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Case Number 27030

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Mortal Enemies

Lionsgate // 2013 // 103 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 2nd, 2014

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson is mortal enemies with his housecat.

The Charge

Brothers by blood. Enemies for love.

Opening Statement

Two orphans. Two bad-asses.

Facts of the Case

Best friends and blood brothers Sunny (Robin Shou, Mortal Kombat) and Verdy (Verdy Bhawanta) see their youthful friendship torn asunder when they end up on very different life paths. Sunny ends up running with a crowd of high-seas pirates and Verdy is leading a successful life on the straight and narrow as a businessman. When the two intersect on a boat hijacking, the fists fly and a dangerous truth is revealed: this movie is objectively terrible, but you should watch it tomorrow.

The Evidence

Seriously. Mortal Enemies does so much wrong. Pretty much everything. But it gets one thing so, so right.

What Mortal Enemies gets wrong

The story
On its face, it's simple: there are pirates running around and they need to get the heads smashed in. Trouble arises when the writing delves deeper, delivering a plot twist and a dash of nonsensical espionage.

The acting
Robin Shou sticks out as the only guy who knows what he's doing here. Verdy, God bless him, puts up a mighty fight with his English. Everyone else delivers their lines like they're drunk on Freon.

The music
Laughably bad.

That, all in itself, would certainly spell doom. However, there is one more aspect we need to get to and it not only salvages Mortal Enemies it propels it into the category of "You have got to see this." It begins and ends with Verdy Bhawanta.

I have never heard of this guy. But what he pulls off is simply incredible. This is no hyperbole: he's executing moves and action sequences that best even the great Tony Jaa in his prime. There are no wires, no CGI-enhanced stunt-work, no distracting jump cuts: it's this dude delivering physics-defying, acrobatic beatdowns, the likes I haven't seen since The Raid: Redemption.

Now, Mortal Enemies isn't The Raid; fundamentally, as a movie, it remains broken. As an exhibition of raw athleticism and raucous butt-kicking, though, the film succeeds in huge and awesome ways. The pacing is done right, too; the action scenes are back-loaded, with set-ups increasing in length and complexity and thrills, so you know, as you surge forward, there is a jaw-dropper of a fight scene just waiting around the corner.

A lean DVD: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital (non-dubbed English) and no extras.

Closing Statement

Sometimes a rancid stew can be made delicious thanks to a few well-placed flip kicks.

The Verdict

Kneel before Verdy.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 80
Audio: 85
Extras: 0
Acting: 50
Story: 65
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• 2.35:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• English (CC)
• Spanish
Running Time: 103 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Action
• Foreign

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

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