While Mortal Kombat has remained popular in its native industry since its inception, the series has almost suspiciously been overlooked by Hollywood for more than two decades. Surprising, to say the least, considering that Paul W.S. Anderson’s crack at adapting the fighting game franchise’s titular tournament is, to this day, still considered by many to be one of the best attempts at mashing two very different entertainment mediums together.
By today’s filmmaking and cultural standards, of course, Anderson’s 1995 version is revered now for its hammy dialogue and practical effects, with the latter, in particular, being one area that co-producer of this year’s reboot, James Wan, believes deserves an update molded by modern technology. Speaking to Dread Central in a recent interview, he describes how fans’ continued requests over the years for cinema to revisit Earthrealm’s eternal struggle against Outworld ended up being a major contributor to the project’s existence alongside a personal desire to see how current day CGI could benefit the IP.
“As a fan myself of the games and movies, I, too, wanted to see another theatrical version of this,” he says, adding that he and the rest of the crew were equally “excited and gung-ho about creating a new, updated version with today’s filmmaking technology.”
With that said, however, Wan is keen to stress that everyone involved has done their best to retain the fantasy tone and trademark violence of NetherRealm’s flagship product to satisfy veteran fans. Lewis Tan’s character of Cole Young, on the other hand, is intended to be an audience surrogate for those who perhaps only have little to no knowledge of Scorpion and Sub-Zero and why they’re able to brandish supernatural abilities.
Can a perfect balance be struck? We won’t know for sure until Mortal Kombat lands in theaters and on HBO Max next month on April 16th, but all signs point to the answer being a resounding yes.