If you grew up in the 1990s like me, you remember the video game Mortal Kombat. In fact, you couldn’t avoid that game for a long period of the decade. The violent brawler was everywhere, including eventually on the big screen when the film adaptation was released in 1995. But like most video game movies, Mortal Kombat was remarkably bad — although it did give us that ridiculous, aggressive theme song.
Years have passed and the video game franchise has experienced many highs and lows since then but it’s currently in a major upswing after the release of recent Mortal Kombat 11. So it’s no surprise that Warner Bros is trying to revive the series with a brand new film adaptation.
The new Mortal Kombat, directed by Simon McQuoid, will be released on March 5, 2021. Unlike the first couple of films (the less you remember about Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, the better) you can bet WB will pour some money and more talent into this one. Video game movies have come a long, long way though very few have actually been any good. The new MK will still have a lot going against it, despite a bigger and better budget and team. While it’s hard to turn a game into a movie, it’s doubly hard to turn a fighting game into a film because a beat-‘em-up has such little story in the first place. Films like the original Kombat or Street Fighter had to cobble together some semblance of a story since the plot of the games is basically “two people get into a ring and bash each other into pulps” We’ll see what McQuoid and his team put together for the new adaptation. And let’s see what sort of cast they can get this time around. I wouldn’t expect any Oscar winners but you never know.
Speaking of actors, did you know that the original Mortal Kombat game was supposed to be a vehicle for action star Jean-Claude Van Damme? Producers of Universal Soldier came to Midway Games and asked them to make a game based on the film. The game creators eventually tried to model an entire game on Van Damme. In fact the game was going to be named after him. But the plan fell through and the game eventually morphed into the Mortal Kombat we know and love. But fans of the series will recognize how much the character Johnny Cage looks like Van Damme (he even does his signature moves) so, in a way, JCVD was in Mortal Kombat after all. Though I doubt he got a paycheck for it…