Mortal Kombat (1995)

Rating: ****
Director: Paul Anderson
Cast: Robin Shou, Linden Ashby, Taliso Soto, Christopher Lambert, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Bridgette Wilson

Finally, a domestic martial arts film that delivers the goods! This film is a stunning adaptation of the video game, and its structure resembles Bruce Lee's "Enter The Dragon" (1973) more than anything else. If only Van Damme's "Street Fighter" (1994) had had the same sense to stick with the conventions that were already established by the game... Anyway, the best fighters in the world are summoned by the evil Shang Tsung (played with wicked glee by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) to fight for the fate of Earth in a tournament called "Mortal Kombat." Each of the fighters have their own selfish motivations, but they must pool their resources and harness their inner strength to survive and defeat Shang Tsung. Hong Kong actor and wu-shu expert Robin Shou catapults this film into greatness as Liu Kang. His expertise and fight choreography are brilliant and deliver thrilling hand-to-hand martial arts combat that American audiences haven't experienced since the 1970's. The only weak link is Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson) who pouts better than she can fight, and is sadly relegated to helpless female fluff by the end of the film. Other than that, the film boasts fun characters, strong performances, awesome effects, gorgeous sets, superb fight sequences, and a killer techno soundtrack. A truly remarkable film.