Mortal Kombat (2021) – Movie Review

TL;DR – Gory, gruesome, and yet also just a ton of fun.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.

Mortal Kombat. Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Mortal Kombat Review

When I was growing up, Mortal Kombat was this illicit thing that everyone knew about because the adults kept trying to get it banned. A baby Brian’s first experience with the Streisand Effect. So when you got to play it, well, it was almost an act of defiance, which of course, added to its appeal. As time when on, it mostly faded from my radar, and the two past films did not help, well more the second, the first still had the banging soundtrack if nothing else. But when you hear that they are doing a remake holding nothing back … well, this is something you need to check out.

So to set the scene, we open in on 1617, Japan, at the house of Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his family. Hanzo is the Shirai Ryu ninja clan leader, and as such, his home is well protected from threats. However, one fateful day while he was out fetching water, Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) of the Lin Kuei assassins arrived and killed all the guards and Hanzo’s family. They fight, but Bi-Han uses his ice to win the day and stop the prophecy of Hanzo’s bloodline being Earth’s salvation. Well, almost, as Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) arrives, he hears a cry call out from the house, for a baby had been hidden away and was saved from the slaughter. Today, Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is just going about his life as an MMA fighter when that birthmark shaped like a dragon turns out to be a bigger deal than he ever thought.

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Movie Review – Take Home Pay

TL;DR – A look at what happens when the competing interests of money and family collide

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Take Home Pay. Image Credit: M2S1 Films.

Review

Today we get to dive back into the world of Pasifika Cinema as we explore a film that takes on themes like tradition v modernity, brother v brother, money v family, and honour v fun. However, all of this is tempered by a comedic style that is unique to this part of the world and a heart that just shines.

So to set the scene, Popo (Ronnie Taulafo) and Alama (Vito Vito) are brothers living in rural Samoa working for their father planting, harvesting, and selling taro. Alama dreams of ways to make things easier for his family, even if it does not always go right, and Popo just dreams of getting out of the country. Well that opportunity arrives when they need labourers in New Zealand and both Alama and Popo get the chance to earn some more money for home. They spend their days picking kiwifruit and all is going well until the day they have to leave and Popo runs off, with both his and all of Alama’s money.

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TV Review – Wu Assassins: Season 1

TL;DR – A good start to a season however it struggles to keep the momentum moving in the back half of the season.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Wu Assassins. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Sometimes in life, it is the simple things that really work. For me, that is a show with a well-crafted story, strong characters, clear action, and with the fundamentals of filmmaking down pact. Now, once you have that, if you want to spice it up with some deep lore, building upon some grand mythology, I am also here for it. Today we look at a series that has the characters, has the action, and the filmmaking, but does not quite nail that story component.   

So to set the scene, we open in on San Francisco and Kai Jin (Iko Uwais) who works as a chef at his friend Tommy’s (Lawrence Kao) place (well actually his friend’s sister Jenny’s (Li Jun Li) place but it is complicated). Tommy is throwing a party for his Triad friends and when something goes wrong Kai steps in to stop one of the cooks getting attacked. This means that the Triad has to respond, attacking Kai while he works in a food truck. As he is escaping he hits a woman, instead of finding someone injured on the street, he finds a woman (Celia Au) who gives him the power of 1000 monks to fight an oncoming storm. So let’s break the Wu Assassins down, using those four categories we mention in the introduction.  Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Wu Assassins: Drunken Watermelon

TL;DR – A good start to a season and a good promise for the things to come

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Wu Assassins: Drunken Watermelon. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

It has been a long time since I have seen someone attempt a martial arts TV series in the west and it not be mostly a disappointment. With that in mind, I came into Wu Assassins with a little apprehension but after watching the first episode I have some hope.  

So to set the scene, we open in on San Francisco and Kai Jin (Iko Uwais) who works as a chef at his friend Tommy’s (Lawrence Kao) place (well actually his friend’s sister Jenny’s (Li Jun Li) place but it is complicated). Tommy is throwing a party for his Triad friends and when something goes wrong Kai steps in to stop one of the cooks getting attacked. This means that the Triad has to respond, attacking Kai while he works in a food truck. As he is escaping he hits a woman, instead of finding someone injured on the street, he finds a woman (Celia Au) who gives him the power of 1000 monks to fight an oncoming storm.     

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