Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
|Mortal Kombat: Annihilation|
|Directed by||John R. Leonetti|
|Produced by||Lawrence Kasanoff|
|Based on||Mortal Kombat|
by Midway Games
|Music by||George S. Clinton|
|Cinematography||Matthew F. Leonetti|
|Edited by||Peck Prior|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Box office||$51.3 million|
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is a 1997 American martial arts fantasy film directed by John R. Leonetti. It is the sequel to the 1995 film Mortal Kombat, and the second installment in the Mortal Kombat film series, which is based on the Mortal Kombat video game franchise developed by Midway Games. The film stars Robin Shou, Talisa Soto, Brian Thompson, Sandra Hess, Lynn "Red" Williams, Irina Pantaeva, Marjean Holden, Musetta Vander, and James Remar. Although the story picks up immediately after the last film ended, all the roles from the previous production were recast, with the exception of Shou and Soto.
The film's storyline is largely an adaptation of the third installment in the video game series, Mortal Kombat 3. In the film, Shao Kahn, ruler of Outworld, decides to take the Earthrealm by force after his minions' failure to win a tenth straight tournament of Mortal Kombat in the previous film. Kahn initiates a merger between the two realms, violating the rules established by the Elder Gods, which insist that victory in Mortal Kombat is necessary for such an act. This forces Liu Kang and his allies to act quickly before Earthrealm is consumed in the next six days.
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation was almost universally panned by both fans and critics. Although the film did perform reasonably well at the box office, it was not successful enough to satisfy the production company; a planned third installment was immediately cancelled, and the film franchise was essentially suspended. However, after over twenty years in limbo, a reboot of the film series, Mortal Kombat, was announced after almost a decade of rumours and development issues; it is due to be released in April 2021.
The evil Outworld emperor Shao Kahn opens a portal to Earthrealm and has resurrected his queen Sindel, Princess Kitana's long-deceased mother to facilitate his invasion. Earthrealm is to be absorbed into Outworld within six days, a fate which reigning Mortal Kombat champion Liu Kang and his allies must prevent. When Kahn kills Johnny Cage during a confrontation with the thunder god Raiden, the Earthrealm warriors retreat to seek allies.
An emotionally distraught Sonya Blade enlists the help of her Special Forces partner, Jax. Together they destroy the robotic ninja Cyrax and Kitana's clone, Mileena. Kitana and Liu search for a Native American shaman named Nightwolf, who seemingly knows the key to defeating Kahn. Kitana and Liu destroy another robotic ninja Smoke with the aid of Sub-Zero (the younger brother of the one seen in the original film), but Scorpion suddenly appears, attacks Sub-Zero, and kidnaps Kitana.
Meanwhile, 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 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 must pass three tests. The first is a trial of his self-esteem, courage, and focus. The second comes in the form of temptation, which manifests itself in the form of Jade, a mysterious warrior who attempts to seduce Liu and offers her assistance after he resists her advances. Liu 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 revealed.
At the temple, the Earthrealm warriors reunite with Raiden and learn that he has sacrificed his immortality to freely fight alongside them. Together, they infiltrate Outworld to rescue Kitana and reunite her with Sindel in hopes of restoring her soul and closing the Outworld portal to Earth. Liu rescues Kitana, killing Baraka and Sheeva in the process, while the others incapacitate Sindel. However, Sindel remains under Kahn's control and escapes during an ambush, while Jade reveals herself to be a double agent sent by Kahn to disrupt the heroes' plans before he feeds Jade to a gargoyle for her failure. Raiden then reveals that Shao Kahn is his brother and that the former Elder God Shinnok is their father. He realizes that Shinnok is supporting Kahn. With renewed purpose, Raiden and the Earthrealm warriors make their way to the final showdown with Kahn, Sindel, and his remaining generals Motaro and Ermac. 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.
After a hard fight, Jax, Sonya, and Kitana emerge victorious over Kahn's generals, but Liu struggles with Kahn, and his Animality barely proves effective, exposing a cut to Kahn that proves he is now mortal. Shinnok, who explains that these are the consequences for breaking the sacred rules, attempts to intervene and kill Liu 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 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 warriors return home.
- Robin Shou as Liu Kang
- Talisa Soto as Kitana
- James Remar as Raiden
- Sandra Hess as Sonya Blade
- Lynn 'Red' Williams as Jax
- Brian Thompson as Shao Kahn
- Reiner Schöne as Shinnok
- Musetta Vander as Sindel
- Irina Pantaeva as Jade
- Deron McBee as Motaro
- Marjean Holden as Sheeva
- Litefoot as Nightwolf
- Chris Conrad as Johnny Cage
- John Medlen as Ermac
- J.J. Perry as Cyrax / Scorpion / Noob Saibot
- Ed Boon as the voice of Scorpion
- Tyrone Wiggins as Rain
- Dennis Keiffer as Baraka
- Ridley Tsui as Smoke
- Keith Cooke as Sub-Zero
- Dana Hee as Mileena
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is loosely based on the 1995 video game Mortal Kombat 3, while featuring the character roster of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. There were also plot elements from Mortal Kombat 4, but these scenes were cut from the final theatrical version. While the original attracted casual moviegoers as well as gamers, Annihilation catered exclusively to the games' fans. Producer Lawrence Kasanoff said he was trying to make the film "even more spectacular than the first movie, which earned a healthy $73 million in the U.S. Annihilation is three times more ambitious than Mortal Kombat. Our theme for the sequel is to shoot for more—more fights, more special effects, more Outworld, more everything."
Filming began in the first quarter of 1996. Part of the movie was filmed on location at Parys Mountain on the island of Anglesey, off the coast of Wales (incorrectly listed as being part of England in the closing credits). Other filming locations included London, Jordan, and Thailand. 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. Stephen Painter and Neill Gorton provided some of the props for the film.
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 published through Tor Books.
|Mortal Kombat: Annihilation – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||October 28, 1997|
|1.||"Theme from Mortal Kombat (Encounter the Ultimate)"||The Immortals||3:19|
|4.||"Almost Honest (Danny Saber Mix)"||Megadeth||4:01|
|7.||"Back On a Mission"||Cirrus||3:38|
|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.||"Conga Fury"||Juno Reactor||5:40|
|12.||"I Won't Lie Down (Kombat Mix)"||Face to Face||3:22|
|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|
Mortal Kombat: 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. It grossed $35 million domestically and made over $51 million worldwide.
Annihilation received a 2% approval rating out of 43 critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. The website's consensus states, "With its shallow characters, low budget special effects, and mindless fight scenes, Mortal Kombat - Annihilation offers minimal plot development and manages to underachieve the low bar set by its predecessor." The film received an 11 out of 100 rating on Metacritic based on 12 reviews, indicating an "overwhelming dislike."
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." 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." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "D–" rating, calling it "abysmal" and "incoherent." R.L Shaffer of IGN wrote in 2011: "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is a bad movie. No way around it. Over the years, however, it has evolved into a cult hit of sorts, playing as an unintentional comedy – a spoof of the early video game movies and their painfully obvious cash-in mentality."
Novelizations of both Mortal Kombat movies were written by Martin Delrio and Jerome Preisler.
Robin Shou's original Mortal Kombat contract was a three-picture deal, and 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 disappointing box-office performance. Attempts to produce a third film since then have remained stuck in development hell, with numerous script rewrites and storyline, cast, and crew changes. A November 2001 poll on the official Mortal Kombat website hosted by Threshold asked fans which characters they believed would die in the third movie. The 2005 destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina greatly affected one of the film's planned shooting locations. In June 2009, a bankruptcy court lawsuit saw Lawrence Kasanoff suing Midway Games while mentioning that a third film was in the works. Warner Bros. (which became the parent company 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.
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