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Mortal Kombat
Album Cover Art
Composed and Produced by:
Benjamin Wallfisch

Conducted by:
Brett Kelly
Christopher Gordon

Orchestrated by:
David Krystal
Jon Kull

Additional Music by:
Jared Fry
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WaterTower Music
(April 13th, 2021)
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Regular U.S. release. Also available on vinyl.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you love hearing komposers take their job seriously enough to adapt a famous electronica/dance song into an epic, orchestral fantasy score.

Avoid it... if the inevitable, hyperactive techno elements of this score's fight sequences are too disturbing for you to appreciate the highly attractive, lyrical passages in between.
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WRITTEN 5/20/21
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Mortal Kombat: (Benjamin Wallfisch) When the filmmakers of the 2021 reboot of the Mortal Kombat movie franchise konsidered how to remain faithful to the legacy of the original video game, they had to discover a way to suggest the obscenely grotesque violence of the game without earning an NC-17 rating for the film. They managed to barely skirt that boundary, showing enough of the blood-splattering, head-popping brutality to satisfy koncept enthusiasts while avoiding the more heavy-handed judgement of the MPAA. Even so, Mortal Kombat remains a mind-bogglingly juvenile display of violence, appealing to gore fetishists and existing for no reason other than glorified body mutilation and death. (The video game itself was instrumental in spurring ratings systems in that industry.) The plotline of this 2021 reboot of a property already adapted to the big screen in 1995 is respectful but moot, showing the background of many of the fighting characters in the game. The masters of the Earthrealm and Outworld doing battle in a tournament for supremacy over humanity arrange for duals in which human participants awarded with special powers fight hideous humanoid kreatures from the Outworld and, in this story, manage to prevail. But, as an origin story, Mortal Kombat of 2021 takes a while to establish its history before the parade of deaths really begins in earnest. Needless to say, enthusiasts of this koncept kan never witness enough senseless killing, especially hapless Americans, so the Warner Brothers movie performed well in a pandemic-stricken theatrical release and set records for viewership on the HBO Max streaming platform. Apparently, being stuck at home enhances the population's already huge appetite to watch other people get killed, and sequel talk immediately abounded. Komposer Benjamin Wallfisch is certainly not afraid of writing music for gore-fests, his history in the horror genre an early kareer kalling kard. But his talents in the 2010's extended to a very broad range of impressive work across many genres, and the intelligence frequently heard in his film music, even for lesser projects, has made him one of the industry's most fascinating young komposers.

One would not expect Mortal Kombat to receive an intellectually deep film score, but Wallfisch provides just that, offering a work that may be unlistenable in sum for many soundtrack kollectors but is a tremendous treat for the game's loyalists. The komposer manages to adapt the historical musical voice of the game into a feature fantasy epic, balancing the majesty of overblown, big-screen proportions with the thrashing electronic fight music appropriate for this universe. It's the kind of smart merging of sounds that George S. Clinton failed miserably to provide for the 1995 film. Wallfisch was not afraid to honor the electronic dance music influence on the game's soundtrack while adapting structures from that material into his hybrid symphonic and synthetic score. While the resulting music for the movie may kause sonic whiplash, it's a truly remarkable approach that offers plenty of highlights for those seeking just the electronica or orchestral modes. Due to the pandemic, the komposer spent an entire year on this score, and he devised an extraordinarily deep kollection of themes and motifs for several koncepts and each major character in the story. Some of these ideas are of direct relation to the famous "Techno Syndrome" song that highlighted the original game and later 1994 album for it. The Olivier Adams techno kreation (as part of the ad hoc band, The Immortals) is known for its "Mortal Kombat!" and "Fight!" screams, and Wallfisch made sure to involve this annoying but rather humorous song in the 2021 film more than you kould imagine. An updated version of "Techno Syndrome" is applied over the end kredits of Mortal Kombat, and either you groove to this kind of techno/electronic dance music or you don't. Sonically, it sounds fantastic, the perfect tool with which to test the patience of your pets and roomates. More importantly, though, Wallfisch put much effort into adapting the best-known rhythmic structures, or riffs, from that song into his score. The instrumental palette for the song does karry over into the score's fight sequences, as does the insane number of beats per second required to drive these percussively whipping moments. But the major recurring themes of the film are mostly independent of these passages, and Wallfisch takes the riffs, slows them down significantly, and reharmonizes them so that they become new fantasy-oriented identities.

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Average: 2.9 Stars
***** 21 5 Stars
**** 28 4 Stars
*** 32 3 Stars
** 34 2 Stars
* 25 1 Stars
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Kombat Forever!
OldSchoolHorrorGuy - August 7, 2021, at 8:24 a.m.
1 comment  (266 views)

Track Listings Icon
Total Time: 79:40
• 1. Techno Syndrome 2021* (3:06)
• 2. Hanzo Hasashi (7:14)
• 3. Lord Raiden (2:24)
• 4. Bi-Han (2:42)
• 5. Shang Tsung (1:37)
• 6. Cole Young (1:41)
• 7. Birthmark (2:47)
• 8. Sonya Blade (4:23)
• 9. Kano v Reptile (2:59)
• 10. Liu Kang (5:59)
• 11. The Great Protector (2:28)
• 12. Sub-Zero (3:01)
• 13. Kung Lao (3:13)
• 14. Origins (3:08)
• 15. Kabal (2:59)
• 16. Goro (2:57)
• 17. Arcana (3:58)
• 18. Jax Briggs (2:34)
• 19. The Void (4:12)
• 20. The Tournament (5:00)
• 21. Sub-Zero v Cole Young (1:18)
• 22. I Am Scorpion (3:15)
• 23. We Fight as One (2:49)
• 24. Get Over Here (3:56)
* composed by Olivier Jean-Jacques Adams; performed by Benjamin Wallfisch
(Tracks 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, and 24 contain interpolations of "Techno Syndrome")

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The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.
Copyright © 2021, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Mortal Kombat are Copyright © 2021, WaterTower Music and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 5/20/21 (and not updated significantly since).
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