6 Things That Aged Like Fine Wine (& 6 Things That Aged Terribly)

Movies based on video games have become infamous for their hit-or-miss reception. Either they are an utter disaster as both a film and adaptation à la BloodRayne or they are surprise gems like the Sonic The Hedgehog movie. Some, however, fail to garner much praise on release but gain popularity thanks to either their nostalgic appeal or aspects that seem better as time goes on.

RELATED: 10 Behind The Scenes Details Fans Should Know About The ’90s Mortal Kombat Movies

Twenty-five years later, the original Mortal Kombat movie remains a cult classic in the eyes of many and is considered to be one of the most fun martial arts action movies of the ’90s. However, there are some things about the movie that have not aged well, especially after the release of the 2021 Mortal Kombat reboot.

Updated on September 19th, 2021 by Melody MacReady: In 1995, critics despised the Mortal Kombat movie while audiences enjoyed it for the most part. Many years later, Mortal Kombat became a cult gem of the 1990s for many reasons; from the beloved cast to the earworm that is the main theme song that still makes fans start dancing to this day. However, Mortal Kombat was also one of the first video game movies ever made and it shows its age in many ways after a quarter-century. The 2021 reboot certainly showcased a more game-authentic experience for fans that makes even more elements of the original seem dated by comparison.

12 Aged Well: The Fight Choreography Remains Top Notch

When translating a fighting game into a blockbuster movie, it’s kind of important to get the combat right and the 1995 mortal Kombat movie does just that. It may not have the super over-the-top gore and fatalities that the games are famous for but, for a PG-13 film, the fights are still fun to watch.

From Johnny Cage VS Scorpion to Sonya VS Kano or the fight between Liu Kang and Reptile, the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie never holds back. Along with many of the actors performing their own stunts, the movie has great cinematography and several iconic special moves from the games are used that make fans cheer with joy.

11 Aged Terribly: The CGI & Digital Effects Look Like Cartoons

Most of the practical effects and sets from the 1995 mortal Kombat movie are still genuinely impressive to look at but the same cannot be said for the digital effects sprinkled throughout the film. When even Sub-Zero and Scorpion’s iconic special moves look bad, that’s a big problem.

Reptile’s true form is laughable when he first appears, while the portal between Earthrealm and Outworld looks like the discarded remnants of the Reboot animated series. Even Lord Raiden’s lightning, when he uses it against Scorpion and Sub-Zero, looks more like an old video game than the actual old video games.

10 Aged Well: The Movie Is Still Eye-Candy

Liu Kang facing Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat (1995)

Every location in the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie looks amazing and shows that Paul W.S. Anderson does have talent as a director outside of his Resident Evil movies. Be it the many forests and beaches of Shang Tsung’s island, the tower in Outworld, or the dark and grimy dungeons, every location looks appealing.

These different venues have the same effective function as they do in the games, to help each fight feel unique and fresh. This is something that the reboot remembered because–while there were a few CGI backgrounds–like its predecessor, it mainly relied on practical sets and exquisitely designed costumes for characters.

9 Aged Terribly: Nerfed Violence & No Fatalities

The games made their mark in history for their violence and the fatalities that gave birth to the rating system. While there are fans that can ignore this aspect and enjoy the movie as it is, most fans can agree that the reboot handled the violence better with its extensive amounts of gore and fatalities.

RELATED: Ranking All The Fatalities In Mortal Kombat (2021)

The 1995 movie does have some fun kills, especially Liu Kang using a stage fatality on Shang Tsung but much like the difference between X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Logan, the violence in the 2021 movie is just truer to the source material.

8 Aged Well: The Soundtrack Is Pure Perfection

It’s impossible to talk about the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie without at some point referencing the main theme by The Immortals. The song is actually even more famous than the movie. It’s played at clubs and parties all over the world.

While the main theme is iconic, the rest of Mortal Kombat‘s original soundtrack by George Clinton is filled with some memorable tracks that always fit every fight and scene beautifully. Another standout worth mentioning is the Reptile theme, which makes the character’s fight with Liu Kang even more intense.

7 Aged Terribly: Goro Is Straight-Up Goofy

Despite having a great introduction, a killer theme song for his fight scenes, and a memorable battle between him and Johnny Cage, the animatronics and puppetry that went into bringing Goro to life was, unfortunately, not even that impressive by 1995’s standards. This is a result of Goro’s puppet being as dysfunctional as the shark from Jaws.

Goro’s movements are robotic and awkward, while his constant roaring and grumbling get a little goofy after a while. Most of the best parts featuring Goro come from when he’s barely moving and just talking. This is not great when the whole movie builds up the character as this epic champion of the Outworld.

6 Aged Well: Elements Of The Movie Became Main Stays In The Games

By 1995, the Mortal Kombat games did not have the extensive story that they do now, so the movie did as much as it could with what little was available at the time. This led to some creative decisions being unique to the movie itself.

For example, in the games, Kano was completely different as a character until the movie came along. Since then, Kano has been depicted in the same vein as Trevor Goddard’s portrayal. Shang Tsung’s iconic “Your soul is mine” line has since become a part of the games over the years.

5 Aged Terribly: A Great Ending That Could Have Led To Something Greater

While this is less of a flaw with the movie but rather a result of the abomination that is the sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, that still doesn’t help the bittersweet feeling that comes when watching the finale of the first movie.

RELATED: 5 Ways Mortal Kombat Annihilation Is So Bad It’s Good (& 5 Ways It Deserves A Fatality)

It sets up a sequel perfectly: The tournament has been won by Earthrealm, the champions are all celebrating when the evil Emperor Shao Kahn of Outworld begins his attack. He threatens the heroes, they prepare for another fight, cut to credits. That’s on the same level as a Marvel post-credit scene but what makes it dated is now audiences know what that setup results in – complete failure.

4 Aged Well: A Dedicated & Outstanding Cast

Split image of Shang Tsung battling Liu Kang and the cast in Mortal Kombat 1995

Fancy fights and cool locations are great but Mortal Kombat games were known for their unique characters even before the stories became an integral part of the games. Fortunately for the movie, the main cast still remains the best aspect of this movie.

Robin Shou was a picture-perfect Liu Kang, Linden Ashby stole the show as Johnny Cage, Trevor Goddard’s Kano was fun to watch, and Christopher Lambert was a different portrayal of Raiden that worked perfectly in the movie. However, the best casting of the movie to many was Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Shang Tsung, whose performance became so iconic that he was even brought the actor back for Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath.

3 Aged Terribly: Scorpion & Sub-Zero Are Completely Wasted Characters

Split image of Scorpion in the forest and Sub-Zero charging his cryomancy in Mortal Kombat 1995

Not even taking the whitewashing of the casting into account, the 1995 Mortal Kombat still gave a very poor treatment to characters that are easily the franchise’s most iconic. They are often featured right on the front of the covers for a reason. Even in the mid-’90s, there were still mythos and lore in the games to draw from.

So instead of Hanzo Hasashi, AKA Scorpion, hunting Bi-Han, AKA Sub-Zero, for the murder of his family and clan, both are just silent villains who act as glorified thugs for Shang Tsung. Scorpion at least had a fun fight with Johnny Cage but his iconic spear was replaced with a strange creature that comes out of his hand. Sub-Zero’s defeat was just facepalming worthy at best.

2 Aged Well: It Paved The Way For The Reboot

Split image of Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat 1995 and Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat 2021

Whether the original or the reboot is superior is its own subject, what matters is that the 1995 film is responsible for the creation of the 2021 version. From the music to now-famous quotes to Easter eggs to even the designs of certain characters.

It is very clear that director Simon McQuoid and his crew love the original film and used it to springboard the reboot with many familiarities to it and the games while taking a new direction.

1 Aged Terribly: Whitewashed Characters

Split image of Raiden in Mortal Kombat 1995 and Raiden in Mortal Kombat 2021

Sub-Zero is a Chinese assassin named Bi-Han while Scorpion is a Japanese ninja named Hanzo Hasashi and Raiden is typically described as Asian in appearance in the games. Sadly, none of these are properly represented in the original Mortal Kombat movie. Liu Kang was the only properly represented character thanks to the casting of Robin Shou.

Scorpion was played by American martial artist Chris Casamassa while Scorpion was played by François Petit, a French martial artist, neither happen to be of Asian descent. Finally, Christopher Lambert (who delivers a fun performance) was a far cry from Raiden’s description as he originates from France and America. Many fans agree that this is an area where the reboot improved on the original by having a proper representation of Asian characters.

NEXT:  10 Interesting Facts About Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion That You Might Not Know

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