Posts Tagged ‘Chin Han’

Scorpion’s Revenge

Mortal Kombat

Director: Simon McQuoid

Cast: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Hiroyuki Sanada, Chin Han, Max Haung, Tadanobu Asano, Laura Brent, Mehcad Brooks

The original Mortal Kombat video game was released on the 8th October 1992 with subsequent versions being released in 1993, 1995 and then culminating in Mortal Kombat Trilogy in 1996, much to the delight of every video game playing teenager growing up in the 1990’s.

The first film version of Mortal Kombat was released in 1995, directed by Paul W. S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Pompeii) and starred French film hunk Christopher Lambert who become famous when he starred in the 1984 classic Greystoke: Lord of the Apes.

So the 2021 film version of Mortal Kombat has arrived in cinemas and is directed by first time director Simon McQuoid and stars an array of fresh young stars including Lewis Tan as Cole Young, Australian actors Jessica McNamee (Battle of the Sexes) as Sonja Blade and the hilarious Josh Lawson who played James Murdoch in the Oscar nominated film Bombshell as the loud mouth and macho Kano.

Well known Japanese star Hiroyuki Sanada (Mr Holmes, The Railway Man, The Wolverine) stars as Hanzo Hassahi aka Scorpion who at the beginning of the film set in 17th century Japan, has his wife and young son killed by the vicious Bi-Han played by Joe Taslim (Fast and Furious 6).

Cole Young, the MMA fighter teams up with Sonja Blade and Jax played by Mehcad Brooks along with Kung Lao played by Max Huang to fight the Outworld villains lead by Bi-Han.

The action in Mortal Kombat is mainly mixed martial arts trimmed with lots of blood and gore especially a couple of head bashing. There are even a fair share of ninja’s and other ghastly beasts which attack the good guys.

To viewers not familiar with the Mortal Kombat game and the universe it inhabits, the plot could be slightly confusing, but just ask any thirty-something and they will tell you exactly what is going on, with them having grown up in the 1990’s when the popularity of the games were at their peak.

The visual effects and the production design of Mortal Kombat is eye-catching and the action, bloodshed and raucous banter is relentless, sufficient to keep any ardent fan satisfied.

Mortal Kombat is a fun filled martial arts sci-fi action film and is worth seeing especially if you enjoyed playing the video game. In this 21st century attempt of transferring a successful video game to the Big Screen, Mortal Kombat as a an entertaining action film stands its own ground and there is bound to be a slew of sequels to follow.

Catch Mortal Kombat in cinemas now and the film gets a rating of 7 out of 10.

The cinematic release of Mortal Kombat should hopefully draw a crowd of people back to the theatres to watch this action-packed bloodthirsty reinvention, depicting Scorpion’s revenge.

Cerebral Survivors

Ghost in the Shell

Director: Rupert Sanders

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbaek, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Peter Ferdinado, Daniel Henshall, Yutaka Izumihara, Chin Han

Humanity’s tendency towards self-destruction and rejuvenation is carefully examined in director Rupert Sanders futuristic thriller Ghost in the Shell featuring Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation), Michael Pitt and Danish actor Pilou Asbaek.

Drawing influences from Ridley Scott’s ground breaking film Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell is based on a manga or Japanese comic of the same name by Masamune Shirow .

Johansson plays a cybernetically enhanced soldier with a human brain and a robot body Major who specializes in counter terrorism. Set in an advanced rendition of a nameless Asian city in the future with holographic images projected onto luminous skyscrapers, Major goes into retrieve a cyber geisha who hacks into the augmented brain of a corporate designer who is murdered.

As the backstory of Ghost in the Shell unfolds, Major was designed by Dr Ouerlet played with suitable panache by Oscar winning French actress Juliette Binoche (The English Patient). However when Dr Ouerlet is also targeted by cyber humans Major along with the assistance of Batou played by Danish actor Pilou Asbaek rushes to save her creator.

As Batou and Major trace the hack to a Yakuza nightclub, Batou gets injured in an explosion while Major confronts the source of the hack, the mysterious Kuze awkwardly played by American actor Michael Pitt who first rose to fame by appearing naked alongside Eva Green and Louis Garrel (Saint Laurent) in Bernardo Bertolucci’s ménage-a-trois film The Dreamers set in Paris in 1968.

Major experiences glitches or flashbacks to her former life and embarks on a quest to find out what really happened to her human body before she was cyber enhanced by the mysterious Tanka corporation run by the crazed CEO Cutter played by British character actor Peter Ferdinando (300: Rise of an Empire).

Despite the convoluted plot, is Ghost in the Shell worth watching?

If you are a serious fan of Anime yes. If you enjoyed Blade Runner, this sci-fi film will certainly not live up to expectations and occasionally be lost in translation.

Visually the film is astounding, yet in terms of originality Ghost in the Shell is nothing extraordinary and many of the philosophical reference points will be lost as the narrative descends into another inexplicable action film.

Cinema enthusiasts should note that Masamune Shirow original manga was heavily influenced by the Hungarian philosopher Arthur Koestler non-fiction 1967 publication Ghost in the Machine about humanity’s ability to self-destruct based on the Phenomenological concept of mind body dualism introduced by British behaviourist philosopher Gilbert Ryle in his 1949 book Concept of the Mind.

Phenomenology is the philosophical study of the structures of experiences and consciousness something which director Rupert Sanders attempts to convey in Ghost in the Shell through Johansson’s firm portrayal of Major rediscovering her anatomical past.

Ghost in the Shell gets a rating of 7 out of 10 enhanced by its glossy visual effects although the acting needed serious stimulation and the bizarre characters required an authenticity check.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ghost_in_the_Machine

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Koestler#Fiction_.28nove

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manga = Japanese Manga

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anime – Anime = Japanese hand drawn or computer animation

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenomenology (philosophy) – Phenomenology = philosophical study of structures and experiences

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_Ryle

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