After almost 20 years, a brand new, full-length #MortalKombat film is now in active development. Based on the acclaimed arcade game from the '90s, the next cinematic installment in the Mortal Kombat franchise will be a reboot the '95 Mortal Kombat film, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson.
Mortal Kombat Reboot In Active Development
According to Variety, new information has revealed two very crucial details on the production status of the Mortal Kombat reboot. The MK reboot is being produced by James Wan, while Simon McQuoid is expected to direct the film. Greg Russo is on tap to pen the script, and it appears as though Russo has a first draft ready to move into pre-production.
Aside from production details, nothing else has been confirmed. There's also no word of how the reboot to Mortal Kombat will reflect on the previous installments that premiered in the '90s. Surely there'll be some callbacks to the original Mortal Kombat film as well as the video game, but the reboot might take a different approach. Rather than simply focusing on the inter-dimensional martial arts tournament that is Mortal Kombat, the reboot might be more character driven than one would assume.
Both the Mortal Kombat video games and feature films focused on a martial arts tournament, in which everyday people are mixed into fights with out-of-the-ordinary competitors. The tournament is likely to be at the center of the MK reboot, but we shouldn't expect the entire film to revolve solely on the martial arts tournament taking place. There's bound to be more character-centric themes thrown in, in order for fans to invest in the characters featured in the upcoming reboot of Mortal Kombat.
Will A Reboot Revive Mortal Kombat's Once Proud Title?
The MK franchise has lasted the tests of time but has somewhat declined in its appeal over the years. That's not to say the MK franchise has been unsuccessful with its internet series, Mortal Kombat: Legacy or the recently released Mortal Kombat video-games, but the Mortal Kombat property could use a reboot as a way to get fans actively interested in Mortal Kombat once again.
When the Mortal Kombat video games first debuted, they were all the rage. Then, the 1995 Mortal Kombat film announcement got fans even more excited. There was so much excitement built up for the film that at one point, fans were lined up around the block of movie theaters everywhere, waiting to see what was in store for one of the first video game-based films ever to hit the big screen. The same can be done with the Mortal Kombat reboot if the right steps are taken to make it a great film.
1. Classic Fight Sequences From Original Mortal Kombat Film
One of the must see moments for the MK reboot has to be a re-envisioning of the classic fight sequences from the original. In the '95 Mortal Kombat film, several fights between iconic MK characters took place in the martial arts tournament, arranged by Shang Tsung. Shang Tsung is one of the more well known Mortal Kombat villains, which is why he was featured as the titular villain and host of the MK tournament in the '95 Mortal Kombat film.
During Shang Tsung's tournament, the team of Liu Kang, Raiden, Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage, Jax, and Kitana took on a variety of villains, drawn directly from the classic video game. Some of the predictable nemeses brought to life were Sub-Zero and Scorpion, but there were some unexpected additions that made the film that much better, namely Goro.
Goro is a massive, four-armed goliath that is one of Mortal Kombat's signature characters. In the MK video game, Goro was always gauged to have a higher strength output, as well as his capacity for taking damage without flinching. Some would argue that isn't the case, but stats don't lie. The Goro depicted in the original Mortal Kombat film mirrored the level of strength his character has in the video game — evident by his ability to dominate all competitors, other than Johnny Cage:
Aside from the need for fights like the one between Johnny Cage and Goro to be given a modern take in the reboot, the reboot needs to mirror other fan favorite bouts that took place in the film as well, namely the final fight sequence between Liu Kang and Shang Tsung.
In the final showdown between Liu Kang and Shang Tsung, Liu Kang came to terms with Shang Tsung being responsible for the death of Kang's brother, which inevitably angered Liu Kang to the point that his anger became strength, thus granting him the ability necessary to put an end to Shang Tsung.
2. Story Elements From The Mortal Kombat Comics
If you're not familiar with the MK brand, there are several lines of Mortal Kombat comics that have been manufactured over the years. A newly released comic series was developed as a companion book to the Mortal Kombat X video game, but there's a line of Mortal Kombat comics more integral to the MK story than the recently released publication.
Before the video games were released, there was no source material for fans to figure out what their favorite Mortal Kombat characters stood for, which is why a comic series was developed after. The comics were developed to provide some backstory to the mysterious characters featured in MK video games, and those comics did exactly that.
Once the comics were released, fans of the MK brand were experiencing that "aha" moment that most people have when they find themselves in a moment of clarity. Finding out there's a story behind each and every Mortal Kombat character is why the first film had fans so invested in the story in the first place.
Without the comics' story to support the fighters within, Mortal Kombat probably would have flown under the radar, resulting in the original film never making it to noteworthy box office numbers. To ensure that doesn't happen with the newest installment, the Mortal Kombat reboot needs to include origin stories for all, or at least most of the characters/fighters featured in the new film.
As long as most of the featured cast are appropriately introduced to audiences unfamiliar with Mortal Kombat, the reboot will succeed. However, if too many elements from the comics make it into the reboot, we could see a reiterated version of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, which is arguably one of the worst sci-fi action films ever made.
3. Callbacks To The MK Video Games
Aside from including elements from the comics and the original MK feature film, the reboot also needs to include a variety of classic moments from the Mortal Kombat arcade game.
The original Mortal Kombat video game had a very simply play style. It ran on a two-dimensional format, while featuring a plethora of combo moves to defeat your opponent with only four to six buttons to use, not including the joystick. Mortal Kombat was like every other beat-em-up style arcade games of the time, except for a few notable differences that made the game stick out more than the rest.
For one, Mortal Kombat featured a "finisher" moment in the last seconds of a fight between two competitors. Once a fighter reduces the health of the other to nothing, an action screen pops up and sends out the command "Finish Him!" At this point, the player can choose to perform a variety of finishing moves to leave the opponent lying in a devastating defeat. Some finishing moves are more entertaining than others, but they were all quite great for a '90s era videogame. Ranging from "animalities" to "fatalities," the gruesome sequences of character deaths were very original for its time, and has remained as a staple in Mortal Kombat games as well.
4. Variety Of Characters
The original Mortal Kombat only featured a select number of playable characters. Over the years, the character catalogs in each MK video game has increased with every new installment, and have some of the largest character catalogs in video games available today.
The original Mortal Kombat video game only consisted of Liu King, Raiden, Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage, Kano, Scorpion, and Sub-Zero. However, each following installment of Mortal Kombat games has continued to add more characters to the ever-growing catalog.
Released in 2006, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon features the largest roster of MK characters to date. Between MK alums like Liu Kang and newcomers Taven and Draevon, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon features a wide variety of characters who have great potential to appear in the upcoming reboot. We may not want to see every MK character make an appearance, but there's bound to be at least few scenes where a fight between two MK competitors take place and multiple MK characters are seen in the background, watching the fight. Cameos from additional MK fighters would be great for the reboot, especially in the scenario of more than one film being planned out.
As it stands, only word of a single feature Mortal Kombat film has been greenlit, but that doesn't eliminate the possibility of a trilogy being planned. If the reboot is successful and brings in the same level of appeal the original Mortal Kombat did, then there's a very good chance a trilogy could be in place somewhere down the line.
5. Set Up For A Trilogy
As previously mentioned, cameos from more developed characters in the Mortal Kombat mythos would be great to include in the reboot. Considering that the reboot does well and a sequel is called for, cameos from additional characters would create the ideal lead-ins for sequels.
For example, the reboot will likely feature the original team of Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage, and Raiden fighting against Shang Tsung, Kano, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Reptile in a Mortal Kombat tournament, similar to how the '95 Mortal Kombat played out.
During said tournament, we can assume that a cameo from another villain hidden among the crowd would create the ideal lead-in for a sequel/ trilogy. A cameo from an up-and-coming villain could be very brief — even just a glance at them could tease their pivotal role in a sequel to Mortal Kombat. Something along those lines would have fans hunting for Easter Egg drops, hoping that another familiar face popped up somewhere in the film.
Potential candidates for the sequel's villain could vary between the likely Shao Kahn to the least likely Quan Chi. Shao Kahn and Quan Chi are both noteworthy villains in the MK mythos, so either (or both) could utilized in a sequel. Although, there's a possibility that a villain on an even larger scale will be utilized as the main antagonist, someone along the lines of Onaga or Blaze.
Regardless, the MK reboot needs to set up a sequel/trilogy to be successful. Otherwise, we can expect the Mortal Kombat reboot to make its debut in theaters, the same way Mortal Kombat: Annihilation did — in a mediocre fashion.
What do you think? Are you excited for the Mortal Kombat reboot? And do you think it's the right time for a MK reboot? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.