Simon McQuoid’s Mortal Kombat reboot actually sounds promising

NetherRealm Studios
NetherRealm Studios /

Our first look at Simon McQuoid’s Mortal Kombat reboot includes exclusive images and intriguing details that actually give me hope for this movie.

Film adaptations of our favorite video games are often met with trepidation. Usually, it’s warranted, as these types of video game movies don’t have the greatest track record. But lately, we’ve had a few surprises: Detective Pikachu, Sonic the Hedgehog and even Netflix’s The Witcher series (which I’m not sure counts since it’s technically based more on the fantasy novels that inspired the game).

In any case, we’ve seen a sort of turning point with these adaptations. While we still have our fair share of duds — most recently Monster Hunter — there’s a lot more willingness to see our favorite games leap across mediums.

One of the films I’m most excited about is Simon McQuoid’s Mortal Kombat reboot. I’m not going to lie, I’m a fan of New Line Cinema’s Mortal Kombat movies from the ’90s. But I’ll admit they are pretty darn campy. They still hold a special place in my heart, though (right alongside Universal Pictures’ Street Fighter movie).

But there’s something different about McQuoid’s Mortal Kombat movie. It feels like there’s actual thoughtfulness behind the project; it’s not just a remake that exists to capitalize off an existing video game IP.

Entertainment Weekly posted an in-depth feature for the Mortal Kombat reboot, sharing exclusive images and intriguing plot and character details. And I’m loving everything that I’m seeing and hearing.

One of the key takeaways from the article, for me at least, is that the film will have substance behind its action. It won’t just be a mindless fighting movie with gruesome fatalities. While the blood and gore is certainly welcomed — especially by fans of the games — just focusing on that would get incredibly stale.

It sounds like McQuoid is tapping into the lore of, not just the game, but the weapons the characters use. We learn the kunai blade, the weapon used by Hanzo Hasashi (a.k.a. Scorpion), is actually an ancient Japanese gardening tool. And the film will explore the ancient blood feud between the clans of Hanzo and Bi-Han, long before they become Scorpion and Sub-Zero and wield supernatural abilities.

Hiroyuki Sanada, who plays Hasashi, described it as “like a family drama with excitingly brutal fighting.” I mean, how can you not dig that?

The film will carry into the present and we’ll be introduced to a new character created for the movie: Cole Young, played by actor/martial artist Lewis Tan. We got a bit of background about Young; he’s a down-on-his-luck former MMA champion. He doesn’t know much about his heritage but does have a mysterious birthmark on his chest in the shape of the Mortal Kombat symbol.

More from Opinion

It’s said this symbol will tie into Young’s journey, as Shang Tsung (Chin Han), emperor of the Outerworld realm, sends Sub-Zero to hunt him down. From there, Young’s journey will really kick-off and fans will be introduced to more familiar characters, including Major Jackson “Jax” Briggs, Sonya Blade, Lord Raiden, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, and Kano.

The film will still presumably focus on the high-stakes tournament to fend off the invading Outerworld enemies, but there’s substance behind everything. Even Cole’s fighting style draws from UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal mixed with muy Thai, judo, jujitsu and “MMA roots.”

But don’t worry, for as grounded as some of the martial arts moments are, McQuoid assures there will be plenty of fun moments.

"“We need to be smart about how we go about [the fights] and there are times, you’ll see when you see the movie, when it’s just, ‘F— it! Let’s have some fun.'”"

There will be some “crazy” fatalities, including a couple of iconic ones, signature moves and Easter eggs. And, yes, there will be “gore” and “blood” as Mortal Kombat embraces the R-rating.

Mortal Kombat is slated to release in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously on April 16. I, for one, am very excited.