After being a poisoned chalice at the box office for years, movies based on video games have been faring much better commercially lately. For nearly a decade, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time’s $336.4 million haul reigned as the highest-grossing entry in the genre, but just in the last few years we’ve seen Rampage, Detective Pikachu and Warcraft all cross the $400 million threshold, with the recently-released Sonic the Hedgehog still in with a realistic shot of matching that total.
One of the most highly-anticipated video game movies in the works is next year’s Mortal Kombat reboot, which hails from Aquaman and Fast and Furious 7 director James Wan’s Atomic Monster Productions. Wan has a solid track record as a filmmaker, and it will be interesting to see how his company’s first non-horror outing fares.
Of course, the mid-90s Mortal Kombat flicks have endured as cult favorites, but they don’t exactly hold up to scrutiny when viewed through a modern lens. The latest version from first-time feature filmmaker Simon McQuoid has gathered a solid ensemble though, many of whom have a strong martial arts background, with all involved insisting that the hard R-rated reboot is going to deliver the adaptation of the long-running fighting series that fans have been waiting for.
In a recent interview, Mortal Kombat star Ludi Lin had high praise for his director, and also hinted that the upcoming reboot is set to lay the foundations for an entire cinematic universe, and not just a standalone action movie.
“It was the most fighting that I’ve ever done before. Director Simon McQuoid is very devoted to this world. He is very passionate about building a universe of Mortal Kombat, rather than one single fight film. He started a backstory of the entire world, and made sure to flesh out the characters, so that people feel it’s not just a video game, and there is some substance behind it.”
While that kind of enthusiasm is admirable, it would be better if the creative team behind Mortal Kombat focused on delivering the best movie possible, and then expanded the universe if it turns out to be a hit. We’ve seen plenty of projects designed to start a franchise fall at the first hurdle after simply assuming that people wanted to see more, with the filmmakers forgetting to craft a solid first installment in the first place, something that McQuoid and Wan will hopefully manage to avoid.