Mortal Kombat Won’t be a Masterpiece, but Fans Deserve a Film They Will Love

This upcoming James Wan-produced movie seems to have its heart in the right place, so long as it doesn’t forget who they are appealing to.

By Jay Gervais

You can count me among those who are excited to check out the new film adaptation of Mortal Kombat releasing next year, but let’s be honest with ourselves: this won’t be some mind-blowing (pun intended) masterpiece catering to movie buffs or tough critics, who are probably waiting in eager anticipation to hate-watch this thing anyway. By all indications, this is shaping up to be one for those who have loved this video game series for nearly thirty years, and, well, that’s a damn good start.

There are some problems, though. For one, the film is being shot by amateur filmmaker Simon McQuoid, and Mortal Kombat will be his first full-length feature film. That’s not to say the man is incapable of shooting a film, but time will tell whether he has the right skills to make a good movie. Indeed, what’s good is entirely subjective, but there are at least some basic ingredients all great movies have and we’ll see whether McQuoid has that figured out or not soon enough.

Other issues include the fact we’ve known about this film for a while now and marketing has been kind of lackluster with breadcrumb tweets from Greg Russo, the film’s writer, and some of the movie’s cast. Given that filming wrapped up last month, make with the goods already and give us a teaser trailer before our interest wanes. Showing off the title and logo with a few fan-service shots should get the hype train rolling nicely here in 2020.

We also need to talk about the amount of characters jammed into this film. It is kind of worrisome and as we continued to report on the latest additions to the cast, it definitely started to give off some Mortal Kombat: Annihilation vibes. Suffice to say, the world certainly doesn't need another one of those abominations! With at least eleven confirmed fighters from the games, excluding Lewis Tan’s yet-to-be announced character, the question then becomes who will be deserving of being featured with their own backstories and arcs? Obviously there are fans of each of these great fighters, but how much character development can you cram in under two hours or so?

Arguably, the 1995 film adaptation by Paul W.S. Anderson had just as many characters and still managed to be a stupid-fun flick. It worked because the assumption was that people who showed up to watch this movie were already familiar with the characters from playing the games. If anything, it was just one big marketing ploy to get people to buy the games, on top of setting Anderson and company up to make a bunch of money off the name too. It was the right slice of cheese and avoided indulging on complicated character narratives in favor of giving Mortal Kombat fans what they wanted to see (for the most part).

Missing from Anderson’s adaptation were the brutal fatalities and blood-splattering moments hallmark to the series, something fans have been complaining about since 1995. The film took the safe route to get as many people into theater seats as possible, which was wise at the time and probably boiled down to logistical decisions made beyond Anderson’s control. However, today’s audiences are ready to handle a “Hard R” Mortal Kombat film that dares to push the envelope. More importantly, fans of the series have been waiting twenty-seven years for this moment, so don’t screw it up.

Mortal Kombat is scheduled to release on January 15th, 2021. Stay tuned to Dead Entertainment for the latest happenings on this film and so much more.

About the Author

Jay Gervais

From small town to big city and back again, Jay was born and raised in Canada and has lived his whole life there. He’s always ready to cut down any misconceptions his American friends have of life in the great white north. He’s also no stranger to this kind of community, and has plenty of experience under his bed. He enjoys all kinds of horror entertainment, as long as it’s got the heart and soul to it. When he’s not doing something here, he can be found at his post at the night’s watch, or knee deep into his school studies.