Title: Mortal Kombat Year: 1995 IMDB Rating: 5.0/10 (8,646 votes) Trivia: Ed Boon, co-creator of the original video game "Mortal Kombat," starred as the voice of Scorpion. The Premise: A number of martial artists converge in China, from which they're taken to a seeming alternate dimension to fight in a tournament that's only held "once each generation". This time, however, the stakes are even higher, as the outcome of the tournament will determine the fate of the Earth. Believe it or not, this is the first time I've seen this film, and I've not yet had experience with any of the games, the other films, the animated series, the lunchboxes, or anything else related to the Mortal Kombat universe. After watching the first film, however, I definitely will seek out some of the other material, as I enjoyed the film quite a bit--it earns an 8 out of 10 from me. At this point, however, I can't compare it to any other instantiations of Mortal Kombat. The film is basically a combination of a classic Hong Kong-styled martial arts actioner and a fantasy that leans slightly to the horror side of that genre. To the film's benefit, it's also not something that either director Paul W.S. Anderson or writer Kevin Droney take too seriously--the film is ultimately an adaptation of a popular video game, after all. There is a tongue-in-cheek, slightly campy sense of humor and playful cheesiness throughout the film, the humor being primarily fueled from two characters, Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby) and Lord Rayden (Christopher Lambert). True, Lambert has a kind of almost smarmy campiness to anything he says or does, in any film, but for me, that's part of his attractiveness--it's a large part of what sold me on the Highlander films. The fantasy aspect was something I didn't expect before watching the film. It was a very pleasant surprise. Being a huge horror fan, I was especially taken with the set design. The fantasy characters, such as Goro, and the fantasy traits of other characters, were well done and even subtle at times. As for the fights, which are the propelling force behind the film, they're pleasantly varied and well choreographed, although having just watched Master of the Flying Guillotine (1975) again recently, I was slightly disappointed that the fights weren't more brutal and gory (and in fact, this is one of the areas where I subtracted a point). But they almost make up for the lack of violence but their imaginativeness, especially the fights with Sub-Zero and The Scorpion. That cleverness was required over brawn in most instances was also a nice touch. Overall, this is a great film that any fans of martial arts or fantasy films should enjoy.