A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge is the first animated feature film since the franchise became part of the Warner Bros. Animation organization. The movie is based on a series of popular, if controversial, video games that appeared in the 1990s (originally a Midway arcade game). Noted for its extreme violence and gore, the game pitted two entities in a ring fighting to the death. This new feature entry is more of the same. The plot serves to string together a multitude of brutal battle sequences. Monstrous creatures sustain the mayhem. Blood and body parts fill the screen at intervals as characters are beheaded, dismembered, set on fire, exploded, speared through heart, head, and all extremities. Weapons include machine guns, chains, swords, giant icicles, knives, fists, falls, explosive devices. Though it's animated action, no injury, blow, or stabbing is left to the imagination. There are countless deaths. Swearing and profanity is heard at times ("f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "sonofabitch," "d--k," "bastard"). It's clear by the end of the movie that sequel(s) will follow. The movie is definitely not for the faint-hearted or mutilation-averse crowd, and absolutely not for kids.
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What's the story?
In MORTAL KOMBAT LEGENDS: SCORPION'S REVENGE the fate of the world is to be decided by a tournament. For nine years running, the evil but powerful warriors from the Other World (aka the "Netherrealm") have defeated those from Earthrealm in an annual tournament of escalating one-on-one battles to the death. If Other World is successful again, for the tenth consecutive year, Earth, as it is known, will cease to exist. Representing Earthrealm are Sonya Blade (voiced by Jennifer Carpenter), a fierce military hero who has been sent to the tournament island, along with movie hero Johnny Cage (Joel McHale), who mistakenly believes he's on his way to a movie set. Additional fighters for Earthrealm are Liu Kang (Jordan Rodrigues), a young Shaolin monk trained to lead his realm by the thunder god Raiden (Dave B. Mitchell), and a giant crusader known as "Scorpion" (Patrick Seitz), who seeks revenge for the death of his wife and son at the hands of a treacherous villain from the Netherrealm. In a series of bloody, lethal confrontations between the Other World's brutes and savages in danger-filled locations all over the island, Earthrealm’s forces are overpowered and out-numbered. Still in the perennial fight between good and evil, Righteousness and Hope may ultimately be on the side of Earthrealm.
Is it any good?
Horrific deaths and bloody mayhem are nonstop in this well-executed but hyperviolent return of a popular, decades-old video franchise now a part of the Warner Brothers Animation team. Vilified (even banned in some countries) by parent groups, educators, and politicians in the 1990s for its over-the-top focus on death and destruction, the game had no shortage of fans. Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge is back "with a vengeance." Fans of the brand will be happy. The animation is slick; the voice actors' performances are first-rate; the heroes elicit sympathy. Joel McHale as the vain, hapless actor who is in the wrong place at the wrong time adds welcome comic relief to the relentless head-bashing and slashing of the murderous villains who fill the screen with blood and gore.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the extreme violence in Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge. What emotions does all the bloodshed elicit? Is it exciting or horrifying? How much is too much? Does the fact that it's animated make it any less powerful? Why is it important to understand how the violence in the film may impact kids?
The movie states that someone (Scorpion, in this case) "will sacrifice more and more of his humanity to get revenge." What do you think this statement means? How does the movie show it to be true?
If you were already a Mortal Kombat fan, did this movie meet your expectations? Why or why not? If you were not already a fan, did this movie make you want to see more? What was it that appealed to you?
- On DVD or streaming: April 28, 2020
- Cast: Jennifer Carpenter, Joel McHale, Jordan Rodrigues
- Director: Ethan Spaulding
- Studio: Warner Bros. Animation
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 80 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence throughout and some language
- Last updated: April 25, 2021
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