The Mortal Kombat movie is at its best when it mimics the games

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures.

For a series about people getting their spines ripped out, Mortal Kombat has a surprising amount of story. Over three decades the fighting franchise has amassed a large mythos, filled with histories, lore, and motivations for its many combatants, which are mostly used to answer the question of why somebody is having their spine and / or arms removed. You wouldn’t really know that from watching the new movie, though. The film features plenty of callouts to the games — gruesome fatalities, goofy one-liners, and lots of familiar faces — but it never stops long enough to tell you why you should care about anything. It’s also not particularly fun, despite all of the aforementioned ripped-off arms.

Mortal Kombat largely follows the same basic…

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