“Mortal Kombat offers a few thrills that can produce a general audience response and for this it is best to save your coins on watching it in the theaters and watch it online. Of course, in that setting, chuckling at the clunky dialogue will also be a less communal event.

This movie comes roughly a quarter-century after the earlier version and sequel. The movie marks the feature debut of Australian commercial director Simon McQuoid, with "Aquaman" director James Wan among the producers.

The marginal plot involves a newly introduced character, mixed-martial artists fighter Cole Young (Lewis Tan), who is enrolled to fight on behalf of Earthrealm against the evil forces of Outworld's Emperor Shang Tsung (Chin Han).

Cole, it turns out, bears what he thought was a birthmark, which actually identifies him as one of the chosen to protect his world, with a storied heritage of which he's unaware. He's set on that journey by Jax (Mehcad Brooks), after an out-of-nowhere attack by the ice-spraying Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim).

"Mortal Kombat" starts out on this exploration of mythology and story building but then the movie plot turns into an extended fight sequence with the story itself stopping.

There are many scenes of martial-arts-style combat and special effects. The movie has a visual flair but lacked in being dimension to the characters. 

For those on the fence, though, "Mortal Kombat" is hardly worth starting, much less finishing. 

"Mortal Kombat" is out now in theaters and on HBO Max. It's rated R.

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