Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

on November 21, 1997 by Dwayne E. Leslie
   This special-effect drenched sequel jam-packs 50 percent more martial arts fights than the original "Mortal Kombat," as well as several morphing scenes, which should delight the pre-teenage boy contingent the film is obviously banking on. Throughout "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation," heroes and villains are kicked across the room and crash into walls, only to bounce off and continue fighting. The scenes are choreographed in a way that will mesmerize, and to its credit, just as its predecessor, there is no blood or fatalities. Replacing Christopher Lambert as Lord Rayden is "The Phantom's" James Remar, who looks very much out of place here. If only his double (Ray Park) had taken over the part, there could have been close-up fighting shots instead of close-up posing after a combination of moves have been executed. There are some new characters (Cyrax, Smoke, and Jax) that are enjoyable to watch, while others could have been left out (Nightwolf, Baraka, and especially the wasted Sheeva). To the certain disappointment of devotees of the video game from which this franchise was spawned, the main hero, Liu Kang ("Beverly Hills Ninja's" Robin Shou), did not do any of his signature moves.
   As far as the plot, the repetitive bombardment of similar scenarios makes the film seem very long and painfully drawn out. In an attempt to compensate for a lack of storyline, the energy-infused beats of the soundtrack are more even pumped than before, gamely trying to keep the audience's stamina from flagging. But interest and boxoffice grosses seem likely to falter, in all probability ending the continuing struggle to keep the portal between Earth and the Outworld closed. Starring Robin Shou, Talisa Soto, James Remar, Sandra Hess, Lynn Red Williams and Brian Thompson. Directed by John R. Leonetti. Written by Brent V. Friedman & Bryce Zabel. Produced by Lawrence Kasanoff. A New Line release. Action. Rated PG-13 for nonstop martial arts violence
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