There’s no secret formula to making a great video-game movie adaptation. Multiple filmmakers have tried, but only a few have succeeded. You basically can’t go wrong if and when you treat your source material with respect. Fans of the original games will appreciate your effort, and the stories that worked on gamers should be enough to lure over mainstream crowds who are just seeking an enjoyable film. This is what Mortal Kombat does. Simon McQuoid’s adaptation embraces the mythology behind the series of Mortal Kombat games, and enhances the history that’s integral to the game’s plotline. All of this is evidenced in the upcoming film’s opening sequence, which Warner Bros. just released in an effort to get audiences pumped. Watch it above!
The characters on display in Simon McQuoid’s Mortal Kombat have beef. But they also have history, primarily the long-gestating rivalry between Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) and Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada). It is a rivalry, as you can tell from this opening sequence, that has endured for years before we even join the fight. And it will cross realms in ways that I’ll choose to protect, because this clip ends right before some juicy stuff occurs in the movie.
But after establishing this vicious rivalry, and explaining why it will matter later in the movie, Mortal Kombat starts to get into the heart of this new tale. We meet a character who was not part of the game, Cole (Lewis Tan), who bears the mark of Kombat and learns he’s part of a larger destiny. There’s a tournament that is waged between realms. Earthrealm has lost it, too many times, and the balance of power is threatening to shift. Cole must join Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee), Jax (Mehcad Brooks), Kano (Josh Lawson) and Liu Kang (Ludi Lin) to prevent another realm loss… and the loss of life as we all know it.
Simon McQuoid has claimed that his Mortal Kombat movie shouldn’t be viewed as “just” a video game movie, even though it’s based on one of the most popular games in pop-culture history. He and his team set out to make a martial-arts epic, and you can see by the dedication to its hard-hitting fight choreography in the opening scene that Mortal Kombat will check that box fairly easily. It also balances a fair number of other genres, including sci-fi and fantasy, which you probably get if you have ever played this game. I mean, you know characters like Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) and Goro have to be extreme if the movie is going to match the game.
After shifting back one week, Mortal Kombat finally is ready to screen for audiences beginning this Friday. As with Godzilla vs. Kong, WB will have Mortal Kombat in theaters as an option for patrons who can go to a movie theater safely. You also will be able to watch the new movie on HBO Max if that’s what you prefer. And keep checking our 2021 Movie Release Calendar because dates are shifting all of the time now.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.