Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

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Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
Mortal kombat annihilation.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John R. Leonetti
Produced by Lawrence Kasanoff
Screenplay by Brent V. Friedman
Bryce Zabel
Story by Lawrence Kasanoff
Joshua Wexler
John Tobias
Based on Mortal Kombat 
by Ed Boon and John Tobias
Starring Robin Shou
Sandra Hess
James Remar
Lynn "Red" Williams
Talisa Soto
Musetta Vander
Brian Thompson
Music by George S. Clinton
Cinematography Matthew F. Leonetti
Edited by Peck Prior
Production
company
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release dates
  • November 21, 1997 (1997-11-21)
Running time 94 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million
Box office $51,376,861[1]

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is a 1997 American martial arts action film directed by John R. Leonetti. Based on the Mortal Kombat series of fighting games, the film is the sequel to 1995's Mortal Kombat. It stars Robin Shou, Talisa Soto, Brian Thompson, Sandra Hess, Lynn "Red" Williams, Irina Pantaeva, Marjean Holden and James Remar. The storyline was largely an adaptation of Mortal Kombat 3, following a band of warriors as they attempt to save Earth from the evil Shao Kahn. Although the story picks up where the last film left off, all but two of the lead roles were recast.

In contrast to its predecessor, which was a box office success and marginally well received, Annihilation was critically panned and underperformed at the box office. As a result, development of a planned sequel to the film was halted and never progressed beyond pre-production.

Plot[edit]

The evil emperor Shao Kahn opens a portal from Outworld to the Earthrealm and has reclaimed his queen Sindel, who is Kitana's long-dead mother. Earthrealm is therefore in danger of being absorbed into Outworld within six days, a fate which Liu Kang and the others must fight to prevent. Kahn fights and quickly kills Johnny Cage during the confrontation by snapping his neck, and the remaining Earthrealm warriors must regroup and think of an idea to defeat Shao Kahn. An emotionally guilt-ridden Sonya Blade enlists the help of her old partner, Jax, while Kitana and Liu Kang search for a Native American shaman named Nightwolf, who seemingly knows the key to defeating Kahn. On the way, they run afoul of the cyborg Smoke. Kitana and Liu Kang dispatch him with the aid of Sub-Zero, but Scorpion suddenly appears, attacks Sub-Zero, and kidnaps Kitana.

Raiden meets with the Elder Gods and asks them why Kahn was allowed to break the tournament rules and force his way into Earthrealm, and how he can be stopped. The answers he receives are sparse and ambiguous; one says that reuniting Kitana with her mother, Sindel, is the key to breaking Kahn's hold on Earthrealm, but another Elder God insists that the defeat of Kahn himself is the solution. Raiden is then asked by the Elder Gods about his feelings and obligations towards the mortals, and what he would be willing to do to ensure their survival. Liu Kang finds Nightwolf, who teaches him about the power of the Animality, a form of shapeshifting which utilizes the caster's strengths and abilities. To achieve the mindset needed to acquire this power, Liu Kang must pass three tests. The first is a trial of his self-esteem and focus. The second comes in the form of temptation, which manifests itself in the form of Jade, who attempts to seduce Liu Kang and make him forget about Kitana. Liu Kang resists Jade's advances, which impresses her. She offers her assistance in fighting Kahn. Liu Kang accepts Jade's offer and takes her with him to the Elder Gods' temple, where he and his friends are to meet Raiden. The third test is never seen.

At the temple, the Earthrealm warriors reunite with a newly shorn Raiden, who explains that he has sacrificed his immortality to freely fight alongside them. Together, they head for Outworld to rescue Kitana and reunite her with Sindel. With Jade's help, Liu Kang sneaks into Kahn's castle and rescues Kitana, while the others find Sindel. Unfortunately, Sindel remains under Kahn's control, and she escapes while a trio of Raptors ambush the heroes, while Jade reveals herself to be a mole sent by Kahn to disrupt the heroes' plans. Raiden then reveals that Shao Kahn is his brother, and that Elder God Shinnok is their father. He realizes that Shinnok had lied to him and is supporting Kahn. With renewed purpose, Raiden and the Earthrealm warriors make their way to the final showdown with Kahn and his generals. Shinnok demands that Raiden submit to him and restore their broken family, at the expense of his mortal friends. Raiden refuses and is killed by an energy blast from Shao Kahn.

Though the early going is rough, Jax, Sonya, and Kitana emerge victorious against their opponents, but Liu Kang struggles with Kahn, and his Animality barely proves effective. Shinnok attempts to intervene and kill Liu Kang on Kahn's behalf, but two of the Elder Gods arrive, having uncovered Shinnok's treachery. They declare that the fate of Earth shall be decided in Mortal Kombat. Liu Kang finally defeats Kahn, and Shinnok is banished to the Netherrealm. Earthrealm reverts to its former state, and with Kahn's hold over Sindel finally broken, she reunites with Kitana. Raiden is revived by the other Elder Gods, who bestow upon him his father's former position. With everything right in the universe once again, the Earthrealm heroes return home triumphant.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Filming[edit]

Part of the movie was filmed on location at Parys Mountain on the island of Anglesey. The scenes involving the Temple of The Elder Gods were filmed on location at Petra, a large temple and basin located in Jordan. In the closing credits, Wales, where several scenes were filmed, is incorrectly listed as being part of England.

Casting[edit]

Though Annihilation attempted to continue in the style of the first movie, the cast of returning characters from the original was almost completely overhauled; only Robin Shou (Liu Kang) and Talisa Soto (Kitana) reprised their roles, while the only other actor to return was Keith Cooke (Reptile in the first film) as Sub-Zero. Additionally, while the original attracted casual moviegoers as well as gamers, Annihilation catered exclusively to MK fans.[2]

Release[edit]

The French release of the movie was known as Mortal Kombat: Destruction Finale (Final Destruction), while the Italian release was titled Mortal Kombat: Distruzione Totale (Total Destruction). The film's novelization by Jerome Preisler was released through Tor Books.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Annihilation was released on November 21, 1997, and its opening weekend take was $16 million, enough for a number-one debut at the box office, but it was nonetheless a 30% drop from the original's opener of $23 million. While it grossed $35 million domestically, it was only $5 million above its budget and amounted to half of the original's total domestic take of $70 million. Annihilation made $51 million worldwide, a 59% drop from the original's total box office gross of $122 million.[3]

Critical response[edit]

Annihilation received extremely negative reviews, with a 3% approval rating out of 38 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, the consensus citing the "shallow characters, low budget special effects, and mindless fight scenes" along with "minimal plot development [that] manages to underachieve the low bar set by its predecessor."[4] In a 2012 interview with Complex, MK co-creator Ed Boon chose Annihilation as the "worst moment" in the history of the franchise.[5]

The film currently holds a dismal 11 out of 100 rating on Metacritic based on twelve reviews.[6] Jason Gibner of Allmovie wrote, "Whereas the first film was a guilty schlock pleasure, this sequel is an exercise in the art of genuinely beautiful trash cinema."[7] James Berardinelli of ReelViews rated Annihilation half a star out of four while describing it as having "no story, no characters, and no coherence."[8] while Marjorie Baumgarten of the Austin Chronicle opined that it was "nothing more than a perpetual chain of elaborately choreographed fight sequences that...are linked together by the most flimsy and laughable of plot elements."[9] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "D–" rating, calling it "abysmal" and "incoherent."[10]

Soundtrack[edit]

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by various
Released October 28, 1997
Genre Electronica, Industrial, Heavy metal
Length 72:08
Label TVT
Producer Lawrence Kasanoff
Steve Gottlieb
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[11]

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is the soundtrack to the film. The Mortal Kombat theme was composed by Praga Khan and Oliver Adams.

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
No. Title Artist Length
1. "Theme From Mortal Kombat (Encounter The Ultimate)"   The Immortals 3:19
2. "Fire"   Scooter 3:14
3. "Megalomaniac"   KMFDM 4:19
4. "Almost Honest (Danny Saber Mix)"   Megadeth 4:01
5. "Genius"   Pitchshifter 4:07
6. "Engel"   Rammstein 4:24
7. "Panik Kontrol"   Psykosonik 3:22
8. "Conga Fury"   Juno Reactor 5:40
9. "Anomaly (Calling Your Name) (Granny's 7" Edit)"   Libra Presents Taylor 4:02
10. "Ready Or Not (Ben Grosse Kombat Mix)"   Manbreak 3:43
11. "Back On A Mission"   Cirrus 3:38
12. "I Won't Lie Down (Kombat Mix)"   Face To Face 3:22
13. "Brutality"   Urban Voodoo 4:28
14. "Leave U Far Behind (V2 Instrumental Mix)"   Lunatic Calm 3:09
15. "We Have Explosive (Radio Edit)"   The Future Sound of London 3:26
16. "Two Telephone Calls And An Air Raid"   Shaun Imrei 4:43
17. "Death Is The Only Way Out"   Joseph Bishara 3:04
18. "X-Squad (Original Motion Picture Score)"   George S. Clinton feat. Buckethead 2:34
19. "Theme From Mortal Kombat (Chicken Dust Mix)"   Kasz & Beal 3:33

Reboot[edit]

Threshold Entertainment's production on a second sequel was initially scheduled to commence shortly after the release of Annihilation, but it was shelved due to Annihilation's poor reception and box-office performance. It consequently never got off the ground as it remained stuck in preproduction for over ten years, with numerous script rewrites and story changes, along with the 2005 destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, which greatly affected one of the planned shooting locations.[12]

In June 2009, a bankruptcy court lawsuit saw Lawrence Kasanoff suing Midway while mentioning that a third film was in the works. Warner Bros. (which became the parent of New Line Cinema in 2008, after over a decade of both operating as separate divisions of Time Warner) ended up purchasing most of Midway's assets, including Mortal Kombat, the next month.[13] In July 2009, actors Chris Casamassa (Scorpion) and Linden Ashby (Johnny Cage) separately announced that they would be reprising their respective roles from the original film, with Casamassa additionally claiming that filming would begin in September of that year,[14][15] but the project still did not commence production, and aside from a poll that asked fans to vote on which major character they believed would die in the third movie, no official information on the project ever existed on the Mortal Kombat website hosted by Threshold, which itself permanently ceased updates in late 2004.[16]

In the aftermath of Threshold's failure to produce a second sequel, director Kevin Tancharoen released a seven-minute short film titled Mortal Kombat: Rebirth in June 2010 in order to pitch a reboot of the franchise. The short film resulted in two seasons of a web series called Mortal Kombat: Legacy. In September 2011, Tancharoen signed on to direct a feature-length reboot and posted segments of his production-draft script online,[17][18] but like its predecessors, the reboot became stalled in development for the next two years, and Tancharoen resigned from the project in October 2013.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  2. ^ "What's in this movie for MK gamers? 'There are more characters in this movie from the game than last time, and there's a lot of new ones, to coincide with the fourth game.' "Mortal Kombat II - Cory Doctorow, SciFi Entertainment, 11/97; reprinted on craphound.com
  3. ^ "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  5. ^ Reyan Ali, Ed Boon's 12 Biggest Mortal Kombat Memories, Complex.com, September 12, 2012
  6. ^ "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  7. ^ Gibner, Jason. "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation". Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  8. ^ Berrardinelli, James (November 1997). "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation". ReelViews. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  9. ^ Baumgarten, Marjorie (November 28, 1997). "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  10. ^ Glieberman, Owen (December 5, 1997). "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Mortal Kombat Annihilation - Original Soundtrack". Allmusic. 
  12. ^ Clint Morris (2008-02-08). "Director talks Mortal Kombat reboot". Moviehole.net. Retrieved 2008-02-08. [dead link]
  13. ^ "WB Picks Up Rights to Midway Video Games". Comingsoon.net. 2009-07-06. Retrieved 2009-07-16. 
  14. ^ Polybren (2009-07-08). "Third Mortal Kombat movie filming in September - Report". GameSpot.com. Retrieved 2009-07-16. 
  15. ^ "Linden Ashby talks about Mortal Kombat". 
  16. ^ "Threshold Entertainment". mortalkombat.com. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  17. ^ "'Mortal Kombat' Video Game Headed Back to the Big Screen". The Hollywood Reporter. 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  18. ^ "Director Teases Script from Upcoming Movie". Mortal Kombat Online. June 29, 2012. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  19. ^ McNary, Dave (October 26, 2013). "Mortal Kombat Movie Director Kevin Tancharoen Moves On". Variety. Retrieved February 23, 2014. 

External links[edit]