The New Animated Mortal Kombat Movie Is Just As Brutal As The Games

Shit is about to get gross.
Shit is about to get gross.
Screenshot: Warner Bros. Animation (Kotaku)

Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge, the new film from Warner Bros. Animation, begins with dozens of ninja being torn limb from limb. Hanzo “Scorpion” Hasashi’s young son is viciously slayed while the titular ninja helplessly watches. Fans of the fighting game’s over-the-top violence will be… pleased?

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This might get a little gross, folks.

The first animated Mortal Kombat project since the laughable 1996 cartoon Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm is definitely not for kids. Scorpion’s Revenge, released last week digitally and coming to DVD and Blu-ray April 28, is a retelling of the tournament between Earthrealm and Outworld from the original game, using Scorpion’s tragic origin story as a framing device.

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It’s a tale as old as time. Shirai Ryu Grandmaster Hanzo Hasashi is a good husband and caring father whose entire clan is wiped out by the Lin Kuei, a rival clan led by notoriously blue ninja Sub-Zero. In order to maximize sympathy for Hanzo, this particular retelling begins with a touching scene between father and son, in which he tells young Satoshi how cool scorpions are.

Foreshadow much?
Foreshadow much?
Screenshot: Warner Bros. Animation (Kotaku)

The pair return from their outing to a village full of fresh corpses and rampaging blue ninja. Hanzo, his son perched on his back, rips and tears his way through the invading Lin Kuei to reach his home, but he’s too late. Young Satoshi discovers his mother’s bloody corpse and Hanzo goes into a berserker rage.

Holy shit.
Gif: Warner Bros. Animation (Kotaku)

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This first major battle sets the tone for the fighting in Mortal Kombat Legends. Limbs fly, faces are stabbed and sliced, innards become outtards. It’s frantic and energetic like the sort of adult animation shorts MTV used to air in the ’90s. Despite the fast action, the battle choreography is easy to follow. It’s beautiful, in a horribly violent sort of way.

The only time the action falters is during x-ray shots. In a nod to the mechanic that’s become a hallmark of the fighting game series, the action pauses now and then for some slow-motion eye-popping and bone-breaking. These made me giggle every time. They’re just so silly.

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As impressive as it is, Hanzo’s decimation of the Lin Kuei forces is all for naught. Rival clan leader Sub-Zero forces Hanzo to surrender by threatening Satoshi’s life. Hanzo submits, and Sub-Zero kills them both anyway.

Dude.
Dude.
Screenshot: Warner Bros. Animation

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Somehow Hanzo winds up in a fiery corner of Outworld, scheduled for an eternity of torment at the hands of Shinnok’s demonic minions. He breaks free, because he’s the main character, and slaughters his way to Shinnok’s henchman Quan Chi. The sorcerer convinces the resurrected ninja to fight for Outworld in the Mortal Kombat tournament in order to exact his revenge on Sub-Zero. But Hanzo Hasashi is dead. Call him Scorpion.

From this point, Scorpion’s Revenge is pretty much the original Mortal Kombat with a few twists. Raiden recruits his champion, Liu Kang, down-and-out action hero Johnny Cage, and commando Sonya Blade to serve as Earthrealm’s champions. In a fun twist, Sonya’s introduction involves her straight-up murdering a man in a street fighting match in China. I suppose it’s possible he survives, but look at this guy’s face.

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Illustration for article titled The New Animated iMortal Kombat/i Movie Is Just As Brutal As The Games
Screenshot: Warner Bros. Animation

Once the big three are introduced, Scorpion’s Revenge loses some steam. In attempting to cover familiar beats from the game, it becomes the Johnny Cage, Sonya, and Liu Kang show with special guest star Scorpion. Events from the game’s lore, like Liu Kang winning over Outworld princess Kitana and Cage and Blade’s budding love/hate but eventually all love relationship, are rushed through to get to similarly rushed Scorpion bits.

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The main characters of a movie called “Scorpion’s Revenge”
The main characters of a movie called “Scorpion’s Revenge”
Screenshot: Warner Bros. Animation (Kotaku)

The movie’s story might be hurried, Scorpion’s Revenge always has time for fighting and gory violence. We see limbs torn from bodies, skulls yanked from heads leaving behind flapping face skin, shattering teeth, crackling bones, and muscles slowly being stretched apart. It’s not just villains doing the slaughtering, either. At one point, the heroic Liu Kang, battling a gaggle of Black Dragon mercenaries, decapitates one and uses his severed head as a weapon.

In other words, it’s Mortal Kombat. It’s the brutality that fans of the series sign up for every time a new game comes out in a convenient two-hour animated form. I expected a light story draped over a lot of egregious violence, and Scorpion’s Revenge delivered.

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Grody to the max.
Grody to the max.
Screenshot: Warner Bros. Animation

Hooray, but also ew.

More Mortal Kombat

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Spawn Is The Best Mortal Kombat Action Figure

They are best friends.
They are best friends.
Photo: Mike Fahey

McFarlane Toys makes Mortal Kombat action figures. Spawn, the comic book character created by McFarlane Toys founder Todd McFarlane, is a fighter in Mortal Kombat 11. So now there’s a Mortal Kombat-branded Spawn action figure. He’s adorable.

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To be fair, I’ve not gotten a chance to play with the other two $20 figures in McFarlane’s Mortal Kombat line, Johnny Cage and Raiden, but I have faith that the company behind Spawn can make a damn fine Spawn action figure. They’ve been doing it for ages now. I’m just tickled that a toy of Spawn from the makers of Spawn is showing up in a non-Spawn toy line.

Mint in box, for now.
Mint in box, for now.
Photo: Mike Fahey

I’ve been collecting Spawn figures since 1994, when the figures weren’t as complex and every now and then one would be painted gold to piss off collectors. There’s something about Spawn’s design that’s so appealing to me as a toy collector. He’s black, white, and red all over. He’s got that awesome living cape. One of his boots is ginormous for no reason whatsoever. He’s the ’90s in action figure form.

Seriously, this boot.
Seriously, this boot.
Photo: Mike Fahey

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This particular version of Spawn is ready to throw down with Mortal Kombat 11’s roster of murderous brawlers, with 20 points of articulation for plenty of posing potential. With the aid of the simple included stand, he can do so many things. He can dance.

Get down on it.
Get down on it.
Photo: Mike Fahey

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He can hug a transforming shark robot.

Illustration for article titled Spawn Is The Best iMortal Kombat/i Action Figure
Photo: Mike Fahey

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Should that shark robot transform into a robot, Spawn has the ability to kick him right in his stupid robot face.

Take that!
Take that!
Photo: Mike Fahey

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What I’m saying is the Mortal Kombat Spawn figure is very accommodating of the whims of a stir-crazy toy lover. Ice cream truck?

Ice cream truck.
Ice cream truck.
Photo: Mike Fahey

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Ice cream truck.

Mortal Kombat tie-in aside, this is a very nice, basic Spawn figure. He’s not Commando Spawn or Nurse Spawn or Telephone Repairman Spawn. He’s just plain Spawn, and a fine one at that. He’s in stores now, looking all ink-washed and grimdark.

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Who could say no to that face?
Who could say no to that face?
Photo: Mike Fahey

Also, he can do this.

And McFarlne never sent me a toy again.
And McFarlne never sent me a toy again.
Photo: Mike Fahey

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More Wonderful Toys

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SonicFox Wins Mortal Kombat 11 Championship, Shouts Out Bernie Sanders

Illustration for article titled SonicFox Wins iMortal Kombat 11/i Championship, Shouts Out Bernie Sanders
Photo: NetherRealm Studios, Robert Paul

Dominique “SonicFox” McLean is one of the greatest fighting game players of all time. The young non-binary competitor added to this legacy with a win at the Mortal Kombat 11 championship this weekend. It wasn’t quite as easy as some of their previous wins, but SonicFox used every opportunity to let the world know that this was their show.

The event, known as Final Kombat, wasn’t quite what Mortal Kombat 11 players anticipated. Concerns over the ongoing spread of coronavirus forced the organizers to cancel the last-chance open qualifiers that would have added one more competitor to the mix. (Clarification: 03/09/20, 2:45 PM ET: This final spot was instead awarded to Zoulfikar “Kombat” Dayekh.) The event also ended up prohibiting live spectating. But even without a raucous fighting game community crowd to cheer them on, SonicFox still stole the show with their colorful antics, both inside and outside the game.

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SonicFox faced stiff competition in the first set of the weekend from Canadian qualifier D2Stabs, who went the distance against the reigning Evo champion. After seemingly clinching the deciding round, SonicFox used a Mortal Kombat 11 mechanic known as Mercy to bring D2Stabs back from the dead, giving their opponent a second chance. The move was mostly performative, however, as the small chunk of life provided to D2Stabs with Mercy paled in comparison to SonicFox’s full health bar.

From there, SonicFox notched several impressive wins against players like their Injustice 2 rival Curtis “Rewind” McCall and frequent challenger Zoulfikar “Kombat” Dayekh before coming up against the upstart Jarrad “Ninjakilla_212″ Gooden in winners finals. As has often been the case in the past, Ninjakilla was the only player to defeat SonicFox over the weekend, sending them to the losers bracket after a brutal 3-2 performance. But after a quick win against Ryan “Dragon” Walker in losers finals, SonicFox stormed back for a rematch against Ninjakilla in the championship match.

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Due to qualifying for grand finals via the losers bracket, SonicFox needed to beat out Ninjakilla in two best-of-five sets in order to win the tournament. This often proves to be more of a mental hurdle than anything, but SonicFox made it clear that the weight of the moment wasn’t getting to them. On the brink of resetting the bracket, they used a peculiar portion of Joker’s moveset to taunt Ninjakilla with the character’s Batman puppet.

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This is an actual move—Joker will perform this routine for as long as a player holds his gunshot projectile—but it’s one that’s rarely seen in competition due to its unsafe nature. Down on life and unsure of when SonicFox would choose to unleash the ranged attack, all Ninjakilla could do was wait it out.

As you know by now, SonicFox won, taking home $40,000 in prize money for being the best in the world. They won two different world championships, Injustice 2 and Mortal Kombat 11, with Joker despite the character’s differences and, in some cases, weaknesses between the two games. SonicFox accepted the championship while carrying the head of their iconic fursuit and draped in the trans pride flag. And in the closing moments of the stream, they left viewers with one final statement: “Vote Bernie.”

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SonicFox is a once-in-a-lifetime fighting game player, not only because they’re amazing at almost every game they pick up, but also because of the instances when they’ve used their spotlight for good. Upon winning the award for Best Esports Player at the Video Game Awards in 2018, SonicFox openly declared pride in their identity and rightfully called out an establishment that hates and discriminates against them. Since coming out as non-binary, SonicFox has radically shifted the way the fighting game community discusses gender and identity. It shouldn’t take being good at a fighting game to get respect, but SonicFox has used the platform they’ve been given to advocate for LGBTQ+ players who aren’t out there winning tournaments every weekend.

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SonicFox peppered their on-camera appearances at Final Kombat with demands for trans rights and love for the LGTBQ+ community within the scene. And when all was said and done, they threw their weight behind Bernie Sanders, a presidential candidate known for progressive policy positions. In so doing, SonicFox reinforced the reality that politics are a constant and irremovable part of everything that we all do, including competing in a fighting game tournament.

More on SonicFox:

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