[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Mortal Kombat.]
Mortal Kombat exploded into our collective hearts this past weekend, delivering the singular experience we’ve been craving since the pandemic began. Namely, it turns out we all want to watch wizards kick each other to death, and for a brief few hours we were united by the bonds of stratospheric karate gore and ludicrously dense fantasy worldbuilding. After watching director Simon McQuoid’s undeniable masterpiece no less than 3 times in a 24-hour period, I have shed the shackles binding me to this reality and have ascended to a higher plane of existence in which I experience all history simultaneously. Also, I still don’t understand why Shang Tsung (Chin Han) teleports Goro (The Prince of Shokan) into the middle of Cole Young’s (Lewis Tan) garage.
If you haven’t watched the movie yet, first of all, how dare you. Second, there’s a sequence at the end of Act II in which Shang Tsung magically transports his warriors to attack the various Earthrealm champions, which includes sending the iconic boss character Goro to Cole’s house. There are any number of places in a suburban residence where you could transport an armored dragon prince for a fun ambush. The bathtub, for instance. Or inside the refrigerator. Is Cole’s daughter too old to have a toybox? Probably, but if she had a little brother, Goro could’ve popped right out of that toybox. At the very least, Shang Tsung could’ve zapped him inside Cole’s mattress so he could tear through it in the middle of the night like Freddy Kruger.
But Shang Tsung elects to send his reigning champion and vital political ally to the middle of Cole’s garage barn instead. Why Cole even has a garage barn is beyond me – he’s a scrubbed-out MMA fighter who doesn’t appear to have any other source of income, as he is able to drive to Gary, Indiana and then hop on a plane to a mystical temple without needing to call anyone to cover his shift. Why on earth he would need an entire barn in the front yard of his double-wide prefab house is a question only Cole can answer. Maybe he likes collecting farm equipment and classic cars. Or maybe it was his family’s farm, and after a series of devastating losses in his fighting career he’s had to sell it off bit by bit until only the barn remains. Anyway, Goro’s inside that motherfucker.
The reason I’m focusing so hard on the barn/garage (barage? gabarn?) is because Shang Tsung appears to be able to send people pretty much anywhere on Earth or Outworld with pinpoint accuracy. He unleashes his tar fart magic, enveloping his cronies in clouds of black smoke to catapult them across time and space, and in every other instance he’s safely deposited them in strategically viable positions to beat maximum ass. Kabal (Daniel Nelson) and Mileena (Sisi Stringer) get dropped right in the middle of Raiden’s temple and immediately start fucking shit up like the whistle just blew on American Gladiators. Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) gets thrown in Cole’s lap two or three different times, including interrupting the Earthrealm warriors’ victory celebration by popping in to let Cole know his family has been temporarily murdered.
So why then does Shang Tsung whisk Goro, the most fearsome warrior in the history of Mortal Kombat, into a musty dungeon full of abandoned fixit projects that will eventually be used as evidence in Cole’s divorce proceedings? Maybe they got into an argument that morning over Goro constantly expensing physical therapy sessions to train him how to treat a dislocated elbow. Or maybe Goro likes antiquing.
Whatever the case, instead of being able to spring out of the couch cushions or down from the ceiling to surprise Cole with Ambush Kombat, Goro has to struggle through a giant pitch-black garage that appears to have been built by Dust Bowl refugees. It’s like watching a magician’s assistant tumble out of the back of a Disappearing Man cabinet – not only do I now have serious questions about the existence of magic, but I must also ask how much you’ve had to drink today.
Goro also has to struggle with all of his four-armed might to open that garage door, so already I’m getting some extremely mixed messages about the formidability of Shang Tsung’s operation. Seriously, watching Goro wrestle with a simple wooden door that Cole’s teenage daughter presumably shoves aside every afternoon after school to store her bicycle is like watching a really jacked blind guy in a gun fight. You clearly have an edge in many contests, sir, but this is not one of them. To be honest, they shouldn’t have even let you compete. Anyway, my point is zapping Goro into a garage and having him waste the element of surprise because he can’t figure out how to work the damn door is really throwing the dice on your home invasion plan, particularly when you’re executing it in an Earthrealm nation that owns roughly half of the planet’s firearms.
Maybe there was a plan. Maybe Shang Tsung and Goro sat down and worked out some elaborate choreography that was supposed to lead to a successful nighttime assassination of Cole and his family. Maybe Cole is a coke mule, and there’s a secret tunnel beneath his barn that leads directly into his bedroom and also to the Mexican border. It’s possible Goro planned to take a trip down to Cancun after stacking the Young family’s corpses next to a rusty old tractor in Cole’s ancient barn. We will never know, because Goro arrived on the scene like a moose slipping on a bunch of marbles.
Goro proceeds to get the ponytailed shit kicked out of him for the next several minutes; Cole’s wife and the family pickup truck even get in on the action. They savagely pummel the Prince of Shokan in what is essentially an interdimensional diplomatic incident and were fully content to just leave his dead-ass body lying facedown in the dirt as a warning to future big dumb assholes who try to stage an ambush from inside the garage. Shang Tsung sheepishly deploys his goth buttgasp sorcery to drag Goro’s ruinous corpse back to Outworld for a mulligan. Meanwhile, Cole and his wife have sex on this date every year. Take notes, sorcerer.
The film stars Megan Fox and Bruce Willis as FBI agents hunting a mysterious killer
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