Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is a 1997 martial arts action film and also a sequel to Mortal Kombat (1995) both of which were based on the famous violent video game of the same name. This movie, however, was based on the events between Mortal Kombat II and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. In contrast to its predecessor, which was a box office success and has people willing to defend it saying it's a good movie to this day, Annihilation was critically panned and underperformed at the box office. As a result, not only was it was considered by many as one of the WORST sequels of all time, but development of a planned sequel to this movie was halted and never progressed beyond pre-production.
After the first film, the evil emperor Shao Kahn opens a portal from Outworld to the Earthrealm and has reclaimed his queen Sindel, who is Kitana's long-dead mother. Earthrealm is therefore in danger of being absorbed into Outworld within six days, a fate which Liu Kang and the others must fight to prevent. Kahn fights and quickly kills Johnny Cage during the confrontation by snapping his neck, and the remaining Earthrealm warriors must regroup and think of an idea to defeat Shao Kahn. An emotionally guilt-ridden Sonya Blade enlists the help of her old partner, Jax, while Kitana and Liu Kang search for a Native American shaman named Nightwolf, who seemingly knows the key to defeating Kahn. On the way, they run afoul of the cyborg Smoke. Kitana and Liu Kang dispatch him with the aid of Sub-Zero, but Scorpion suddenly appears, attacks Sub-Zero, and kidnaps Kitana.
Raiden meets with the Elder Gods and asks them why Kahn was allowed to break the tournament rules and force his way into Earthrealm, and how he can be stopped. The answers he receives are sparse and ambiguous; one says that reuniting Kitana with her mother, Sindel, is the key to breaking Kahn's hold on Earthrealm, but another Elder God insists that the defeat of Kahn himself is the solution. Raiden is then asked by the Elder Gods about his feelings and obligations towards the mortals, and what he would be willing to do to ensure their survival. Liu Kang finds Nightwolf, who teaches him about the power of the Animality, a form of shapeshifting which utilizes the caster's strengths and abilities. To achieve the mindset needed to acquire this power, Liu Kang must pass three tests. The first is a trial of his self-esteem and focus. The second comes in the form of temptation, which manifests itself in the form of Jade, who attempts to seduce Liu Kang and make him forget about Kitana. Liu Kang resists Jade's advances, which impresses her. She offers her assistance in fighting Kahn. Liu Kang accepts Jade's offer and takes her with him to the Elder Gods' temple, where he and his friends are to meet Raiden. The third test is never seen.
At the temple, the Earthrealm warriors reunite with a newly shorn Raiden, who explains that he has sacrificed his immortality to freely fight alongside them. Together, they head for Outworld to rescue Kitana and reunite her with Sindel. With Jade's help, Liu Kang sneaks into Kahn's castle and rescues Kitana, while the others find Sindel. Unfortunately, Sindel remains under Kahn's control, and she escapes while a trio of Raptors ambush the heroes, while Jade reveals herself to be a mole sent by Kahn to disrupt the heroes' plans. Raiden then reveals that Shao Kahn is his brother, and that Elder God Shinnok is their father. He realizes that Shinnok had lied to him and is supporting Kahn. With renewed purpose, Raiden and the Earthrealm warriors make their way to the final showdown with Kahn and his generals. Shinnok demands that Raiden submit to him and restore their broken family, at the expense of his mortal friends. Raiden refuses and is killed by an energy blast from Shao Kahn.
Though the early going is rough, Jax, Sonya, and Kitana emerge victorious against their opponents (Motaro, Ermac and Sindel respectively), but Liu Kang struggles with Kahn, and his Animality barely proves effective. Shinnok attempts to intervene and kill Liu Kang on Kahn's behalf, but two of the Elder Gods arrive, having uncovered Shinnok's treachery. They declare that the fate of Earth shall be decided in Mortal Kombat. Liu Kang finally defeats Kahn, and Shinnok is banished to the Netherrealm. Earthrealm reverts to its former state, and with Kahn's hold over Sindel finally broken, she reunites with Kitana. Raiden is revived by the other Elder Gods, who bestow upon him his father's former position. With everything right in the universe once again, the Earthrealm heroes return home triumphant.
Why it Sucks
- Aside from Robin Shou and Talisa Soto reprising their roles as Liu Kang and Kitana, some of the original actors didn't come back for this movie and were replaced.
- Many moments are heavy-handed and unnecessary, such as Nightwolf's scene.
- Shao Kahn kills Rain for almost no other reason than failing to make some fighters beg for their lives.
- Kabal and Stryker were mentioned in the film by Rain, but they didn't make their appearances in this film.
- The buildup towards Animality is a very big disappointment.
- Johnny Cage, one of the most iconic characters in the entire Mortal Kombat franchise and the person who defeated Goro in the first film, dies in the first five minutes of the movie, despite the fact this film was made around the time Mortal Kombat Trilogy (a game where he is playable) was still relevant. This was ironic considering that Daniel Pesina, who previously played Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat 1 and Mortal Kombat II was fired by Midway and replaced by David Alexander in Mortal Kombat Trilogy.
- Many questions remain unanswered, such as why the Elder Gods lied to Raiden and how both Sub-Zero and Scorpion (despite the latter being an undead hellspawn as evident by his head being just a skull underneath his mask) are alive despite being killed in the first film. (However, the Sub-Zero in this film explains that the one who was killed by Liu Kang in the first film was actually his brother, a nod to Mortal Kombat II.)
- Way too many jump scenes.
- Very poor CGI effects for Liu Kang and Kahn's Animality forms.
- Laughable dialogue, especially Sindel.
- Terrible costumes(mainly Liu kang and Raiden).
- Bleak and bland backgrounds.
- Some characters don't get much screen time as they should, Sheeva, an iconic Mortal Kombat 3 character, unfortunately dies without fighting anyone (much to the disappointment of her portrayer), which makes her involvement in the story completely pointless.
- Terrible greenscreen.
- Sindel's famous comedic and plagiarizing line "Too bad...you...will die!". This became a meme amongst Mortal Kombat community.
- Some fight scenes are a little short.
- The villains are portrayed excellently but their development is bad.
- Raiden quickly changed from an Elder God into a martial artist from Earthrealm for no reason at all.
- Jade's betrayal was a nice twist but her dying by Shao Kahn was a terrible idea.
- Shao Kahn kills Rain and Jade for stupid reasons without bothering to explain this motive other than coming up with foolish reasons like beg for their lives or leading the heroes into an ambush, even though Jade and Sindel were fairly outnumbered.
- Ed Boon himself declares that he hates the film claiming it the worst thing to be associated with the series.
- Lack of fatalities (with the exception of Sonya's kiss of death) and blood.
- The film acknowledges the fact that humanity is facing total destruction, but it doesn't show people actually dying or screaming for their lives making the apocalyptic destruction seem unrealistic.
- The fight with Mileena and Sonya, the mud on their bodies appear and disappear and the monster that appears after the battle is horribly CGI.
- Some of the villains like Sheeva and Motaro look cool.
- The fight between Sonya and Mileena was great.
- Liu Kang's fight with Smoke by default is the best fight scene.
- MK mascots Scorpion and Sub-Zero get to fight each other.
- Ed Boon, who voiced Scorpion in the game, was also reprised Scorpion in this movie.
- Sindel's costume is good.
- The story was interesting.
- The music is top notch as always.
- despite Sandra Hess replacing Sonya, she does a good job in portraying her character more and the chemistry with Jax is great as well making it possibly the best character development than anyone.
Threshold Entertainment's production on a second sequel was initially scheduled to commence shortly after the release of Annihilation, but it was shelved due to Annihilation's poor reception and disappointing box-office performance. It consequently never got off the ground as it remained stuck in preproduction for over ten years, with numerous script rewrites and story changes, along with the 2005 destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, which greatly affected one of the planned shooting locations.
In June 2009, a bankruptcy court lawsuit saw Lawrence Kasanoff suing Midway while mentioning that a third film was in the works. Warner Bros. (which became the parent of New Line Cinema in 2008, after over a decade of both operating as separate divisions of Time Warner) ended up purchasing most of Midway's assets, including Mortal Kombat, the next month. In July 2009, actors Chris Casamassa (Scorpion) and Linden Ashby (Johnny Cage) separately announced that they would be reprising their respective roles from the original film, with Casamassa additionally claiming that filming would begin in September of that year, but the project still did not commence production, and aside from a poll that asked fans to vote on which major character they believed would die in the third movie, no official information on the project ever existed on the Mortal Kombat website hosted by Threshold, which itself permanently ceased updates in late 2004.
In September 2011, it was reported that New Line Cinema (Mortal Kombat film rights holders), sister studio to Warner Bros. (current MK franchise holders), had hired Kevin Tancharoen to direct a new feature-length movie based on the franchise. Oren Uziel, who wrote the original short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, but was not involved in Mortal Kombat: Legacy, was said to return to pen the story, while no actors, nor other crew, were confirmed. Reports stated that the film would not be an extension of the game, nor of Legacy.
New Line President Toby Emmerich said that the success of the video games combined with Tancharoen's vision means, "You don't have to squint too hard to see how it might make a good movie", while Tancharoen says discussions have only concerned an R-rating, with darker, brutally real martial arts. Tancharoen had discussions at the 2011 Comic Con with Uziel and Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon, saying that it will be a very big origin story with the sensibility and realism of Rebirth and Legacy as opposed to the traditional Mortal Kombat mythology. He said, "I've always been a fan of properties like Batman where you can expand the universe in different directions. Mortal Kombat is big enough that you can allow for multiple different kinds of storytelling."
But as for its continuity with the web series, Tancharoen said "you won't have to have seen all ten episodes previously - or have played the videogame - to understand the movie." Shooting was expected to begin in March 2012 with a budget of well under $100 million and a release date of 2013, coordinated with the next installment of the video game series being produced by the same studios. It was later delayed due to budget constraints. The director started working on the second season of Legacy until problems with the movie had been sorted out. In late 2012, Warner Bros executive Lance Sloan revealed that the Mortal Kombat movie would have a budget of between $40–50 million.
In October 2013, Tancharoen announced that he would not direct the film. In August 2015, it was reported that James Wan had signed on to produce. In August 2016, Wan told IGN that he's confirmed as the producer of the film and won't rush the film but want it heading in the right direction. On November 18, 2016, Variety reports that Simon McQuoid is in talks to direct the reboot.