Ok, I haven't lost my mind. I am totally aware that this film is a steaming pile of crap, but you know what? It's a family classic in my house, something that is constantly quoted and revered for being one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Everything about it is garbage, but it's good garbage.
Avoid the first Mortal Kombat movie, because it's just bad bad as opposed to good bad like this film. And to be honest, they give you a recap montage at the beginning of the film to get you up to speed. Not that you really need it, because within the first 3 minutes of this film it begins RAINING FLAMING NINJAS. Apparently, the whole point of the Mortal Kombat tournament is that if Earth people win, then Earth is safe for another generation. Well apparently that fell through, because this occurs as soon as Liu Kang, Princess Kitana, Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage (I would usually list the actors' names, but considering the movie, it doesn't really matter) return from the tournament. Apparently Shao Kahn, a villain from "Outworld" has opened the portals between the realms and basically everyone is going to die. And he's kinda right, because he promptly kills Johnny, sending Sonya into a shallow depression that requires her to occasionally mention Johnny's death in an incredibly cheesy line. Other than that, no one really seems to care anymore.
The group splits up to accomplish different goals, but this is when the story derails into a mass of confusion that I have yet to figure out after 10+ viewings. Ok, so Shao Kahn has resurrected Kitana's dead mother Sindel. And according a legend, once Kitana and Sindel are reunited, the portals will close. So Kitana is kidnapped so that she cannot be reunited with her mother. After she is kidnapped, Liu Kang encounters Jade, a mysterious woman who offers to help him save Kitana. In saving Kitana, they find Shao Kahn's castle and kill one of his generals, bringing them close to saving the world. BUT apparently Jade is undercover for Shao Kahn and that this legend (which is several thousand years old) was a lie to distract everyone, even though in saving Kitana, they find Shao Kahn and eventually save the day.
HOW DOES THAT MAKE SENSE?
If Jade hadn't led Liu Kang right to where Kitana was, they would have NEVER found her, because they had no clue as to where she was being held. Plus, how do you set about a plan that involved a several thousand year old legend that you MADE UP? It's like playing Capture the Flag and leading the other team to your flag only to say "Hah, I tricked you!" and run away, but STILL LEAVING THE FLAG.
Not that a coherent plot would have saved the film. The acting, special effects, and writing all suck. Johnny's death is reacted to with the same amount of sorrow one may feel writing their shopping list, and by that, I mean none at all.
There are scenes that attempt to add some level of depth to the characters. Such as giving Liu Kang this deep fear that he will somehow fail his friends, but it's only portrayed in word only. The acting is so bad, that he has to lay on the ground asleep, moving his head back and forth and saying "What if I failed?" for you to actually even become aware of this fear.
But really, the film is awful, but awesomely so. There's a lot of corny, cheesy action scenes, and the some truly hilariously bad lines. It's a perfect combination of corn and cheese.