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Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms

Warner Bros. // R // August 31, 2021
List Price: $39.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted October 27, 2021 | E-mail the Author
Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms:

I like to approach a review as if I were writing it for someone who had no knowledge of the subject. A review for a newbie, doing a blind-buy, if you will, which in this case is not a problem, as that newbie is me! This 4k UHD animated feature is part of a remarkably robust film-franchise based on a video game, and may or may not have been released to coincide with the 2021 live action movie. Providing 80 minutes of gory action and drama, and looking pretty great, it presents a fun way to spend an evening, for fans and newbies alike.

You don't need to have deep, or any, knowledge of the Mortal Kombat franchise to take something from this movie, a direct sequel to the previous animated movie Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge, and for what it's worth, you get enough backstory in the dialog to smooth over any bumps. There are several realms of gods, creatures, and suchlike, created by elder gods, who have decreed that one realm is free to conquer another if the ten best warriors can defeat the other ten best warriors in Mortal Kombat tournaments. That's kind of the plot of Battle of the Realms except for a subplot or two involving revenge, remorse, or bad choices.

Why you would watch these movies consists of two reasons: you love the games, or you love gory, guilt-free violence. Battle has referents to the game(s) covered, and, though animated, really delivers on the gore, which is a feature of the game. I won't give away any plot points, because I don't really understand them, but the overall themes of sacrifice for the greater good, fighting through hatred to find cooperation, (again for the greater good) and pretty much laying your spine on the line to see that all the realms aren't destroyed by a 100-foot-tall god who didn't really think things through, those themes are all there, and will resonate with anyone.

And sacrifice, the members of Earthrealm's Mortal Kombat team indeed do! Lots of people die, and most of them are ripped in two, cut in two, have their heads, arms and legs blown-off, have their spines ripped out, or have their heads ripped-off with spine still attached. It's a shame this wasn't a live-action movie with practical effects, people! The other shame being that, although the backgrounds are luscious, and the clarity of the image approaches 3D in depth, the animation is a click or two below what I'd like to see. It's as if about 25% of the images that should have been illustrated between key-frames are missing, so that motion is a bit clunky, which, when combined with character designs that favor blockiness over detail, leads to animation that would fit better on a TV series, rather than a 4K Blu-ray release.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms brings the battle and blood to your UHD screen in spades. Earthrealm combatants leave it all on the floor (their intestines, mostly) as they defend all the realms from a mad god. If you are either a serious fan of the game and movie franchise, or just love a good, gory, action-packed, fun time, Battle of the Realms may be for you. Though the animation isn't swoon-worthy, the image is top-notch, and some extras on the HD Blu-ray disc sweeten the deal, making this Recommended for mega-fans.


The DVD

Video:
Mild misgivings about the quality of animation notwithstanding, this 2160p Ultra High Definition presentation looks amazing, almost 3D in depth, with great clarity, and film-like depth-of-field. Colors are vibrant and saturated, with mystical effects searing, while blood appears rather realistic in tone. It's probably hard to go wrong as far as UHD animation goes, where picture is concerned, but nonetheless, this image does not disappoint.


Sound:
DTS-HD Master Audio in a 5.1 English mix might not have all the channels that could be taken advantage of, but is punishing on the low-end and in your face. Rear-channels and dimensionality aren't given a workout, but music and dialog are mixed just fine, and overall the soundscape is robust and direct.


Extras:
Extras are included on the standard Blu-ray disc, but also include a Digital Download Code which works with Movies Anywhere in the USA. On the HD disc, you get a Commentary Track, a seven-minute behind-the-scenes Featurette: The God and the Dragon: Battling for Earthrealm, an eight-minute Featurette: Voices of Kombat with Joel McHale and others, and a four-minute Gag Reel.


Final Thoughts:
Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms brings the battle and blood to your UHD screen in spades. Earthrealm combatants leave it all on the floor (their intestines, mostly) as they defend all the realms from a mad god. If you are either a serious fan of the game and movie franchise, or just love a good, gory, action-packed, fun time, Battle of the Realms may be for you. Though the animation isn't swoon-worthy, the image is top-notch, and some extras on the HD Blu-ray disc sweeten the deal, making this Recommended for mega-fans.

www.kurtdahlke.com

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