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Why Mortal Kombat Is Rated R

Liu Kang and Kung Lao ready to fight in Mortal Kombat

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Anyone remotely familiar with the Mortal Kombat franchise knows that these video games are violent and gory, and fans wouldn’t have it any other way. However, the first Mortal Kombat film adaptation operated within PG-13 parameters, which was one of the many reasons the 1995 movie was heavily criticized. The new Mortal Kombat movie will not follow suit in that particular regard, because with a little over a month to go until its release, the reboot has officially been rated R.

Granted, we’d been promised on several occasions that the Mortal Kombat reboot wouldn’t be rated PG-13, but it’s nice to know that’s a sure thing now. As for why Mortal Kombat has been stamped R, here are the reasons, as shared by

Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, and some crude references.

Strong bloody violence is to be expected in Mortal Kombat, especially after seeing all those gory scenes from the red band trailer. But throw in some adult language and crude references, and that leaves a pretty well-rounded R-rated movie. So while Mortal Kombat’s overall quality remains to be determined, at least fans can take comfort knowing that the reboot will not tone down the intensity of the games like the first cinematic outing for this franchise, as well as 1997’s Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, did.

Rest assured, Mortal Kombat will be packed with all sorts of not-suitable-for-children-level violence. Perhaps most notably, director Simon McQuoid said that fatalities will be super important to the story, and that he faced no resistance from Warner Bros with including them. McQuoid also said that drums full of fake blood was used on set, and Lewis Tan, who plays Mortal Kombat newcomer Cole Young, even admitted that there were times when shooting the fatalities were so intense that he felt sick.

As for what Mortal Kombat’s actual story holds in store for those who choose to check it out either in theaters or on HBO Max (which is offering a special sign-up deal), it will follow Cole Young, a washed-up mixed martial arts fighter, as he discovers his true lineage and gets caught up in the world of superpowered assassins and mystical martial arts tournaments. Along with Lewis Tan, the main cast includes Jessica McNamee as Sony Blade, Josh Lawson as Kano, Tadanobu Asano as Raiden, Mehcad Brooks as Kat, Ludi Lin as Liu Kang, Chin Han as Shang Tsung, Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero and Hiroyuki Sanada as Scorpion.

You’ll be able to see just exactly how violent the Mortal Kombat reboot is when it arrives on April 16. If you’re curious about what other cinematic offerings are coming out this year, be sure to look through our upcoming 2021 movies guide.

Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.