Review: Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms

On one hand, WarnerMedia has produced two animated films and one live-action film of the storied Mortal Kombat franchise. On the other, WB Games was up for sale last year before AT&T sold WarnerMedia to Discovery. So, whether or not the powers at be give a shit about this franchise remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure, the animated films are nuts.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms takes place after Scorpion’s Revenge and features multiple story arcs through the film’s which includes the heroes heading to Outworld to fight in a tournament to prevent the merging of the different realms. The other big plot is Sub Zero’s mission to kill Scorpion but also trying to stop Lin Kuei’s new robotic trio of warriors who have been paid to seek out a key that will turn Shinnok into a giant demon. Fortunately for us, Mortal Kombat as a franchise has never been a bankable story-driven franchise in the same way as say Final Fantasy, what pays the bills around these parts is buckets of blood, bones, and guts by way of gratuitous action sequences that lead to mutilation.

Fans of Mortal Kombat will be happy to hear, you get plenty of that here. Even more, if you recall in my review of the previous film, I disliked a lot of the animation quality as it pertained to dismemberment and this go-round that appears to be very-much fixed. Instead of the ham-style slices that the previous entry in the MKL franchise exhibited, everything is silly brutal, which is just the kind of output we need from an animated feature adaptation. The action sequences have also been greatly improved, clearly some influences from anime in both the execution of the combatants’ battles as well as the kaiju fight near the end. We also get a good amount of cameos from MK fighters we’ve seldom seen in the games including Li Mei, Reiko, Smoke, and Kintaro. The fatalities are very rewarding, and some are ripped straight from the bowels of the gaming franchise, most of which are doled out by Shao Kahn who goes nearly on a Thanos-level tear through the good-guy roster.

Yes, there’s a kaiju fight in the end. To be honest, the movie’s plot, I started to lose sight of at this juncture, but the actual battle sequences that happen here are borderline dazzling. Really all of the battle action sequences are exquisite and the comedy that has always been a part of the gaming franchise very much shines through here with the obvious nod going to Joel McHale with the best of the one-liners, though Fred Tatasciore’s “Shao Kahn” gets in some good licks as well. I needed a good gargle rinse of blood from the nasty taste left in my mouth from the awful HBO MAX live-action Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms delivers this in spades and even improves upon the animated predecessor in most ways except plot, but we haven’t needed that anyway.