Tooncrap #4 - Mortal Kombat: The Journey
Choose Your Density!
New Line Cinema: 1995
Written by: Raymond Gallant
In the mid 90's nothing touched Mortal Kombat. The
fighting game franchise as beloved by gamers for its violence as it was
hated by parental groups for its gore. But in the end, Mortal Kombat is
a classic franchise. And there were so many great things to come out of
it, like the brilliant sequel, Mortal Kombat II, as well as the cheesy
as all hell live action movie. I've always had a soft spot for this
movie. Sure it has it's corny moments, and lacks the gore and fatalities
that made this franchise a strong cash cow, but it at least held true to
the characters, something another movie about a popular fighting game
failed to do around that same time.
Oh, everybody's used that joke already, I may as well join the happy
So, while the MK movie was a decent flick, the Direct-to-video
semi-prequel known as Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins, is on the other
end of the spectrum. As in the spectrum of total turdtastic
terribleness. It's an atrocious throw together of 2D, CGI, and Motion
Capture. But it's main selling point was a special code for Mortal
Kombat 3 that could be seen at the end of the video. Remember when
almost every WWF VHS did the same? Gave you supposed "insider tips" at
the end of the video, only to find out that they really aren't all that
helpful? Oh well, at least the VHS tape had some good matches...
Oh right, this was "New Generation" WWF. 1995 New Generation WWF at
that. Sorry, my mistake.
So we have our Hook (it's Mortal Kombat, and it has a special trick),
Our line (The Journey Begins), now let's run through the stinker. Let's
review this thing.
The movie does start off on a more positive note. The much beloved
techno theme of Mortal Kombat plays as the credits roll. Too bad that
only last roughly 10 seconds at best. Then we get shots of a dragon's
shadow flying through the sky, mixed in with CGI shots of fighters
battling one another. We also get our narrative, telling us the reasons
for the tournament, and that it is held on an island that borders
between Earth Realm, and Outworld. Outworld has won the last 9
tournaments, and it is imperative that they do not win the 10th. We cut
to the Dragon logo that spins around for 15 seconds before we get the
title of the movie.
We cut to a ship That the 3 chosen warriors are on.
and Johnny Cage as the Beaver.
The three Introduce themselves to each other as Cage vomits due to being
sick of the bad animation. Okay, he's just sea sick, but really, what
bird brain thought this would look nice? The 2D characters don't blend
well at all with the CGI background. hell, sometimes they even get this
blurriness over them. and their movements feel almost as jerky as an old
Hanna-Barbera cartoon, only without the charm.
As the boat reaches a stormy, foggy, area, Sonya tries to enter the ship
to use the radio, only to be stopped by Sub Zero (voiced by Jim
Cummings), and learning first hand why his name isn't just a silly pun.
"Dat is a cool name though. A cool name for a man with a heart of
Oh, who asked you Mr. Freeze?
The door of the ship opens, and out comes Shang Tsung (also voiced by
Jim Cummings), who informs Sonya that while she thinks she's here to
track down a dangerous criminal, she's really on the boat as a member of
the mortal kombat tournament, and then for no real reason whips up a
mini tornado that sends Kang and Cage spinning in the air.
Like a record, baby.
Tsung leaves them, telling Sonya that no radio will be able to work
where they're going. as the trio talk, Tsung sends Sub Zero and Scorpion
to attack them. If the chosen trio were to perish before the tournament,
then Outworld would win by default. Sub zero freezes the floor of the
ship, causing Johnny to slip and..
AAAAAHHH!!! Too damn' close!
Cage slips and crashes into some crates. Sub Zero attacks the trio by
doing pretty much what I do when I play Mortal Kombat. Spam the freeze
move. Liu even pulls a matrix (Though since Matrix came out about 4
years later did they pull an MK?) by slo-mo dodging a freeze ball. Sonya
Slo-Mo dropkicks Sub Zero, before doing this for some reason.
Okay, enough with the creepy close ups please.
The two beat down on Sub Zero, until Scorpion makes the scene. In the
middle of the slo-mo fighting moves, the trio of heroes use their
classic moves like Kang's bicycle kick, and Sonya's head scissors, which
sends Sub crashing through the ship's deck. Scorpion uses his harpoon
move (although he wraps it around her instead of stabbing her), yells
the legendary "GET OVER HERE!" and slowly drags Sonya, when a bolt of
lightning breaks the rope, sending Scorpion falling into the hole with
Sub Zero. It's Raiden, the god of thunder (And rock and roll?). Cage
makes a smart ass remark, and Raiden responds by...
Doing this. And I love him for it. If there's anything I'm glad to take
away from this damn thing, it at least gave us Cage and the electro
Raiden shouts at Shang Tsung for attacking our heroes. as Tsung and his
cronies leave, we get some more back story to the Mortal Kombat
tournament. which leads us to some more sub par CGI. I know this is post
ReBoot, yet Pre Toy Story, but it still looks rather bad. We see a
younger Tsung engaging in what appears to be a dance off with someone
else. maybe it's supposed to be martial art techniques, but damn if it
doesn't look like the hottest dance craze, the Wax on, Wax off. Macarena
+ Miyagi = Money. So Shang and the other guy known as the Temple Master
fight it off in a rather dull battle of punches and kicks, until Shang
Tsung eventually wins, and ...
Steal his colors... I mean soul.
Raiden then informs them that if the 10th tournament is lost, the gates
of Outworld will open, and Earth Realm is pretty much screwed.
The next day, the heroes finally make it to Total Drama.. I mean Shang
Tsung's island, where they see many other overly generic challengers
Like Baraka. and everyone's favorite kombatant, Guy with glasses and
Tsung welcomes the Kombatants to the island, as his 4 armed pal Goro is
seen in the shadows. After the warm welcome, Johnny begins to run his
egotastic mouth. Sub Zero, and Scorpion walk by, and as our heroes watch
them, Raiden shows up, and begins with Sub Zero and Scorpion's back
story, and how Sub was a member of the Lin-Q.
The Lin-Q? I'm pretty sure it's the Lin Kuei. as in pronounced "quei".
As everyone leans oddly, we cut to another CGI fight from the past
between Sub Zero and Scorpion. they fight for a bit until Sub eventually
hits Scorpion with a freeze ball. With his enemy frozen, Sub then
smashes him to pieces in one of his classic fatalities. At least I think
he did, we never see it because they cut away....
So since Scorpion couldn't enter the "Victory hall of the dead", he
pretty much is still wandering the earth until he eventually kills Sub
Zero. After that Raiden talks more about Shang Tsung's past. Good lord,
I know this is The Journey Begins, but do we really need this much back
story filler? So they keep talking until they see Goro, the four armed
bodyguard of Shang Tsung, and leader of the Nomads, AKA, what Baraka is.
So with more back story we learn that Tsung had actually lost to Kung
Lao, Liu's ancestor. After his loss, he met Goro. and of course, we get
Goro's back story, and another CG Fight. this time with Goro's Brother
over some jeweled egg that was to be a tribute to their father. After
taking perhaps the worst F5 in history, Goro almost falls off a cliff,
but his brother saves him and the egg. Goro then turns heel, takes the
egg, and lets his brother plummet to his death. Goro then becomes the
successor to the throne.
So Shang Tsung aligns with Goro, and since this alliance the Outworld
has managed to win 9 Mortal Kombat competitions in a row. And his first
victory came by beating the ever loving hell out of Kung Lao, and
eventually crushing his head.
So they talk some more about the tournament, and Goro sends the nomad
after them. Raiden, being the ancient pussy that he is, abandons them,
as after over 15 minutes of back story, and slow CGI fighting, we
finally get some "action".
See this gif right here? This is essentially the majority of the
fighting. The same stock clips used over, and over, and over, AND OVER.
Very rarely will a new piece of animation show up. But for the most part
it's just That same shot of Sonya, that same shot of Johnny Cage walking
backwards for ALMOST FIVE MINUTES!
Even Raiden is sick of this, as he finally steps in and calls out Shang
Tsung. as the Nomads and even Sub Zero advance on them we get a CGI
montage of all the fights from earlier, and it just ends. Not without
saying to prepare ourselves for the movie. Since I don't recall any of
this crap happening in the actual movie, I say this was very poor
preparation. We get some lame bios of the characters, and the credits
roll. as symbols flash by. Guess what? Those symbols are the special
Okay, we got a Question mark, a Goro, a Goro, #11, a Goro, and a Goro.
Wait a second, there's no #11 in the code list in MK3! It must be
something else. So, after all of that, what does this code supposedly
New Line Home Video Wins
So that's Mortal Kombat: The Journey begins. lame animation, lame CGI,
and to be honest, just plain boring. I understand this is a prequel of
what's to come, but did this really need to be padded with that much
back story and exposition? It's Mortal Kombat. No one really ever cared
about the whole back story between Outworld and Earth Realm. All they
wanted to do was use Scorpion and burn their opponents.
And of course, the icing on the cake, a useless code. So, if you
actually bought this stupid tape expecting some amazing code to help you
best your foes on Mortal Kombat III, you got royally gypped. I know this
was still the early days before Gamefaqs could just give you all the
codes, but still, to buy a tape and get a code that isn't even labeled
correctly for an unlimited run ability that isn't even all that special
is just plain stupid. Just like this video. The journey for Mortal
Kombat may have begun, but it sure didn't take long to sail into the
murky waters of Tooncrap.