Movieman630’s review published on Letterboxd:
How the do you even rate a film like this? It's not good, but then it was never going to be. The fight scenes are very cool, and for many watching, that's enough. However, in the end I found myself disappointed.
There's a lot to love about the film, especially for fans of the game. The fight scenes are very well done. They are shot clearly, often in long takes that can show off the strong martial arts choreography. As well, those who were disappointed in the PG-13 ness of the 1995 film can rest easy. This film is gory and R-rated as all hell. It's fights end in fantastic displays of gruesomeness that live up to the standards of the series, albeit keeping slightly more realism than the games.
THAT is the big problem with this film, though. While dark and gruesome, the games are inherently very silly. This film, however, takes itself WAAAY too seriously. This could theoretically work, but the film's writing is too bad to make up for it. As many problems as the 1995 film had, it at least found the right tone for the story. This film does not, and as such any moment that doesn't feature violence is just a slog. There's so much exposition that is just not that interesting.
With few exceptions, none of the characters really have any personality either. The main character, an original creation for the film, is an absolute bore, and classic characters like Liu Kang, Sonya Blade and Shang Tsung are sapped of everything that made them interesting. The only exceptions are Scorpion, Sub Zero and Kano. Scorpion makes the most of a small role, Sub Zero has an incredibly intimidating presence, and Kano is a blast to watch, with much of his dialogue clearly improvised.
The good in this film is still very good, but the bad is very bad. It's worth watching for the fight scenes, but not anything else