When it comes to adapting video games to film, you have to think that translating the fighting genre may be the hardest of all. Though Mortal Kombat may make it easier than most because of the rich mythology it boasts, screenwriters still have to decide which characters to include and how to make the narrative flow well.
To our delight, the upcoming reboot for the silver screen looks to be coming along nicely. After all, they’ve already cast Joe Taslim as the iconic Sub-Zero. And if that weren’t enough, the filmmakers are driving for a hard R-rating (the original flicks were PG-13) and video game-accurate fatalities will indeed be included.
Like I said, a delicate balance must be achieved when putting this bad boy together, but screenwriter Greg Russo teased “a lot of familiar faces” while chatting with ComicBook.com, saying:
“Yeah. You know the characters are … One of the trickiest things I think with adapting the properties are there are so many characters, right. I mean there are, I think there’s 70 something characters in this and we don’t have the ability to stagger these films like the MCU does, right? We can’t do a Sonya movie and then do a Liu Kang movie. So we’re forced right into Avengers mode off the bat. So when that happens from a story perspective, you’re naturally going to have to juggle a lot of different characters, and you realize very soon that you only have so much room in, what’s hopefully, story one. I mean we only — our mantra as the team behind this movie is always kind of, movie one first, you know, let’s just make that great. Let’s not think about anything else.”
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From the sound of it, we should probably expect to see some of the more popular characters created by the franchise, as Russo and his colleagues don’t want to overcrowd the piece. In other words, this won’t be a live action answer to Mortal Kombat Trilogy. He actually touched on this notion next, adding:
“So you only have so much room. And what one of the hardest things has been from a writing standpoint is saying, okay, who makes sense for this first film? And who makes more sense for what would be maybe a subsequent chapter of this world? Because once you really get into it, you realize that… I guess what I should say is, I don’t think anybody wants to turn this into a, actually, let me back up and say this. I think a lesson we learned from Annihilation, the second film, is the more you try to cram into a movie, the more characters you try to cram in, I think they end up just getting lost and they feel like they’re just thrown in for no reason. And that was something that we really wanted to avoid.”
As much as the 1995 film directed by Paul W.S. Anderson has come to be regarded as a cult classic, it could be argued that the definitive Mortal Kombat movie has yet to be made. But given what we’ve read and recapped here today, we may receive just that when the reboot storms theaters on March 5th, 2021.