New ‘Mortal Kombat’ film promises to be faithful to the video game series

Published February 23, 2021, 5:00 PM

by Rom Mallick

And by faithful, we mean complete with gore and violence, blood and battle—enough to make you relish every fatality

One of the most anticipated film remakes pre-pandemic is finally set for release, but in select theaters (or, at least, in countries where movie houses are open) and on streaming service HBO Max.

’I am Sub-Zero’ (Screenshot, HBO Max)

“Mortal Kombat” is a classic fighting video game franchise that many ‘90s kids grew up playing. This isn’t the first time the title had a film version. One came out in 1995 (and is available on Netflix), which included in its cast the likes of Christopher Lambert (“Highlander”) and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (“Planet of the Apes,” “Rising Sun,” “47 Ronin”). A second film came out in 1997 but it was, sadly, a commercial and critical flop.

This 2021 version of “Mortal Kombat,” based on a recently released trailer, seems to be more promising than its predecessor. Apart from the magic of modern visual effects, there’s that all-too familiar brutality in the film that fans of the video game are only glad to see. Yes, it offers pure, wholesome, unadulterated violance—with the trailer adding familiar phrases like “Finish him” and “Get over here.”

Hiroyuki Sanada as Scorpion sans the iconic yellow outfit (Screenshot, HBO Max)

The trailer also introduces a new character, Cole Young, who is played by martial arts film mainstay Lewis Tan. Familiar characters also make an appearance, including favorites like Sub-Zero who takes on a more villainous role (played by Joe Taslim), Sonya Blade (Jesicca McNamee), Liu Kang (Ludi Lin), Jax (Mechad Brooks), Kano (Josh Lawson), Raiden (Tadanobu Asano), Kung Lao (Max Huang), and a VFX Goro.

Tadanobu Asano as Raiden (Screenshot, HBO Max)

One of the seemingly more interesting classic character in this remake is Scorpion, played wonderfully by Hiroyuki Sanada (“The Last Samurai,” “47 Ronin,” “The Wolverine,” and “Avengers: Endgame”). According to “Mortal Kombat” director Simon McQuoid, the film will feature a sort of backstory to how Scorpion became the cold-hearted warrior that he is in the video games.

Check out the trailer below (PS. Because of its US rating, the trailer is age-restricted).

“Mortal Kombat” will premier in select theaters and on HBO Max on April 16, 2021.