Tag: Joe Taslim

Mortal Kombat

Moooooooortal Koooooombaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!

I could write a whole review about the non-video game medium of Mortal Kombat, but that is not what you are here for. The first film, despite its flaws, is iconic, and gave us the theme. The second film, despite its bigger cast of characters, is a train wreck and shit, and we all wish it could have been better.

There was the cartoon, that as a kid I found really cool, and as an adult, well, never saw it again besides the few random episodes. There was a 90’s show that I saw a few episodes of as an adult, and didn’t try to watch a lot more after that.  And then there was Mortal Kombat: Legacy, an attempt to make it cool again, focus on the fights, and focus on the Kombat. I still haven’t seen that, because I suck, but I did buy the whole thing on Blu-Ray to watch eventually. Apparently the release of this film was still not the right time.

Regardless of the quality of video game movies and how they always end up disappointing, I was excited to give this new movie a chance. One rated R and ready to give us Fatalities.


I always liked picking hat-guy in the game, so I could throw his hat.


Like before, Earth is about to get fucked. There is a secret tournament that happens, and if Earth loses ten times in a row, we are all gonna die, basically. And you know what? We have lost the last NINE times already. That is some pre-movie shenanigans. So the stakes could not be higher.

Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) is in charge of protecting the Earthen realm from interference, but as an Elder God, he can’t just go and defeat the bad guys for them. Sad.

This movie is actually about a new character, name Cole Young (Lewis Tan), so his powers are a secret until the movie lets us know them. Secret secret secret. He is married (Laura Brent) and a father (Matilda Kimber), and he is a washed up MMA fighter, who takes on shitty fights for $200 bucks and usually loses. But he has this dragon mark, which means he eventually is going to participate in the tournament for Earth’s existence, but he had no idea.

Tournament shournament though. Because Shang Tsung (Chin Han), leader of the Outworld forces, is going to make sure the next tournament is a cakewalk. Nothing permits him from going and getting his guys to kill the main fighters before the tournament even starts. Time to cause a ruckus! Oh, Shang, you rascal.

So what cast of characters do we get in the film? We have Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee), Jax (Mehcad Brooks), Cano (Josh Lawson*), Liu Kang (Ludi Lin), Kung Lao (Max Huang), Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim), Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada), Mileena (Sisi Stringer), Kabal (Daniel Nelson), Nitara (Mel Jarnson), and Reiko (Nathan Jones).


get over
No Baraka? I demand Baraka! Gimmie those blade hands.


People who want a Mortal Kombat movie want a few things. They want a nice cast of characters. They want a lot of fights. They want their fights to be bloody, long, with moves that the characters use in the movies. They want these battles to be cool and surprise. They want goddamn fatalities. Someone has to say Finish Him. Maybe even Fight.

And at least on that front, I would say this film certainly delivers.

It was cool, we had a variety of characters, some more charismatic than others. We got to see some people start off strong and some grow into their powers. We got some magic.  We have a few fatalities and some deaths, not all of which are surprising. And it is good to finally get some bad Sub-Zero, we keep getting good Sub-Zero, and that is silly.

But I am leaving still a bit disappointed. Why is that? I don’t think I got a complete story.

Obviously the plot is going to be a weak point in a movie like this (Despite the video games being steeped in their own timelines and history, I am sure there are winners in that). But when it was over, I more asked “That was it?” to myself and it left a sour taste. Technically my plot description of the movie is accurate, but I still found it awkward where  it ended. Because this is not a guaranteed film series. Most are not, unless they film it all at once. We aren’t guaranteed a Mortal Kombat 2. And if we were, I don’t care. I am not a franchise reviewer, I review the movie. And this movie doesn’t give a complete story.

Come in for the fights, and stay for the fights. But be disappointed when the sequel never happens (And if it does, statistically, it will be a lot worse based on the history of these films).


2 out of 4.


* How in the hell did they make the nerd guy from House of Lies into an amusing and deadly Kato? Holy shit Josh, well done.

Star Trek Beyond

I am sad. People die all the time, but now this is my third review post Anton Yelchin death, watching a movie with him in it. And sure, in this one he isn’t the lead. He is a major player, but a relatively minor part with only a few scenes to probably excel in.

Still though, he isn’t the captain.

But going into Star Trek Beyond, I am going in very weary. The last one was interesting, some cool scenes, but overall fell flat as a film. Star Trek Into Darkness was not trying hard enough to be its own movie, relying too heavily on being am unannounced remake.

So I am sad that the Star Trek movies are beginning to feel generic. Sad that Yelchin won’t be in future movies after this one. And sad that this one has unnecessary controversy relating to what George Takei does or does not give his blessing for.

Although if the film gives me a dance number, I might reconsider the generic comment.

Hey look! The USS Enterprise is still in action, still doing their normal things. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is still captain-y, Spock (Zachary Quinto) is still Vulcan-y, Scotty (Simon Pegg), Checkov (Yelchin), Sulu (John Cho), Bones (Karl Urban), and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) are all their names-y. Especially Bones.

Except there are some boredom pains. Kirk is worried he no longer cares about exploring and is just running with the motions. He is thinking bout switching up to a higher position and getting off the ship. Spock is also worried about his future. He just figured out that Future Spock has died (Fuck, I also forgot Leonard Nemoy had died since the last movie. Fuck fuck fuck). With the Vulcans a dying race, he feels he should get off the ship, help be an ambassador and start a purely Vulcan family.

But first, let’s do one more mission. They have to go into a Nebula to look for a missing space craft because only the Enterprise is built well enough to handle it. Everything is going okay, and hey, a surprise attack! Now the Enterprise is crashed on a planet, the crew separated, and a scary race of aliens who want to take down the Federation for some reason.

One last mission always does this, doesn’t it? Starring Idris Elba as the bad guy, Joe Taslim as the bad guy in second command, and Sofia Boutella as Jaylah, mysterious awesome alien lady.

And Jaylah is like Jesus, in that she is a savior of the film.

My main thought during the film and after it was over was how much better the title Into Darkness would have fit for this film than the previous film. It was definitely a darker in tone film. The crew was split up, the Enterprise fucked up, many people captured and some red shirts killed. They went into a very dark and scary Nebula to get to the plot. They went INTO DARKNESS.

But sure, a lot of the film is on a bright planet during the day, but still, that title change would be great.

The film itself is silly and full of meh moments. I honestly found myself shaking my head. Elements that were going to explain everything felt short. Action scenes might not have made a lot of sense. There was a very clusterfucky scene involving the enterprise mostly empty on the planet in the middle of the night, was written for explosions and not for anything else to make sense.

Without a few characters I would have been bored out of my mind and given this a pretty failing grade. But Urban as Bones was really on his game in this film and always brought a smile to my face. Boutella as Jaylah was a breath of fresh air, in terms of humor, action, and the whole package. Jaylah rocks, we need more Jaylah.

In fact, that is the only reason I want more Star Trek movies. Let Jaylah star in all of these movies and not get reduced down to a small bit character and I got something interesting to finally watch.

Yelchin has better movies out this year, go watch them instead. There are better action and Sci-Fi movies this year, and obviously better comedies. But if you just want filler, then there are worse ways to go.

2 out of 4.

The Raid: Redemption

I think the only thing I heard about The Raid: Redemption was to watch it. Maybe it was “watch the fuck out of it”. And I might have heard that from multiple sources before I was able to see that. Pretty strong of a recommendation for some Indonesian film (my first on the site, woo?) that I have never heard of.

Hopefully it is nothing like Tactical Force. I want my SWAT teams to actually be effective, and not you know, shitty. Fighting skills plus guns seems like a violent bonus.

The bodies? They kind of hit the floor in this movie.

In the heart of (Big City Indonesia) is an apartment complex, that is no where near normal. It is home to a lot of drug lords, criminals, murderers, people good at fighting, and the most corrupt thing ever. No one could take it down. Not until today. A SWAT team of 20 some men is sent in to stealthily take the apartment, floor by floor, hopefully with no murders. Just you know, arrests. Big ballsy idea, but one that might work.

Lead by Team Leader Jaka (Joe Taslim), the raid initially goes off without a hitch until they reach the sixth floor. During the mission, a young lookout spots them causing a tense momenet. He is able to escape and tell the next lookout before he is killed, alerting the head boss on the top floor, Tama Riyadi (Ray Sahetapy) of their arrival.

Our actual hero is young Rama (Iko Uwais), a soon to be father, who really really just wont die. Needless to say, shit hits the fan soon after. Snipers take out the ground floor crew, and some of the team members. The power is shut off, and free rent promised to any individual who takes out a SWAT team member. Jaka soon finds out that the raid is not officially sanctioned by the department, just Lieutenant Wahyu (Pierre Gruno), meaning the last five swat members (who are split up) are now on their own and must survive the onslaught.

They also have to worry about Tama’s right hand man, Andi (Donny Alamsyah) who is the head of the logistics and narcotics, and Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian), an incredibly incredibly great fighter, who can pretty much fuck all the people up.

Whoa whoa whoa, wait a minute. WHOA. What is this!? Just wow.

Well first off, if you are like Hank Hill, and hate foreign movies (because if they are good they will get remade here anyways), then no worries, because that is totally what is happening. Similarly, a sequel and maybe third are already planned, with the rights bought my Sony. So if you like this movie, there is that to look forward to as well. I believe the same fight choreographers are involved for the US remake, but really, we will see what happens.

Despite my best attempts, the plot was actually pretty weak in this movie, and hard to grasp. Lots of betrayal. Lots of death.

BUT LOTS OF KICK ASS FIGHT SCENES. Holy crap! What all action movies try to do, basically, is have enough cool stuff happen that the plot doesn’t matter. And generally most of the time I find myself bored with them, and start analyzing the plot, and picking it apart. Really didn’t have that luxury with this movie. Was bad ass pretty much start to finish, and some of the sickest fight scenes I’ve ever seen. And lots of crazy death.

What a horrible way to recommend it I feel, but fuck the rest, just pay attention to the action.

3 out of 4.