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Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match Pays Tribute To 80s Action Film Nonsense

The Mortal Kombat animated movies, subtitled Legends, started out strong with Scorpion’s Revenge by just being a flat-out remake of the MK tournament storyline. It did falter a lot with the second entry Battle of the Realms though it did pick itself up with Snow Blind.

The fourth entry did right by focusing on one of the series’ most entertaining kharacters around: Johnny Cage the blowhard D-lister action star with his namedropping tendencies and high-flying moves, one of which involves him doing splits and punching someone’s nuts off.

 

Blood Sport

In Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match, we see the origin story of Johnny Cage (Joel McHale) as he wraps up filming his possible magnum opus movie Ninja Mime, whom many MK fans will remember the star always referencing every chance he gets. The plot thickens when Ninja Mime’s other star, Jennifer Grey (voiced by THE Jennifer Grey of Dirty Dancing fame), is presumably missing. As Cage checks her home out, it’s besieged by a warrior named Ashrah (Kelly Hu) and another assailant named Kia as they fight over a skroll. Helping out Johnny Cage is his assistant Chuck Golden (Dusan Brown) who is clearly an adoring fanboy, but is at least competent at his job.

Voiced by Joel McHale of Community fame (and in previous MK animated films as of late), he’s the perfect fit for the action movie star with just as many flaws as he has charm and kan-do attitude that we cannot help but root for. He is clearly a horndog for the ladies and egotistical, but his heart is in the right place and has the best of intentions. He karries the whole film as we get to see him get himself out of a tight jam, ending up in unwanted konfrontations, and just being the hero he has played on the silver screens when needed. It also helps that both Chuck and Ashrah get just as much screentime needed being a reliable side kharacter/comic foil and mysterious sexy warrior respectively.

 

Forced Vengeance

The villains of the whole show are what you expect from an 80s action film. And that’s the whole crux of Cage Match: an animated film that emulates those action shows while glowing in its neon radiance. It revels in just being a fun ride filled with loveable kharacters and a simple-to-follow plot, just doing what it does best: dishing out fun fights (involving road chases, sleazy producer offices, and cult sects) and delivering zingers & jokes whenever possible. If there were any issues, it’s mostly from the fact that only huge Mortal Kombat fans will appreciate the majority of the film. And that there were a few lines from one Gilbert Gottfried (as a film producer) that could use some work or redubs. But given the circumstances, it would be impossible to do another take.

Plus, it’s hard to hate a film that finally shows us what Johnny Cage’s Ninja Mime really looks like beyond just kasual mentions and a Mortal Kombat 11 skin. Go into this Mortal Kombat Legends showcase for what it is: a trip down an 80s action film in animated form, all with its excessive bloodshed and korny one-liners intact.

 

Final Score: 80/100

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