When the list of the best video game adaptations is presented, it usually doesn’t take long before 1995 Mortal combat movie is mentioned. This film captured the atmosphere of the video game franchise and the mid-90s as a whole so much that many consider it to be the standard bearer of video game movies. However, after decades of gamers tolerating poorly done adaptations to the big screen, the industry has found its foundations. Now movies like Detective Pikachu and Sonic the hedgehog Prove that game adaptations can be fun and well done while respecting the source material, and the narrative begins to change. With the rest of Hollywood catching up with the original Mortal combat movie, it makes sense that the franchise that has long been considered the king of this kingdom will return to claim its throne once again.
Keep the soul intact
“It’s been over 25 years since the first feature film came out, and fans have been loud enough to ask for another big screen entry,” producer James Wan said in an email. “As a fan of games and movies myself, I wanted to see another theatrical version of it as well, and felt it was time to revisit this IP address which has been kept relevant in the world. of the game, but not so much in the feature film. world. From the start, [fellow producer] Todd Garner, my Atomic Monster team and I were thrilled and excited to create a new updated version with today’s cinematic tech while still respecting the fantastic tone, violent action and blood of the game. that fans have come to love. and, at the same time, bringing those vivid characters and stories back to the big screen in a modern and exciting way for a whole new generation who may not be as familiar with the movies as we grew up. “
One of the main misgivings players have when it comes to film adaptations is that the characters, story, and world they’ve spent so much time with and become so in love with will not be faithfully portrayed. While Garner understands this notion, he also knows that a certain level of adaptation is required for this to work.
“You have to go there knowing that there are hardcore fans, there are people who know everything about this game, but you also have to be realistic in the fact that the game has evolved in 30 years to the point that some characters have children who are old now and fighting, “he said.” It was dishonest of us to think, ‘Well, you can’t change a thing.’ It’s silly because they changed the game and keep changing it and evolving it in a great way, as it should be. So we had to ask ourselves, ‘Well, we’re not going to do that. the game because then you could too Well watch the game. They’re 30 years ahead of us because I’m not going to start with Cassie Cage and the kids. We basically have to rerack and figure out, if you’re coming from ‘walk into that theater now, you didn’t know anything and you sat down, would you like it? It was the North Star. ”
Of course, a big part of how big movie franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe brought everyone up to speed was through individual origin stories told over the course of more than 20 films. Unfortunately for Garner, this approach is not an option for a series like Mortal Kombat. While a few games like Shaolin Monks, Mythologies: Sub-Zero, and Special Forces have focused on specific characters, this is not how the general public sees the series, nor the most memorable stories to tell in the universe. of Mortal Kombat. .
“We have to, at the end of this movie, catch everyone, so if they let us do another one, everyone will be on the same page; then we can really start digging into all the other big guys. characters who [Mortal Kombat co-creators] Ed [Boon] and John [Tobias] created, “Garner said.” The difference in the Marvel Universe is that Marvel has comics that are stand-alone … Iron Man, Black Panther, Spider-Man … Mortal Kombat exists in the universe … like, they exist together. There was no Johnny Cage game, a Cabal game. “
Another problem that has plagued the big screen adaptations of video game franchises is that it is difficult to translate the feel of an interactive medium like video games into a passive medium like film. “It’s very, very difficult to replace that interactive quality,” says director and producer Simon McQuoid. “I didn’t even try to do it; I didn’t try to replace it. But what we all tried to do, and I think it was kind of an analysis of why the movies games tend not to live up to your expectations. I was hoping they would, is because they don’t stick to the hardware to start with, and they sort of ignore the things that don’t. shouldn’t be ignored and they don’t treat him with the respect he deserves. […] I haven’t tried to replace interactivity; I just tried to stick to the material, use it, and shift the tone and feeling of Mortal Kombat to a place that was a big, epic version of what people love. “
The desire for authenticity goes further than wanting to respect the source material. Rather than using a green screen for environments or relying too much on CGI for effects, McQuoid wanted to complement eventual effects with on-the-spot shots and practical effects with physical props. “It’s more difficult physically, but it’s actually a lot more satisfying,” says McQuoid. “When Sub-Zero is fighting Scorpion with an ice blade, let’s make a real blade. This also applies to the visual effects; the visual effects have to feel like they’re real. There’s stuff in the movie. which by its very nature had to have some sort of otherworldly feeling. There really was no getting around it, but the same rules apply. ”
Upon entering the film, Garner made five requests he had for the studio. First of all, it had to be rated R to properly convey the spirit of the Mortal Kombat franchise. Then it had to present a diverse cast. Third, the movie needs to be true to each character’s backstory. Fourth, the actors must be real martial artists. And finally, the characters should not be played by “movie stars”.
“Maybe not the smartest things to say, but we said them, and we stuck to that, and we got it all,” Garner says with a laugh. “It took seven years for the film to be made, and in the meantime, fortunately, films like Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther arrived, those movies that had various castings that killed around the world and grossed hundreds of millions of dollars, and Warner Bros. said, “ Yeah, go ahead! And you know movies like dead Pool and John wick that were rated R is $ 4 million or $ 500 million, and Warner said, “Yeah, okay! So, in a weird way, the world caught up with something James and I were talking about seven years ago. “
And now, seven years later, the movie is about to release, and we got a quick glimpse of the opening scene of Mortal combat.
Warning: This section contains spoilers about the opening scene of Mortal combat.
The desire not only to deliver an authentic experience rooted in a deep respect for the source material is well demonstrated in the film’s opening scene. As the film is set to reboot the events of the film franchise, this scene, which lasts around 13 minutes, serves as a way to establish a backstory between two of the main characters. Set in the early 1600s in Japan, the scene sets the stage for the long feud between the Shirai Ryu and Lin Kuei. This feud is well known to fans of Mortal Kombat as the rival factions to which Scorpion and Sub-Zero respectively belong.
The scene begins with Hanzo Hasashi (played by Hiroyuki Sanada) enjoying a peaceful day with his wife, child and young baby. However, when Hanzo, who has a mark on his arm resembling the Mortal Kombat logo, walks away to retrieve water, a group of Chinese warriors attack. Just before entering the house where Hanzo’s wife and children are, the woman hides their baby under the parquet floor. Hanzo hears the screams, but it’s too late; his wife and son are frozen and impaled.
More and more attackers arrive at Hanzo Hisashi’s compound, resulting in a well-choreographed fight scene. Hanzo dispatches the assailants in a brutal manner worthy of the franchise before grabbing a spearhead that his wife was using for gardening just before his death. He ties it to a rope and swings it to level the playing field. The martial arts choreography and performances are fantastic and a testament to Garner and McQuoid’s desire for authenticity to ensure that all actors are true martial artists.
“When you look at the way these guys play, it’s genuine,” McQuoid says. “It doesn’t sound wrong because they really do. The camera is there, they are fighting and we are following them fighting.
After dealing with the various attackers at his compound, Hanzo finds the man who killed his family sitting not far from the house. The man, Bi-Han (Joe Taslim), says he came to end the lineage of Shirai Ryu.
After another well-choreographed fight, Bi-Han turns the spear at Hanzo and wedges it in his chest. Hanzo tells him to remember his face, but Bi-Han is unfazed as he says, “For the Lin Kuei” and leaves Hanzo to die. He later wakes up to the crying of his baby, who remains under the floor. He goes home, but he just doesn’t have the strength.
He falls just before the entrance to his house, not far from his wife and son who are still frozen. Hanzo is then engulfed in flames and disappears. However, a thunderbolt explodes into the ground and Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) appears at Hanzo’s house. He finds Hanzo’s spear, which was abandoned after catching fire, retrieves his daughter, then teleports.
The opening scene did more than just establish a ton of knowledge in a short 13-minute window; it gave me confidence that this film is in good hands and on the right track. Everything from the action and the feel to the details surrounding the vendetta Shirai Ryu and Lin Kuei felt exactly what I wanted them to feel. The opening sequence kicks things off in an efficient and flashy way, and if that’s any indication, Mortal combat is poised to deliver once again an exceptional adaptation to the screen.
If all of this intrigues you, you have just under a month left before you can take part in the bloody action as a Mortal combat hits theaters and HBO Max on April 16. For more on the history of Mortal Kombat’s screen adaptations, check out our MK movie rankings so far. here.