MORTAL KOMBAT LEGENDS: CAGE MATCH
Studio: Warner Bros. Animation
Label: Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment
Release Date: Digital, 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack – October 17, 2023
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Description: Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match, the fourth animated film in the franchise, sees Johnny Cage in 1980s Hollywood on a mission to become a famous actor. However, his world soon changes when his co-star disappears, and he embarks on a journey filled with danger and deceit.
Featuring a terrific voice cast, the film stars Joel McHale (Animal Control, Community) as Johnny Cage and Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing, Red Oaks) as Herself. Also starring in the movie is Gilbert Gottfried (Aladdin, Royal Crackers) as David Doubldy, Dusan Brown (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) as Chuck Golden, Grey DeLisle (Teen Titans Go!) as Kia, Robin Atkin Downes (Luck, DC Showcase: Constantine – The House of Mystery) as Shinnok, Zehra Fazal (Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe) as Jataaka, Gilbert Gottfried (Aladdin, Royal Crackers) as David Doubldy, Kelly Hu (Arrow, X2: X-Men United) as Ashrah, Matt Yang King (Elemental) as Concierge, Phil LaMarr (Futurama) as Brian Van Jones, Matthew Mercer (Resident Evil: Death Island) as Director/Bully, Dave B. Mitchell (Call of Duty franchise) as Raiden and Armen Taylor (Justice Society: World War II) as Master Boyd.
Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match is directed by Ethan Spaulding (Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms) from a script by Jeremy Adams (Justice League: Warworld), who also penned the screenplays for the series’ first three films, and supervising producer is Rick Morales (Mortal Kombat Legends franchise, Bablyon 5: The Return Home). All four films are based on the Mortal Kombat videogame franchise created by Ed Boon and John Tobias. Sam Register and NetherRealm Studios’ Ed Boon are executive producers.
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital
-What Would Johnny Cage Do? (featurette) – Step inside the VO Booth with Joel McHale and Jennifer Grey and go behind the scenes with the filmmakers to learn the challenges they withstood to bring Johnny Cage’s 80s action film to life.
-Ninja Mime Trailer – Relive the trailer for the greatest 80s action film ever made: NINJA MIME!
–Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match Audio Commentary – Join Producers Rick Morales and Jim Krieg and Screenwriter Jeremy Adams on an audio adventure recounting the totally tubular tale of bringing Johnny Cage’s 80s awesomeness to life.
By James Harvey
Johnny Cage takes the lead in the hilarious, blood-happy Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match, the fourth installment in the ongoing Mortal Kombat Legends animated movie series. Essentially acting as somewhat of an Elseworlds-type prequel to Scorpion’s Revenge, follow Cage as he makes the leap from B-list actor to world-saving hero in this over-the-top, incredibly fun action-comedy. It goes without saying there’s never been a Mortal Kombat adventure quite like this!
Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match takes us back to the 1980s with Johnny Cage on a mission in Hollywood to become a famous actor. However, his world is about to change when his Ninja Mime movie co-star Jennifer Grey disappears, prompting him to track her down. Little does he know this journey will be filled with danger, deceit, and more than a little crazy combat along the way!
An absolute blast from start to finish, Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match really shouldn’t work as well as it does, but boy does it ever. Forgoing tournament drama and making the surprising choice to lean hard into the comedic aspects of Cage’s character, this outing ends up a fun treat for Mortal Kombat fans willing to give it a chance. It’s got a strong script littered with great gags and gut-busters, plus plenty of slick action beats and a top-notch score, making this fourth Mortal Kombat Legends title one of the franchise’s best.
Staged as an 1980s action film and clocking in at nearly 80 minutes, Mortal Kombat: Cage Match moves at a quick pace, but never feels overstuffed or pressed for time. The film’s simple plot – Cage trying to find a missing co-star – leaves ample time for the film to indulge in flashbacks, freeze-frames, fourth wall breaks, all fashioned together with Cage’s snarky narration and keeping everything firmly tongue-in-cheek. It also breezes right by and doesn’t overstay its welcome.
By not taking itself so seriously, Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match is able to have a lot of good-natured fun with concepts and characters from the world of Mortal Kombat, all mixed with a dash of meta-esque commentary. Some of the film’s most violent moments, coupled with a sly wink, also end up producing some of the biggest laughs. It’s obvious from the very first scene that everyone involved here is having an absolute blast, which itself just adds to the film’s overall (and very comical) “roll with it” vibe.
The film’s only real drawback is that its story can feel a little detached from the other Mortal Kombat Legends titles. It’s clearly based around Cage’s pre-Kombat days, so viewers should expect just that when giving the movie a spin, but some could be turned off by the premise. Thankfully, Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match is not only worth a watch but it also holds up strong in repeat viewings. Plus, there’s more than a few nods to Cage’s adventures yet to come tantalizingly teased here.
Another potential strike against Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match is its animation designs, here’s noticeably more sleek and colorful than any previous Mortal Kombat Legends title. While it can be a shade jarring, the movie slyly eases us into it with it’s clever cold open. The overall design, and it’s slick execution, perfectly meshes with the film’s tone and brings the 1980s alive in all its vibrant, neon-bright glory.
And even with its bright city lights, Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match remains just as violently over-the-top as its franchise brethren. The fisticuffs might not be as frequent compared to the other Mortal Kombat Legends titles, but what we get here is more than enough for any Mortal Kombat fan to get their fill. More importantly, these fights tend to be such a blast, usually look fantastic, and more often than not elicit some pretty big laughs.
Playing a huge role in selling Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match‘s overall tone is the animation itself, which here is fairly solid. It mostly moves smoothly, though there’s occasional awkward and stiff character animations. Action scenes tend to look fantastic front to back, but some of the quieter moments can feel a little underwhelming and lacking energy. The visuals are gorgeous, bright and look fantastic, and absolutely sells just how different this Mortal Kombat Legends entry is compared to the previous three.
The excellent creative work doesn’t stop there, as Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match‘s voice cast absolutely brings it to the recording booth with lively, energetic performances across the board. Led by a sharp, gut-busting performance by Joel McHale, reprising his role from Scorpion’s Revenge and Battle of the Realms, it’s clear that every last cast member here is having a ghoulishly delightful time with some of the comically twisted and bizarre situations their characters find themselves in. Jennifer Grey (yes, that Jennifer Grey) deserves a shout-out for just absolutely giving 100% with easily one of her craziest roles to date.
It’s worth noting Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match features one of Gilbert Godfried’s last performances, here playing Cage’s foul-mouthed agent. Despite it being a pretty small bit, he manages to own the screen for every last second of it and should leave viewers in stitches (there’s also a hilarious anecdote about him in the movie’s bonus commentary).
Also deserving of top marks is the unbelievable score work by John Jennings Boyd and Eric V. Hachikian, which sounds ripped straight from a cheesy 1980s action flick (though with hints of John Carpenter here and there when things get a little demonic). Honestly, it’s pretty perfect. Whether it’s the actual score or song choices, all of it feels spot-on. The composers even whipped up an original song for the movie with J.P. Hartman called “Rolling with the Punches,” an incredibly catchy little ear worm that could easily be mistaken for a newly-discovered 40-year-old rock song.
Ultimately, Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match comes together as one of the best franchise entries to date. It takes a big chance by fashioning itself as a twisted 1980s action-comedy, but the risk pays off handsomely. Not only do we get the perfect showcase here for Johnny Cage, but the film’s creators squeeze in enough kombat and carnage to create something that feels right at home in the Mortal Kombat universe. It’s a fresh and unexpectedsurprise that’s bound to become a favorite for fans.
Available on both physical and digital media, Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment has put together a nice release for Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match. Looking at the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and iTunes digital editions and, save for the 4K’s stronger video and audio transfers, both releases are identical.
Looking at the 4K physical release and, unsurprisingly, the video and audio quality is top notch. The 2160p transfer brings Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match‘s bold and bright color palette to vivid life. Darker colors are nice and deep, and perfectly counter the film’s neon aesthetics. There’s also no signs of any banding, blocking or other compression issues. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio provides a similarly crisp and clear presentation, bringing the weight needed for the big fight scenes and allowing for the film’s 80’s inspired score to rock every single speaker.
Falling in line with previous Mortal Kombat Legends titles, bonus extras here include a smattering of featurettes and a commentary. The commentary here is another fun, informative listen and features producers Rick Morales and Jim Krieg and writer Jeremy Adams (it’s noted during the commentary that director Ethan Spaulding was unable to attend the recording). Participants touch upon nearly every aspect of Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match, from it’s comedic bent to song usage, F-Bombs, working with the cast and how even much of a long shot this entry was to get produced in the first place.
Following that is the nearly ten-minute “What Would Johnny Cage Do?” featurette, which offers a neat peek behind-the-scenes of the fourth Mortal Kombat Legends title. Concept art and plot details are looked at, with soundbites from Joel McHale – Johnny Cage himself – and the film’s producers, writer and director. The disc wraps up with a trailer for Ninja Mime, the movie-within-the-movie that should sound familiar to Mortal Kombat fans.
All things considered, Mortal Kombat: Cage Match is one of the most satisfying entries in the Mortal Kombat Legends franchise to date. Its balance of comedy and action is a big (and arguably necessary) change of pace for the series, and the cast and crew make every last second of it work to near-perfection. It really shouldn’t work, but the team pulls it off. With a tidy but informative batch of special features included, not to mention a stellar presentation on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match comes Highly Recommended!
Please note Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided The World’s Finest with a copy of this title to review. The author also purchased a copy of the film on iTunes for completion and comparison purposes.
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