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Is this a fatal blow for the Mortal Kombat movie? Has director Kevin Tancharoen just shouted "Finish him!" as he knocked the head off the planned video-game adaptation, thereby putting the potential movie to rest, Mortal Kombat-style?
The director’s Tweet marks the end of his run trying to develop a Mortal Kombat movie, a project that we have been tracking since its inception back in 2011. It started with his 10-episode series Mortal Kombat: Legacy, which attached his name to the long-running video game franchise at the time, and developed hope that a new film franchise could be born from the ashes of previous Mortal attempts. Before dipping his toe in Kombat, the composer/choreographer directed television documentaries on Britney Spears and The Pussycat Dolls, as well as the 2009 reboot of Fame and the 3D Glee concert movie. Would he be the man to save Mortal Kombat from this?
Those atrocities come to us from Paul W.S. Anderson’s notoriously crappy 1995 attempt at bringing Mortal Kombat to the big screen. It was a complete failure. (Did anyone bother to tell Linden Ashby that he wasn’t Kurt Russell in Big Trouble in Little China?) There have been other attempts at extending the mythology on screen, from 1997’s Mortal Kombat: Annihilation to Tancharoen’s own Rebirth, an 8-minute short that earned him a shot at rebooting the series.
Variety notes that the rights to the Mortal Kombat video game were part of the Midway Games assets that Warner Bros. picked up in a bankruptcy court settlement in 2009. In addition to Mortal, the studio retains the rights to classic games like Joust and Spy Hunter. The latter has been bouncing around for some time. Once, it was thought to be a vehicle for The Rock. Last we heard, Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer was still trying to make that happen.
Losing a director can be enough to stop a movie in its tracks. Will this be the end of Mortal on the big screen? Should Hollywood leave well enough alone, and move on to other, bigger (and possibly better) video game adaptation? Let’s see what happens.