Mortal Kombat - Annihilation

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Details At A Glance

Category Martial Arts Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1997 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 95 minutes Other Extras Cast & Crew Interviews
Cast & Crew Biographies
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 4 Director John R. Leonetti

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Robin Shou
Talisa Soto
Brian Thompson
Sandra Hess
Lynn Red Williams
Irina Pantaeva
James Remar
RRP $34.95 Music George S. Clinton

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
English (MPEG 5.1)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.66:1    
Macrovision Yes    
Subtitles None    

Plot Synopsis

    Ahh, Grasshopper. You want Martial Arts movie and you want plot, too?

    Mortal Kombat - Annihilation has a plot that is actually quite hard to follow at first. Ultimately, though, it is just a Martial Arts movie with quite high production values, so if you like that style of movie, then you are likely to like this one. I personally have neither seen the original Mortal Kombat or played the video game, so I may be at a slight disadvantage, but the movie does open with a potted summary of the conclusion of the first movie. All of this style of movie have the same plot, anyway - bad guy plans take-over of the world, good guy fights through many minions until the ultimate battle with the bad guy which the good guy always wins - and you really only look at them for the action.

    Basically, Shao-Kahn (Brian Thompson) is the bad guy who lives in a place called the Otherworld. Shao-Kahn (or perhaps one of his underlings, I'm not quite clear on that point) was defeated in Mortal Kombat by Liu Kang (Robin Shou) which guaranteed that our world would be left alone for a generation. Shao-Kahn has other ideas, and has found a way to reopen the portal between the two worlds and is intent on taking over our world.

    Lots and lots and lots of Martial Arts action follow both in this world and in the Otherworld. There are a bunch of really cool bad guys, bad girls and bad robots which need to be defeated on the way to the end sequence. The plot is really not worth describing much beyond this, so I won't bother, but in the end the good guys win (is there ever any doubt?) even though they look hugely outclassed in the final battles.

    There isn't any character development, but the cinematography and special effects are quite nice, and there are lots of biffs, thuds and truckloads of way over-the-top Martial Arts to keep you amused.

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this movie is excellent, with very little to complain about.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was razor sharp at all times. Shadow detail was mostly superb, but I felt a few early scenes were a little lacking in detail. No low level noise was present.

    The colours were clear and vibrant.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts were non-existent. Film artefacts were rare, commensurate with the recent vintage of this film.


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD. The default is English Dolby Digital 5.1. This is the track that I listened to. The other track present is an English MPEG 5.1 encoded soundtrack.

    There were a number of minor faults with the audio on this DVD. There are two slight audio dropouts, one at 6:17 and the other at 56:00.

    Dialogue was reasonably clear, though there wasn't a lot of dialogue during the frequent action sequences. Some of the dialogue appears marginally out of sync, but I felt that this was slightly sloppy ADR work rather than a fault with the transfer.

    The music is suitably techno, and appropriate for a movie based on a video game. Indeed, the entire movie looks much like a video game.

     The surround channels were heavily used for music and special effects. A wide, expansive sound stage was created for this movie which is great at pulling you into the on-screen action.

    The .1 channel was used heavily in this soundtrack. Every thump, biff and whack was accentuated by a kick from the subwoofer. Many of the explosions were as well, but not all of them, which disappointed me slightly, as I would have preferred some of the explosions to be louder to fit with the rest of the sound.



    The menu on the disc is plain, but functional.

Theatrical Trailer

    The theatrical trailer is present on this disc, presented in an aspect ratio of 4:3, 16x9 enhanced (windowboxed) and with both a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and an MPEG soundtrack.

Cast & Crew Interviews

    A large number of Cast & Crew interviews are present on this disc, presented in the usual Roadshow Home Entertainment 30 second snippet format is present. As always, it would be better if they were presented as more continuous interviews rather than being chopped up like this. I would have also preferred sequential menus so that a simple press of the Enter key could have stepped you through the interviews rather than having to press the down key so much often. Making up for this, however, is the fact that these interviews have both a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and an MPEG 2.0 soundtrack, with the default being Dolby Digital. At last, I have been able to hear extras on a Roadshow Home Entertainment disc without having to reconfigure my system. Way to go, Roadshow Home Entertainment!

    There is one glitch in these interviews. In the interview with Irina Pantaeva, 0:07 into her answer to the second question, there is quite a large glitch that covers approximately 1/5th of the screen, but only lasts a single frame, so it flashes by very quickly.

Cast & Crew Biographies

    Moderately extensive Cast & Crew Biographies round out the extras on this disc. I liked the fact that you could advance sequentially through all of these screens simply by pressing the Enter key rather than by having to select each cast or crew member separately. This is good menu design which would be nice to see in the Interviews section as well.


    Mortal Kombat - Annihilation is a high production value Martial Arts movie. It has a paper thin plot with cardboard cutout characters, but where it really delivers is in the martial arts. It has almost non-stop over-the-top martial arts action, so if you are a fan of this genre, then you will not be disappointed.

    The video quality is excellent, and basically faultless.

    The audio quality is very good with aggressive surround effects. It could, however, have been a little better in the 'slam' department at times.

    The extras are very basic.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
28th December 1998

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer