The score for the new Mortal Kombat film is now available, releasing ahead of the film’s simultaneous theatrical and HBO NOW opening this Friday.
Soundtrack opener “Techno Syndrome 2021” is a modern EDM reimagining of the classic “Techno Syndrome” theme. Interestingly it seems to be a new composition, as opposed to a remix of the original.
The original, with its familiar cry of “Mortal Kombat!!”, is one of the most familiar and beloved techno tracks of all time. It’s closely associated to Paul W. S. Anderson’s 1995 film, invariably linked in many of our lizard brains to the New Line Cinema logo which opens that movie, but it preceded the films as early as 1993 as part of the game series’ marketing and appeared on 1994’s Mortal Kombat: The Album and its Remix EP, both composed by The Immortals (Maurice Engelen and Oliver Adams).
Much like Mortal Kombat: Annihilation’s prior update, or other remixes which have come before, this new spin on the familiar track, now with something of a dubstep vibe, is pretty cool but, well… just not as cool as the original. But that said, it’s kind of like a big hug for fans of the franchise who love and recognize the tune, and I’m excited to see how it plays out in the new film.
The rest of the album, which WB’s Watertower Music has actually put on Youtube in its entirety, settles into to more of a traditional action film score mode.
Composer Benjamin Wallfisch has very quickly risen in the ranks of film composers moving from small independent pictures to major properties including blockbusters and genre films like Blade Runner 2049, It, The Invisible Man, Shazam, and 2019’s Hellboy.
Melodies are generally understated, with emphasis on grand, somber, operatic harmonies. These themes accompany what I presume to be heavier elements like the tragedy of Hanzo Hasashi (Scorpion).
The score’s other defining trait is the constant thundering percussive rhythms which frequently punctuate the onscreen action.
Overall it’s a very cool listen, but not very memorable. Most of the track titles are characters’ names, but don’t expect a John Williams style approach where each has their own recognizable melody. This score is very much built to act in background service to the film rather than as an independent listening experience; more atmospheric than musical.
A few tracks like “The Tournament”, “I Am Scorpion”, and “Fight as One” briefly quote the classic Mortal Kombat theme, but aside from these welcome flourishes, tracks tend to generally sound kind of similar to each other; slow melodies, bombastic buildups, and thundering drums. It’s energetic and atmospheric stuff to have on in the background, but there’s probably nothing here you’ll be humming later.
1. Techno Syndrome 2021 (Mortal Kombat)
2. Hanzo Hasashi
3. Lord Raiden
5. Shang Tsung
6. Cole Young
8. Sonya Blade
9. Kano v Reptile
10. Liu Kang
11. The Great Protector
13. Kung Lao
18. Jax Briggs
19. The Void
20. The Tournament
21. Sub-Zero v Cole Young
22. I Am Scorpion
23. We Fight as One
24. Get Over Here
Buy or Stream it: https://lnk.to/MortalKombatID