I'm not, by any stretch of the imagination, a video game player, especially since my stroke left me without the requisite attention span or hand-eye co-ordination to be any good.
However, I'll admit to a fondness for fighting games and mashing some serious buttons in my university days playing Street Fighter (side note: I tried rewatching the 1994 Jean-Claude Van Damme movie the other week, and it has not aged well).
That said, as far as I recall, I never played Mortal Kombat, so have no real knowledge of the game's mythology or investment in the characters.
It seems there's a supernatural martial arts tournament every century (it's not really clear how often) and if the Bad Guys of the Outworld plane in 10 tournaments in a row the Elder Gods will allow them to invade Earth (or something).
Outworld is a grey Zack Snyder-filmed Burning Man Festival kind of place, full of people in black pleather BDSM costumes.
Anyway, these guys and gals have already won nine tournaments in a row (just how rubbish are the Earth's champions?) and Outworld's Emperor Shang Tsung (Chin Han) wants to ensure victory in the 'final' tournament by sending assassins to Earth and killing our contenders before the tournament even begins.
But... if he can do that already, why are they even bothering with the tournament?
Because reasons, I guess.
There's an awful lot of hand-waving when it comes to spelling out the backstory and deep motivations of all involved, ultimately meaning the plot of Mortal Kombat has holes in it you could fly an Imperial Star Destroyer through.
The Emperor of Outworld's assassins are led by Sub-Zero (amazing martial artist Joe Taslim of The Raid fame) who has incredible ice-based superpowers to complement his martial arts moves.
In the pre-credits flashback to Ancient Japan, he sends the great ninja Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) to Hell, establishing an enmity between the two men that spans time and space.
Back on modern-day Earth, unsuccessful cage fighter Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is drawn into these shenanigans because his bloodline marks him as a champion, and he ends up getting recruited by a pair of special forces operatives, Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) and Jax (Supergirl's Mehcad Brooks), to protect him from Sub-Zero.
There's a quest to find a hidden temple, which gets resolved quick sharpish, and soon they are joining the forces of Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano), Elder God and protector of 'Earthrealm', to stand against Shang Tsung's fighters.
Mortal Kombat is dumb and occasionally nonsensical but has enough superpowered beatdown chutzpah to power through.
One of the film's problems, on top of its logic-lacking narrative, is that by being all post-modern and having the Bad Guys trying to circumvent the titular Mortal Kombat tournament, there ends up being no actual Mortal Kombat in the movie at all.
That said, the film is at its strongest when there's fighting going on. And, unsurprisingly, there's a lot of amped-up fighting going on in its 110-minute duration.
It also, as befits the reputation of the Mortal Kombat gaming franchise, features a lot of brutally violent 'finishing moves'.
So, there's that.
Sadly, Cole and Sonya, the two nominal leads, are quite bland, but luckily they are initially teamed with the foul-mouthed Australian mercenary Kano (Josh Lawson), who pretty much steals every scene he is in.
The lack of strong leads is countered by the sheer number of different fighters involved in the story.
This isn't one of those superhero movies where powered characters plough through hordes of faceless goons.
Mortal Kombat is about small groups of unique combatants beating the shit out of each other.
And if that sounds like your sort of thing, then you'll probably enjoy Mortal Kombat.
As the first film I have ever 'rented' on my Sky box (rather than buying outright digitally, or gaining Premier Access to via Disney Plus), I reckon this was good value for money - against the cost of going to see it in the cinema, the hassle of getting there, paying for overpriced snacks, the uncomfortable seating, the presence of other people etc
- From today, Mortal Kombat is available to rent via the Sky Store.