Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Spoilers hide in snow too!
Led by King Kano, the Black Dragon gang goes around terrorizing the wastelands of an already-defeated Earthrealm, enough to garner the attention of a very-retired Kuai Liang and a new warrior on the scene, an overconfident bravo known as Kenshi Takahashi (Manny Jacinto).
The entire story is set in the wastelands, with simple farming towns and markets so ready to be intimidated and then outright slaughtered if they fail to obey King Kano’s oh so generous offer to join his Black Dragon gang. Led by three ringleaders right out of Mad Max territory – Kabal (Keith Silverstein), Kobra (Yuri Lowenthal) and Kira (Courtenay Taylor) – the Black Dragon mercenaries take great delight in their merciless takeover of town after town, until they finally suffer an ignominious defeat at the hands of one who simply won’t kneel, Kenshi himself. And nothing would do but to come back to wreak revenge on Kenshi, aided by a Mortal Kombat-style monster known as Tremor (Imari Williams), and a much-diminished Shang Tsung (Artt Butler), now reduced to King Kano’s pet sorcerer.
Meanwhile, after a montage of monotonous simplicity on the solo farm of Kuai Liang (Ron Yuan) and a robbery of his hard-earned vegetables by our rapacious trio, the market town he sells at is in utter fear of the Black Dragon’s return, and of course it’s all Kenshi’s fault. Kuai Liang still, still, hasn’t fought back at all, matter of fact he’s been reticent to the point of silence, even while enduring beatings and humiliations. But we know, those of us familiar with Mortal Kombat and the Mortal Kombat Legends movies especially, and we’re also reminded via Kuai Liang suffering nightmarish flashbacks, that Sub-Zero’s incredible ice powers can, and have, leveled entire cities and whole armies of enemies, so perhaps his reluctance to rain an ice age on his enemies is mildly understandable.
So Kenshi Takahashi is a bravo, the self-proclaimed strongest fighter in the world, and yes, just got his arrogant little booty put through the ringer by Tremor. One sound defeat and he’s ready to toss in the proverbial towel, only to be found by a terribly sympathetic Shang Tsung, who leads him to a hidden place with a Well of Souls (such names never bode well), to get the power back to defeat his enemies and reclaim his strongest fighter in the world title. Surprising absolutely no one, Shang Tsung betrays Kenshi afresh, uncaring at his being blinded by his ancestors spirits apparently, intent on only stealing enough power to defeat King Kano. Left shattered and sightless, armed only with a magical sword that allows him to kind-of see, Kenshi literally drags himself away, and collapses on the outskirts of a particular solo farm, held by a particularly reserved not-farmer.
Elsewhere, Shang Tsung is now a-brimming with soul power and planning to lay waste to those Black Dragon baddies and especially King Kano (David Wenham), ambitious to the point of lunacy, borne on dreams of former glory. Thus commences a very Mortal Kombat style fight, where King Kano subjects Shang Tsung to a ranting diatribe about having done all this before and his lack of imagination will lead to his inevitable defeat, yet again. Despite the serious damage Kano does take he still manages to win, and we begin to wonder how the hell that actually happened, and what Kano meant by going through this nonsense, yet again.
Back on the farm, a pathetic Kenshi and a reluctant Kui Liang engage in some verbal soul-baring and come to the conclusion that even a little training would do Kenshi some good, it can’t harm him any more than he already is, right? Other than the humiliation of chasing farm chickens, of course. But while they romp a training montage that I’m guessing takes at least a few weeks, Black Dragon and King Kano are still out there, further consolidating his Kingdom through wholesale slaughter. And after the market town Kui Liang frequents is destroyed, he and his unbowed protégé decide to take the fight to Kano and his goons, over there in the unimaginatively-named K-Town, the seat of his Kingdom.
Despite being perfectly capable of laying waste to K-Town in a rather biblical fashion, Kui Liang decides to call in the marker he has with another beloved and infamous Mortal Kombat character, one who’s been languishing in a hellish afterlife since the events of the former Mortal Kombat Legends movie Scorpion’s Revenge, he was once called Hanzo but has since dubbed himself Scorpion (Patrick Seitz). And between the two of them, a newly-determined Kenshi and his soul-blade Sento, and other small if loyal extras who try to help, it’s time for a final Mortal Kombat with King Kano!
And that’s actually literally the whole problem, how this whole defeated Earthrealm business began in the first place, with time. Not the erosion of casual neglect and cheerful genocide that the Mortal Kombat Emperors and other villains are famous for, no, this is a much more simple and even idiotic explanation, that makes perfect sense when you think about it, given that the character Kano is far from a genius, wizard, or even the finest warrior in Mortal Kombat. (Fight me on it; he’s not.)
What happens in the final after all that Kombat, given Kenshi’s new mission and resolve, and the promises Kui Liang made to Hanzo and to himself, is a very Mortal Kombat style ending. Which is to say, sort-of-kind-of-not-really resolved, and we know we’ll see our beloved Kombatants in another adventure, likely featuring at least one spine-ripping moment!
Intensely violent, horrifically gross but really if you don’t already know the level of gore in Mortal Kombat from the beloved video games still on-going what are you even doing here, Snow Blind also has tons of courage and morals, valor from unexpected sources, and an underlying message of faith in oneself that anyone can appreciate.
Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind comes out from Warner Bros Home Entertainment digital retailers on Oct. 9th, and out on Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra on Oct. 11th 2022!