Category Archives: Fantasy

Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie (1994)



In this animated adventure expanded from the video game, M. Bison is a megalomaniacal warlord from Thailand with dreams of world domination. Bison runs a super-secret organization of drug smugglers, weapons runners, and an international terror and crime syndicate called “Shadowlaw”. Fueling Shadowlaw is a massive drug-running operation and a diabolical plan to become the most military force in the world through the use of ultra-powerful street fighters. Bison has his tech team devise a squad of cyborgs to do reconnaissance to find the best fighters in the world to recruit into his organization as part of a super army better than any individual nation’s.

Because the Japanese Shotokan karate master named Ryu has bested Sagat in the Street Fighter Tournament, it marks him as perhaps the world’s best, and someone from which Bison can build an army of super-street fighters. Ryu’s best friend from San Francisco, Ken Masters, another street fighter who studied the same master (making him the closest fighter to being Ryu’s equal) is kidnapped by Bison for brainwashing experiments to convert street fighters to his political assassins, starting with his effort to try to take down the world-wandering Ryu. Vengeful Chun Li and her colleagues at Interpol are trying to take down the operation, as does US Air Force Captain Guile, who is out to take down Bison for killing a friend.


Mortal Kombat (2021) | Simon McQuoid



MMA cage fighter Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is someone who usually takes a dive for money in the arena. Young doesn’t know his heritage is tied to the ancient ninja Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) and that his dragon-shaped birthmark means he is chosen to compete in the Mortal Kombat tournament for the fate of Earthrealm. Outworld sorcerer emperor Shang Tsung (Chin Han) is out to get Young, sending his best warrior, Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim), to snuff him out. Young finds out more about why when meets Jax, a major in the U.S. Special Forces with the same special dragon symbol. Jax directs Cole to seek out fellow special-ops soldier Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee).

They soon find themselves in the temple of Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano), an Elder God who is the protector of Earthrealm. Raiden provides sanctuary for all from Earthrealm who bear the sacred mark, including the fire-ball flinging Liu Kang (Ludi Lin), the metal-helmeted Kung Lao (Max Huang), and nasty-dispositioned crime boss Kano (Josh Lawson). Their mission is to prepare themselves through martial arts training to take on the evil warriors of Outworld, which is set to take over Earthrealm if they win one more interdimensional Mortal Kombat tournament. The training has the capability of unleashing each warrior’s arcana, or special power that emanates from their souls.  Cole must not only save his family from harm, but also everyone on Earth.


Mortal Kombat: Devastation | Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge (2020)



In this episode, Vince looks at the ill-fated attempts to release the third film in the original Mortal Kombat film franchise from the 1990s, followed by an in-depth look at the 2020 animated feature, Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge, an ultraviolent origin story to one of the game’s most popular characters.  This one features a man named Hanzo Hasashi, a ninja of a sort who vows revenge as an undead warrior on Sub-Zero and the Lin Kuei, who wiped out Hanzo’s people, the Shirai Ryu, including his young son. Hanzo rises from the eternally torturous underworld known as NetherRealm as Scorpion, resurrected with wraith-like demonic powers bestowed by the dark sorcerer Quan-Chi, in exchange for his loyalty, the theft of a mystical key that will free the Elder God known as Shinnok, and representation in the once-in-a-generation tournament run by the evil Shang Tsung.


Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997) | John R. Leonetti



In this sequel to 1995’s Mortal Kombat, portals between Outworld and Earth are illegally opened by Outworld’s emperor Shao Kahn, who has decided the rules of “Mortal Kombat” need not apply to him. This leaves the world’s mightiest fighters only six days to vanquish this new threat and close the portals or lose Earthrealm to the powers of evil.  They return to Outworld to fight for humanity’s fate.


Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins (1995) | Joseph Francis



Mortal Kombat: The Journey begins was a direct-to-video animated video released in conjunction with the release of Mortal Kombat in theaters in 1995. It purports to be a sequel to the live-action film. For the story, producer Larry Kasanoff employed the services of his screenwriter for the live-action film, Kevin Droney. In Droney’s script, we learn that “Mortal Kombat” is a tournament where warriors from Earth and warriors from the alternate dimension of Outworld compete for domination. Three warriors from Earth are chosen by Raiden, the God of Thunder: Liu Kang, a monk who hails from the Order of Light Temple, Lieutenant Sonya Blade, a United States Special Forces officer, and Johnny Cage,  a major Hollywood action star with actual martial arts skill. Their mission is to travel by boat to a mysterious island to fight the reigning champion of the “Mortal Kombat” tournament for five centuries,  a half-humanoid/half-dragon named Goro. However, to get there, they must first get through evil sorcerer Shang Tsung’s minions, SubZero and Scorpio, as well as a horde of Nomads (aka Tarkatan warriors) protecting Goro. Along the way, Raiden describes the scenario and the backgrounds of the foes they are about to face for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the game.


Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)



The much-demanded and long-awaited release of Zack Snyder’s vision for what was meant to be his 2017 film Justice League. As with the 2017 version, the story follows the events of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Superman is dead, leaving a vacuum as Earth’s protector. A hulking alien from the planet Apokolips named Steppenwolf comes to Earth to retrieve the three hidden Motherboxes, cubelike artifacts with mysterious, powerful energy, enough to destroy planets when combined. Batman can’t take on such a force alone, rounding up a team of superpowered beings from Earth to stop impending doom -the goddess-like Amazon Wonder Woman, the god-like Atlantean king Aquaman, the turbo-speed demon Flash, and the cybernetic wizard Cyborg. And yet, they will still need the power of Superman somehow.


Soul (2020) | Pete Docter & Kemp Powers



Jamie Foxx voices Joe Gardner, a middle-aged music teacher at a New York public middle school, frustrated by his lack of success toward becoming a professional jazz club musician. He’s offered full-time status with the school when another door of opportunity opens. A former student mentions that a legendary jazz saxophonist named Dorothea Williams is auditioning for a new pianist in her jazz ensemble. Nailing the audition, Joe is exuberant, failing to notice an open manhole before falling into it. He next finds himself disassociated with his body in an afterlife existence, a soul waiting for its final destination (dubbed “The Great Beyond”).

With dreams unfulfilled, Joe desperately wants his life back, escaping his fate by posing as a mentor for new souls in a pre-life training area called “The Great Before.” Joe’s assignment is to direct a soul called 22 to find her spark that will keep her happy and productive before assuming her role in the living world. However, 22 is a special case, spending eons avoiding the process under other mentors (even Mother Teresa lost her cool with her). When Terry, the accountant for souls, notices one is missing, she pursues Joe after he escapes back to Earth to regain his life.


Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020) | Dean Parisot



The story involves the Bill (Alex Winter) & Ted (Keanu Reeves), now married with one child each, suffering a mid-life crisis, realizing that they never united humankind through their music as foretold. In fact, contrary to the end montage of Bogus Journey depicting their success, Face the Music shows the duo jaded after a career where they are more laughing-stock than the most popular band on Earth. The pressure to fulfill their destiny finds their marriage on the rocks, seeking couples therapy, but one where both couples are involved simultaneously; the duo’s inability to separate their codependency is one of the issues. Someone from the future tells them they need to write the song within the next 77 minutes to achieve global peace and harmony, or the universe will come apart in a cataclysmic event called the Unraveling. Their plan: use the phone booth time machine to travel forward in time to steal the song from their future selves. Dean Parisot directs this third entry in the Bill & Ted series.


The One and Only Ivan (2020) | Thea Sharrock



The story centers around Ivan, a silverback gorilla who lives in a cage as the star of a struggling animal show at a suburban shopping center called the Big Top Mall & Video Arcade at Exit 8. Ivan’s main schtick is to roar and look intimidating, but behind the scenes, he is a thoughtful and sensitive soul. Other talented animals under the care of beleaguered ringleader Mack include a baseball-playing chicken, a sassy poodle, a bunny, a seal, a parrot, and an elderly elephant named Stella, plus a stray mutt called Bob.

Ivan befriends the young daughter of the mall cleaner who hands him supplies to draw, and it becomes something he takes an interest in doing, which has Mack seeing dollar signs to save his floundering circus attraction. An adorable baby elephant named Ruby arrives to become the latest attraction, under the tutelage and loving guidance of Stella. The drawing and painting, plus Ruby’s arrival, trigger Ivan’s memories of his childhood of freedom in the wild with his family, and Stella doesn’t want Ruby to live a sheltered life as she has had. Ivan plans to break free and deliver Ruby to a life of freedom.

Featuring Bryan Cranston, Ariana Greenblatt, Ramon Rodriguez, Owain Arthur as live actors. Voice work by Sam Rockwell, Danny DeVito, Brooklynn Prince, Angelina Jolie, Chaka Khan, Ron Funches, Helen Mirren.


Onward (2020) | Dan Scanlon



In this Pixar film, two teenage elf brothers in a town called New Mushroomton go on a quest that requires them to tap into the long-forgotten magic in the world to have one more day with the father who passed away before his youngest was born. The father left behind a gift for them to have when they both reached the age of sixteen, a wizard’s staff and an ultra-rare Phoenix Gem they can use to bring him back to life, but only for one day. The spell is cast, but the process gets interrupted halfway, leaving only dad’s animated legs to get to know. If they want to talk to him or give him so much as a hug, they’ll have to find another Phoenix Gem before the spell runs out. Voice work by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt. Directed by Dan Scanlon.