“Mortal Kombat!” Those of us old enough to remember 1995’s original big-screen version of the iconic fighting game franchise will likely have that shouty exclamation – and the banging, 90s techno theme tune that followed – earwormed into our brains for all eternity.
Sure, the dodgy early CGI might not have aged brilliantly (Reptile, we’re looking at you), but the smackdowns were ace and its impressive cast – Robin Shou, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Christopher Lambert – carried some serious action-movie credentials. It’s a bonafide guilty pleasure, and generally accepted as one of the better game-to-movie adaptations. (Though the less said about its sequel, 1997’s Annihilation, the better.)
So it’s with anticipation that, 25 years later, we look forward to a brand-new big-screen retelling of the Mortal Kombat mythos. Produced by James Wan (director of Aquaman, Saw and The Conjuring), the new film will be a reboot centred on the eponymous fighting tournament, with a huge ensemble cast playing its iconic roster of participants.
Even more exciting, the movie’s scriptwriter (and self-confessed MK superfan) Greg Russo confirmed via Twitter that the new Mortal Kombat will indeed be R-rated. It will also feature the infamously gory ‘fatalities’ that the game series is best known for. There will be blood, it seems.
Keep reading for everything we know about the upcoming Mortal Kombat movie.
Mortal Kombat movie filming
The film is helmed by commercials director Simon McQuoid, who’s making his big-screen debut. He’ll have some powerhouse support in producer (and fellow Aussie) James Wan, though. Wan made a name for himself in indie horror – kickstarting the mega-successful Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring franchises – before making the step up to big-budget action blockbusters such as Fast & Furious 7 and Aquaman. Suffice to say, the movie’s in safe hands.
Mortal Kombat was filmed in various locations around South Australia. Shooting started in September 2019 and was wrapped up just before Christmas 2019, meaning that the film was well into post-production by the time the coronavirus disruption hit. It’s understood that the pandemic hasn’t yet affected the film’s planned release date (see below).
Mortal Kombat movie cast
The new movie boasts a huge ensemble cast. Each will be playing an iconic gaming character taking part in the titular fighting tournament, which is essentially a front for the Outworld realm’s hostile takeover of Earth. Here’s a rundown of who’s playing the human – and not-so-human – warriors.
Liu Kang – the Shaolin monk and tireless defender of Earth is played by Ludi Lin, who portrayed the black ranger in the underrated Power Rangers reboot.
Raiden – Tadanobu Asano, who played Thor’s pal Hogun in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will be playing a very different god of thunder here.
Jax – the metal-armed US special forces major is played by Mehcad Brooks, who’s best known for playing James Olsen (aka superhero Guardian) in the Supergirl TV show.
Sub Zero – the ice-conjuring ninja is played by Joe Taslim, who proved his action credentials in brutal Indonesian thriller The Raid.
Kung Lao – Liu Kang’s best mate, known for felling enemies with his razor-edged hat, is played by Max Huang, who’s a member of the Jackie Chan Stunt Team.
Sonja Blade – the kickass US special forces officer, who made her debut in the original MK game, is played by Jessica McNamee, a former Home and Away-er who starred opposite Jason Statham in monster shark movie The Meg.
Scorpion – celebrated Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada, perhaps best known to western audiences for his roles in the likes of The Last Samurai and The Wolverine, is playing the fan-favourite undead ninja. All together now: “Get over here!”
Shang Tsung – The Dark Knight’s Chin Han is playing the original boss character, a powerful and evil warlock. He’s the right-hand man of Outworld warlord Shao Kahn and the sworn archenemy of Liu Kang.
Mileena – Australian actress Sisi Stringer stars in a potentially breakthrough role as the sinister, sai-wielding assassin.
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Mortal Kombat movie release date
The new Mortal Kombat movie is scheduled for release in cinemas on 15 January 2021. It was brought forward from its original release date of 5 March 2021, although that was before the coronavirus disruption hit.
There’s been no word since, so we’re assuming it’s still on for a January 2021 debut on the big screen. Although, given the ever-changing release schedule at the moment, with all of this summer’s delayed films having to find new slots, don’t be surprised if that changes.