Mortal Kombat

Vampire Owl: Do you remember us watching Mortal Kombat on VCR a long time ago?

Vampire Bat: Yes, a long time ago for humans, just a little bit earlier for us.

Vampire Owl: Yes, immortality has an effect on the perception of time.

Vampire Bat: Yet, those were the days when humans had tapes instead of CDs.

Vampire Owl: Mortal Kombat had also inspired many grand stage fights between vampires and werewolves.

Vampire Bat: Yes, thanks to our special powers, we won most of them against brutal strength.

Vampire Owl: Our battles were more or less immortal combats though.

Vampire Bat: Yes, immortality makes sure that death is near impossible.

Vampire Owl: Actually, having such tournaments are good options in our realms too.

Vampire Bat: Well, tournaments no longer have value among elders.

[Gets a red velvet cake and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: In Japan during the seventeenth century, a group of assassins ruthlessly attack a family, and their leader Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) murders everyone except for their child, who is taken by the God of Thunder Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) to safety. Back to the present, the terrifying realm of Outworld has defeated Earthrealm in nine out of ten competitions of Mortal Kombat, and with one more victory, they could claim and rule Earth. The Outworld has never felt that they have come so close to gaining the ultimate victory. But, an ancient prophecy says otherwise, asserting that the blood of the family which fell centuries earlier could unite a new group of warriors who can defeat the fighters of Outworld. Aware of this, Shang Tsung (Chin Han) sends his warriors to make sure that there are no warriors left to fight them, and Bi-Han who is now known as Sub-Zero is assigned the job to find certain people who have a certain mark to identify them.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The identification mark happens to be a dragon tattoo which has been on these people for a long time. A former professional MMA fighter called Cole Young (Lewis Tan) has such a mark, and a person named Jax (Mehcad Brooks) meets him and his family who are attached by Sub-Zero. Jax fights valiantly, but losses his arms to Sub-Zero’s cold, and is considered dead by the Outworld. Another person who is on the hunt is Mileena (Sisi Stringer) who wants Earth to be captured at any cost. Outworld is ready to break all the rules to make sure that they win this last battle. Cole searches for a woman named Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) to whom Jax had pointed much earlier, and upon discovering her, he learns about something sinister which has been going on in the background. She talks about Mortal Kombat, which might be a reality soon, and assures him that they have been chosen to fight for Earth against some unknown species from another world. But that might not be all.

The defence of Mortal Kombat :: This film is nothing less than a return to nostalgia, not just as the adaptation of a game which we have been playing so much from the early days of Windows, as it also contributes as the reminder of that movie which came to the cassette shops, and had us cheering for each action move on display. Well, this film is not that much far away from what we had seen then, as far as action sequences are concerned – we also have the superior computer graphics and with the better cameras, we have some visual grandeur on the screen as expected; a case of higher quality return of childhood as we look at it. The locations are nicely shaped using the special effects. The final battle with Scorpion and Sub-Zero around brings some quality final moments. We can consider this as a beginning, and hope to see more of the fights, with some real tournaments happening in different worlds. The origins of the new age adaptation has been set well, and with one fine sequel, the level of the whole thing could be raised.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt about that fact that Mortal Kombat could have been better, especially with so many of options being available. There are so many characters in the game who could have been taken into this film, but only a few were used. Some of the very interesting characters are also killed too early. The individual battles could have actually lasted much more, and some special and unexpected moves could have been added around here. A little bit more of attention could be taken in the clothes of the characters too, and they could have stayed close to how they were in the game. GI Joe had also experienced similar problems, but that franchise never really had this much of variety and worlds to be displayed on the screen with grandeur. It is a shame that some of the battles finish too easily, when we know that there are so much to be done with fighters keeping on battling each other without holding back. You could have always added some game elements according to the requirements.

Performers of the soul :: Lewis Tan as Cole Young leads the way well, even though Jessica McNamee playing Sonya Blade seems to be the real leader around here throughout the first half of the film, as she nicely suits the role so well. Bridgette Wilson would still be the perfect Sonya, as we are all fans of that older version and go on to miss Kitana and Johnny Cage characters for now. Mehcad Brooks as Jax is another determined character who keeps his moments, and Josh Lawson as Kano adds to the same from the other side. The best looks still goes to Mel Jarnson playing Nitara, even though she is there for only a short period of time. We would have loved to see more of her around here, as the winged creature is a thing of Gothic beauty rather than anything else. Sisi Stringer as Mileena brings a side of horror very well. Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero makes the right antagonist, and the ice-filled moments of action are joy to watch. Chin Han and Tadanobu Asano leaves us something to look out for with another possible movie based on the same video game series. Ludi Lin and Max Huang are good additions as the trained warriors too.

How it finishes :: Mortal Kombat does have some special place in our hearts, as it was one of those earlier games which we played and continued to enjoy for a long time. Among these games, it was Mortal Kombat 4 which had our best attention, as it had high graphics requirements, and we actually had to go somewhere else to play the game. The characters of Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Quan-Chi and Raiden were among the favourites then, and it was only later that characters like Mileena were of interest. Among the games, this one does have a legendary status, even though just like the other game adaptations including Need for Speed, Hitman, Prince of Persia, Tomb Raider, Warcraft, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Doom, Blood Rayne, Max Payne, Assassin’s Creed and many others, this one also failed to gather much of critical appreciation. Yes, Resident Evil has grossed so much that nobody can question that particular franchise, but we know that adaptations require more.

Release date: 23rd April 2021 (USA), 11th September 2021 (Amazon)
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Simon McQuoid
Starring: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, Chin Han, Joe Taslim, Hiroyuki Sanada, Matilda Kimber, Laura Brent, Sisi Stringer, Mel Jarnson, Nathan Jones, Daniel Nelson, Angus Sampson, Damon Herriman

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Tattooist

Vampire Owl: The title here is something that caught my attention early.

Vampire Bat: It rarely happens related to short-films, right?

Vampire Owl: I stopped differentiating between short-films and long films some time ago.

Vampire Bat: This is actually a micro short-film, much shorter.

Vampire Owl: That saves a lot of time then.

Vampire Bat: So, you are going for the shortest of them now.

Vampire Owl: Why not? It is best to show the most, within the shortest period of time.

Vampire Bat: Everyone is too busy these days.

Vampire Owl: I don’t see why they won’t be. The challenges are too many. Shorter movies are thus helpful in saving time.

Vampire Bat: It is a competitive world. Let us take that option of saving time then.

[Gets some vegetable puffs and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: The Tattooist (Wang Yanhu) is a very popular man in the town who gets many customers, as his skill as well as the resulting work is something which has been widely appreciated. Most of his clients are young men and women who are enamoured by what he does. His reputation in his field is so high that it is near impossible for anyone else to work and gain such popularity. But there is something sinister behind his much acclaimed work. There are people drugged, imprisoned and tortured in a secret lair under his tattoo studio. Can at least one of these people survive and escape to tell the tale of brutality to others? Or will the tattooist continue to have more victims, and enjoy his run as the best of them all in the field – the grand villain? Is there hope in between the chaos, or will it be all about evil and extreme violence?

Similar Dark Legends from the Past :: The first thing that came to my mind while watching this was regarding Sweeney Todd. This tale which we literature graduates have studied as part of Victorian age literature had a barber who makes his customer victims fall down through a trap door by pulling a lever on the side of the chair on which they sit. The people who land in the basement usually dies which broken necks or skulls, and the rest are finished off. He also has a partner in crime, Mrs. Lovett, who assists him in getting rid of the bodies by making meat pies from the corpses and selling them to the u customers at her pie shop. The two shops are also connected through an underground passage. We had also heard about the same as a movie, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter as the main characters. Such dark legends of villainy never ceases being amazing.

More about The Tattooist :: We are quickly taken through this vision of the director, which keeps us asking for more. We begin by seeing the tattooist at work, and it seems like some elegant work being done there – all of a sudden, the mood changes, and we are taken to the bloody, gory side. We also see how the music changes, and the sound effects are used to a fine effect. We see what the tattooist actually manages to do, and there is that transformation from a paradise-like atmosphere to inferno. There are people imprisoned inside cages and cells, people being dragged away, corpses, and a lot of blood and gore. Then we are back to what is happening in the world of beautiful tattoos – it has us expecting the terror which is to come for the customer who is having her tattoo done by the same person. This is exactly how our imaginations are made to run far, and how we are made to wish for a longer version.

The Beauty of The Tattooist :: The charm of the movie lies not in just one element, as this creates a perfect collection of things, something that would make a near perfect horror movie if the same tempo is maintained. There are movies like American Mary which talks about body modification and the horror that comes related to that. It had one of the queens of horror, Katharine Isabelle playing a medical student desperate for money ending up taking clients from the body modification community to solve her financial troubles. Well, tattoos can have the same effect as long as the right elements are added, and we can see that Michael Wong has succeeded in doing exactly the same. Well, as of now, tattoos have come to this part of the world very rarely in movies, like in some funny sequences like the fainting moments in the Malayalam movie Aanandam.

How it finishes :: Watching The Tattooist as a full-length movie will be a horror movie lover’s dream, as this one could serve as a fine trailer about what can come. Michael Wong’s directorial debut short film The Story of 90 Coins was a lovely flick which dealt with an entirely different topic, and extreme opposite if we look at it. It had picked up more than sixty accolades from different international film festivals including the Best Direction and Best Cinematography. The Tattooist hasn’t been far behind in creating some grand waves all around. As he has easily gone through two different genres, creating two interesting movies with ease, we can be sure that there is more to expect from him. Until then, enjoy watching this micro short-film, and the same can be found at the bottom of the review. Along with the same, enjoy the summer vacation going on at this part of the world!

[Returning after the movie and snacks].

Vampire Owl: You can see that my opinion about having a micro short-film remains the same.

Vampire Bat: I see that you have enjoyed watching this short-film, and at the same time, keeping your valuable time to make a good use of the same.

Vampire Owl: Yes, and still we have watched what we needed.

Vampire Bat: It is an idea which stays and expands further in our minds, after we finish watching the movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, we can even contribute with our own version to add to the already existing idea through imagination.

Vampire Bat: It makes me wonder what the tale of each victim would be.

Vampire Owl: This is certainly worth a longer version too.

Vampire Bat: I would keep my hope high about that.

Vampire Owl: I am recommending this for the whole vampire community.

Vampire Bat: I would be doing the same thing too.

[Takes a long walk into the darkness].

Watch the film here:

Release date: 9th June 2018
Running time: 2 minutes
Directed by: Michael Wong
Starring: Yanhu Wang, Li Lu, Myra Mala, Mayela Magrou, Dan Litza, Simon Shiyamba, Chase Lichtenberg

<— Click here to go to the previous review

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.