If your strongest memory regarding the beloved video game Mortal Kombat involves you dropping a quarter into an arcade game so you could punch and kick the living daylights out of an anonymous opponent, then you might not realize that the Mortal Kombat property boasts a deep and rich expanded mythology. Yes, on a basic level, the game involves characters such as Liu Kang, Sonya Blade and Sub-Zero staring their enemies down in hand-to-hand, face-to-face combat. But over 30 years and almost a dozen different games, the mythology of Mortal Kombat has expanded, and the opening scene from the upcoming movie dives head first into that fascinating realm.
We were able to see the opening 13 minutes of director Simon McQuoid’s Mortal Kombat, and I can confirm that it was a gonzo spectacle of martial arts and mythology that plunges us immediately into the realms of the central Mortal Kombat story with the origins of several integral characters. If there’s a key rivalry in the entire mythology of Mortal Kombat, it exists between Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) and Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada), warriors who would evolve to become Sub-Zero and Scorpion, respectively.
These opening minutes establish Hasashi as a man living a peaceful life with his family in a quiet nature reserve… though the presence of guards around the property’s perimeter suggest that Hasashi has seen some shit, and expects it to come back to his doorstep some day soon. Well, it does. Bi-Han appears and begins eliminating Hanzo’s soldiers, making a beeline towards his enemy’s home and his family, who are in hiding. Hanzo responds, creating his recognizable Kunai weapon out of a nearby garden trowel and a lengthy rope. But he’s unable to prevent Bi-Han from slaughtering his clan, in extremely bloody fashion.
It’s the establishment of a grudge match that will fuel Hanzo Hasashi for the rest of Mortal Kombat, with this loss and defeat powering him to travel to the Netherrealm and assume the demonic powers of the specter Scorpion (this isn’t shown in the opening sequence, though it’s hinted at, and we know Scorpion shows up later because he’s all over the red-band trailer that I’m including below). When CinemaBlend spoke with Mortal Kombat producer Todd Garner about this footage and the decision to open the upcoming movie with this pivotal sequence, he explained:
Our goal was, ‘How do you just be able to have somebody come in, sit down in the theater, and watch this movie and not be completely confused by the unbelievable lore that Ed (Boon) and John (Tobias) have created over 30 years?’ And that is such an integral part, emotionally, to the Mortal Kombat lore. It’s about family. It's about clan. It's about misunderstanding. It's about two cultures clashing. It's about… there's a little twist in it in terms of the prophecy in this one. And so by bringing people into that world, within 13 minutes you have romance, you have death, you have tragedy, you have ice, you have a guy getting his head stabbed with a sword! You have all of this stuff, and then, you know, someone is taken to Hell. … So it sets up the spectacle. It sets up the emotion. It sets up the characters. It sets up the tone. It sets up fighting, and it sets up fatalities, (all) in one scene.
The rest of the movie will be screening soon, and we will have more from Mortal Kombat producer Todd Garner as well as director Simon McQuoid right here on CinemaBlend. Look for Mortal Kombat in select theaters and on HBO Max beginning on April 16.