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Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

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Overview
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
Mortal Kombat Annihilation movie poster
Directed by John R. Leonetti
Produced by Lawrence Kasanoff
Written by Screenplay:
Brent V. Friedman
Bryce Zabel
Story:
Lawrence Kasanoff
Joshua Wexler
John Tobias
Video Games:
Ed Boon
John Tobias
Starring Robin Shou
James Remar
Talisa Soto
Sandra Hess
Brian Thompson
Lynn "Red" Williams
Irina Pantaeva
Musetta Vander
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date(s) November 21, 1997
Running time 95 minutes
Country USA
Language English
Budget $30 Million
Gross revenue $51,000,000
Preceded by Mortal Kombat
Followed by Mortal Kombat: Devastation
All Movie Guide profile
IMDb profile

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is a 1997 movie that was the sequel to Mortal Kombat, and was based on the popular Mortal Kombat fighting game series. The film was produced by Threshold Entertainment and directed by John R. Leonetti (director of photography on the first film) after the departure of Paul W. S. Anderson. The movie also features an almost entirely different cast from the first movie. The movie's storyline is largely an adaptation of the game Mortal Kombat Trilogy.

Taglines:

  • Destroy All Expectations!
  • Nothing Will Ever Be The Same
  • The world was created in six days, so too shall it be destroyed and on the seventh day mankind will rest... in peace
  • Last time they were fighting for their lives. This time they're fighting for ours.
  • This time there is no tournament. This time there are no rules. This time there is only Annihilation.
  • Test your might!

Plot summary Edit

The film starts off (supposedly) by continuing from the end of the first film. The evil emperor Shao Kahn illegally opens a portal from Outworld to the Earthrealm and has reclaimed his queen, Sindel, who is also Kitana's long-dead mother. With the portal open, Earthrealm is in danger of being absorbed into Outworld within seven days, a fate which Liu Kang and the others must fight to prevent. Shao Kahn grabs Sonya Blade and holds her hostage to force Raiden into recognizing his claim on Earth, which Raiden returns by holding Kahn's generals hostage to force him to relinquish his control. Johnny Cage attempts to rescue her, only to be intercepted and killed, which forces Raiden and his friends underground to regroup. With very little time to stop the
Raiden movie

Raiden confronts Shao Kahn.

merging, Raiden suggests that they split up; Sonya, Liu Kang, and Kitana are to search for allies to the cause, while Raiden will go ask the Elder Gods why Shao Kahn was allowed to break the rules of Mortal Kombat.

Sonya immediately heads to her headquarters and recruits her old partner, Jax Briggs, who had fitted himself with external robotic prosthetics for his arms to enhance his strength. Before they can leave, they are ambushed by a cyborg named Cyrax, along with some of Shao Kahn's warriors (they are armed with maces, swords, and clubs). After defeating them, Sonya notices a dragon symbol peeling itself off of Cyrax's shoulder before vanishing. Cyrax then enters self-destruct mode and Jax and Sonya escape just before the headquarters complex is destroyed. Meanwhile, Kitana and Liu Kang search for a Native American shaman named Nightwolf, who they have been told knows how to defeat Shao Kahn. On the way to meet up with Nightwolf, however, they are confronted by a cyborg similar to the one that attacked Sonya and Jax, this one named Smoke, as well as more of Kahn's fighters. They defeat him with the aid of Sub-Zero, the younger brother of the Sub-Zero that Liu Kang defeated in the previous tournament. Sub-Zero explains that Smoke was captured and reprogrammed by Kahn to search after them, instead of him like his clan wanted. As a sign of good faith, Sub-Zero aids the two warriors further by forming an ice bridge over a large chasm, but before Kitana and Liu Kang can cross over, Scorpion appears and attacks Sub-Zero. The attack on Sub-Zero is merely a diversion so that Scorpion can kidnap Kitana. Knowing that Liu Kang is not yet strong enough to face Shao Kahn, Sub-Zero exhorts Liu Kang to continue on to Nightwolf before pursuing Scorpion and Kitana.

Raiden meets with the Elder Gods and is allowed to ask them three questions. He asks why Shao Kahn was allowed to break tournament rules and force his way into Earthrealm, and how Shao Kahn can be stopped. The answers he receives are sparse and ambiguous; one of the Elder Gods, named Shinnok, says that reuniting Kitana with her mother, Sindel, is the key to breaking Shao Kahn's hold on Earthrealm, but another insists that the defeat of Shao Kahn himself is what is needed. 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 manages to find Nightwolf, who teaches him about the power of the Animality (a form of shapeshifting which helps to utilize a person's strengths and abilities), which is essential if he is to defeat Shao Kahn. 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 Shao 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.

Sonya and Jax also head to the temple, only to be confronted by Mileena, who Sonya initially mistakes for Kitana, and an unearthly creature. Jax makes short work of the creature, and Sonya beats Mileena after a brawl in a mud puddle. Mileena is shown to have the same dragon tattoo that Cyrax had, and hers, like Cyrax's, disappears after Sonya's victory over her. At the temple, Earth's warriors reunite with a newly-shorn Raiden, who they are shocked to discover has sacrificed his immortality to freely fight alongside the Earth Warriors. When Kahn and Sidnel appear and atack the temple, the Earth warriors are forced to retreat. Together, they head for Outworld to rescue Kitana and reunite her with Sindel.

A trio of Reptile-like Raptor warriors ambush the heroes, but Raiden takes them all on (defeating two of them, while the third apparently flees). With Jade's help, Liu Kang sneaks into Shao Kahn's castle and rescues Kitana, fending off an ambush by four Tarkatan soldiers, (led by Baraka), and killing Sindel's former bodyguard, the Shokan woman Sheeva, during their escape. Raiden, Jax, and Sonya meanwhile capture Sindel and reunite her with Kitana. Unfortunately, Sindel remains under Shao Kahn's control, and she escapes. Jade also steals away, having revealed herself to be a mole sent by Shao Kahn to disrupt the Earth warriors' plans (though Shao Kahn later has her killed for her alleged incompetence). A furious Jax accuses Raiden of leading them on a wild goose chase, at which point Sonya sees on Raiden's shoulder the same dragon tattoo found on Cyrax and Mileena. The tattoo is revealed to be a family crest which allows Raiden and his family safe passage through interdimensional portals. The tattoos on Cyrax and Mileena were only temporary, which explains their disappearance when the two were defeated. Raiden then makes the shocking revelation that Shao Kahn is his brother, and that Elder God Shinnok is their father. He realizes that Shinnok had lied to him about reuniting Kitana and Sindel in order to keep him from pursuing Shao Kahn. With renewed purpose, Raiden and the rest of Earth's warriors make their way to the final showdown with Shao Kahn and his generals.

Liu Kang and his friends openly challenge Shao Kahn and his allies, only to be interrupted by Shinnok, who demands that Raiden submit to him and restore their broken family, at the expense of his mortal friends. Raiden flatly refuses, and Shao Kahn shoots a lethal energy blast at him, knocking him back. As Liu Kang holds a dying Raiden in his arms, he refuses to believe that the Thunder God will die, but Raiden says with his dying breath that he is proud to die as a mortal. A victorious Kahn then unleashes his generals upon Liu Kang and his friends.

In the final battle, Jax takes on the Centaur Motaro, Sonya fights the ninja Ermac, Kitana squares off against Sindel, and Liu Kang faces Shao Kahn. Things begin to look bleak for the Earth warriors; Shao Kahn and Sindel simply overwhelm Liu Kang and Kitana, Motaro tears off one of Jax's cybernetic prosthetics, and Ermac double-teams Sonya with his shadowy counterpart, Noob Saibot. Suddenly, Jax rids himself of his prosthetics and gains the inner strength and confidence to beat Motaro naturally. Sonya, for the first time in her life, shouts for help, which Jax is more than willing to give. Sonya, with Jax's help, is then able to take out the two ninjas. Kitana manages to fake out Sindel and subdues her. Liu Kang manages to tap into his Animality (a dragon) but he is barely able to hold his own against Shao Kahn's own Animality (a multi-headed hydra). Shao Kahn begins to gloat and taunts Liu Kang, unwittingly making him angrier and releasing the Earth warrior enough to give him a second wind and gains the upper hand.

Realizing he is losing, Kahn asks Shinnok for help. Shinnok prepares to wipe out Earth's warriors and complete the merger of Earthrealm and Outworld, but the other two Elder Gods appear, having uncovered Shinnok's treachery. They declare that the fate of Earth shall be decided through lawfully agreed means; in Mortal Kombat.

Liu Kang defeats the Outworld Emperor once and for all, and Shinnok is banished to the Netherrealm by the other Elder Gods. Earthrealm reverts to what it was before the Outworld invasion, and Shao Kahn's hold over Sindel is finally broken, allowing her to reunite with her daughter. Raiden, however, remains dead. Dead, that is, until the other Elder Gods revive him, and bestow upon him his father's former position as an Elder God. Before he leaves to join the other Elder Gods, Raiden tells his friends that "I will be watching you, so stay out of trouble" and encourages them to "be there for one another, you're a family now". The earth heroes happily walk away together.

CastEdit

Critical reaction and performanceEdit

The movie was much less well-received than its predecessor.[1] Though it still possesed the visual spirit of the first movie, it greatly lacked the level of authenticity in both special effects and fight choreography. Additionally, Annihilation suffered from an overly large and homogenous cast, employed to depict as many Mortal Kombat characters as possible, with a subsequent drop in characterization; in fact, several characters (e.g. Noob Saibot) make only unidentified cameo appearances.

The cast was almost entirely different with only Robin Shou (Liu Kang) and Talisa Soto (Kitana) returning to reprise their roles from the first film. The only other actor to return was Keith Cooke, the actor who portrayed Reptile in the first film. He was recast as the new Sub-Zero. The part of Mileena was performed by Soto's stunt-double, Dana Hee.

The budget for Annihilation was $40 million, but the movie grossed only $36 million in the U.S., with an opening weekend take of $16 million.[2] This represented a drop of 50% of the original movie's total domestic gross ($70 million). Worldwide, the film only grossed $51 million, versus the first film's worldwide take of $122 million.

Following the film's release, preproduction for a second sequel was to commence, but it was shelved, due to Annihilation's poor box office performance.

SequelEdit

Nearly a decade later Mortal Kombat: Devastation, is currently in preproduction; however, MK:D has been mired in development hell for a number of years with numerous script rewrites and story changes, along with the destruction of Hurricane Katrina (near where part of the movie was planned to be filmed) further complicating things, no roles have been confirmed cast and limited information regarding the film exists on the official MK website, or from Threshold Entertainment. 2010 - 13 years after Annihilation - was listed as a tentative release date, but the year has come and passed, with little or no further development of the film.

LegacyEdit

Apart from being generally regarded as a classic example of bad filmmaking, this movie was partially responsible for causing the Mortal Kombat franchise to lose strength during the late '90s. Despite the success of Mortal Kombat 4 in both arcades and home console systems, interest in the series began declining due to inevitable overexposure, including projects such as Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (a side-scrolling prequel in which the original Sub-Zero is the lead character) and two short-lived TV shows: the animated series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (1996) and Mortal Kombat: Conquest (1998). Defenders of the Realm lasted only four months and thirteen episodes. Conquest was canceled after only one season despite being popular due to budget issues.

In 1999, John Tobias, co-creator of the series, resigned from Midway and took a large number of Midway's staff with him. This occurred while Mortal Kombat: Special Forces was still in production. Ironically, when asked by video game magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly in a 1994 interview whether a Mortal Kombat game would be made without him or Ed Boon, Tobias replied, "It would be over our dead bodies."

By the start of the new millennium, Mortal Kombat seemed to be a relic of the 1990s until the release of the direct-to-console Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002) re-ignited interest in the series.

TriviaEdit

  • In the middle of the movie, there is a scene where Shao Kahn kills Rain by knocking him into a pit of fire. Later in the film, Baraka dies by falling into the same pit, but footage of Rain's death was re-used for this scene instead of filming new footage depicting Baraka's death.
  • Two of the film's actors were regulars on American Gladiators: Lynn "Red" Williams (Jax), who was Sabre on AG, and Deron McBee (Motaro), who was Malibu. The two fought each other in the climactic fight scene towards the end of the film.
  • Shao Kahn's quote "You will never win!" is taken directly from one of his in-game taunts. Though if one watches closely, his mouth does not move when he speaks this.
  • Raiden's yell, when performing his iconic torpedo push attack, is also taken directly from the game.
  • John Medlen (Ermac) and Tyrone Wiggins (Rain) also worked as stunt coordinators.
  • The French release of the movie was known as Mortal Kombat: Destruction Finale, while the Italian release was titled Mortal Kombat 2 - Distruzione Totale (Total Destruction).
  • Some of Sonya's yells and grunts sounds similar to the yells and grunts in the game.
  • Robin Shou, Talisa Soto, and Keith Cooke were the only three actors from the first movie to be in Annihilation. Additionally, Shou and Soto were also the only actors to reprise their original roles. Cooke, who played Reptile in the first film, came back as the younger Sub-Zero.
  • Michael Jai White was scheduled to play as Jax, but eventually he got the lead part in a another New Line Cinema film Spawn instead. He would eventually portray Jax in Mortal Kombat: Rebirth and Mortal Kombat: Legacy.
  • Christopher Lambert was apparently interested in reprising Rayden but was committed to Beowulf at the time.
  • Chris Casamassa was to reprise his role as Scorpion, but he was committed to do stunt work in Batman & Robin.
  • Dana Hee, who plays Mileena, was Soto's stunt double for Kitana in the previous film.
  • Though Musetta Vander and Talisa Soto play mother (Sindel) and daughter (Kitana) respectively, in the real life the actresses are only four years apart in age.
  • Linden Ashby, who played Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat, turned down the chance to reprise his role for Mortal Kombat Annihilation because he was unhappy with his character immediately getting killed off.
  • When Sub-Zero and Scorpion are fighting, Scorpion teleports behind Kitana and takes her into a portal. In a wide shot, he can be seen standing off screen prior to grabbing Kitana.
  • Thuy Trang auditioned for Jade but was turned down.

Notable stunt doublesEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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