Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind (2022) Review
Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind, is the third and latest installment of the Warner Bros. animated franchise following Scorpion’s Revenge and Battle of the Realms. And it wastes no time getting right into the bloody action. Literally, in the first minute of the film, a convoy of vehicles pulls looking like it rolled out of one of the better Road Warrior rip-offs smashes through the gates of a town. The occupants begin slicing off heads, ripping out spines, impaling and incinerating the residents in gruesome detail. King Kano (David Wenham, Nekrotronic, Van Helsing) and the Black Dragons have arrived, ironically telling the survivors they’re here to protect them in return for a small tax.
The only one who dares stand against them is Kenshi (Manny Jacinto, Peelers, Top Gun: Maverick) a young fighter whose ambition outstrips his skills. He’s left broken, and after another of Kano’s men Shang Tsung (Artt Butler, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Over the Moon) uses him to open the Well of Souls, blinded.
But in his quest for power, he didn’t stop to consider that if Kenshi’s blood could unseal the well he might be able to make use of anything else that was inside it. And there is, his family’s ancestral sword literally calls to him. But it falls to the extremely reluctant Kuai Liang aka Sub-Zero (Ron Yuan, The Paper Tigers, Catwoman: Hunted) to train what’s left of him on how to use it and stop Kano’s plans of conquest.
With its desert wasteland setting and extreme violence, the opening of Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind gives off serious Fist of the North Star vibes. Series writer Jeremy Adams and director Rick Morales (Batman vs. Two-Face, Lego Scooby-Doo!: Haunted Hollywood) seem to have drawn inspiration from several different films and genres. The most obvious is the multitude of Japanese Blind Swordsman films, that Kenshi’s story is drawn from, but scenes of the fun and games in Kano’s palace reminded me of Neil Marshall’s Doomsday.
Kuai Liang, who has renounced violence needing to be convinced to return to it in the face of evil recalls Shane and a host of others. And not only does Kenshi’s sword glow like a lightsaber, but the long training sequences also have elements of Luke and Yoda if Yoda was built like Mr. Olympia.
Those training sequences, with only two characters, and occasionally a chicken, on-screen also served to keep the budget down and the animation simpler. And Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind unfortunately does have a cheap look to it in many scenes. Especially annoying are the ones where the foreground characters are animated but the crowd behind them is frozen and unmoving, like an extension of the background scenery. Other large-scale scenes, like the aftermath of the ice storm Kuai Liang, lost control of lack the detail I’ve come to expect from Warner’s releases.
Despite these shortcomings, Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind still delivers plenty of action and builds to a ludicrously bloody final showdown that even sees Scorpion (Patrick Seitz, Attack on Titan, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure) joining the battle against the cyborg-like Kano, Tremor (Imari Williams, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness), Kabal (Keith Silverstein, Ghost in the Shell SAC_2045. Bubble) and a horde of others.
If you don’t mind the occasional lapses in quality and a script that feels a bit too much like a generic post-apocalyptic thriller rather than a Mortal Kombat film at times, then there’s plenty of over-the-top fun to be had here. Franchise purists however may find it all a bit disappointing though.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind on Blu-ray and 4K on October 11th. It will be available on Digital and VOD platforms on October 26th. If you’re looking for more mayhem, FilmTagger has a few suggestions for you.