Arthouse Garage Podcast

Podcast Transcript for Bonus Episode: Mortal Kombat

Read the Podcast Transcript for Bonus Episode: Mortal Kombat

Read the transcript below:

Andrew Sweatman 0:08
Hello, hello and welcome to art house garage, this knob free film podcast where we make art house indie classic and foreign cinema accessible to the masses. I’m your host, Andrew sweat man. And today we have a bonus episode. What makes it a bonus episode? Well, first of all, it’s outside of the usual schedule. And second, the movie we’re discussing is not indie. It’s not classic. It’s not foreign. It’s definitely not arthouse. It’s actually a big blockbuster action movie. But it is an interesting movie. And at our house garage, we’re no snobs. So the movie is Mortal Kombat. That’s the new big budget action film from producer James one and director Simon mcquoid. based of course on the classic video game franchise. This is an interesting one because it’s one of the Warner Brothers movies. That’s part of the sort of controversial release strategy. This film comes out in theaters today, Friday, April 23. But it also hit HBO max today. So if you have HBO, you can go watch it at home. Like right now. My guest today is the one and only Philip price. Film critic extraordinaire. You may know him from his YouTube show Tavern talk by initial reaction, or from his movie review blog reviews from a bed calm. And I’ll link all his socials in the show notes. Give him a follow he has always has great movie thoughts. Philip, thank you so much for joining the show again. How are you today?

Philip Price 1:32
I’m doing good. How

Unknown Speaker 1:33
are you?

Andrew Sweatman 1:34
I’m doing very well. Yeah,

Philip Price 1:36
my first comment was gonna be I’m happy to be here to Yeah, talk about these Really? This really artsy indie movie Mortal Kombat?

Andrew Sweatman 1:43
Exactly. You know, I’m kind of figuring out so you know, I do want to cover kind of smaller mid budget stuff, but I like the big budget stuff to you. Maybe not as much, but I think it is worth talking about. So, yes, we’re gonna go forward, call it a bonus episode and see how people like it, I guess. But how have you been? So I’ve been kind of easing back to the movie theater. You know, I know. So your YouTube show you shoot in a movie theater. So it’s, you know, been on hold for a while I you were telling me the other day you’re getting back soon. Do you have any news on that front when you’ll be back to regular episodes and all that.

Philip Price 2:17
That’s the plan right now. We’re, we’re scheduled to start back in May. So beginning of May, hopefully we’re gonna have a pretty normal summer movie season or as normal as one can hope coming out of all this. So we’ll start on, I think it’s may 7 with the wrath of man, new Jason Stateman Guy Ritchie. So I’m excited for that. And I’m working on getting some really cool guests and new people to talk about these new big releases with every week. So hopefully that everything is gonna kind of get back in the groove here shortly. So yeah, thank you for for asking. Of course. I’ll be asking you to come back by the movie tavern. Soon and and do a video review with us. But yeah, thank you for asking and definitely hoping it. It takes back off here really quick.

Andrew Sweatman 3:11
Yes. I’m excited to see you back there. And yes, I owe you at least a few episodes. I’m sure. So yes, I’m glad to glad to come back and do that. Well, before we start talking about Mortal Kombat, what have you been watching lately? Anything else? Interesting.

Philip Price 3:28
So I’m sure we’ll get into this. But I was I knew the game of Mortal Kombat, you know, a little bit, but I had never seen the 90s movies. And I know, we’ll probably talk about that. So I did watch the 95 and 97 movie over this past weekend. That’s all I could say right now. Okay. I’m sure we’ll get into it. But I’m gonna ask about that. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, you don’t have to do that. If you don’t want to now that I’ve seen the new one. Totally not necessary. Okay, if you’re thinking about it. Last week was also the five year anniversary of one of my favorite movies of the last, I don’t know, 10 years or so. Which is Singh street, and it’s a little movie. Yeah. And so I I just absolutely adore it. So I saw somebody tweet about how it was celebrating. It might have been letterbox actually it was like five years since this gym came out. I was like, Oh, really, that’s a good excuse to watch it. So I watched it again. So if you haven’t seen Singh Street, highly recommend that movie. But then as far as new stuff. Last week, I watched the shivah baby out of a big had some had some hype around it coming out of I think it was Sundance last year like early 21. And then the other night I watched city of lies which was this long, kind of delayed detective story investigative reporting story about About the cop who had really strong theories on the death of Biggie Smalls, and it stars Johnny Depp and Forrest Whitaker. It, you know, got delayed several times in theaters and then wasn’t able to come out in theaters and now it’s on VOD. You can rent or buy it. It’s directed by Brad Firman, who did the Lincoln Lawyer I think, and it’s pretty solid, actually. I you know, anything having to do with the mythos of like, 90s rap and Biggie Smalls and Tupac and all that is I find it interesting even though it’s been done. You know, there have been 1000 documentaries and features about them and everything but there this is able to find a pretty interesting new perspective on it. So I enjoyed it.

Andrew Sweatman 5:43
Yeah, that sounds really interesting. Yeah, sing Street. I really do love that one. I think I’ve seen it like three times, which is unusual for me to watch a movie that many times within like a five year span. I didn’t realize it’s only been five years. Yeah, I’ve showed it to other people as well. I was like, this is a good one. Like I can watch this with my mom or with my massage my wife as well. But yes, I really like that movie a lot. I’ve been watching let’s see I watched in the earth is a new horror movie from Ben Wheatley. I did a review on that one. didn’t end up super loving it. It’s it’s really intense. I mean, for horror fans will probably really like it. But I liked the scary stuff. But the other stuff didn’t quite come together. So not fully recommending that one. I watched from last year, Emma, which is up for some Oscars. It was kind of an Oscar prep. I really liked him. I thought the it’s up for like, I think production design and costumes which totally deserving about that all the performances were really great and really funny and charming. And just kind of pretty light, you know? Yeah, I will recommend Emma. And then I’ve watched out on the classic side I watched a movie called m from 1931. With directed by Fritz long and starring Peter Lorre. Yeah, and it is like a film noir detective story. And Peter Lorre is just incredible and it’s one that it’s always like on the the list of classic movies you need to see and I had never seen it and really really liked it a lot. So I’ll recommend that for sure as well.

Philip Price 7:14
I saw that a lot of a lot of the strong classics are like you know well renowned classics are on HBO Max and I think that’s one of them. And yeah, I’ve been meaning to get into a few of those that I need to mark off my list. That’s good to hear though.

Andrew Sweatman 7:31
Yeah, that’s why that’s where I watched it and yeah, HBO has a lot of they have like a TCM partnership. In fact the TCM classic festival is coming up in next month I think and they are doing they’re doing it on TCM it’s virtual like it was last year last year was just on the channel TCM but now it’s going to be on TCM and on HBO max they have like two different programming schedule so lots of cool stuff coming HBO for them so that’ll be fun. I’ll find the exact dates and link that in the show notes too but well cool. Sounds like some good stuff come in lately that we’ve been watching and Alright, I guess from there let’s get into Mortal Kombat

Unknown Speaker 8:08
first learned about this seven years ago on a mission in Brazil to capture a wanted fugitive.

Unknown Speaker 8:17
When we got there,

Unknown Speaker 8:18
it talks throughout unit and seconds.

Unknown Speaker 8:25
The target has superhuman abilities

Unknown Speaker 8:32
had the same marking you do call it the birthmark.

Unknown Speaker 8:35
He was born with it. Not a birthmark code

Unknown Speaker 8:41
means you’ve been chosen.

Unknown Speaker 8:44
Throughout history, different cultures all over the world.

Unknown Speaker 8:48
reference a great tournament

Unknown Speaker 8:52
of champions.

Unknown Speaker 8:55
Dragon marking I think it’s an invitation

Unknown Speaker 8:59
to bite for something known

Unknown Speaker 9:07
as Mortal Kombat.

Andrew Sweatman 9:12
Alright, let’s talk about Mortal Kombat. So this movie is Yeah, as we mentioned, based on the classic video game series, and there’s been a few movies back in the 90s as Philip was already alluding to there and what’s what’s this movie about and a lot of fighting. And this is one of my questions maybe for I don’t know if you’re more my question going into this was if I know very little about the world of Mortal Kombat, is this worth watching? Am I gonna enjoy myself? And the answer is kind of mix and I’ll kind of go through that I guess. But it basically it opens centuries ago and we see two people fighting and then and there’s a without getting into all the details. A family’s taken out but the baby survives and doing that suit feels fun. Significant. And there’s a mysterious villain who shoots eyes out of his hands that you know if you know anything about Mortal Kombat, you’ve noticed is going to be subzero probably. And then there’s also a man who has some fire abilities. And then, you know, fast forward centuries, and we’re following a young MMA fighter named Cole. And he has a mysterious birthmark, which is the Mortal Kombat logo, from the video game and everything. He thinks it’s a birthmark. Then he encounters other people who have the same mark. And basically turns out he’s part he’s, he’s been called and chosen into this, this large, multi dimensional fighting tournament, essentially, that’s kind of that kind of sums it up. So that’s sort of a plot summary. sounds kind of weird when I just lay it all out there. But so first of all, I guess my question for you would be how familiar are you with the Mortal Kombat world? Did you play the games? Back in the 90s? Or see the movies? Yeah, what’s your what’s your level of interest in Mortal Kombat?

Philip Price 11:01
So I did play the game, but I don’t, you know, I played it as a kid, I don’t remember a whole lot about I remember more of the characters, I guess, is the thing than anything having to do with the multiple realms or the rules of the world and, or how the tournament itself like worked or any of that context, it was kind of just like out the window, all I really remembered was which character I like to pick. And that, you know, we can fight back and forth about it, or fight back and forth with with with, you know, other players and stuff and other characters. So the characters were really the what, what stood out to me, like I said, I hadn’t seen the movies, I probably did see like clips here and there of them, like, in the 90s on TBS, or something after they would play him on cable. But as far as, like sitting down and actually paying attention to them, I had no nostalgic connection to them whatsoever. So when I did watch him this past weekend, like the first one, I was like, Okay, I can see how this is goofy fun, even though it’s pretty terrible. And then the second one was just like, straight up terrible. And that was it. I was like, I have no, I probably asked, like, you know, 47 times during the course of this hour and a half, like what is happening? Like what is going on here? I don’t think the movie even knew. And maybe it maybe it does. I don’t know, I just I’m not. I’m not ingrained enough in that world to know all of what it was trying to do, I guess, but it was it was pretty heavy on the the sci fi fantasy stuff in the second one and which was kind of refreshing about this one because it was a little more grounded. I don’t know if that’s the right way. But yeah, as grounded as you can be, I guess when you’re dealing with you know, what, how did you phrase it? interdimensional?

Andrew Sweatman 12:58
I think it’s interdimensional. Right. Some of that’s not very clear. And you know, that’s, that’s gonna be kind of my thesis here is don’t pay too much attention to that stuff. That’s not what this movies. But anyway,

Philip Price 13:10
continue. Yeah, yeah, it’s a multi dimensional DEATH BATTLE, called Mortal Kombat. And so like, you know, take that as seriously as you think it needs to be taken.

Andrew Sweatman 13:21
If you’ve seen the trailer, there’s a line about this. She has like all these newspaper clippings on the wall and textbooks and stuff. It’s like, throughout history, every culture has referenced some Grand Tournament. And if you want more information about that, like that line is literally it. I think. That’s all the explanation we get. So that kind of gives you an idea of, you know, what this movie has on his mind is really, let’s get to the action. Let’s get to the fighting. Well, does this movie fit into your kind of answering that? Does it fit into the others like? So I guess? I guess to answer that question for myself, I remember playing the 90s games like a little bit. I think like I think I wasn’t allowed to play them because they were so violent. But I like played here and there friends houses, but I remember very little, just Yeah, like I remember, Caden what his character looks like and subzero and some of these things like came back as I was watching like, Oh, yeah, that’s I remember that I remember the lizard or like, whatever this scary Lizard Man, man monster is like, that’s in the game. I’m not seeing either the movies. But you know, know that the first one at least has a bit of a cult following. But so is the story of the first one at all related to this one, or is it completely different?

Philip Price 14:31
No, it kind of is actually like, it’s basically recruiting again, recruiting these heroes of our world who have been chosen to go and defend our dimension or realm or whatever, against those who come from other sick who are trying to you know, take it over. And so you do get introduced to it’s kind of the same thing as far as donya blade And what was the what’s the guy with the fire in his hands? I can’t even scorpion.

Andrew Sweatman 15:06
No. Oh, you mean kung fu? There’s lung. I’m gonna look up their names to make sure I’m getting them right. But I think it’s Kung Fu. And then there’s another guy.

Philip Price 15:16
lukang lukang.

Andrew Sweatman 15:17

Philip Price 15:18
So he’s kind of the leader in the original one. And he bring in Johnny cages in the original one. Jack’s is also in there. And so they’re all coming together again, under. Oh, what’s Lord Raiden? I think is the guy with the glowing eyes.

Andrew Sweatman 15:37
And I remember his hat more than anything from the game. It’s like round pointy hat.

Philip Price 15:41
Yeah, yeah. And yeah, it is very similar as far as the structure of these people coming in training. You know, and then kind of the rookies of Mortal Kombat going against the the all star team type deal. And that’s, that’s, that’s very similar. But of course, with this new one, the MMA fighter character, Cole is apparently new to the, you know, I haven’t played video games. Yeah, probably since one of the earlier Mortal Kombat games came out. So I didn’t know if maybe this was a new character that they’ve added. I don’t even know if they’ve released new Mortal Kombat games over the years. But, but apparently, the cole character is new for this for this movie. And so that was kind of interesting. And I didn’t know how they I think that was kind of the coolest thing about this movie watching experience was I didn’t know how they were going to tie him into it. As far as his connection to a certain iconic character. And if it makes you an origin story, or, and we may be getting too far into things there. But yeah, basic setup is pretty similar. But I did appreciate kind of the world building here. Here. It felt like the screenwriters at least had more of a handle on the mitos of what was what what actually Mortal Kombat was, and what it signifies.

Andrew Sweatman 17:06
Yeah, I think that’s a good way to say it, like they have a good handle on it. They’re certainly confident about you know, it feels like they are just like going for it. Yeah, I think. Yeah, so I looked up. Apparently, there have been a lot of games, I looked up just like the Mortal Kombat Wikipedia page. And there’s, as recently as last few years, there’s been new Mortal Kombat games. But I think the first one was, like 1992 or 93. pretty early on, like Sega Genesis, I think. And then there’s also a Wikipedia page of a list of characters. And as far as I can tell, coal is new. Based on that list. Yes, there are, they do a good job of kind of getting in a lot of those characters that you’ll recognize and even some that yet, like I just vaguely remembered. But as I looked at the list, it says, you know, here’s the link to this in the show notes gets kind of interesting. Like, here’s all the characters introduced in the first Mortal Kombat game. And then the second, and I think the first two, they got almost all the characters, there is a notable exception. Yeah, and we can avoid spoiling anything. But that this movie has that notable exception on its mind, if you’re into Mortal Kombat, you may know we’re talking about, but but yes, I will kind of hold back on that. But yeah, so I was thinking about this as far as like, compared to other video game movies you hear about like the video game movie curse, it’s impossible to have a good one. I think that’s kind of not the case anymore. I was looking at the last few years. I like Sonic the Hedgehog, I thought was pretty good for what it is. And even like detective Pikachu is another example where it’s it’s sort of, I think that the key is, instead of trying to adapt the story, just kind of take the iconography take the visuals, because that’s what video games do the best is like, Mortal Kombat. Like, I remember this character. I remember this locale. I remember kind of the vibe of it, like, Can we capture that and then give it its own story. And that’s kind of what Sonic did. And that’s kind of what detective Pikachu did. And that’s kind of what this does to you. And I think they all work fairly well. So how does this work as a movie for you? Did you Did you like this overall? What’s your kind of review?

Philip Price 19:02
Yeah, no, I absolutely agree with what you were saying there. Because it, it’s definitely, you know, to us that you know, I don’t know the vibe is a right word. Yeah. Because it really does. It really does get that right. And I don’t know if it’s just that I am missing, like the theater going experience and seeing these big ridiculous movies on the big screen. But between this and Godzilla versus Kong, like I had a really good time with it. Yeah. I didn’t take it. I wasn’t, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot either. And which always factors in, but at the same time, like, I just I had fun with it, like from the opening. It’s got like this 12 minute opening sequence that you were talking about with Hiroyuki sanada, who you know, I don’t know if it’s possible to spoil who He’s playing. But he kind of faces off against subzero in this opening sequence. And it’s really well shot and staged. And it’s kind of emotionally like gut wrenching in a way and like you can see that it’s kind of going to hone in on the characters and the fighting, like it’s gonna deliver on that stuff. And so you’re like, Okay, cool, like this is I’m not you know, I’m here for the fights I’m here for the special powers and to see that how they’re utilized on screen and brought to life and hopefully find entertaining ways those are executed, you know, to satisfaction for especially for fans of the video game, but yeah, I think it does, like with the, with the with the narrative does bring in those who have no past history with the, with the video game or even with these characters, but like, Yeah, I was I was really drawn in by that that opening sequence. And then even through to the introduction of Cole and his his MMA fighting in the cage, like, that’s all. And this might be a separate discussion about the action sequences and a finite set pieces and stuff like that. But again, it was it was staged really well, it It looked great. The guy playing the call who is essentially our protagonist and takes us through this whole thing because he’s kind of inexperienced in this world as well. So we’re learning along with him Louis tan, like he’s really charming and endearing. And so we’re like, Okay, cool. I’m, I’m in for this ride. And then it does kind of ramp up the ridiculousness when it starts introducing, you know, the more supernatural characters from from the other realms. But it never it never lets that like, just go off the rails. It never led to take the movie off the rails, it always kind of comes back to these characters were were already invested in. Even like, I mean, the Sanya blade character who is largely used just to you know, get that exposition across that you were referencing earlier, the history of Mortal Kombat. She’s, she’s still fun, like her interactions with with kaino. And in K knows pretty good comic relief. There’d be times I would forget this was rated R, which also is kind of a nice choice because they get to go, like balls to the wall with the action. Yeah. And paynow just dropping f bombs and kind of

Andrew Sweatman 22:34
surprised like, yeah, fully rated R.

Unknown Speaker 22:36
But yeah,

Philip Price 22:37
they’re going for it like, and, and so I don’t know, like, I was into it. And then by the time it gets to, I thought I thought it was paced really well. I mean, there are a few spots because you get the you get kind of the training montage and things like that they’re not doing anything revolutionary here. But but then by the time you get to the the climax and how it’s been set up, and the dynamics between each of the fighters and the characters, they do that all well enough to where you’re, you’re kind of written for the good guys. And and then they execute the finale in a way that it mirrors the game set up enough to where you’re like, yes, this is exactly what I wanted. And I’m perfectly happy with it.

Andrew Sweatman 23:22
Yeah, I agree. I agree pretty much with all that, I think. Yeah, it follows a pretty predictable trajectory. I think in a way that’s like, okay, here’s a you know, newbie to this world. And he’s, you know, not good enough at first he trains, he almost doesn’t make it, you know, and then becomes powerful enough to do what he needs to do. So you kind of know exactly where that’s gonna go. But putting that, you know, sticking all the Mortal Kombat stuff around, it makes that fun, I guess. But yeah, as far as to answer the question of you know, if I know nothing about Mortal Kombat, is this worth watching? I think maybe. So if you’re in for a pretty, pretty gory action movie, then yeah, I think you’re gonna enjoy it. If maybe maybe watch on HBO instead of going to spend the movie ticket price. But I don’t know, this would be really fun on the big screen too. But it’s Yeah, I really enjoyed it. So I want to talk about the action. What did you think about the action in general? Was there any kind of really memorable action scenes for you?

Philip Price 24:20
Well, yeah, like I was saying I kind of that opening one was was really nice. Like it’s kind of that in you know, they were alternating between I think I was sonatas character, I think maybe it was speaking Japanese and then sub zero. speaking Chinese, so I’m assuming that we’re somewhere in Japan, but it’s kind of in one of those big Japanese forests with the really tall trees and a lot of the you know, the flowers and everything that looks great and there’s just you know, they’re in the forest with this little house. And as the backdrop and everything and it’s it’s really well done, it looks great. I like that. How’d you say the direction that mcquoid?

Andrew Sweatman 25:03
Yeah, I believe it’s mcquoid Yeah,

Philip Price 25:05
I liked how cuz I looked him up. Like, while I was watching it just to see actually during one of the fight sequences just to see what he’d done previously. And this is his feature directorial debut like he’s done a lot of commercials, apparently. And I, you know, I don’t some shorts, it might have looked like but, you know, for a feature debut like I liked that he wasn’t eager, or at least over eager to, like, do a lot of quick cutting or cool camera tricks that like kind of took away from the choreography of the the fight sequences because yeah, obviously like, these guys sanada and then I think the guy who plays subzero Han, Joe Haslam, I hope I’m probably butchering that last name, but sorry. But yeah, like, these guys are obviously trained fighters, they know what they’re doing. And so, I don’t know, I guess it was kind of like, he relied on the movement of them more than he did his camera, and it kind of kept to the wide shots and just allowed their, their, their fight, you know, setups to breathe, and I thought it was really well done. Same with, same with the cage fight. And then again, you know, I was saying it does kind of go off the rails slightly, as far as introducing the CG characters, or the the more CG reliable are reliant characters. And by going off the rails, I mean, it kind of, you know, just by being by virtue of being more CG than, you know, the hand, the hand one, you know, real person versus another real person. You know, and I don’t know if the CG was, it was probably done through motion capture when they had somebody fighting, but you know, that that those get a little more complicated in terms of capturing but a fair amount of the fight sequences were, were really impressive and really well done in a way that you could tell they had put the work in, and we’re doing it for real, so I actually enjoyed a lot, a lot of them, and even into the finale, just by virtue of how it was was set up kind of to mirror the game.

Andrew Sweatman 27:17
Yeah, no, I agree. I think I was surprised. I mean, I knew it was gonna be really violent. It’s like, it was very, very violent. You know, I remember in the video game back in the day, you’re like, ripping people’s spines out of their body and stuff. Like, I guess I should have been more prepared for that. But it’s, um, I mean, it reminded me of like, a little bit more cartoonish version of Kill Bill or something, and like the bad amount of like, blood splattering and that kind of stuff. But probably a little more grisly than that to you, I think. But yeah, the fight scenes are gonna so as far as like, hand to hand combat, like my level of interest kind of can wane with that sort of thing. Like, like, I really enjoyed john wick, the first john wick, but by john wick three, I was starting to get real tired of like, like that movie, I was almost bored at the end of their fighting. I was like, okay, I’ve seen enough. But this movie, I think, does a good job of kind of balancing that and bringing in those CG characters. Like there’s one fight where it’s, I can remember the the creatures name, but he’s very large and has forearms and he’s like, 10 feet tall or something. And so it’s it’s not exactly like, you know, two humans fighting. So those things are fun and they they add they have fun with the comic book or the the video game asked violence in some surprising ways that like that’s that’s a lot of the fun of this movie, I think is is how that works. So I think I did start to feel a little bit of fatigue with the fighting towards the end. But mostly I was I was pretty pretty tied into it. How did the story wise the human drama work for you? Or Or maybe the performances? How did that all kind of work for you?

Philip Price 28:58
Yeah, I am. You know, I mean, this this essentially is like it does kind of feel like like, you know what, it feels like little bits of exposition in between fight is just an you know, there’s just enough to to support the next fight sequence that comes up. And so there’s, there’s not like a whole lot going on outside of, of these fight sequences, which is obviously what they know people want from a mortal kombat movie. But like, like I was saying earlier, I did, I did get in, you know, at least invested in what was going on with sub zeros grudge against this. This this lineage, this family lineage and why he was trying to exterminate them and how that kind of reflected you know, what he was trying to do as far as you know, To save his own skin, save his own realm keep his his boss happy back in whatever that other world, our world or something world was. And so with the guy from the Dark Knight and

Andrew Sweatman 30:14
Yes, that’s right.

Philip Price 30:15
I never remember his name. But no. And then, and then like, like I said, we’re kind of on the same trajectory as as Cole’s character, or as the kohan character. And so I was, I was, you know, inherently kind of rooting for him. But it doesn’t, you know, and it introduces a ton of characters. I liked that a lot of them, you know, when they would do their video game bit. Like, even if I didn’t necessarily remember what it was, or that it was from the video game, they, they always kind of executed in a way where you’re like, Oh, that’s got to be from the video game. Yeah. And so I appreciate that. And, I don’t know, like, like, I was, like, the screenplay has a good handle on what it wants to do. So like, it just, it puts these characters in place. I like the way it sets up. kaino and Sony has kind of rivalry and I mean, you can see immediately how that’s gonna play out with the rules of the world that it sets up. Yes. Yeah, yeah, but but, you know, I liked it. And I was like, happy to see that what I was anticipating did in fact, pay off. And maybe that’s the best way to put it, like, everything they set up. While it may be predictable, and just based on how these characters act and everything, it’s, it makes sure to pay everything off in a in a really delightful way. And yeah, I just had, I just had a lot of fun with it. And it’s clear, you know, I don’t need like, this was a really good way to adapt a video game, we’re talking about video games, he’s a little bit like, I felt like it did everything it needed to do to both be a story, you know, a self contained story, with all these different characters. And, you know, explaining these cool characters in a way that’s, that’s fun and interesting. And I don’t, I almost don’t even need this sequel. I know, they’re, you know, there’s obviously, in today’s world there, they’re gonna plan for a franchise, just in case, but, but like, I honestly didn’t eat like, it was a really nice, self contained story. From beginning to end. I was like, that was great. Like, I enjoyed it. And, and I’m, and it focuses on the characters in a way that, you know, again, that’s what I’m most remember from the game, it’s not the worlds and the sum of who’s going where, and who does what and what has to be done in order for one world to survive. And the other you know, with the tournament, and all that and the rules of the tournament, it’s, it’s just about how memorable these characters were. And they do a good enough job to where I think, you know, viewers like at least the youngest viewers who will be allowed to watch this will latch on to those characters as well. And and kind of find their favorites and carry them through to whatever this franchise might become. So I thought it you know, again, did as well as could be expected with this material.

Andrew Sweatman 33:23
Yeah, I think I think I pretty much agree with you, I think. So. I wanted to compare this to Godzilla versus Kong because in Godzilla versus Kong, it’s it’s so much about the action and like the human stories is downplayed, and like, not honestly not that great, but like doesn’t matter because we’re here to see Godzilla King Kong. This movie is kind of the same like yeah, the plot Don’t think too much about it. Let’s just get to the fight scenes, but but it does work better. I think it’s better than maybe the human parts of Godzilla or just calling to where it Yeah, it does. It does. It works. It pays off. Like you’re saying I was surprised how invested I felt actually when at the end when Yeah, because it’s been centuries that sub zero has been, you know, the villain to this particular family lineage and all of that. And that this is pretty cool. Like I feel some stakes here, which I didn’t really expect. So yeah, I think it was good. I think as far as like performances go there. I think a lot of people were cast for their look which is probably you know what you need again for a video game movie. I didn’t think the main actor was that great at at some of the dialogue and different things. Lewis tan as Cole I he was good at the the fighting though. He obviously had the physicality down. And he had, you know, a good leading man look, so I think he does well enough.

Philip Price 34:38
I thought he was charming, like I said, but yeah, some of those some of those lines were rough that he had to read off. There was one where I think it might have been the first time subzero like comes to earth. And he’s like, Look, it’s snowing. And I was like, you did that, but I don’t know. Yeah, There are a few more like that are out. But I did laugh at a couple of those. I was like, I’m sorry. They did that to you, man. Yeah, that’s

Andrew Sweatman 35:06
how you’re Yeah, it’s like a lot of that maybe then the scripts more than it is in his his fault. But I think he did, he does well enough. And I want to talk about kaino, actually. So he’s, he’s this Australian loud, mouth foul mouth guy that we meet pretty early on, he ends up being pretty memorable. Like maybe the most memorable character in this. He, his introduction is really cheesy, like, I was kind of rolling my eyes when we first meet him and kind of getting his big personality. But then he ends up I think he’s probably one of the better actors in this too. Like he has a good back and forth. People are frequently angry with him, and he’s angry with them. So there’s a lot of back and forth with his character. And you’re right that Cole, the main character is a it’s kind of our surrogate, that we’re kind of learning the world. But then Cato ends up doing some of that as well. Because I mean, he’s, you know, saying he’s calling the guy Gandalf. And he’s, like,

Philip Price 36:03
I liked the the David Copperfield one.

Andrew Sweatman 36:05
Yeah. Yes. So yeah. And that kind of goes back to what you’re saying about this being grounded in a way that, you know, it starts out in, like feudal Japan, and we don’t really know exactly where, and then maybe we see a flash of, and we don’t see the other outer world or whatever it’s called other world. I can’t remember what it’s called. So later, but but when it goes from this feudal Japan, again, going into this, knowing nothing, I was like, are we even gonna be on earth? Like, what’s the deal? And then we’re like, oh, we’re in the United States. And we’re at this MMA fight, and like, this feels very grounded. And then yeah, it kind of ramps up as you said, We I can’t know. He, he ends up kind of being a surrogate in that way, that he’s kind of winking and referencing things from our culture. But yeah, works pretty well. He’s interesting character.

Philip Price 36:55
We’re talking like, you know, watch the movie last night. And I don’t know if I could tell you where the invisible dragon thing came from. What it means. Obviously, from this

Andrew Sweatman 37:09
point, I didn’t even really even think about that. Like,

Philip Price 37:11
what, what is happening, okay, whatever, it’s good. No, it’s, well, I’m not gonna spoil what happens, but I’m like, Okay, if that was just an excuse to see that happen, and get that certain, like, boom, whatever. And then like, kaino, knowing where this Raider ravens temple is just like, Oh, yeah, I used to run some stuff. I was like, What is that? What’s been hidden for 1000s of years? But then I was read that I heard it. Yeah, those are the point where I’m just like, okay, just chill. It’s a video game movie, just take some leaps, and have fun with it. And if you do that, I think, yeah, there’s plenty to chew on.

Andrew Sweatman 37:53
Yeah. And there is some great visuals kind of what you were saying about kind of getting those video game moments. Like there’s, I remember the fatalities from the game where it’s, you know, at the end of the fight some big final move, and we get a few of those that are really fun. And there’s, there are some lines like I, I seem to remember there being a narrator in the video game, or maybe I’m just thinking of fighting games in general, so and so wins. And like, we get kind of a funny twist on that. So it brings in some of those things, just a few shots where they’re like, it looks like the side scroller, you know, versus in the middle, almost. I like like the Scott Pilgrim movie, I always had that moment where Scott versus whoever, we get a little bit of that too. So I think it probably Winx video game fans are I’m sure gonna recognize way more stuff out of this than I did. But yeah, there’s some nice visuals. I remember, there’s one moment when it starts snowing. And I seem to remember this from the game, where suddenly the snow starts going backwards and subzero like, pushes it all back up in the sky. That’s a pretty striking visual. And that was kind of fun. And that’s the kind of stuff that would be really fun on the big screen. I think. So. Yeah. If I remember, I think all in all, if I’m kind of wrapping up here, I really did enjoy this I to answer the question of, if you don’t know anything about Mortal Kombat, will you enjoy this? I think so. Mostly just know what you’re getting into with this, you know, big, silly, very violent fighting movie. As far as like looking five years down the road. This might end up being kind of a forgettable one. If we think about this, versus Godzilla versus Kong. I think probably, I’ll think more about the Godzilla movie than I then I will about this one. Unless that’s ends up being a huge franchise, which is very possible. Maybe still, you know, all over my Twitter feed in five years. Who knows? But, but yeah, I did enjoy it. I think I can can recommend it. If you are someone who likes big silly action movies, which I do sometimes.

Philip Price 39:45
Yeah. 100% agree. I don’t know that. I’ll remember a thing about it in a month. But for the hour and 15 minutes or whatever it was last night while I was watching it. I have a fun time. with it. And I especially think if you’re just looking for, you know, a good kind of old school rockem sockem action movie that maybe even brings a good bit of nostalgia to it, you’re going to be more than pleased with with what this new version of Mortal Kombat has to offer.

Andrew Sweatman 40:19
Completely agree. I think that’s great. And we can probably wrap it up there. So that’s Mortal Kombat that is in theaters now. And on HBO max. So check that out. I think it’s only HBO max for 30 days or something. So there’s a little bit of a window there. But thank you so much, Philip, for joining me for this. I think it’s been a great discussion.

Unknown Speaker 40:38
Yeah, no,

Philip Price 40:39
thank you for having me. As always, and we’ll just need to rewatch john wick three at some point. valuate your assessment of

Andrew Sweatman 40:47
the wrong take on john wick three.

Unknown Speaker 40:51
Appreciate it. And

Philip Price 40:52
now thanks for having me. I look forward to I don’t know, I’m trying to come up with some Clippy line about Mortal Kombat and seeing you in a different realm, but whatever.

Andrew Sweatman 41:02
You finish him later on. Please don’t finish me off with a fatality.

Philip Price 41:09
due for episodes of Tavern talk when we get back. Yes.

Andrew Sweatman 41:12
You won’t rip my spine out. That’s good. Yeah. Well, thanks so much for listening. And stay tuned. The Oscar special is coming up in just a few days. The Oscars are Sunday night and the Oscar special plan is to go out Monday. All right. So with that, thank you so much for listening to art house garage. We’ve got a few years worth of episodes. Now. You can hear all of those in your podcast app of choice. Our theme music is by composer Paul kuna Feld, you can learn more at www dot Pauling If you want to support art house garage, leave a rating review in your podcast app. Or you can buy an art house garage t shirt at our house garage comm slash shop. You can also stay in the loop about our house garage and the films we’re covering by subscribing to our email newsletter at the art house garage comm slash subscribe and of course follow on social media. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and letterbox just search at art house garage and all those places or find links in the show notes. And that will do it for this episode. Thank you again so much for listening. And until next time, keep it snappy

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Andrew Sweatman

Andrew is a writer, podcaster, and film lover who wants to help people think critically about movies. He lives in central Arkansas with his wife Allison and two children, Rosie & Beau. Andrew is the Senior Editor at Arthouse Garage and a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA). Find him at and on Twitter and Instagram: @ArthouseGarage.

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