time to battle for the realms once again as Mortal Kombat returns this week with an all new, bloody, animated feature that brings the action and characters into the spotlight. Scorpion’s Revenge might tell a familiar story, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. Check out my full review!
What’s Old is New
As we all await the live-action return of Mortal Kombat which is (for the moment) still slated to arrive in January, Warner Bros. Animation is here to help with Scorpion’s Revenge. While the film’s title puts the focus on the iconic yellow-clad ninja, the film introduces us to all the iconic Earthrealm fighters we know from the original game.
In fact, it’s a pretty faithful retelling of the original story as it tells the story of the tenth Mortal Kombat to decide the fate of Earthrealm. As Raiden gathers his warrior team, consisting of Lui Kang, Sonya Blade, and Johnny Cage they arrive on a dangerous island where they must battle (to the death) for their right to continue existing. The odds are stacked against them, however, as Shang Tsung unleashes every dirty trick he can get away with to ensure Earth’s downfall.
Yup, sounds like the plot of Mortal Kombat all right, but the film’s title is “Scorpion’s Revenge.” As such, the movie puts the familiar story under a different lens, putting the brunt of the perspective on Hanzo Hasashi’s shoulders. We start off with the decimation of his village at the hands of Sub-Zero. So yes, we get to see a bit of a retelling of their iconic feud, his battle through Hell, and transformation into the iconic yellow ninja.
While many of the story beats will be similar to long-time fans, I really enjoyed the perspective shift in the story telling. It made it feel fresh and new, while offering insight to other elements that have been under-explained before, or I simply never cared about (sorry Quan Chi, I’ve always hated you).
It was cool to see other fan-favorite characters show up without necessarily being the “main” characters, yet still given enough screen time to show off why they’re so badass. From a story perspective, Scorpion’s Revenge is a fresh, engaging retelling of the game's story (even down to making Goro champion again). By the time the credits rolled all I could think was how much I sincerely hope we get more Mortal Kombat animated films in the near future. I could easily see this going further, along the same lines as the DC Animated Universe.
The story is interesting enough, but where Scorpion’s Revenge really shines is the incredible action sequences. They are both plentiful and filled to the brim with the violent gory action many have come to associate with the Mortal Kombat franchise. Seriously, there’s buckets of blood and it even goes so far as to recreate those bone-crunching, zoomed in, X-ray attacks introduced in the two most recent MK games.
The detail put into the animation is impressive, making each bloody rip and tear stand out in stunning detail. Sometimes it feels a bit too much, but the pacing on the fights are super quick, flowing from one awesome sequence to the next without giving you time to catch your breath.
The end result are fight scenes that dazzle the eyes and feature multiple “whoa” and “holy shit” moments. The intensity of the fights and the slick animation combine to deliver on a thrilling action film that manages to retain its impact upon multiple viewings. It’s not hard to feel your adrenaline pumping when the fights start up.
What’s better is that even though the film is packed to the brim with fights (I mean, it IS Mortal Kombat after all), it manages to still weave the story throughout it all in a way that feels natural. The fights don’t feel out of place, or put in there just because, and there’s still enough character moments and story beats to make those battles have a little bit of emotional weight to them as well.
The Special Features
More than the film, Scorpion’s Revenge also comes loaded up with some special features worth taking a look at:
From Epic Game to Extreme Animation – Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon and the filmmakers reveal the creative process behind adapting the best-selling game to an all-new animated film.
The Weapons, Wardrobe and World of Mortal Kombat Legends – The artists reveal the design challenges of animating the world of Mortal Kombat, from authentic armor to wildly imaginative weapons and fantasy settings.
The Savage Sound Design of Mortal Kombat Legends – This hard-hitting audio exploration reveals the art of designing the sonic language of the fight scenes.
Mortal Kombatants – Dive deep inside the cast of characters to reveal their unique abilities, signature moves and backstories.
Filmmaker Commentary – Producer Rick Morales and screenwriter Jeremy Adams sit down for an insightful audio commentary that reveals the process of creating a compelling animated film based on one of today’s most popular fighting games.
All of these offer a surprisingly deep look behind the scenes of how this new film came together, along with plenty for long-time fans of the game to enjoy. While none of them are terribly long, they deliver on some great insight into this revamped take on the iconic story; more than is usual for the WB animated releases.