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Wishful Wednesday: Mortal Kombat (2021)

I really enjoyed this latest reboot of Mortal Kombat. Along with the decent Sonic the Hedgehog, it’s one of the better video game adaptations today. Director Simon McQuoid keeps the game franchise’s soul while distinguishing himself from Paul Anderson’s campy 1995 version. McQuoid balances his serious tone with cheeky humor and gore for bloodthirsty fans, absent in Anderson’s take.

However, Mortal Kombat could’ve used at least two and a half hours. It needed to slow down for character development and world-building. Specifically, Cole Young (Lewis Tan) isn’t from the games and felt replaceable. I’ve made a sample backstory for him to illustrate my critique.

“This sequence may take about 20 minutes and plays right after Sub-Zero and Scorpion’s opening battle.

Chicago – Shortly after Cole Young is born, his parents secure him in a nearby foster home. The time has finally come. A horde of Lin Kuei ninja descends upon their home. The Lin Kuei seeks to eliminate any descendants of their enemies, the Shirai-Ryu. Despite fighting bravely, Young’s parents are savagely murdered protecting their son.

As Young grows up, he bounces between countless foster homes for his rebellious personality. At age 12, a retired martial artist and his wife decide to adopt Young. If he could train Young in various martial arts, perhaps he could mold a better boy from this troubled soul.

Young finally finds a loving home and gradually embraces his new parents. His father teaches him all his intricate fighting skills throughout his teens.

He notices a strange dragon brand on Young’s chest. A birthmark? Some tribal etching? He and his wife spend long nights researching the mark, knowing it must have some purpose. When they find answers, they vow never to tell Young. He doesn’t need this in his life.

When Young turns 16, his father takes him to an MMA match. It energizes Young and he knows exactly what he wants in life – become the strongest MMA fighter alive.

With full confidence in his son, Young’s father uses connections to respected mentors for his son’s training. Aged 18, Young enters his first match armed with confidence and his father’s skills. He wins in a matter of seconds. Cole Young was going to make history.

Young remains undefeated for over a decade. After a match, he meets his future wife, Allison (Laura Brent), his biggest fan. They later marry and Allison births their daughter Emily (Matilda Kimber).

Nearing his forties, Young isn’t powerful like his younger years. He becomes slower and even loses his winning streak. One match severely injures his body and must retire thereafter. This doesn’t stop him though.

Young’s glory days have long gone. He stubbornly still fights in shady underground matches to support his family. Allison refuses to watch but doesn’t intervene. A man’s mind can rarely be changed.”



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