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    Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
    Stars:Who knows
    After watching the sequel to the original Mortal Kombat, I was left with the burden of deciding how low to rate this movie. Is it as bad as From Dusk Till Dawn and Anaconda, or should it keep The Cable Guy company in the land of cinematic excrement? I was leaning toward the former. Since I was all set to give this movie a star-and-a-half, why did I bump it up to a full two stars? Probably because of the trailer for the X-Files movie coming June, 1998. X-Files rules. Yeah, I know that's a cheap way to boost up a movie's score, but Mortal Kombat: Annihilation needed all the help it could get.

    It picks up exactly where the first one left off, but the opening sequence was not promising. My question is, did they purposely do really crappy bluescreening effects? That's got to be the only explanation. For the rest of the movie, the effects were decent, but this looked worse that that Wendy's commercial where Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's, is fake-walking in front of still backgrounds of various places around the world. It looks like three of the characters were played by the same actors that were in the first Mortal Kombat. Christopher Lambert is no longer Raiden, but I think I like new Sonja better than the old one, if for no other reason than her nostrils are not as big as other actress's.

    Anyway, as expected, the dialog and story are just things to fill up the space between fight scenes. Some evil bad guy is going to take over the Earth and kill everyone, yadda yadda yadda. Whatever. Anyway, the fight scenes are the only reason to watch this movie. And, for the most part, they are very nice. However, littered here and there are snippets of craposity (don't you just love how I make up words all the time?). Now, I don't mind when evil bad guys throw fireballs and things like that, but mortals should be doing mortal moves. Not Johnny Cage's shadow kick, where he seems to pause in midair before going really fast. Liu Kang makes a couple of jumps where he's obviously suspended by an invisible wire. That type of thing is almost bearable in Xena: Warrior Princess, and fortunately, it's not as blatant and overdone as in Batman and Robin.

    Speaking of blatant and overdone, let's talk about the script. My companions with whom I saw this movie complained about the acting, but I don't think even Charlton Heston could have worked with the lines in this script. We are treated to chiche drivel such as "Yes, I'm still alive. It's too bad you're about to die!" That line was used about a half-dozen times in various incarnations throughout the film. I think New Line Cinema should be more wary of scripts written by 14-year-olds from now on. From the dialog, that's what I think the writer's age is. Don't get me wrong, the acting sucked, too. But anybody wanting to see a cinematic performance walked into the wrong damn theater. I don't think anybody thought Mortal Kombat: Annihilation would be well acted. but it could have been worse. The character Jackson Briggs (or Jax for short) broke up the monotony from time to time, and kept the movie from taking itself too seriously.

    Aside from the opening scene, the special effects were borderline decent, with a very heavy reliance on computer-generated scenes and characters. That's to be expected. It actually gets tiring very quickly.

    Annihilation actually is more violent than its predecessor, with people actually dying. We also get to see a bit more blood this time around, although still nowhere near the level in the actual video games. Lots of bones crunching cracking, though. The sound effects accompanying this cracking also seemed to be overdone. There are a few characters which appeared for a couple minutes when it was convenient, and then disappeared. Great. Now I'm sounding like my hick grandfather complaining that Jacques, the pilot that helped Indy escape in the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark, never appeared elsewhere in the movie. This is different. Characters like Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and NightWolf were placed in the movie when it was convenient, and they seemed too important to just ignore later on. Especially since two of those I just listed were actually good guys. This is the first time I've written a review of both a movie and its sequel here on the Web (no, Star Wars doesn't count) so this is kind of a special moment for me. Well, maybe not. The Mortal Kombats don't leave you with anything after you've left the theater. If you're going to go see Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, be sure to lower your expectations by first watching The Cable Guy or something.

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