Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997) Review

Weak and Pathetic


Aside from a few entertaining fight scenes Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is laughably bad with some of the most atrocious visual effects of all time but I can’t decide if the dialogue is worse. It’s a fun watch in a guilty pleasure fashion but even then it’s still bad.

Plot: Every generation, a portal opens up between the Outerworld and Earth. Emperor Shao-Kahn (Brian Thompson), ruler of the mythical Outerworld, pounces the moment the portal reopens and slips through with his mighty warriors, intent on total domination and uniting the two worlds. However, he has only seven days to complete his task. In the meantime, opposition grows and warriors Sonya Blade (Sandra Hess), Jax (Lynn “Red” Williams), Kitana (Talisa Soto) and Liu Kang (Robin Shou) get ready for war.

Review: I saw Mortal Kombat: Annihilation back in 1997 and thought it was maybe one of the worst films I’d ever seen so I hadn’t bothered to watch it since. It’s on Tubi right now so I figured I would rewatch it just so I could do a write up on it and wow, it’s even worse than I remember. Only two of the original cast members return (Robin Shou as Liu Kang & Talisa Soto as Kitana) and they kill off Johnny Cage in the first few minutes.

James Remar takes over as Raiden and does the best he can, but Christopher Lambert had made the role his own and to this day I hate seeing anyone else play him.

Now here comes the part you’ve been expecting – me bitching about the CGI but this time it is 100% worth it as it’s the worst I’ve ever seen; the not so special effects look unfinished, and every moment of this film looks cheap. I’ve seen better cosplay and a lot of the characters that show up aren’t even named or important ones like Sub-Zero and Scorpion appear for a couple of minutes then disappear for the rest of the movie.

Brian Thompson is usually good value as a villain but even he struggles to elevate such poor material; he does get to bellow out some awful dialogue which admittedly makes the film more entertaining in a Mystery Science Theatre kind of way. Speaking of which the true highlight of this movie is the incredible script and performances from some of the cast especially in the below (now iconic) scene are Oscar worthy.

Robin Shou was well cast as Liu Kang and he is very much at the forefront along with Sonya Blade; aside from the awful visuals there are some decent fight scenes and J.J. Perry himself plays Cyrax.

My favourite Mortal Kombat character has always been Baraka but even he looks terrible and ends up getting killed after a few seconds.

The story is nonsense and at times I had no idea what was even going on but Mortal Kombat doesn’t exactly need to be Dostoevsky. If they hadn’t tried to squeeze so many characters in it would have worked better but it just becomes a bloated mess taking away any sense of characterisation.

On the plus side we still get the classic main theme which may be very much of the time period but it’s still an awesome tune especially when it comes on during the final battle.

Overall, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is truly terrible to the point of being nearly unwatchable with possibly the worst visual effects of all time but there are a few decent fight scenes and it does have that so-bad-it’s-good thing going for it.