Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)

Rating: **
Release Date: 11/21/97
Cast: Robin Shou, Talisa Soto, Sandra Hess, James Remar

A painfully disappointing sequel to the superb original. A laughably stupid plot coupled with dumb dialog and extremely lame special effects make the film an endurance test. (the first twenty minutes of the film are entirely blue-screened) Only martial arts expert Robin Shou (Liu Kang) and sexy Talisa Soto (Kitana) return for the sequel, with Linden Ashby (Johnny Cage), Bridgette Wilson (Sonya Blade), and Christopher Lambert (Raiden) being replaced by other actors. The guy who plays Raiden (James Remar) is a total dufus and a poor actor, but he has the acrobatic fighting ability that Christopher Lambert doesn't. Sandra Hess as Sonya is a much better fighter than Bridgette Wilson and gets to see a lot more action, but isn't very convincing as an actress. And the guy who plays the villain, Shao Khan, is a joke. Where did they get this guy? Dozens of other Mortal Kombat players are on hand, but they are all handled dispassionately and most of them come off as just being hokey. (Sub-Zero's brother? Come on...) In its defense, there is a LOT of fighting, and a small portion of it is very good. Unfortunately, most of it isn't, due to sloppy camera work and editing. What a shame to waste such talent. The two-star rating may be a bit too kind, but it had its moments (most notably the gratuitous mud wrestling scene with Sonya and Mileena).