|Dir:||John R. Leonetti|
|Star:||James Remar, Robin Shou, Talisa Soto, Brian Thompson|
|Cert / Year:||15 - R / 1997|
The film picks up where Mortal Kombat left off with Liu Kang(Robin Shou) and the gang returning to the temple of the "order of light" fresh from their victory against the sorceror Shang Tsung and having the celebrations cut short by the beginning of an invasion of Earth by Shao Kahn the ruler of "Outworld".
Shao Kahn (Brian Thompson) has managed to find a way to open the portals which has enabled him to attack the Earth. Raiden ( James Remar) has a brief fight with Shao Kahn and.....
You know what?, to hell with it. This is an awful film and whatever I tell you is hardly likely to spoil it for anyone. So here you go......
Within the first 5 minutes Shao Kahn kills Johnny Cage. (Chris Conrad) (Obviously Linden Ashby had more sense than to sign on for this film!) Sindel (Musetta Vander) the screaming witch and dead mother of Princess Kitana (Talisa Soto) returns from the dead to fight for Shao Kahn. (the reason she killed herself in the first place) Raiden is played by James Remar who replaces Christopher Lambert and lacks the weight and presence required for the thunder god so immediately loses his fight against Shao Kahn. So the remaining members of the gang run away and travel through the centre of the Earth in some big metal cages which look more like a "chocolate orange" than a mode of transport, in an attempt for Sonya (now played by the ass-kickalicious Sandra Hess who does a little better than Bridgette Wilson but not a lot) to reunite with her army buddy "Jax" and for everyone else to regroup and formulate a plan. (or perhaps a real plot)
Sub-Zero who you may recall was killed in the first film and is now replaced by his younger brother and Scorpion who was also defeated in the first film is also replaced by his brother, so you get a reasonible fight between the two of them due to the new Sub-Zero changing sides and fighting for the good guys (eh??!!) instead of trying to avenge the death of his brother at the hands of Liu Kang. Liu Kang (Robin Shou) seems to have lost his common sense since his return to Earth and is sent by Raiden to meet "Nightwolf" who is to help him find his "Animality". (ridiculous pile of toss which is merely an excuse to use CGI) Liu Kang is stood in the middle of the desert at night when he is knocked to the ground by a wolf that promptly changes into a native American Indian and he asks "who are you?" how blatant do you want it for goodness sake! Sonya teams up with her old army partner Jax, who now has cybernetic arms and they all head off to meet up with Raiden, who has gone through a make over and boasts his "new look" which can only be described as "camp" or "fruity".
I think that just about covers the excuse for a plot if that is what you can call it, which skates on some very, very thin ice indeed. Possibly one or two of the fight scenes are worth watching but to be honest most are badly directed and / or edited although the short fight between Mileena and Sonya is watchable but that may just be down to them looking good covered in mud. Raiden's fight scenes were doubled by Brit martial artist Ray Park who is probably better known as "Darth Maul" from Phantom Menace or "Toad" from The X-Men but not even that can do much for a film seriously lacking in nearly every department.
The script is near enough non-existant and the cast seem decidedly uncomfortable with their individual roles, and who can blame them, this turkey is almost a complete opposite of the first film. The original Mortal Kombat movie actually worked quite well for a video game to film transition and in most cases did the game proud. Providing some memorable performances and some good fight choreography the first film was an entertaining watch for fans of the game. The sequel however is not so fortunate and is a generally painful watch which lets down the work of Paul Anderson's original, leaving the audience intellectually starved and generally baying for blood. I could go on for pages on how bad this film is and yet you cannot narrow it down to one particular thing as there is so much wrong with it, it's easier to say that good performances by Robin Shou and Sandra Hess strain to hold together a very precarious movie.
Video game to movie transitions often turn out to be a disappointment but with such a strong original you would think that a winning formula like that could be continued for a sequel. With the exception of Mortal Kombat the only other decent VG to movie transition would be the Street Fighter Animated Movie by Manga because the live action version (With Jean Claude Van Damme) had very little to do with the game and the less said about Tomb Raider the better.
Without the benefit of many redeeming features "Annihilation" is a film that you can quite happily afford to miss and do without having on your shelf. A large majority of the dialogue is "cheesy" and the rest is mainly meaningless waffle coupled with some largely inferior special effects and tiresome direction.