Mortal Kombat (2021) and the Whining about "Woke Garbage"
I can't believe I'm back, risking my blood pressure, writing about this nonsense. I thought I left it behind me on my old blogs eons ago, and yet...here I am.
So after the latest movie dropped, I naturally went on Youtube to hear what people thought. I started with my usual gamer channels, but quickly had to stop when I realized just how hard they were willing to shill for this piece of shit.
I then moved on to the lesser known channels and while I did find the honesty I was looking for, I came across a particularly undying brand of bullshit. Out of all the things there were horribly wrong with this film, some people were complaining about "race-swapping" and "woke garbage". I rolled my eyes even harder than when I was listening to the shills.
Raiden should be Asian, folks
Seriously. He was first recast as Asian in season 2 of Mortal Kombat: Legacy, and thankfully so. His name is Japanese. His clothing style, culture, religion, and the architecture of his temple (in the games), is all East Asian. As entertaining as Chris Lambert was in the 1995 movie, Raiden should never have been portrayed by white men - it just is what it is.
Now, should Tadanobu Asano have been cast as Raiden? No disrespect to the man, but absolutely not. There were plenty of more suitable options. Rick Yune and Russell Wong immediately jump to mind.
Literally Nobody asked for a Black/Biracial Mileena
Shiiid...Black people were just as confused as everybody else. And we didn't immediately embrace it as good news. In fact, as soon as it was announced that the beautiful Sisi Stringer was going to portray Mileena, I braced for impact.
- Why hire a Black actress? In the 1990s, we got white actresses, until people wised up and started casting Asian women. What happened?
- Why feature Mileena, but not Kitana? Kitana is usually introduced first, or they're introduced together. And yet the closest we even got to a mention was a glimpse of one of her fans in Raiden's temple.
- Will Mileena be returning for the sequels or is she simply a redshirt for this one?
- If Mileena does return, will she be portrayed by Stringer again?
- If we do get to see Kitana, will she also be portrayed by Stringer? Mileena is a literal clone of Kitana and so long as she is veiled, is supposed to look exactly like her.
- If Stringer will not portray Kitana, will a similar-looking Black woman be cast? Or will she be the good "light" sister cast against her bad "dark" sister?
From where I sit, there's nothing "woke" about this scenario (by the by...people really need to stop misusing that word). There's nothing nefarious either. Stringer is Australian. Same as the director. Same as many members of the cast and crew. Same as the very country where this train wreck was filmed. There is no way a group of Australians were sitting around a conference table, quaking in their boots about appearing "woke".
To automatically assume people of another country have the same attitudes and concerns about race as we do is just a classic example of American tunnel vision (or lack of vision even).
For me, personally, when I take into account the amateurish writing, directing, editing, set design, special effects, and overall soundtrack, a different theory begins to form. Simply put, Warner Brothers shelled out millions of dollars to some inexperienced white men (the only people this happens to, mind you), who then just started calling all their friends.
It's a theory, to be sure, but one thing remains fact: Black people aren't responsible for the decisions of a bunch of white men, so kindly channel your misdirected rage at them. Otherwise...just say you hate Black people and go. Stop pretending your outrage is about preserving the "integrity" of a video game.
Contemplating the "political"
There's a running joke among some members of fandom, born from years of dealing with racist misogynists. It goes something like this: among "certain" fans, when it comes to lead characters, there are only two races - white and "political". There are only two genders: cisgender male and "political". There are only two body types: tall/slim/athletic and "political". There are only two sexual orientations: heterosexual and "political".
You can see where this is going.
Mortal Kombat is a film based on a game with a primarily East Asian influence, showcasing a predominantly Asian (male) cast. I can't speak for Australia, but I knew from the get-go this was going to trigger a lot of tender snowflakes here in the States.
Stop trying to make "fetch" happen
Never have I seen so many people dick-riding Johnny Cage. Y'all, please stop faking your orgasms. Is he an entertaining character? Sure. Does he have a dedicated fanbase? Absolutely. Is he worthy of this much hype? Not really.
Up top, in question #3, I asked if Mileena will return for the sequels or is she just a redshirt for this one. Why? Because simply using Mileena as fodder won't work with Mortal Kombat fandom. I'll concede that Johnny Cage has a large fanbase, but that bitch has a cult.
Johnny's absence from the first MK movie since 1997 may have the shills in an exaggerated uproar, but Mileena's absence from MK11 really did have a million souls - if not more - crying out for her return (I know...I was one of them).
Is Mortal Kombat (2021) trash? Categorically. Do we want sequels? Of course. Do Cole Young and his family need to blink out of existence? You betcha! This film has a looooooong list of problems that desperately need to be fixed.
Race, however, isn't one of them.