One problem faced by any writer tasked with adapting a property that boasts a huge built-in fanbase for live-action is how closely to stick to the source material, which is an incredibly tricky balancing act to pull off without drawing ire from somewhere.
Stick too closely to the comic book, novel or video game in question and a lack of originality will inevitably be called out, but veer too far away and the fans could voice their displeasure at something they hold dear coming to the big screen in unrecognizable fashion. Marvel Studios have so far toed the line between leaning on the company’s comic book back catalogue for inspiration before putting their own spin on the final product, and it looks as though the Mortal Kombat reboot could be following suit.
Looking at the first trailer, there’s no mistaking it for anything other than a Mortal Kombat movie, complete with iconic dialogue from the series, an orchestral version of the original’s 1995 techno theme tune and some impressively game-accurate costumes updated for a modern day fantasy martial arts action extravaganza.
The promo also gave Jax’s missing arms a new backstory, showing that they get frozen by Sub-Zero and then unceremoniously shattered into a thousand pieces, and director Simon McQuoid has now explained why the change was made.
“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. We’ve really tried to be very truthful and true to the canon where we can be, but every now and again, we might deviate slightly where we felt that it was okay to do so.”
Given the multiple different iterations of Mortal Kombat over the decades across all forms of media including games, animated shows and comic books, there’s no definitive take on how Jax loses his arms, but at least in this case, McQuoid has ensured that it both makes sense within the context of the narrative and gives the character motivation to seek revenge on the man who took his limbs away.