Mortal Kombat Parent Guide
With relentless, gruesome violence, this isn't a movie for family audiences - or anyone who enjoys critical thought.
Parent Movie Review
Mixed martial arts is a dangerous sport, and it takes its toll on the fighters. Cole Young (Lewis Tan) started strong, but his career has nosedived in years since, and now he finds himself getting pummeled for $200 a night. His life turns upside down when he runs into Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim), a lethal foe with ice-related superpowers. The encounter leads him to Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee), Jax (Mehcad Brooks), and Kano (Josh Lawson), a group of talented combatants looking for the mythical Temple of Raiden. There, the greatest fighters on Earth have trained for centuries to participate in Mortal Kombat, a massive tournament between Earthrealm and Outworld for supremacy. But Earth has lost the last nine tournaments in a row, and if they lose another, Outworld will gain control of Earth… and Earth’s combatants won’t have the necessary time to prepare.
The Mortal Kombat franchise has always had a, shall we say, unique tone. On one hand, it’s absolutely goofy. The fighters have inexplicable and essentially magical powers, and they run around in the silliest latex costumes available. On the other hand, they perform the most gruesome takedowns you’ve ever seen, so much so that the “fatality” moves in the original game caused enough controversy to initiate the formation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board. These gory scenes include people being eaten or dissolved in acid, along with a whole variety of impalements, dismemberments, and general bodily destruction. So if none of that sounds appealing to you, or you can’t reconcile the stupid outfits with grotesque murders, then this isn’t going to be the franchise for you.
Obviously, the primary concern here is the frequent depictions of that uniquely graphic violence. Not that it’s the only problem. Kano, in particular, has a bit of a foul mouth, and as a result, there are about 60 sexual expletives mixed in to the melee. That is the extent of the problems, however, with no on-screen sexual content or even the usual scanty costumes for the ladies. There is some crude dialogue, however - another contribution from Kano.
It comes as no surprise when I assert that this isn’t a film for young viewers. Mortal Kombat is for adult fans of an explicitly adult video game franchise – but only the ones who can turn off their brains for two hours at a time. Any attempt at critical thinking during this film will not only spoil the fun but could actually cause neurological damage. Trying to process the sheer chaos on screen (or the at times incomprehensible dialogue) could strain something. Like your brain stem. So just keep your mind on idle and let the non-stop mayhem wash over you… if you’re into that.Directed by Simon McQuoid. Starring Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, and Josh Lawson. Running time: 110 minutes. Theatrical release April 23, 2021. Updated April 23, 2021
Watch the trailer for Mortal Kombat
Rating & Content Info
Why is Mortal Kombat rated R? Mortal Kombat is rated R by the MPAA for strong bloody violence and language throughout, and some crude references.
Violence: There are frequent depictions of graphic violence, including stabbings, shootings, beatings, and dismemberment. Notable incidents include a fighter being vertically bisected, a wound which goes all the way through a fighter’s torso, revealing their spine, and a finishing move which involves one character tearing another’s heart out. One person is also stabbed through the eye with a garden gnome.
Sexual Content: There are a few incidents of sexually crude dialogue.
Profanity: There are 60 extreme profanities, 13 scatological profanities, and infrequent mild cursing and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: One individual is shown drinking a beer.
Page last updated April 23, 2021
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Film adaptations of Mortal Kombat have been attempted before in the truly unwatchable 1995 film and its 1997 sequel. Monster Hunter is another recent video game adaptation. If you like action on a larger scale, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is perhaps the best film ever made in any genre. (Not that I’m biased or anything.) More martial-arts focused options include The Karate Kid, The Forbidden Kingdom, and more recently, Enter the Fat Dragon.