Though the Mortal Kombat franchise has produced at least one decent 90’s movie, one terrible sequel, and a surprisingly good web series, efforts to get a new film made have hit some solid roadblocks in recent years. Fortunes may be changing soon, though, for Raiden, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, and the others.
According to the Tracking Board, New Line Cinema is targeting director James Wan — who recently made a name for himself at Universal with Furious 7, and who will direct the upcoming Aquaman film starring Jason Momoa — to produce a new adaptation of the highly popular fighting game series first created in the early 90’s by Ed Boon and John Tobias. According to the report, the studio is seeking Wan out for a film that’s described as, “‘a departure from the mythology,’ with ‘darker, brutally real martial arts.'” Screenwriters Oren Uziel and Dave Callaham have been named as the duo that will pen the film, and the report even includes a synopsis. It reads,
[The film] centers around a seemingly harmless guy who realizes his potential when he finds himself caught in the middle of a cross-dimensional battle between the warriors of Earth and the monsters of Outworld. Now, in order to stop the world from total destruction, he must win the martial arts tournament known as ‘Mortal Kombat’.
It’s anyone’s guess who the “harmless guy” could be, as most of the well-known characters in the Mortal Kombat series couldn’t really be described as “harmless” even before they take part in the eponymous tournament. Johnny Cage seems like a somewhat obvious choice given the fact that he comes from the most normal background of the original game’s characters, but since the new effort is described as a “departure from the mythology,” it could be anyone.
Efforts to create a new Mortal Kombat film seemingly kicked into higher gear in 2010, when director Kevin Tancharoen created a short called Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, which was a proof-of-concept film for a much darker, harder-edged, and realistic take on the mythology — much like the above aim seems to describe. That film’s viral success led Tancharoen to develop a web series called “Mortal Kombat Legacy,” which has aired two seasons thus far. That work was supposed to lead into a full feature film that Tancharoen was to direct, but he walked away from the project in October of 2013 for unspecified reasons, saying only that he had “decided to move on to other creative opportunities.” This news represents the first substantive development in the saga to create a new Mortal Kombat film since then.
On the video game front, WB Games and NetherRealm Studios released the latest installment in the popular series, Mortal Kombat X, on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. In our review of the game, we felt that it was a solid step forward for the new generation of consoles, with only minor shortcomings outside of the core play experience that kept it from being a total home run.
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