Previous attempts to transport the violent combat-centric Mortal Kombat games to the big screen have fallen flat; both 1995’s Mortal Kombat and 1997 sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation are consigned to the bargain bin of history, and remembered only as cheesy, schlocky B-movies.
Warner Bros. will be hoping their big-budget blockbuster attempt will finally bring the series kicking and screaming into the 21st century, with critical (or at least commercial) success rewarding them for their efforts.
Here is everything you need to know about it.
What is Mortal Kombat?
The film does not appear to be based on the narratives of any of the existing video games.
It instead looks to tell an original story set within the fantastical universe of Mortal Kombat, a realm in which characters of all shapes, sizes and species duke it out in often cartoonishly bloody bouts.
In it, washed up MMA fighter Cole Young finds himself hunted down by the ice-wielding Sub-Zero (an iconic character from the game franchise) at the behest of Outworld Emperor, Shang Tsung.
Unaware of his heritage, Young goes in search of Sonya Blade at the direction of Jax, a Special Forces Major who bears the same strange dragon marking Cole was born with.
Soon, he finds himself at the temple of Lord Raiden, an Elder God and the protector of Earthrealm, who grants sanctuary to those who bear the mark.
Here, Cole trains with experienced warriors Liu Kang, Kung Lao and rogue mercenary Kano, as he prepares to stand with Earth’s greatest champions against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe.
The video games are renowned for their “fatalities” – ridiculously over-the-top finishing maneuvers that depict characters’ demise in gruesomely minute detail.
From the trailer, it’s clear this level of macro violence will be making its way to the big screen too.
Who stars in it?
Warner Bros. say Mortal Kombat's “diverse international cast” reflects the “global nature of the brand”, with talent spanning the worlds of film, television and martial arts.
Star of the show is British actor, model and martial artist Lewis Tan, who plays protagonist Cole Young, and has previously been seen in Netflix's Iron Fist and Deadpool 2.
Australian actress and Home and Away alumni Jessica McNamee plays Sonya Blade, while Australian actor Josh Lawson (House of Lies) is Kano, and Japan’s Tadanobu Asano (47 Ronin) plays the razor-brimmed Raiden.
American Mehcad Brooks – who appeared on Desperate Housewives between 2005 and 2006 as Matthew Applewhite – plays Jax, while Chinese-Canadian actor Ludi Lin (Black Mirror) is Shaolin monk Liu Kang, and Singaporean Chin Han (Ghost in the Shell) plays demonic shapeshifter, Shang Tsung.
Elsewhere, Indonesian Joe Taslim (a former member of his country's judo national team) is Sub-Zero, Japan’s Hiroyuki Sanada is undead ninja Scorpion, and Australian actress Laura Brent (The Chronicles of Narnia film series) is Alison Young.
The cast also includes Max Huang (Sense8) as Kung Lao, Sisi Stringer as Mileena, Daniel Nelson (Godzilla vs. Kong) as Kabal, Elissa Cadwell as Nitara, and Matilda Kimber as Emily Young.
When can I see it?
Like many other big-budget movies, Mortal Kombat’s release date has changed multiple times, as cinema closures triggered by the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic prompted studio bosses to rethink their release plans.
It was originally scheduled to release on 5 March 2021, before becoming one of only a handful of movies to have its release day actually brought forward during the crisis.
Despite a revised opening date of 15 January, ongoing cinema closures pushed the film back to 16 April, before Mortal Kombat saw one final delay of just a week.
Mortal Kombat will be released on Friday 23 April 2021.
Where can I watch it in the UK?
Mortal Kombat will be available to watch in Cineworld cinemas in the UK, which has struck a deal with Warner Bros. that gives the chain, which also owns the Picturehouse franchise, exclusive rights to show films over streaming services.
However, under the Government’s current roadmap for releasing lockdown restrictions, cinemas will not be reopening across much of the UK until at least 17 May.
In the meantime, the film will be able to rent digitally through streaming services such as Amazon Video, prices at £15.99.
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