Rugged Opinions

Can the Mortal Kombat reboot work?

by Ouroboros on August 14, 2015

In the current Hollywood atmosphere of reboots, remakes, re-imaginings and sequels, oftentimes titles that don’t really require said treatments tend to get them.

Now, I have a pretty accepting attitude towards the above mentioned retreads, an opinion that you’ll get to know the more of my articles you read, but sometimes even I am a bit skeptical about some project or other *cough* Escape from New York *cough*.

On the other hand, there are some titles out there that could do with a little bit of a refresh, a different approach and maybe a bigger budget.

This brings me to the recent announcement of James Wan as the producer of a Mortal Kombat reboot.

Now the original Mortal Kombat was made way back when in 1995, is something of a cult classic, especially in gamer circles, and it’s a movie I thoroughly enjoy.

The movie got some things right, sort-of, as far as character and story is concerned, but the fight choreography was pretty well done, the special effects were kinda lackluster but they worked for mid-’90s standards and the awkward/comedic underacting of Christopher Lambert as Lord Rayden and overacting of Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Shang Tsung take the movie out of the mediocre pool, and into the realm of cult awesomeness. The movie also features one of the coolest, heart-pumpiest, breakdancing-iest songs in movie-making history.

The sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, is still a decent enough watch, but it just retreads the first one and recasts Lord Rayden, so there’s not that much fun to be had while watching it.

I’m gonna skip the animated and live action TV series so that I can fast-forward to 2011 when a web-series, Mortal Kombat: Legacy brings a much darker and more realistic take on the game characters and story. Ever since then, there have been rumors and rumblings about it maybe acting as a shot to the arm of the Mortal Kombat movie franchise.

Now we’re back to the present time when the planned Mortal Kombat reboot has been described by its studio as “a departure from the mythology,” featuring “darker, brutally real martial arts.” This could easily refer to the approach we saw in the Legacy series, but it could also mean something completely different.

There is hope however, because the script is being written by Mortal Kombat: Rebirth – which started the Legacy series – writer Oren Uziel and The Expendables writer Dave Callaham. The first one is obviously aware of what he’s writing and the second one should be capable of writing some over-the-top action scenes, even though he has been working more on the characters aspect of the Expendables scripts. Dave Callaham also wrote the story and script for Doom and the story for the recent Godzilla, so take that as you will.

As far as the producer goes, and now I’m coming full circle to the motivator behind this article, he’s produced mostly horror and torture porn movies, relatively successful ones. On the other hand he also directs a fair bit, two of the more recent examples of his work being The Conjuring and Fast and Furious 7, so that means he can direct action and horror, which could work as a great combo for a rebooted Mortal Kombat. He is also the director of the future Aquaman movie, so he’s definitely a director on the rise, and I’ll be talking about him undoubtedly when that time comes.

Now, everything I’ve said till now sounds like this could work, but there’s a “but” coming… the synopsis sounds like ass:

The script centers around a seemingly harmless guy who realizes his potential when he finds himself caught in the middle of a cross-dimensional battle between the warriors of Earth and the monsters of Outworld. Now, in order to stop the world from total destruction, he must win the martial arts tournament known as ‘Mortal Kombat’.

That doesn’t sound very interesting, it sounds like what the basic premise of the first movie was and considering the sort of pedigree that the people behind it have, I was expecting something…different.

Nevertheless, I am rather optimistic about this future Mortal Kombat movie, I hope it doesn’t test my might.

What do you think about the Mortal Kombat reboot? Let me know in the comments.

Are you a Mortal Kombat fan who hasn’t yet had the fortune of enjoying these cult classic films? You can use our affiliate links to view, rent or purchase the original Mortal Kombat, as well as Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.

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