Back in 1994, i was 12 years old and i remember the excitement i got when i read in a french video games magazine that a movie based on the Mortal Kombat series was in the works. I cannot possibly describe how happy i was, a movie about my favorite fighting game? a chance to see sub-zero and scorpion in live action? a chance to see sub-zero’s spine rip fatality on the big screen? Boy was i excited.
I could not wait for 1995 to be able to witness how will the movie be. A year later i got my hands on the MK movie, and while it did not have any blood in it (not even a single drop dammit) it sure did its job in representing the lore. It might not have been a master piece, but the first Mortal Kombat was a good action flick that i still watch to this day from time to time. Something i cannot say for its sequel, the 1997′s Mortal Kombat annihilation! a crap fest that lived to its tagline, which ironically was” Destroy all expectation”. MK Annihilation did destroy my expectation, and the expectation of millions who thought that a fighting video game could translate into a movie series. The movie was so bad that it killed the films series. A sequel to this abomination was in hiatus since 1997, with many actors and directors who got attached to the project then dropped from it. It seemed there was no way to continue from that movie, and early talks of a remake of annihilation were happening in the beggining of the millenium. Talks that stayed what they were, just talks.
Fast forward to present day, an announcement that brought similar joy to my heart: a new MK movie is in active development, with MK Legacy’s director Kevin Tancharoen. The joy however is mixed with fears, even though i have faith in my good friend Kevin, i still believe making a Mortal Kombat movie is very difficult and tricky, and for that reason alone, i made this list of 10 things that i believe should be done with the upcoming Movie, to ensure its success among both fans and casual movie goers:
- The protagonist is Liu Kang: Many directors will change the heroes of the game in their Movie adaptation. A bad idea that started with a bad movie, Street Fighter. Making guile the hero was a retarded move. This mistake was later made again in the second Street Fighter movie, where chun-li was the heroin. Even though we saw Liu Kang as the hero in the 1995 MK movie, he still needs to be the hero. Maybe make the character darker with a heavy painful past to make him more interesting, and more three dimensional.
- Respect the mythology of the characters: While it is good to stay grounded in reality, Mortal Kombat is above all a story of mythology and mysticism. Reptile and Baraka should not be serial killers or failed surgeons, no! They should both be from an alien world, the outworld. Scorpion and Sub-zero hate each other and cannot work together for shang Tsung. Sonya and Jax are military, not policemen (MK Legacy), and sub-zero was the one who killed Scorpion, and not Quan-chi (MK Legacy again).
- Blood and Fatalities: Let’s face it, if the first MK game did not have fatalities we would, probably, have never seen a sequel for it. The gore in the game series is one of the most important aspects resulting in the series success. Unlike the 1995 MK, the new Movie needs to have blood and fatalities, it is about time we see sub-zero’s spine rip in live action. And while at it why not show an x-ray move?
- Dark, Gritty, and Serious: This is self explanatory, and it does complete the previous point. The movie should have a serious tone and should feel dark and very serious. The first movie had some mildly dark moments, but felt more campy than serious.
- Respect the Characters attire: When i see a character in the big screen i want to easily recognize him/her. Something that some MK Legacy characters did not have (i am looking at you shao khan, you look like a warrior from braveheart dude!). and have rayden wear a hat please, no more white haired hobo rayden and no crazy ass rayden who is in a mental institute and can’t teleport his ass out of it, for no explained reason.
- Use fan feedback: I believe to make this movie successful, the studio needs to publish some hints about the plot, characters etc to test fans reaction. If this MK fails we can rest assured that it will take more than 10 years to get another MK movie.
- Promote your movie and cross promote it: Something that the makers of the first MK movie did right was promoting their product. The signs, logos, images for the movie were everywhere. There were MK comics coming out at the time, a crappy animated movie prequel, music cd’s, trading cards , you name it. A similar strategy will only help promote the movie.
- Expand the universe: A bit related to the previous point, i believe expanding the Movie universe with prequel comic books, novels, a new webseries or an animated movie, will help new comers understand more about the lore of Mortal Kombat.
- Back to basics asian feel: Sure Mortal Kombat 9 is awesome, and so was MK2 and Umk3, but if you get the chance to go back to MK1, you will feel something different! a much simpler yet darker and mystical feel about the whole setting of the game. The asian feel of things, the music and clothing of the characters. It is something that no other MK media has captured. I believe going back to this roots will be a great asset to use in the next Mortal Kombat movie.
- Use actors who can both act and fight: My last, and by no means least point, is to choose good actors who can also fight. I personally think, that most of the MK Legacy actors did a great job portraying the characters. The 2 actors that i did not quite feel for their parts were Shang Tsung and Rayden. I also thought Jerry Ryan, while a good actress, is a bit old for Sonya Blade.
Those were, in my humble opinion, the 10 most important things to do in a Mortal Kombat movie. Do you guys agree or not? Do you have other points that i did not include? Plz post them in the comment section and let us help the studio in charge to give us the Best MK movie yet.