Film Review – ‘Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle Of The Realms’
by Ben Martin
A few months ago, when I reviewed the Mortal Kombat live-action films for the Franchise Expansion (or Implosion) column, I ended up doing a total deep-dive on MK. In addition to reviewing the underwhelming live-action movie adaptations, I read up on the games in the series that I’ve not played. (I must admit to being a few games behind.) Beyond that, I made sure to cover the rest of my bases by watching the Mortal Kombat: Legacy web series (2011-2013), and an episode of Mortal Kombat: Conquest (1998-1999). (Which frankly was more than enough of a refresher on what that short-lived TV series was back in the day.) Unfortunately, though, none of these live-action efforts hit the mark for me.
Instead, it took the medium of animation to deliver the MK adaptation that fans deserve. I’m, of course, referring to the 2020 animated direct-to-home video/streaming feature Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge. As is the trend with Warner Bros. Animation offerings of late, Scorpion’s Revenge sports an R-rating, which allows it to truly be as violent as a Mortal Kombat flick needs to be. Much to my surprise, though, this animated movie ended up being the best Mortal Kombat movie yet, in any filmic medium. Furthermore, I wasn’t the only cat who felt this way, as the fanbase for the series dug it as well.
So much so that the crew and voice cast of Scorpion’s Revenge return for a direct sequel to that film. Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms picks up almost immediately after its predecessor, wherein we thought the recently completed Mortal Kombat tournament would keep the world safe for a while. However, Shao Kahn (voiced by Fred Tatasciore) brings a dramatic proposition to fellow immortal Raiden (voiced by Dave B. Mitchell) and the rest of our Earthrealm heroes. The evil immortal proposes one last Mortal Kombat tournament, a titular Battle of the Realms that will determine the fates of these worlds once and for all! Meanwhile, as this final brawl for all commences on Outworld, Scorpion (voiced by Patrick Seitz) and Sub-Zero (voiced by Bayardo De Murguia) are trying to dig (and fight) and fight their way up from Netherrealm.
As you read in that plot synopsis, this flick has A and B plots relatively evenly split. While doing such a thing may seem like it packs a punch, having so much content confined within this movie’s 88-minute run time does bog the pacing down a bit. Pacing which can occasionally be felt when you’re watching one action sequence after another. I feel like they almost could have made two separate sequels out of their respective plotlines with a bit of padding to each. By that same token, though, the consistent fight sequences keep steam in the ultraviolet proceedings.
Even still, the occasional pacing issues don’t stop Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms from being a beautifully animated and violently fun romp. This sequel, much like its predecessor, will give MK fans everything they want with a bit of humor from Johnny Cage (voiced by Joel McHale) to boot. Now, I don’t find Battle of the Realms to be as good as Scorpion’s Revenge. But, frankly, I think that might have a lot to do with a lack of surprise factor this time around when it comes to animated carnage. More importantly, both these animated features are still better than any other Mortal Kombat movie. As such, I hope Battle of the Realms is successful enough to garner another sequel. Or better yet, an HBO Max animated series.
Feel like engaging in further Kombat? Read up on Mortal Kombat (1995) here, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation here and Mortal Kombat (2021) here.