Mortal Kombat (2021) Review Roundup: What Do The Critics Think?

Here's what critics are saying about the furious clash of legendary warriors like Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Sonya Blade, and Kano.

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Mortal Kombat has finally premiered on HBO Max, hours after the first reviews landed online. The new film sticks closer to the storylines from the games, and yes, it's very violent--pushing its R-Rating. Check out a selection of some of the reviews below.

As of this writing, Mortal Kombat sits at a 43 on Metacritic--GameSpot's sister site. Out of 29 reviews, 16 land in the "mixed" section, with scores ranging between 40 and 60. This is the third live-action film based on the Mortal Kombat series of fighting games, but is a reboot of the property that is not connected to the previous entries. Director Simon McQuoid has promised the film won't deviate far from the source material, and that it.

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Now Playing: Mortal Kombat (2021) Cast Plays Real or Fake Game Character

  • Directed by: Simon McQuoid
  • Written by: Greg Russo, Dave Callahan, Oren Uziel
  • Starring: Joe Taslim, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Lewis Tan, Mehcad Brooks, Chin Han, Ludi Lin, Max Huang, Sisi Stringer, Daniel Nelson
  • Release Date: April 23, 2021 (United States)

Initial reviews are mixed, praising the film's fidelity and combat, while calling out wooden dialogue and dump truck-esque exposition as slowing the brutal martial arts film down.

If you want to watch Mortal Kombat for yourself, you'll have to subscribe to HBO Max. Currently, the streaming service costs $15 a month, and you can watch plenty of movies on HBO Max the same day as they air in theaters. Additionally, the WarnerMedia service carries TV shows and original content. Take a look at what's coming to HBO Max for May 2021.

GameSpot -- 9/10

This new take on Mortal Kombat is one of the most successful video game adaptations yet--by a long shot. While not perfect, it wonderfully captures the essence of the Mortal Kombat video game franchise. -- Chris Hayner [Full Review]

IGN -- 7/10

In a spectacular display of blood, guts, and effects-heavy martial arts battles, this new take on the over-the-top story of the Mortal Kombat fighting games perhaps bites off a little more than it can chew by attempting what is essentially an origin story and an Avengers-esque superhero team-up all in one. -- Mitchell Saltzman [Full Review]

AV Club -- No Score

Is it too much to ask that a dumb movie also be fun? Paul W.S. Anderson’s 1995 adaptation of the fighting game series Mortal Kombat managed to be both: the fast-paced, kid-logic plotting; the goofy dialogue; the camp performances of Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Christopher Lambert, and Linden Ashby; the pure good-times-ahead energy of the opening seconds, with its yawps of Mortal Kombat! over loud techno beats. Compared to that, the new Mortal Kombat, directed by first-timer Simon McQuoid, barely qualifies as entertainment. -- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky [Full Review]

TheWrap -- No Score

I was entertained by Mortal Kombat more often than I wasn’t, but I can’t guarantee that I had the kind of good time that the filmmakers intended to create. -- Alonso Duralde [Full Review]

Los Angeles Times -- No Score

Assuming Godzilla vs. Kong didn’t sate your appetite for this kind of head-to-head smackdown cinema, you might as well strap yourself in for nearly two hours of interdimensional warfare and Grand Guignol bloodsports, the most baroque instance of which suggests a woodshop project gone horribly awry. -- Justin Chang [Full Review]

BloodyDisgusting -- 3.5/5

It’s not a flawless victory, but McQuoid succeeds in checking off nearly every major box for a Mortal Kombat adaptation. It’s gory with satisfying fatalities and game callback moments, including dialogue. The fight sequences are well executed and thought out, and most of the emotional beats resonate. -- Meagan Navarro [Full Review]

The Hollywood Reporter -- No Score

Though the filmmakers definitely wanted to please the gore-starved faithful by getting an R rating (and threw a lot of gratuitous "f***"s in the dialogue to seal the deal), you do get the impression they don’t want to alienate ordinary viewers either. The result is kombat that isn’t as viscerally mortal as it wants to be. -- John DeFore [Full Review]

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