“Mortal Kombat” (Warner Bros.)

This is the movie poster for "Mortal Kombat." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS/Warner Bros.)

By Catholic News Service

By turns brutal, ponderous and silly, director Simon McQuoid’s feature debut is a reboot adaptation of a series of video games previously brought to the big screen via a couple of movies dating from the mid-1990s. It charts the exploits of a mixed martial arts fighter (Lewis Tan) whose languishing career is suddenly put on hold when he gets mixed up in a prolonged smackdown pitting the underdog forces of planet Earth (led by Tadanobu Asano) against those of a realm called Outworld (headed by Chin Han). Joining him in the struggle are, among others, a duo of special forces veterans (Jessica McNamee and Mehcad Brooks) and an ill-tempered, potty-mouthed mercenary (Josh Lawson).

The bloody mayhem that results includes the demise of characters, some human, others monstrous, by incineration, dismemberment and reduction to pulp. The fact that the protagonist is primarily motivated by the desire to protect his family (Laura Brent and Matilda Kimber) is a feeble offset to such savagery or to a convoluted mythos involving various “gods.”

Nonscriptural religious ideas, excessive gory violence, gruesome sights, a couple of mild oaths, pervasive rough and some crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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