Despite everything destructive about 2021, living in this time right about now has its perks. Mortal Kombat fever is running just as rampant as it did back when it hit in 1992 and maintaining a steady stream of enthusiasm throughout its twenty-year course in the gaming and entertainment business, with the very anticipated R-rated film to hit theaters and streaming here shortly. The first Mortal Kombat was really something, however, I like to think it was the release of the second game, introducing some new and secret characters that really got the fandom to grow to exponential levels. And well, with that kick-ass third installment AND the 1995 movie to boot later, well it was a certain flawless victory for gaming developer Ed Boon to say the very least and things couldn’t get much better.
Or could it? Enter the glorious country tour of Mortal Kombat the goddamn stage show! And hey, according to some kid, it’s way better than the Power Rangers live show. Take that Toasty uppercut Alpha-Five!
The 200 city US tour begat at the infamous New York Radio City Music Hall on September 14th, 1995 and mesmerized kids across the county with choregraphed fights by none other than Shang Tsung himself, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. At a cost that ranged from $14 to $25 a ticket, the 90-minute spectacle of marital artists dressed as our favorite playable characters kicking the crap out of each other to techno music, was the most 90s’ thing ever.
The stage surrounded by giant screens serving as a closer look for those of us with nosebleed seats in the back, was pretty helpful for those bigger venues. However, those green amulets that were sold at concession stands and served as part of the show for those who suckered their parents into buying them, could be seen from planet fucking Pluto with the amount of neon green lights that illuminated from that damn thing. Among the blinding lights, other souvenirs from the tour included collectable tour books complete with cheat game codes and even a space for autographs from the stage cast if you got lucky. But, the gold mine of those concession money grabbers, were of course the KOMBAT KAPS! Or just simply, the beloved and forgotten POGS of our generation.
While no full footage of the actual stage show exists on the internet at this time, (I know weird right?) the closest thing we can to relive this 90s’ mash of laser lights and karate chops, is this video uploaded by NeoGamer that flashes some highlights from the actual show and a promo with the cast on a local news station showcasing some of the moves that got us detention by trying to mimic them on the playground and accidently busting a kid in the lip with a Liu Kang high kick. Featuring a very special PSA from Shang Tsung about the differences between real martial arts and violence and the one and only REAL Sonya Blade Kerri Hoskins doing her Sonya thing, enjoy and relive what a wild and wonderful time we once lived in where this was an actual thing.
Alright my nostalgic nuggets, you’ve forced my hand here. Ok, not really I actually get a real sick pleasure out of writing this stuff up. However, my most recent piece on Scorpion and Sub-Zero’s epic entrance in the 1995 Mortal Kombat film, and it being pretty much the greatest goddamn thing in the universe, really threw up a few interesting discussions in the ring about the film. One, in particular, the best fight from the movie.
Without a doubt, the fights in the film are absolutely the best parts of the movie, (with of course the exception of the previous article). It’s MORTAL KOMBAT! The fights are what it’s all about! While some are fantastic on their own, a few left us with an undesirable mountain of wtf and was ultimately- a little disappointing. I really hate having to write that, but a few of our beloved characters really got the garbage shaft in this movie. So as great as this live-action adaptation is, let’s hope the 2021 film brings some of our guys some deserved justice.
And to be perfectly honest, I have no doubts that they will.
Anyways, I’m all about using my worthless opinion to rank stuff- so let’s do this! From Worst to Best, because I like save the best for last-
8. Liu Kang VS Kitana
I don’t even know what to say about this other than this is some lame bullshit. Kitana has always been one of my personal favorites to play with because if you got those moves down to memory, you can really beat some serious ass with her. I get the story doesn’t want them to fight it out and blah, blah, blah… However, this was just terrible. And only serves the purpose in her blabbing on how to defeat Sub Zero. Which is another huge pile of horseshit, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
7.Liu Kang VS Nub
PANTHER GROWL! Hey, not one, but two! For this to be the official kickoff to the Earthrealm’s ultimate fate via dudes kicking the shit out of each other, it’s just… OK. Nub isn’t up to par getting defeated with a double dropkick. But, he real winner here is Liu Kang’s glorious locks. Oh, and it’s pretty awesome seeing Shang Tsung collect his soul.
6. Liu Kang VS Sub-Zero
Goddamnit this is a fight that when we knew it was gonna happen, we were like, “THE SHIT IS ABOUT TO GO DOWN!” and then… massive disappointment. As an important character in the MK universe, Sub-Zero really got fucked here theatrically. Our boy came down the steps quite confidentially, and the fight scene itself is nothing to gush over. The gymnastics are cool? But this is Mortal Kombat! And for Sub Zero to get taken out so quickly by a bucket of water was just, lame. Ok, Liu Kang is the chosen one and all but COME ON. Ugh.
5. Sonya Blade VS Kano
That Veronica Vaughn, erm I mean, Sonya Blade really kicked the shit out of Kano, literally. Taking time restraints into consideration, this fight is again, ok. But it’s not one I’m truly upset about. It would have been nice to see Kano use his laser eye, but alas, Sonya’s thighs got the better of him. And ultimately, FOOTALITY!
4. Liu Kang VS Shang Tsung
Here we are, a man with presumably a thousand souls getting taken out by a man with, let me count real quick, one without breaking much of a sweat. Albeit the matter of the sorcerer summoning other fighters in lieu of him fighting half the time and myself personally desiring a little more from the fighting performance, both Robin Shou and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa embody and ARE those characters without a doubt. This is what perfect casting looks like ladies and gentlemen. Also, the MK Immortals techno beat that drops when they throw hands, and ending it with Liu Kang’s signature fireball fist is redeemable enough for me.
3. Johnny Cage VS Goro
This fight ranks so high for three reasons:
“Those were $500 sunglasses asshole!”
The dick punch
The enthusiastic Goro Groupies ‘brah
Ok, now we’re getting into the REAL good shit. You know, the type of fight scenes that had us jumping out of seats, dropkicking popcorn all over the theater patrons in front of us. Mr. Special Effects Goro was a glorious spectacle reminiscent of 80s fantasy films such as The Labyrinthand The Dark Crystal. It was slightly clumsy at times with the mouth piece not syncing up when Goro spoke at times, but mad props anyway because as a 13-year-old seeing this for the first time- who literally gave a shit?
2. Johnny Cage VS Scorpion
Now it’s time to start dropping the heavy beats!
The first time Scorpion yelled, “GET OVER HERE!”, as a kid in the theater I just went WILD! It was about to go down with one of my all-time favorite fighters and this scene DID NOT disappoint. Well except for maybe how Scorpion was taken out but the fatality/friendship crossover end to the match really boosted this into one of the coolest things ever. And that stands even now to this day. I’m of the opinion Scorpion won this fight up to the end. I mean he must have kicked the shit out of Cage at least 30 times in this short fight. But I guess, Cage had to make it to the end only to be killed within the first two minutes of the sequel.
Liu Kang VS Reptile
I’m gonna tell you something right now: If you don’t think this wasn’t the most epic battle of the film, I’m very sorry for how wrong you are. No one saw this coming and when that little monster slithered into the statue and the narrator of a film that doesn’t even HAVE a narrator simply states, “REPTILE” and then the beat drops with an all out ass-whooping, everyone in that theater back in 1995 lost their ever-loving minds.
Fun fact, this scene was actually filmed after the movie was already finished and ready to go, but the studios felt like there wasn’t enough “kombat” in the film, so they added this national treasure. Also, according to Robin Shou, the kick that lands Liu on the edge of a pillar ledge where he falls off, was shot ten times with the last and final shot being used in the film was that of him busting a few ribs from that land.
Now what do you guys think? What’s your favorite fight in the movie? Or if you need to revisit, Amazon has a great deal on the Blu-Ray for under $5.00!! Which you can get here.
The Summer of 1995 was as about as phenomenal in the pop culture aspect as you could get if you were a 90s kid. We were either singing every line of TLC’s “Waterfalls” or Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” on the way to the local theater to see the big Summer Blockbuster film. Movies like Clueless, Batman Forever, and Braveheart were some notable hits among our angsty teenage group. However, the BIG ONE everyone was waiting for arrived late in the game before school commenced, ensuring we’d all be spending our first day of class most likely in detention with trying to perfect that sidekick to the kidneys. And that film was, of course, MORTAL KOMBAT.
That totally fuckin’ happened too.
On the heels of the surprise and highly awaited trailer for the new 2021 film dropped recently, I felt obligated in my soul to talk about one of the greatest damn intro entrances ever pulled-off in a movie.
August 18th, 1995 was the day of reckoning as myself and a group of friends took the bus down to our local nine-screen theater to get in line for the most anticipated event of the year. Anxious to see our favorite game of blood and guts played out on the big screen, we stood in line for the 6:00 PM showing that ended up being a sold-out show. Lucky for us, we got there early and avoided the dreaded front-row bullshit. As a then 13-year-old, I was pretty proud of my planning strategies. We nabbed some decent seats toward the back and with hearts pounding, heard that glorious techno music open our minds to a live-action presentation of the game stick-in-the-ass parents’ tried desperately to get banned from our “fragile little minds”.
As we walked through each exciting introduction of familiar faces, none matched the simplistic execution of not one, but TWO of arguably, the game’s most popular characters- Scorpion and Sub-Zero. The scene is set up beautifully as a determined Sonya Blade is tracking Kano on the boat taking them to the tournament. As she’s scoping the the area, Shang Tsung steps out of the shadows like a creepy stalker to greet the military officer, and extends an invitation to give her a tour in the sense of a kidnapper offering candy to a kid. With Johnny Cage and Liu Kang following closely behind, they intervene and that’s when shit starts getting real.
The entire sold-out theater rumbled like a goddamn earthquake when the two ninjas stepped into the room. The thunderous applause of every 90s’ kid losing their ever-loving minds upon the first glimpse of Scorpion and Sub-Zero, is something I’ll never forget- mainly because I was one of them. They enter, Sub-Zero first, and when Scorpion appeared behind him, we all needed a change of pants. The heavy guitar riffs that made up the score of the scene got more intense as they assumed their ninja position ready for a fight. It seems so simple, yet so perfect and is easily not only one of the greatest moments in the movie, and oh man there’s a lot of those, but the most memorable and greatest introduction entrances of a couple of iconic characters even to this day.
Now, only if Sonja had said “Freeze” instead of “move aside”, that would have been the cherry on top of this toasty sundae.