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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

Mortal Kombat (1995)

MORTAL KOMBAT!! doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo MORTAL KOMBAT!!!!!

Friends, it's been a day, nope, a week, nope, a month. I desperately needed to turn my brain off for a bit tonight and this movie is a gift for that. A week or so ago, I finally called Ben's bluff that he's been making the entirety of our relationship. "Let's watch Mortal Kombat: Annihilation!" knowing full well I've never seen it and did not intend to. I was distraught (more or less) when I found out I was wrong about the new MK release date so I said FINE and we watched it and that's just about all I have to say about that. Two days ago, we watched the new one which is firmly squished between the two previous MK movies (fun on viewing, not so great on reflection) and both kept saying "I want to watch the first movie now." I've been trying to wait on watching movies until the Random Number Generator decides it's time and I'm so pleased that it cooperated.

Mortal Kombat was an intellectual property that was cause for much consternation and brow furrowing in my household growing up. One of my older brothers was very into the game franchise but my parents wanted to protect me from it. Naturally, I played MKII all the time and made sure I knew the "blood code." Kitana was my favorite. I remember when the movie came out on VHS, my brother and a friend wanted it for a sleepover but it was out of stock at the video store so my dad called in a favor as an LEO which... great story I guess? I watched it and was nonplussed, honestly. I didn't come to love this movie until late high school. Then I basked in its campy goodness.

This soundtrack holds up and I will be powering through this next week fueled by its nonsensical techno. If I was a running human, I'd probably run to this.

Why do I enjoy Johnny Cage so much? He's such a dick! Why??

I was very surprised this time around, by the message the movie had to offer. It's shallow at best, but it still resonated. Fear as an oppressor. Trust issues. Being afraid to own your own greatness. I found myself envying the confidence of the three main characters, even when it was misguided. I thought a lot about the mantra of "Face your enemies. Face yourself. Face your greatest fear." And they're all me? I'm my own worst enemy. I'm me (duh). And my greatest fear is fully embracing my power/talent/what-have-you and still feeling lonely and unloved. My greatest fear is that I am fundamentally not enough. That I need to contribute in a meaningful and lasting way to matter. It's a lot to live with.



-I've long been in awe of the sand mandala practice of Tibetan Buddhist monks. (This is not that thing, but inspired by it. The Buddhist practice is deeply spiritual and I have such reverence for it, I tried to honor it without appropriating it. I highly recommend you do some reading about it! Their work is exquisite.) The art is painstakingly made, a labor of love and skill, and then it is destroyed. Swept up until the colors combine and disappear. Everything is temporary. Theater, to me, is very much a similar practice. You have to be okay with your work being only of the moment. And then you have to tear it down and put it away. I do it all the time but on a greater scale like theater, I accept it. Personally, it scares me. So I did this.

-Sand is hard. Woooof. What a learning curve.

-After I did the Mortal Kombat logo, I felt like playing. This is SO rare for me. I like planning and laying things out and doing all of that really well. Going off script scares me, but since that was all I wanted to accomplish with this art, I kept going. It is not pretty but I had fun and I need to just have fun with my art more often. It does not need to be accomplishment.

-And then I swept it into a neat pile and put a little in a bottle. I knew someone with a wee vial of actual sand from a Buddhist mandala and it seemed like a neat little touchstone. A reminder of impermanence. I usually make a comment about how much I like a medium and how I'll do it again but I don't know that I'll use sand again EXCEPT to play with. I liked the feeling of freedom from that.

-I strongly considered not posting any picture but the vial - taking a picture felt ...contrary? to the goal. But I'm recording all of this so I might as well record all of it.

-I thought sweeping the sand up would be more cathartic than it was. I figured I would cry. I always cry. I did this on my 37th birthday and all I felt was freedom. May I keep that going forward.

Taking a week off and then I'll be back with Josie and the Pussycats! Have a terrific week!

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