Among the year-long slate of films that was announced as part of the gigantic streaming deal with HBO Max and Warner Bros. Pictures, one of the most anticipated releases in the lot was the reboot of the martial arts epic, Mortal Kombat.
The Simon McQuoid-Directed effort saw it's first significant reveal this week, with still emerging from the production that is set for an April release. Among the images that have hit the internet include the first glimpses of iconic characters from the game in Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee), Kano (Josh Lawson), Liu Kang (Ludi Lin), Major Jackson 'Jax' Briggs (Mehcad Brooks), Kung Lao (Max Huang), the film's central figure in MMA fighter Cole Young (Lewis Tan), and arguably the game's most enduring competitors, Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) and Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada).
In an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Simon McQuoid discussed what fans can expect with regards to maintaining the violent integrity of the saga, which initially drove the game to become such a cultural icon.
"Out of context this quote might seem incendiary, it's not: The rules around ratings aren't what a lot of people think they are," he says. "It's amount of blood, it's amount of red, it's interpretation of how you go about it. We had a lot of discussions about getting the balance right so there was gore and there was blood and there were fatalities." He pauses to repeat what he just said. "And there is gore, blood, and fatalities."
As for the evolution of the storyline, the reboot holds true to many of the games important plot developments. Among those central to the identity of the story is the blood feud between Hanzo Hasashi, a.k.a. Scorpion and Bi-Han, who eventually becomes Sub-Zero. According to McQuoid the film opens with a 10-minute long fight sequence between Hanzo and Bi-han, prior to becoming their alter-ego supernatural selves.
The battle ultimately serves a symbolic precursor to the larger battle between the sinister forces of Outworld, led by Shang Tsung, and the noble warriors of Earthrealm, of which include Lord Raiden, Sonya Blade, Jax, Liu Kang, Kung Lao and Kano.
As for the spectacle of the fatalities that made Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat, Lewis Tan who plays the MMA fighter central to the latest iteration of the film explains the violence is definitely something to behold. "There are some crazy fatalities," Tan confirms. "We've picked a couple of iconic ones. There's a lot of really cool signature moves that you'll see, a lot of Easter eggs that we snuck into the film, but there are some really badass fatalities that I can't wait to see on the big screen. They're brutal, man. They, they don't hold back."
Mortal Kombat arrives in theaters and via HBO Max on April 16th.