The protector of Earthrealm, Lord Raiden (voice of Dave B. Mitchell), must assemble his realm’s greatest fighters to defend it against the aging Shang Tsung, who is looking for another realm to crush.
Here’s something you may not have known about me and you may not even believe it either – I have been playing the Mortal Kombat video games ever since I was about nine or ten years old. It’s crazy to think about that, I know. Ten year old me spent hours on end brutally ripping apart opponent’s limbs and performing fatalities that no child should ever see at a young age. Why did I play it though? Because I had fun, and plus, I knew that none of those things that happened in the game were really. They never really phased me.
With that being said, I am not the biggest Mortal Kombat fan out there either. I greatly enjoy the games, especially last year’s Mortal Kombat 11, but I’m not an expert on the lore of the series or anything like that. But, as great as the games are, even fans of the franchise themselves agree on one thing – the movies are horrible.
The 1997 John R. Leonetti-directed Annihilation is widely considered to be one of the worst video game films of all-time. So going into this new animated film, Scorpion’s Revenge, I truthfully wasn’t sure what my expectations should be. I recognized that it was an animated movie that would probably work out better than a live-action one for this series, but on the other hand, nearly all of the films that have been based on this property have been utterly terrible.
This is why I am so glad to report that Scorpion’s Revenge is not only a terrific film but is certainly the greatest Mortal Kombat film ever made, animated or not. It’s a tight and condensed story of revenge that has all the limb-ripping bloody goodness that fans of the series have come to expect at this point.
Watching Scorpion set out on his path of vengeance felt very real and grounded. We get to witness his backstory which was tragic to say the least. For the first time ever, I genuinely felt terrible for the character. Here, his motivations were crystal clear and it is easy to root for him along the way.
Although the other characters involved in this story get sidelined, it’s okay, because at the end of the day, this movie is supposed to tell Scorpion’s story, and it did so in an exceptionally fantastic way. Unfortunately, there are some subplots that get introduced relatively early on that just didn’t work for me and they felt quite forced. The movie seems like it wants to set up a potential Mortal Kombat animated movie universe which is a fun idea, but I’m not too sure it should have been set up here.
But a ton of people are going to watch this movie in hopes for some chaotic and gruesome fights, and they are in luck because this film genuinely did not hold back on the violence factor. There were several fights in the film that were intense, fast-paced and downright terrifying to watch at times. Each and every scene involving action felt incredibly visceral despite the fact that we are watching mortal characters battle it out. The style of this movie actually reminded me of anime in all the best ways.
By the time the final act and battle comes into play, the movie becomes remarkably entertaining. The rest of the movie was fun, but the third act is where it truly shines. It’s not a film devoid of issues. As I mentioned earlier, there are some subplots that get brought up that just simply don’t work and they feel like they came completely out of left field, and the humor here is a mixed bag. But, worry not. This is an amazing piece of animation entertainment.
Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge is the best film in the series, animation or otherwise. Its fight scenes are brutal and bloody, and its story is remarkably gripping.
Overall Grade: B+
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence throughout and some language
Cast: Patrick Seitz, Steve Blum, Jordan Rodrigues, Darin De Paul, Joel McHale, Jennifer Carpenter, Artt Butler, Robin Atkin Downes, Dave B. Mitchell, Ike Amadi, Kevin Michael Richardson, Grey Griffin, Fred Tatasciore
Directed by: Ethan Spaulding
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Release Date: April 14, 2020
Running Time: 80 minutes