Ask any Resident Evil fan what their biggest criticism of Paul W.S. Anderson’s six-part adaptation is and you’ll likely get an answer involving the words ‘creative freedom.’
While directors can (and should) put their own stamp on a popular property whenever it’s moved from one medium to another, Anderson’s total change of the survival horror franchise’s core story – with results often being nonsensical – to revolve around the character of Alice (played by Milla Jovovich) didn’t sit well with most, especially as others, such as Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, were resigned to token roles rather than made integral to the plot.
Thankfully, then, Hollywood has become markedly better at respecting source material in recent years as far as video games are concerned. Both Sonic The Hedgehog and Detective Pikachu remained largely faithful in that regard, and judging from what we’ve seen so far, Mortal Kombat is due to follow in their footsteps when it arrives in the spring.
With that said, director of the brutal martial arts flick, Simon McQuoid, isn’t averse to making changes when they either make sense or are open to interpretation. A prime example of this is the decision to rewrite how Jax loses his arms and has them replaced with cybernetic implants. Discussing that very topic with IGN in a recent interview, he said:
In this film we needed to drive a few certain characters and narratives, and so given that [Jax losing his arms] had been done a couple of different ways in the past, we felt we had a bit of license to do that again here.
Considering series creators NetherRealm have played fast and loose with the circumstances surrounding Jax’s limb replacement surgery in the past, the filmmakers saw an opportunity to have the traumatic event establish a connection between Jax and Sub-Zero, the latter of which is poised to be a central antagonist. Sound reasoning if you ask us, and even purists who’d prefer literally nothing be changed should see this as a fair compromise, as McQuoid is keen to stress that writers have “tried to be very truthful and true to the canon” where possible. Color us excited.
Mortal Kombat arrives in theaters and on HBO Max beginning April 16th. Have your own two cents to share with regard to the above? Sound off in the usual place below!