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Mortal Kombat 2021: Should we be excited?


        MORTAL KOMBAAAAT!!! Directed by Simon McQuoid and written by Oren Uziel, Dave Callaham, and Greg Russo. Starring Lewis Tan, Hiroyuki Sanada, Joe Talim and a lot of other people. Ok first off, hey yall. To be honest, I'm a little unsure if I should be excited or not for Waner Brother's take on Mortal Kombat coming out; April 16th, 2021. I’m cautiously approaching this latest attempt at a game to movie crossover. Images were released online showing some of the characters from the movie with the most popular being Liu Kang(played by Ludi Lin) and Kung Lao(played by Max Huang) walking side by side down an ominous corridor. As cool as some of these images are, what we know of the movie still feels like it’s wise to wait for the final product before fully embracing this title.

         For some, the Mortal Kombat series is their first introduction to entertainment with mature themes. I had Mortal Kombat on Sega Genesis. It took my brother and I 8 or 9 months after owning the game for us to find the blood code and learn the fatalities. The Internet was not what it is today. There was no “Gamefaqs”. MK would go on to grow in popularity, spawning multiple games, movies, a cartoon show, and one dope ass dance track. The current MK game: Mortal Kombat 11, is the 25th game in the series.

        But the movies were arguably at the time, the best attempt at converting a video game to a movie. At the time, the most popular game movie was Mario Brothers with Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo which was… well it’s a lot of folks who liked the movie but when it was released it was panned. For me it represents Hollywood executives thinking that video game storylines weren’t solid enough to build entire movies off of. That was reflected in Double Dragon as well. Kudos to Mark Dasascos for still displaying some impressive martial arts skill as Jimmy Lee though.

        The new imagery is cool and with the R rating, this might be the MK we were asking for. Some things are still a bit off though. This is to be expected as movies aren’t meant to be bit by bit recreations of the games. Still though, there are some of these creative liberties which are kind of concerning. For one, the main character is named Cole Young(played by Lewis Tan). He’s a former MMA fighter down on his luck and is on a quest of self discovery to figure out if he truly has what it takes to be a champion. You know, something like that. 
    Some folks made the argument that Johnny Cage should be here instead of Cole. Cole will be the protagonist that the audience is supposed to project themselves onto. And it’s through his experience we see the characters. He’s a movie exclusive character and I like this idea. I’d rather a dude not part of the actual mythos establish what’s happening. For some folks Cage was this character but that's not the focus. Cage and Cole’s backgrounds are still very similar and that’s I think where the effort could’ve been made. Cole sounds too much like Johnny Cage 2.0 and that seems like lazy writing. If that is any indicator of what we can expect from the movie then for me I might hold off on my excitement until the actual movie drops.
        I don’t want to come off with ridiculous expectations either. Mortal Kombat is based on movies like “Enter the Dragon” and “Blood Sport.” Those movies were dope but not for their scripts. Especially not in Enter the Dragon. It can still be something quite entertaining without the best dialogue and character development. Plus with the R rating, it’s clear they at least want to capture the hostile ultra violent surrealism that the games have historically showcased. Shows like “The Boys” and Daredevil show us how bloody things can be, so beyond the games there is a ton of imagery for reference that WB can pull from. I am personally excited to see Liu Kang and Kung Lao beat mofos down together; Shaolin Monks style.
    So am I hyped? No. I’m still hopeful Warner Bros can get it right. It’s great that they’re going in an R rated direction. I am worried about elements of the script, some of the characters, and in particular one of the writers. Dave Callaham was one of the pens behind Wonder Woman 1984. I don’t know if you read my spoiler free review of WW84 but, to summarize that was some crappy writing. That movie and it’s current rating on Rotten Tomatoes is the hill we’ll need to see Callaham get over with Mortal Kombat. Let’s see what he does.
Are you excited for Mortal Kombat? Who do you want to see fight first? Do you think they’re going to get the fatalities down right? Let me know in the comments and as always, thanks for stopping by the Nerd’s List.

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