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Ethan Spaulding
Grey Griffin, Jennifer Carpenter, Joel McHale
Writing Credits:
Jeremy Adams

Earthrealm heroes must journey to Outworld and fight for the survival of their homeland, invaded by the forces of evil warlord Shao Kahn.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
German Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 80 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 8/31/2021

• Audio Commentary with Producer Rick Morales and Writer Jeremy Adams
• “The God and the Dragons” Featurette
• “Voices of Kombat” Featurette
• Gag Reel


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 2, 2021)

Nearly 30 years after Mortal Kombat debuted as an arcade game, the franchise remains active. In addition to a big-screen live-action movie, 2021 brings Mortal Kombat Legends: Battles of the Realms, a direct-to-video animated project.

As (apparently) always, the conflict between “Earthrealm” and “Outworld” continues to flare. Outworld leader Shao Kahn (voiced by Fred Tatasciore) intensifies the mayhem when he sends barbarians to terrorize his foes.

Earthrealm’s Lord Raiden (Dave B. Mitchell) decides that they need to go through one last Mortal Kombat tournament to settle matters once and for all. However, in “Netherrealm”, the evil Shinnock (Robin Atkin Downs) generates his own dastardly plan, one that might end the known universe.

Though I possess fairly fond memories of playing Mortal Kombat on my Super Nintendo in the 1990s, I’ve felt less receptive toward the game’s dramatic adaptations. 1995’s live-action flick pretty much stunk, and 1997’s Annihilation fared even worse.

While it comes with some positives, the 2021 Kombat seems mediocre at best. Really, the only adaptation of the franchise I enjoyed stemmed from 2011’s Legacy, a collection of episodes from a web series.

This gave me some optimism as I entered Realms. I thought perhaps Kombat projects intended for mass multiplex audiences might “dumb down” the material and these direct to video – or Internet – efforts might come with greater flexibility and creativity.

That was true for Legacy, but in the case of Realms, not so much. This feels like an uninspired exploration of the Kombat universe that brings little new to the table.

Though the involvement of Shinnock manages to add a little potential spark to the proceedings. When I started to read the summary on the package’s back, I groaned and thought “another tournament???”

Granted, the nature of these contests seems baked into the Kombat universe. The whole premise of “Mortal Kombat” revolves around these fights.

Still, while that’s fine for video games, dramatic adaptations need to find something more in terms of story. Another movie based around another “climactic tournament” seems tedious, even if Realms claims it’ll feature the actual final one.

No sane person would believe that, would they? If a Kombat story really brought a last contest, the franchise would lack much of anywhere to go.

Bait and switch or not, Realms finds little new to say, and it tells its story in a fairly muddled manner. The plot lacks real focus and flits from one realm/set of characters to another in a way that makes it less than coherent.

Some of this stems from all the mouths to feed. After almost 30 years, the Kombat universe features a lot of characters. Rather than concentrate on two or three, Realms attempts to pack in a bunch, and these prove too many to develop in an 80-minute movie.

Admittedly, most watch Kombat projects for the action, not the narratives. Unfortunately, that side of matters doesn’t excel either.

This feels true because the franchise leaves little room to grow. It’s provided so much gore and violence that it becomes difficult to come up with fresh ways to depict the fights.

The main “innovation” here comes from what I’ll call “X-ray” shots that show a combatant’s innards as the attacks occur. This seems vaguely clever once or twice, but Realms goes to the well so often that this technique gets tiresome.

As does pretty much the rest of Realms. The movie lacks a solid story or exciting action, so it becomes a forgettable entry in the Kombat universe.

The Disc Grades: Picture A/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a strong visual presentation.

At all times, sharpness remained terrific. Virtually no softness crept into the image, so we got a tight, well-defined package.

Both jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and the image lacked edge haloes. Of course, source flaws failed to materialize.

Realms boasted a pretty broad palette that happily deviated from the usual trend toward orange and teal. The movie’s colors went with a nice variety of hues, all of which appeared lively and bold.

Blacks seemed deep and dark, while low-light shots presented nice smoothness and clarity. This ended up as a solid image.

Though not quite as good, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack added punch to the proceedings. With all sorts of chaos and mayhem on display, the mix opened up well and used the various speakers to create a lively sonic environment.

Audio worked fine, with speech that came across as natural and concise. Music appeared vivid and full, as the score remained well-depicted.

Effects added spark to the material and showed nice accuracy and depth, with warm, tight bass. This felt like a very good mix, especially given the movie’s lower “direct to video” budget.

We get a few extras here, and we start with an audio commentary from producer Rick Morales and writer Jeremy Adams. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters and connections to the broader Kombat universe, cast and performances, and related domains.

Given Adams’ presence, it comes as no surprise that story and character issues dominate the chat, and those offer some reasonably useful information. However, Adams and Morales tend to go into “geek-out fanboy mode” a bit too much, as they tend to rave about the wonders of the Kombat franchise too much. This leads to a decent but less than terrific commentary.

Two featurettes follow, and The God and the Dragon fills seven minutes, five seconds with notes from Adams, Morales, co-creator Ed Boon, storyboard artist Milo Neuman, and actors Joel McHale and Jordan Rodrigues.

“Dragon” looks at story/characters, the movie’s violence and animation. It includes a few insights but mostly consists of happy talk.

Voices of Kombat spans eight minutes, 34 seconds and features Adams, Morales, Boon, McHale, Rodrigues, storyboard artist Christina Sotta, and actors Jennifer Carpenter and Patrick Seitz.

As expected, “Voices” looks at cast and performances. Like “Dragon”, it brings a fair amount of praise, but it seems more informative than the prior program.

Finally, we get a Gag Reel that goes for four minutes, six seconds. It shows a few outtakes from interviews with Seitz, Carpenter and Rodrigues, but it mostly provides recording studio outtakes with McHale. Some amusement results.

Decades into the franchise, Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle for the Realms doesn’t find much new to say. We get a dull story and lackluster action across this mediocre animated tale. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals as well as very good audio and a mix of bonus materials. Maybe diehard Mortal Kombat fans will enjoy this project, but it leaves me cold.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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