Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Review — Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge

I’ve been a fan of Mortal Kombat my entire life. I remember playing the original games on Super Nintendo, and then, eventually, on PlayStation, followed by Gamecube, Nintendo Switch, and PC, not to mention handheld versions too. I also have vivid memories of playing Mortal Kombat 4 on an arcade machine when it came out, and I was blown away by the new 3D look that the franchise had adopted. These video games have consistently capture my attention, and I’ve always found them to be more intriguing than Street Fighter. Therefore, I was more than happy to fire up Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge. Read on for my review of this animated film set in the MK universe.

Below is the official synopsis for Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge:

After the vicious slaughter of his family by stone-cold mercenary Sub-Zero, Hanzo Hasashi is exiled to the torturous Netherrealm. There, in exchange for his servitude to the sinister Quan Chi, he’s given a chance to avenge his family – and is resurrected as Scorpion, a lost soul bent on revenge. Back on Earthrealm, Lord Raiden gathers a team of elite warriors – Shaolin monk Liu Kang, Special Forces officer Sonya Blade and action star Johnny Cage – an unlikely band of heroes with one chance to save humanity. To do this, they must defeat Shang Tsung’s horde of Outworld gladiators and reign over the Mortal Kombat tournament. Prepare to witness the bone-crushing action in this all-new Mortal Kombat Legends animated feature!

Sound familiar? Several elements of this animated feature film were applied to the brand-new Mortal Kombat movie that was released on HBO Max and in theaters this past April. The biggest of these plot points is Hanzo Hasashi’s family being murdered by Sub-Zero, resulting in the battle between this cold-blooded killer and Scorpion, hence the movie’s subtitle. It’s an effective storytelling device because it creates an epic rivalry and a believable motive for Scorpion wanting to kill Sub-Zero.

The animation style of this movie is excellent, with a wide array of colors and tones that are reflective of the source material. I also appreciate the X-ray moments, where bones are crunching as devastating blows are delivered, just like what is featured in the modern day Mortal Kombat video games. This is complemented by an insane amount of blood — much more than you’d see in a typical film, probably because animation lets creators get away with more as a result of the medium creating a greater separation between reality and fantasy.

Overall, I enjoyed Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge. It didn’t blow me away, but it was exactly what I expected. My only complaint is that nearly every Mortal Kombat film tells the same story. The games have moved beyond that, and I think it’s time that the movies do too. With all of the amazing characters in these games, there is a great deal of lore to explore. So, I sincerely hope something more obscure is the inspiration for the next entry — animated or not — in the Mortal Kombat movie franchise.

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