By the time Mortal Kombat arrives in theaters and on HBO Max in less than three weeks, 24 years will have passed since the video game series last got a feature-length adaptation. And while Paul W.S. Anderson’s 1995 original remains a beloved and entertainingly cheesy cult favorite, sequel Annihilation is terrible in almost every conceivable way.
The franchise may have been absent from multiplexes around the world for over two decades, but the brand remains as popular as ever. The games consistently sell a huge volume of copies, while there’ve also been live-action and animated TV shows in the interim, but the focus has now fallen firmly on Simon McQuoid’s upcoming reboot, which looks to live up to the lofty expectations set by the record-breaking trailer.
James Wan has been attached to the project since the summer of 2015, with McQuoid signing on to make his feature debut the following year, so Mortal Kombat has been a long time coming. And in a new interview, producer Todd Garner admitted that a lot of it has to do with him, after he revealed he had a list of five demands that he felt needed to be met before making the movie was a viable proposition.
“One was that it has to be R-rated, two, has to be diverse. Three, has to be faithful to the culture of each character. Four, they’ve got to be martial artists. Five, it would really be good if they were the best martial artists. Not surprisingly, that took me seven years to get this movie made.”
Based on the footage we’ve seen so far, Garner looks to have gotten exactly what he was asking for. With the exception of new character and audience surrogate Cole Young, plenty of console favorites are set to rock up and button mash some game-accurate fatalities, while the diverse ensemble cast seems to have succeeded big time when it comes to the fight scenes. Mortal Kombat is almost here, and the only real question now is whether or not it can manage to deliver exactly what the fans are hoping to see.