Second installment of action fantasy based on the popular videogame doesn't waste much effort on storytelling. Post-pubescent fans want fight scenes, which take up bulk of the film. "Mortal Kombat Annihilation" won't have the $23 million opening weekend that the first had in August 1995, but it's nicely positioned as a PG-13 special effects flick.

Second installment of action fantasy based on the popular videogame doesn’t waste much effort on storytelling. Post-pubescent fans want fight scenes, which take up bulk of the film. “Mortal Kombat Annihilation” won’t have the $23 million opening weekend that the first had in August 1995, but it’s nicely positioned as a PG-13 special effects flick released between the R-rated “Starship Troopers” and “Alien Resurrection.” Look for a quick playoff.

Story takes up where the last one left off. The heroic warriors led by Rayden (James Remar replacing Christopher Lambert) and Liu Kang (Robin Shou, who was also fight choreographer) have just defeated the bad guys. Under the terms of engagement, Earth should be safe for a generation.

Instead, Shao-Kahn (Brian Thompson) breaks the rules and declares war on humanity. Our heroes have six days to prevent Earth from merging with the other realm, making Shao-Kahn supreme ruler. The various characters fight the bad guys separately before reuniting for a big winner-takes-all battle at the end. No fair guessing who wins.

Pic consists largely of choppily edited fight scenes (usually involving somersaults and back flips) combined with various computer graphic effects. Remar attempts to act, but has little support from the material or the cast. Lynn Red Williams does get a few laughs with his “What the hell is going on here?” reactions, but this movie is more interested in getting two women to duke it out in a mud pit.

With nothing except bigscreen video action going for it, it’s not surprising that the final 12 minutes of the film’s running time is taken up with credits.

Mortal Kombat Annihilation

Production

A New Line Cinema presentation of a Lawrence Kasanoff/Threshold Entertainment production. Produced by Lawrence Kasanoff. Executive producers, Alison Savitch, Carla Fry, Brian Witten. Co-producer, Kevin Reidy. Directed by John R. Leonetti. Screenplay, Brent V. Friedman, Bryce Zabel.

Crew

Camera (Foto-Kem color), Matthew F. Leonetti. Editor, Peck Prior; music, George S. Clinton; production design, Charles Wood; art direction, Nathan Schroeder; costume design, Jennifer L. Parsons; sound (Dolby Stereo, SDDS), John Midgley; visual effects supervisors, Chuck Comisky, Alison Savitch; fight choreography, Robin Shou; associate producer, Joshua Wexler; assistant director, Lee Cleary; second unit director, Pat Johnson; casting, Fern Champion, Mark Paladini. Reviewed at Sony Copley Place Theaters, Boston, Nov. 21, 1997. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Liu Kang - Robin Shou Kitana - Talisa Sato Rayden - James Remar Sonya Blade - Sandra Hess Jax - Lynn Red Williams Shao-Kahn - Brian Thompson Shinnok - Reiner Schoene Sindel - Musetta Vander Jade - Irina Pantaeva Motaro - Deron McBee Sheeva - Marjean Holden Nightwolf - Litefoot

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more