News Archive - April, 2021
UK Mortal Kombat Digital Rental Premieres Next Week
Watch at home in the UK soon!

With the United Kingdom contesting with on-going safety concerns relating to the infectious COVID-19 pandemic: measures have been taken to offer Mortal Kombat available to watch digitally starting next week! Read on for details:

Warner Brothers UK shared the news via Twitter, announcing the rental premiere coming to preferred digital outlets starting Thursday, May 6th! The tweet includes an exciting teaser clip with footage from the battle between classic rivals Scorpion and Sub-Zero!

Warner Bros previously released tentpole blockbuster Godzilla vs Kong at a £15.99 rental rate available on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, and through Sky. HBO Max is currently only available in the United States and will stream the movie until May 23rd.

It's good news for British fans who want to watch the movie safely! The film enjoyed strong theatrical takings in Europe early in April, and won a tight domestic opening weekend. It also seems to have become the most watched new programme on HBO Max!

If you're still undecided if you want to watch: you can catch up with the official red band trailer, first 7 minutes, behind the scenes featurette, and MK Online's review. Tell us how you're watching MK in the comments below and find & discuss more hot topics in the Media & Merchandise forum!

Mortal Kombat Conquest Now Showing on HBO Max
It is the burden you must carry.

Thanks to the release of the new Mortal Kombat movie -- it looks like everyone has a case of MK fever! If you're looking for more live-action thrills after streaming the new release on HBO Max, the service now has you covered with cult-favourite late nineties televisaion series - Mortal Kombat: Conquest! Read on for details:

Originally airing in the Fall of 1998 through 1999; Mortal Kombat: Conquest brought to life the ancient backstory of the Great Kung Lao with a single 22 episode run. Despite taking place centuries before the much-loved 1995 feature film, it expanded upon the shared universe of Threshold's productions, incorporating occasional establishing shots from the films, and featuring various fan-favourite characters who could plausibly survive the gulf of time.

Paolo Montalban starred as Earthrealm's immortal champion: a metrosexual monk who must deal with the trials of surviving Outworld's assassination attempts whilst tending to the day-to-day running of a trading post inherited from his murdered love interest. As godly mentor Raiden (Jeff Meek) chimes in the series intro: That is the burden he must carry.

The show was an oversexed product of its time, continuing a new wave of swashbuckling, ancient era action kitsch started by TV's Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. The martial arts show had to invent a lot of material for its run, including series regulars Siro (Daniel Bernhardt) and Taja (Kristanna Loken), but after a slow start, manages to get just enough right to make it a hidden gem for fans of MK and cheesy multimedia.

The show rolls out modified versions of Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Kitana, Mileena, Reptile and some very nice characters we won't spoil, usually working for the exiled Shang Tsung (Bruce Locke), who seeks redemption in the eyes of Shao Kahn (also Jeff Meek), and revenge for his defeat at the hands of Kung Lao. That's right, folks. The very first thing you will see in this series is the Mortal Kombat tournament!

The show even seems to predict a handful of future concepts featured in the video game series. There's a memorable "Unholy Alliance" between Shang Tsung and Quan Chi (Adoni Maropis), a visit from Master Cho (George Cheung) that forecasts Bo' Rai Cho a few years later, and even a prototype D'Vorah-esque insectoid queen called Empress Kreeya (Fabiana Udenio). The show really finds its rhythm after first half-dozen episodes and features a dramatic finale that will leave you cursing the executives who didn't renew it for a second season!

[Related Article: Review: Mortal Kombat Hacks Into Franchise Reboot]

Warner Brothers released the Complete Series DVD in 2014, but for those who missed out and subscribed to HBO Max for the new movie, this is the perfect time to catch-up on one of Kombat's curious forgotten corners! If you do share your thoughts in the comments below and check out more AV discussion in the Media & Merchandise forum!

Mortal Kombat Spears HBO Max Viewership Record
Streaming premiere tops HBO Max!

We already know Mortal Kombat had a strong opening weekend at the domestic box office and it looks like its found a record breaking audience on WarnerMedia's HBO Max streaming platform as well! The new release looks to become the most watched new programming for the service according to third-party ratings. Read on for details:

Third-party ratings firm Samba TV reports an estimated 3.8 million households watched Mortal Kombat during the weekend of its release! That's 200,000 more than Godzilla vs Kong in two less days, according to Deadline, which was previously touted by WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer EVP and General Manager Andy Forssell as having "... a larger viewing audience than any other film or show on HBO Max since launch."

Samba TV ratings take into account unique viewings of at least five minutes or more, polling terrestrial smart TV viewers. Mortal Kombat reportedly also beat an estimated 1.8 million viewership for DC Comics superhero epic Zack Snyder's Justice League, completing a trifecta of franchise blockbusters that have attracted subscribers to the streaming service.

Mortal Kombat has received mixed reviews, earning a low 55% freshness rating from critics on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, with an audience score of 87% at the time of this writing. It is described as 'largely for fans of the franchise' and a sequel has been discussed. Only 33% of MK Online users have voted it a positive "Flawless victory".

[Related Article: Joe Taslim Signed For 5 Mortal Kombat Movies]

Mortal Kombat is out now in theatres and streaming in the United States until May 23rd. Vote in the User Poll and catch-up on MK Online's review to join the discussion with your experiences watching the film. Find and discuss more stories in the Media & Merchandise forum.

Mortal Kombat Wins Opening Weekend Box Office
MK beats Demon Slayer and Godzilla/Kong!

Mortal Kombat has done battle at the domestic box office and come out on top in its opening weekend. The fighting franchise's cinematic return continued a resurgence in theatrical takings and became the biggest R rated opener since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on for more detail:

Deadline has a thorough report of the weekend which has been framed as a big screen battle between Mortal Kombat and Funimation anime feature film Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train. The two genre films combined to create the biggest weekend at the box office since the beginning of Covid concerns in March, 2020.

Mortal Kombat finished with $22.5 million, approximtely $3 million ahead of the potent animated opposition. They both edged out Warner Brothers' other cinematic over-achiever: Godzilla vs Kong. The kaiju grudge match was given an extra week to maximize its earnings with a delay in MK's release and that appears to be working for the two pictures.

Mortal Kombat was reportedly projected for a $15 million dollar weekend, continuing a trend for Warners of exceeding expectations. This success has been attributed to Worldwide Marketing President Josh Goldstine who had similar tentpole successes at Universal Studios and Sony Pictures.

The online release of the first seven minutes of the movie has been creditted with tripling ticket pre-sales, no doubt buoyed further by earlier buzz generated by previews for social media influencers. The prologue sequence is singled out as the film's strongest section in Mortal Kombat Online's review.

Deadline also provide an extensive breakdown of anecdotal ad spend, which purportedly targetted broad television markets with notable adult male demographics: "The studio ran spots on Telemundo, UniMas, Univision, Adult Swim, BET, MTV, Turner Sports, and the NBA, along with sponsorships on ESPN Deportes and Fox Deportes. Mortal Kombat spots, according to iSpot, aired on such shows on College and NBA basketball, Family Guy, Ridiculousness, and Rick and Morty."

The article also notes various preview screenings for special interest groups, including multiple Asian American organizations. Though slow to release embargoed promotion, these screenings and early interview opportunities appeared to ease anxiety within the built-in audience, and no doubt contributed to box office confidence.

Mortal Kombat is anticipated to continue enjoying stronger foot traffic and follow-up business than its anime rival, also maximizing IMAX screenings without too much concern from the film's availability streaming to HBO Max. MK took $2.7 million from 375 auditoriums. In Canada, where COVID restrictions have reduced available box office to 20%, payed video on demand services brought in an additional $2 million on top of earlier international box office successes.

[Related Article: Variety Discusses Mortal Kombat Sequel with Simon McQuoid]

Mortal Kombat is now showing in cinemas around the world and streaming to HBO Max for 31 days in the United States only. Have you seen the film? Dive into the Media & Merchandise forum to share your experience and find more discussion!

Review: Mortal Kombat Hacks Into Franchise Reboot
Cole Young origin story an uneven new start.

Throughout promotion Mortal Kombat has been forthcoming about its departures from the source material, even as efforts were made to sell it as a mostly faithful adaptation. A new lead protagonist made it difficult to hide fundamental change, but what is most shocking is just how far the film goes off the rails. At times, it seems its greatest influence may be the last big screen adaptation -- 1997's infamous Mortal Kombat: Annihilation -- with only costume design and sporadic game references to elevate it. This review will contain extensive spoilers:

If you just came for some fights and bloody finishing moves you're in luck. Anyone with a casual interest in the games will probably walk away pleased, if not truly adrenalized. At times the action looks reminiscent of Mortal Kombat 11 gameplay, but haphazardly killing characters doesn't make for a satisfying story, and a Mortal Kombat movie has so much fertile material to play with, it's all the more frustrating that the theatrical reboot is so generally lacklustre.

The first seven minutes were heavily promoted and released online before the movie came out. It's easy to see why. The muted depiction of a ninja farmer and his idyllic family isn't perfect, but is the most satisfying part of the film. Hiroyuki Sanada is a compelling Hanzo Hasashi, infusing dynamic martial arts action with credible character and emotion. The scene is the only time director Simon McQuoid is able to show higher aspirations of filmmaking. It's to the film's detriment that Sanada really only returns for another seven or so minutes at the very tail end of the movie. He's very good.

The opening scene plays generally like its animated equivalent in last year's Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge, but any concern the two adaptations would be too similar ends there. Once Hanzo takes his dramatic final curtain and bursts into flame, the movie immediately announces itself as a pretender in Mortal Kombat clothing, showing little interest in the established details of series canon to begin a downhill rollercoaster ride through sights and sounds that lack feature film definition.

Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) is enlisted by screenwriters to retrieve a surviving infant from the elaborately named "Hanzo Hasashi Compound" in the film's first boldly planted red flag. The change undermines the simple pathos of Scorpion by setting up revenge for his mostly murdered family after four hundred years spent in Hell, and more than a dozen generations of living descendants. Relocating the ninja's existence to the year 1617 might make more sense to grandma, but its an unnecessary holdover from Kevin Tancharoen's mostly abysmal Mortal Kombat Legacy webseries, and only serves to put distance between Scorpion and the real star of the movie.

A made-for-the-film prophecy now holds equal importance with the Mortal Kombat tournament itself. White text summarizes the overarching threat of inter-realm invasion caused by Earth's previous defeats. If that sedate introduction leaves you expecting the tournament of the klassic Mortal Kombat video game -- or its multitude of subsequent adaptations -- you'll be disappointed. The real story here is the continuation of Hanzo Hasashi's bloodline. It seems like the ambiguous prophecy is supposed to set up a surprise, but subverting iconic canon can only lead to disappointment, and only seems to be building to the studio requested protagonist Cole Young (Lewis Tan).

Cole is a loser MMA fighter with no sense of self-preservation, and a dragon-shaped birthmark the same as Hanzo's. The mark draws Jax (Mehcad Brooks) to a dingy arena, where he meets and follows the Young family while they have post-fight ice cream. The vanilla cone is cold, but it's still surprising to see snow in July. It signals the dramatic return of Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim), who announces himself as the final boss of the movie by unleashing a hail storm that smashes everything except Jax's truck. As seen in the trailers: he gets even by shattering Jax's arms.

For reasons that are never particularly clear: Sub-Zero has survived for four hundred years and taken up employment with Shang Tsung (Chin Han). The Outworld sorcerer sits on a throne that would make Wile E Coyote nervous, overlooking a realm entirely comprised of barren Australian dirt. This slightly gloomy, color-tinted dirt is distinct from the sun-kissed dirt that surrounds storm god Raiden's desert temple. The underwhelming aesthetic choices seem to betray the film's modest budget and location shooting, and recall Annihilation more than any iconic reference from the games.

Cole arrives at Raiden's temple after the armless Jax sends him to poor and obsessed survivalist Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee). She collects a wall of inconsequential "easter egg" references, and has already kidnapped mercenary Kano (Josh Lawson) and hires him to take them there with millions of dollars she'll never have. The trio are greeted by Liu Kang (Ludi Lin), who already resides at the temple, and appears with the sun behind him in one of the movie's single best shots. You'll know it from the trailers.

Like Annihilation's Temple of Elder Gods: Raiden's temple is carved into the side of an earthy mountain, and like Annihilation's Nightwolf, Liu Kang greets the new heroes in the desert with a gratuitous demonstration of his "cool" powers, and offers sage-like pep talks for unlocking the inner power of feeling their "arcana". If it wasn't already obvious: magical dragon-shaped markings that flee the body upon defeat have only ever existed in Annihilation as well, and the only thing stopping frequent visitor Shang Tsung and his posse from entering the temple is an electrical fence projected by Raiden just like the start of Annihilation. It really feels as if the nineties movies were a main inspiration for this production.

"Arcana" is otherwise a new and original invention of this film, and seems to manifest in inexplicable, sometimes ludicrous super-human abilities: Liu Kang is a little too eager to be a human Zippo lighter; Kano involuntarily shoots a laser beam from one eye; Jax manifests complex machine engineering around the framework of under-sized prosthetic arms; and Cole Young spontaneously grows a wicker tapestry of flexible armor and retractable tonfas.

It's the kind of cornball movie conceit that explains everything and nothing. Kill a fighter with a birthmark and it shows up on you -- good news for Sonya Blade, who is the only fighter present without one, presumably a sideways nod to her lack of invitation in the original tournament canon. This unifying theory might smooth things out for grandma, but the concept is unnecessary, and is typical of terrible video game movies. It deserves the meme ridicule it will probably receive.

They at least have the wherewithal to avoid committing too boldly to Cole Young. Every effort is made to soften his impact without escaping the inevitability that a character who hasn't existed in twenty-five years of the franchise is our lead protagonist. He takes the longest to unlock his arcana, benched by Raiden until Goro is teleported into the family garage by Shang Tsung, and engages in a backyard brawl that forces Cole to finally unlock the power of defense. The already mentioned wicker sweater saves him from being torn apart. From there he commits the cardinal sin of dismembering and eviscerating 9-time Mortal Kombat Champion: Goro. In his backyard. Before the tournament has even happened.

All of the bad guys, with exception of Shang Tsung, are here to die and not much more. There is almost no sense of backstory or motivation for characters. Kabal (Daniel Nelson) is an unlikely stand-out, already confined to life support because of something Kano did, and working for Outworld because they apparently have a bank account. He streaks across the battlefield with purple aplomb, voiced a little too well with a hint of Casey Jones in his masked, rough 'n' tumble attitude. Not quite as loud as Kano, but just as much foul-mouthed, wisecracking fun until he's burned to a crisp by Liu Kang. "You're gonna love him."

Reptile is an early casualty, appearing as a very literal CG lizard before Kano rips his heart out. Nitara (Mel Jarnson) unremarkably flies in just long enough to receive a buzzsaw hat fatality, while Reiko (Nathan Jones) is played like a big, dumb slack jawed ox whose IQ may actually go up once his head is squashed by Jax. He's visually and conceptually unrecognizable from the cunning general of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, or even Mortal Kombat X tie-in comics that raised his profile while still treating him as cannon fodder.

Mileena (Sisi Stringer) fares only slightly better, eventually baring her fangs -- and her spine -- once Sonya shows up with arcana unlocked by killing Kano. In 1995 Bridgette Wilson gave Kano a break and snapped his neck. In this movie [Sonya] gives him a boner and buries a garden ornament in his face. The death of Mileena is a tag team moment with Cole at a point in the film that seems to be trying to play like an Avengers team-up instead of a tournament, even though there's a vague sense of Mortal Kombat II's renegade Outworld tournament.

The death of major characters should be an unforgiveable sin, but the movie aspires to some of the worst narrative habits of the recent video games by implying none of it matters. Their bodies disappear in a puff of black smoke, and Shang Tsung renders the entire episode moot two-fold by promising he has an army of other fighters to come back with, and death is just "another portal" any way.

The body count may play to the myth that R rated violence is in any way essential, but the gimmicks aren't intriguing enough to even reach slasher satisfaction, no matter how much the music might swell again and again. Heart rips and dismemberment are fun tricks in a game, but this kung fu violence -- which was never horror -- should be an afterthought. If Cole Young could've served any purpose, it might've been giving us an earned, but affordable death. Instead the heroes lose Kung Lao (Max Huang) to Shang Tsung's only soul stealing of the movie. Disappointing.

The screenwriter assured fans that Shang Tsung was mistakenly identified as "Emperor of Outworld", but like most attempts to pacify fans, it doesn't ring true. Joylessly conjuring black puffs and lording over the movie in wuxia armor, he appears an emperor in function, bearing, and role. Quite unlike any version of the sorcerer, let alone the wizened Shaw Brothers kung fu wizard contemporary culture is probably a little too uncomfortable with to finally deliver. Raiden also still refers to himself as an "Elder God". Details that constantly reaffirm this is neither loyal to the source material, nor the movie for die hard fans they would like you to think.

The final battle sends Cole Young into a showdown with Sub-Zero, who taunts him with his daughter's yellow & black bracelet from earlier in the movie. He runs through a portal to the icy cage match featured in trailers. Cole's wicker armor absorbs some punishment until Scorpion arrives in the modern day to double-team the ice ninja to a toasty death that foreshadows the return of Noob Saibot with black ash surrounding the body.

Speaking Japanese to the Chicago orphan, Hanzo entrusts his bloodline and future sequels to Cole Young. A "poster child", by any other name, but not the child of the poster that finishes the movie. The final scene makes sure you spot the promise of Johnny Cage when Cole sets off for Hollywood and a sequel that will more than likely happen.

Fans are unified in their desire for the return of Mortal Kombat movies, and the devout will probably find a way to enjoy themselves. There is some semblance of a character arc or two: Jax learns to live with robot arms, and Kano turns on the good guys, with Josh Lawson bullying the rest of the cast a little too successfully with his smash mouth, scenery chewing skullduggery. It kind of feels like the basic story has been told, even though the entire movie is about fighting a fight so they won't have to fight later at a tournament. At least the bad guys lost. It seems like it would've been bad if they won, even though I'm sure they aren't all murderers in Outworld.

If you're a weekend button masher, want to kill a couple of hours in pandemic lockdown, or subscribe to the theory of low expectations: you'll probably be fine, but it would be misleading to call this a movie for fans. If story mode is your first port of call, you're dedicated to a particular character, or you happen to be a cinephile, you're going to struggle with a very unfocused, shallow movie that asks no questions, and hopes you do the same. It's difficult to discern if the filmmakers themselves know better than studio mandates, or if they're part of the problem.

This has been a very critical look at the new movie -- but what do you think? Vote in the current User Poll and share your experience watching the movie in the comments below! Find and discuss more stories in the Media & Merchandise forum! Mortal Kombat is now showing in theatres around the world and streaming for 31 days on HBO Max in the United States.

Variety Discusses Mortal Kombat Sequel with Simon McQuoid
Who's next?

Mortal Kombat has officially been released to most markets as of Friday and by the film's design -- sequel talk has inevitably begun. Director Simon McQuoid has discussed the subject in a new interview, addressing several key elements of the 2021 franchise reboot. Be warned: there are significant spoilers beyond this point!

In the spoiler-laden interview with Variety: McQuoid claims the word "sequel" was never used in relation to the new film -- but they did consider the future and create "joiner pieces". That fact is self-evident in the film, which establishes itself as taking place before the fated Mortal Kombat tournament, and dangles several prospects for another installment before the credits roll.

Johnny Cage proved to be the most controversial omission from the feature film reboot, and its biggest tease. The movie ends with Cole Young (Lewis Tan) headed for Hollywood to find "who" not what. A Johnny Cage film poster is the last thing seen before the end credits [pictured above]. McQuoid says Cage was left out to keep the movie balanced: "... he’s such a giant personality that he almost has his own gravitational field." Producer Todd Garner previously compared him with Kano.

McQuoid also notes that he's been asked about Kitana just as much as Cage. Her iconic fan weapon can be seen on display in Raiden's temple during the movie, but her existence is largely unaddressed, making a role in the sequel an obvious choice. The director says he hasn't really thought about who he'd put in a sequel, but he'd like to add more females: "I guess I’d like to shift it to be a little more female. There are some fantastic female characters..."

Shang Tsung (Chin Han) vows to return with an army regardless of how many of his minions are put in the ground, brushing off the deaths of several of his loyal fighters in the 2021 film. He describes death as "only another portal" and if you were hoping the movies might restore gravitas and consequence to death -- you're out of luck.

The revolving door of death seen in recent Mortal Kombat video games has informed the thinking of the filmmakers, giving them license to consider any character ripe for return -- even though the built-in story of Bi-Han's return as Noob Saibot is clearly another foreshadowed "joiner" at the end of the movie [pictured above]. Joe Taslim has already confirmed he signed on for four more appearances, and discussed his character's transformation.

Is it safe to say being dead might not mean someone is actually dead in this universe?
Well, yes, if you just look at the game, it’s exactly what the game has done in a really interesting way. I think we can perhaps learn from [the games] and try to do something interesting — again, there’s a big asterisk on all of this. I think the way they handle timelines and alternative iterations of the same character is really interesting. It doesn’t always mean that character comes back, “Oh, I’ve been reincarnated. I’m the same.” There’s some really interesting evolution and growth of these characters. The experience of death informs who they become. So I guess I don’t want death to be something that is inconsequential. That is something I certainly thought about as we discussed this story and what that means. So I think there are opportunities there, and certainly Sub-Zero has some opportunities.

The distance of the last Shaolin tournament, which was the premise of the original video game and retold in Mortal Komabt (2011), has also been interpreted as non-essential backmatter. Despite teasing another Outworld/Earthrealm conflict in its hypothetical arcade endings of Mortal Kombat X: the franchise is yet to return to the generational tournament conflict that was once considered its backbone.

The new movie does acknowledge Earthrealm's defeat in nine previous tournaments, and the prospect of an impending tenth contest, which McQuoid describes as "obviously essential within the DNA of Mortal Kombat". The director sees various other sequels as evolution away from that, and elaborates: "We didn’t really want to serve that. To serve a tournament idea, you have to build it a certain way. So it was a couple of reasons that came to it playing out in the way it did."

McQuoid accepts there are no guarantees that a sequel will come about, and part of their fate will be determined by fans' desire to see more of what they've done. "There’s a lot of interesting characters, story and material to work with. So we haven’t really dug into it; we just know we’re very privileged that’s sitting there. If we do get to that, and I’m not saying we will, I’m just saying if — big “if” — then we’ll go down that path."

Do you want to see more? Share your thoughts in the comments below and find & discuss more stories on the Media & Merchandise forum. Mortal Kombat Is now showing in theatres and streaming for 31 days on HBO Max in the United States. Special thanks to MK Online user Baraka_MK for forwarding this story.

WWE Wrestler The Miz Petitions To Be Movie Sequel's Johnny Cage
He's The Miz and he's... Johnny Cage?

By now you know Johnny Cage doesn't properly appear in the new Mortal Kombat movie, but the door is certainly opened to the fan-favourite fighter -- and WWE wrestler Mike "The Miz" Mizanin is petitioning to be the man who brings the Hollywood martial artist - turned defender of Earthrealm - to the big screen in a sequel.

Having starred in four WWE produced direct-to-video sequels in The Marine series; Mike Mizanin has at least a little bit of action movie credit under his belt. The Real World contestant turned wrestler is a far cry from the charismatic Jean-Claude Van Damme inspired martial arts moviestar of the Mortal Kombat video games -- but as critics will attest, the new movie isn't the video games.

The Miz went went straight to Twitter after the official release of the movie to make his case, earning attention with some digital fan-art and a short message: "No Johnny Cage? I AM the special effects. Let me do the casting for you. Say cheese #MortalKombat @MKMovie @noobde"

The Miz is notorious for his jerky WWE heel persona, whose acting experiences went straight to his head, and belie his successes in the ring, which have included a controversial WWE Championship defense against John Cena in the main event of Wrestlemania.

He typically trades on being an arrogant ass with a face you'd love to slap even when its behind sunglasses. Quite a contrast to the self-centered but loveable rogue who won the hearts of gamers and Sonya Blade. Still, he does have those sunglasses, and that was enough to get a nod from co-creator Ed Boon: "Guy makes a compelling case".

The worlds of professional wrestling and Mortal Kombat continue to collide. Former UFC and WWE Champion Ronda Rousey provided the voice of Sonya Blade for Mortal Kombat 11. The new Mortal Kombat movie also enlists short-lived WWE star Nathan Jones as the hulking brute Reiko.

[Related Article: Mortal Kombat Producer on Johnny Cage & Rain Omissions]

Sub-Zero actor Joe Taslim submitted stuntman and martial arts actor Scott Adkins for consideration while appearing on the Ip Man 4 actor's webshow. Do you think either of these men have what it takes? Share your thoughts on fan casting in the comments below and find more to discuss on the Media & Merchandise forum! Mortal Kombat is now showing in theatres and streaming to HBO Max in the United Sates for 31 days!

Joe Taslim Signed For 5 Mortal Kombat Movies
Only a Noob would do that...

Actor and martial artist Joe Taslim has made a strong impression as the heavily promoted lead antagonist of Mortal Kombat. The movie reinvents Bi-Han as an ice cold killer from 400 years in the past, and according to comments from the actor in a recent podcast -- we could see plenty more of him in the future! Read on for the full story:

Variety reports that Joe Taslim was a guest on the Just For Variety podcast, where he discussed the prospective future for the franchise and revealed he is signed on for four more appearances. He told Variety: "If this one’s successful, maybe we do more".

The star of The Raid was the first actor signed for the feature film reboot, and his athleticism and martial arts prowess were a feature of a recent promotional featurette. He has previously addressed his character's transformation into Noob Saibot, discussing the humanity and darkness in the character without directly confirming any future appearances.

Taslim also told Variety about his past with MK growing up in South Sumatra as a 12 year old. "We were poor so I didn’t have the console", so he waited to take his turn playing Mortal Kombat at a popular friend's house: "... you get there and there are like 10 kids lining up. Who wins keeps playing… so it takes me to get to my part like 40 minutes."

Indonesia was one of several international markets to receive the movie early, where the film has performed well in opening. Joe Taslim was in attendence representing the cast for the theatrical premiere [pictured above].

Mortal Kombat will officially be showing in wide release starting this Friday, April 23rd. Fans in the United States will also be able to stream it via HBO Max for 31 days. Watch the red band trailer and tell us what you hope to see from sequels in the comments below. Find and discuss more stories in the Media & Merchandise forum!

Mortal Kombat Movie Release
04/23/2021 03:00 AM EDT
Hallmark Reveals Sub-Zero Christmas Ornament
Christmas in July! Frosty!

When it comes to Christmas and Mortal Kombat tis truly better to give than receive. Now you can celebrate finishing your enemies and the winter holiday by hanging Sub-Zero from the tree -- as an officially released Christmas ornament, that is!

Hallmark unveiled their klassic Kuai Liang decoration as part of a new season of pop culture themed ornaments and seasonal tchotchkes. He looks positively frosty as a 2.3" W x 5" H x 1.9" D plastic ornament inspired by his iconic Mortal Kombat II win pose.

The game-inspired sculpt is by artist Alex Ho and comes nicely packaged in a red & white Hallmark Keepsake box for safe keeping, and gift giving. Performing this friendship will set you back $17.99 and won't unlock until its official release on July 10th.

So far this is the only Mortal Kombat fighter coming to Christmas. You can find other offerings in the 2021 Hallmark Keepsake Dream Book and pre-order Sub-Zero on the website. Who else would you like to see? Tell us in the comments below and find more goodies in the Media & Merchandise forum!

Watch the Opening 7 Minutes of Mortal Kombat
It has begun!

Mortal Kombat is just days from officially opening around the world -- but if you can't wait that long Warner Bros has you covered! Seven minutes from the much talked about opening scene has been released online. Beware of spoilers:

Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) leads a violent incursion into the "Hanzo Hasashi Compound" where the once and future Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his family appear to live a relatively tranquil existence. The contemporary rivalry of the video games is transposed to feudal Japan, year 1617, where the ninja is away gathering water when he hears the screams of his dying family.

Hanzo returns to find his wife and child frozen together in a shroud of ice. He has his first taste of revenge when he defeats masked Lin Kuei warriors prowling the compound in a dynamic action sequence, leading to a face-to-face showdown with his arch-nemesis.

Although chronologically removed from the classic video game storyline: the characters engage with an air of authenticity, speaking Japanese and Chinese dialogue, respectively. Scorpion doesn't understand his enemy's words, but the intent sets up their future collision later in the movie.

The clip also reveals a dragon-shaped birthmark on Hanzo Hasashi's wrist. The birthmark conceit, invented for the movie, will tie Scorpion to the future plight of new character Cole Young (Lewis Tan), who becomes BI-Han's target in the future when he works for Shang Tsung (Chin Han).

[Watch: Mortal Kombat Knowledge & Violence Featurette]

Mortal Kombat is out now in some regions, but officially invades Earthrealm starting April 23rd! Watch the Meet the Kast featurette and official red band trailer to prepare for battle. Find and discuss more stories in the Media & Merchandise forum.

Mortal Kombat Movie Release
04/23/2021 03:00 AM EDT
Mortal Kombat Movie's Cole Young a Studio Request
Behind MK's newest fighter.

For decades fans of pop culture have been vexed and perplexed by Hollywood's knack for radically altering the popular properties they license for the big screen. Mortal Kombat has been no exception: heavily promoting a character invented for the film. Writer Greg Russo discussed the unlikely star of the new movie in a recent interview. Full story:

Speaking with pop culture and lifestyle site Inverse: screenwriter Greg Russo explained an original creation was already part of the project when he inherited a previous script in 2016. "It was something the studio wanted", he explains.

Rumors of a new lead protagonist began circulating in 2018, and despite aggressive rebukes from James Wan and Ed Boon, the character only appeared to undergo a slight name and style change before materializing in the first featured preview. This identification came sixteen months after Lewis Tan publicly joined the cast.

Russo revealed one of the most substantive changes he made was connecting the character more deeply with the world of the series. "... it had no tie to the mythology of Mortal Kombat. I thought, if we’re going to do it, I want to make sure we do it right and that this character fits into the mythology in an organic way."

"Doing it right" was a mantra James Wan shared in interviews around the time Russo joined as screenwriter. As explained by producer Todd Garner, the result is a character who "sees the eyes of anyone who's never played the game". He'll offer new viewers a point of view as he discovers the world of Mortal Kombat, and as revealed in the official synopsis, his hidden heritage.

In “Mortal Kombat,” MMA fighter Cole Young, accustomed to taking a beating for money, is unaware of his heritage—or why Outworld's Emperor Shang Tsung has sent his best warrior, Sub-Zero, an otherworldly Cryomancer, to hunt Cole down. Fearing for his family's safety, Cole goes in search of Sonya Blade at the direction of Jax, a Special Forces Major who bears the same strange dragon marking Cole was born with. Soon, he finds himself at the temple of Lord Raiden, an Elder God and the protector of Earthrealm, who grants sanctuary to those who bear the mark. Here, Cole trains with experienced warriors Liu Kang, Kung Lao and rogue mercenary Kano, as he prepares to stand with Earth’s greatest champions against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe. But will Cole be pushed hard enough to unlock his arcana—the immense power from within his soul—in time to save not only his family, but to stop Outworld once and for all?

Similar to reasoning offered by the director, Russo cites the series' expanding roster as justification for the introduction, but he's self-aware about the pitfalls, also noting: "I’ve seen movie franchises where they bring in a new character and that character is the poster child of the movie, and I felt that was wrong". He also assures classic characters won't be under represented: "They're going to do their cool shit and no one is going to feel they’re in a corner doing nothing."

Mortal Kombat has enjoyed strong box office in limited international markets and will soon officially be in wide release and streaming to HBO Max on April 23rd. Prepare yourself with the latest behind-the-scenes featurette and official red band trailer.

Mortal Kombat Movie Release
04/23/2021 03:00 AM EDT
Mortal Kombat Knowledge & Violence Featurette
Behind the violence of the new film.

With just over a week until Mortal Kombat is released theatrically around the world -- a new featurette is offering another glimpse behind-the-scenes of the violence of the new movie. Watch:

Brutal fighting and "sickeningly violent" fatalities are a focus of the new featurette, which highlights the abilities of the actors who were hired to infuse the film with authentic martial arts through a prism of acting. Director Simon McQuoid maintains a desire to "make it real".

Special acknowledgement is given to Joe Taslim, whose fast-paced martial arts are compared to Bruce Lee in the need to slow them down for the camera. Actor Mehcad Brooks (Jax) describes the realization of what he was in for after watching The Raid: the 2011 movie that made Taslim a star.

The featurette anchors the film's origins in the first arcade Mortal Kombat video game, but the game isn't necessarily it's main jumping off point. Footage from the game amusingly shows one of the main characters who won't be in the film.

The director misidentifies early installments as 8-bit, but uses the early technology of the first games to frame his desire to elevate the characters to a level they haven't seen before. This expression might provoke fans who've played recent installments, but speaks to efforts to combine gaming iconography with historical reference. Hiroyuki Sanada, playing a Scorpion transposed for the film's plot to feudal Japan, speaks of infusing his fighting performance with Japanese reference, while also creating distinctions from screen rival Sub-Zero.

Fans of the games will almost certainly be excited by new footage that shows the fight between Liu Kang (Ludi Lin) and Kabal (Daniel Nelson). The preview shows a clear close-up of the film's adaptation of Kabal's iconic mask, and also shows the fighter using purple-highlighted speed to streak around his opponent. The effect is very reminiscent of his recent appearance in Mortal Kombat 11.

[Related Article: Mortal Kombat Meet the Kast Featurette]

Mortal Kombat has enjoyed a strong overseas opening weekend and will officially be released theatrical and streaming to HBO Max (for 31 days in the US) on April 23rd! Watch the official red band trailer and join the conversation in the Media & Merchandise forum!

Mortal Kombat Movie Release
04/23/2021 03:00 AM EDT
Mortal Kombat Earns Strong International Box Office
First week of release positive overseas.

The domestic release of Mortal Kombat may have been pushed back an extra week, but internationally the movie has already begun screening in seventeen foreign markets. Figures from the first week show positive returns from the franchise blockbuster. Read on for details:

Deadline reports that Mortal Kombat has taken a robust $10.7 million in its first week on 4,596 overseas screens. This reportedly makes it the biggest Hollywood blockbuster to open in the last year, demonstrating recovery from a widely experienced COVID-19 pandemic depression.

According to Deadline: Russia led the charge with $6.1 million taken in the opening week. Middle East and Asian nations rounded out the biggest earning sectors since the April 9th open: Saudi Arabia ($691,000), United Arab Emirates ($689,000), Thailand ($574K), and Taiwan ($554K).

The super-sized screen of IMAX is also proving to be a successful draw for Mortal Kombat, taking $1.1 million on 125 screens. Deadline notes 37 IMAX screenings will soon be added across Asia, South America, , Kenya and Spain. A special poster was created to promote the screenings.

[Related Article: Mortal Kombat Releases International Movie Poster]

It's too soon to call the movie a hit, but it seems on trend to be one of the biggest movies of the last 16 months, continuing a strong return to theatres for Warners started with Godzilla vs Kong. Like the giant monster movie, Mortal Kombat maximizes screentime with a total length under two hours.

Watch the Meet the Kast featurette and revisit the official red band trailer to prepare yourself. Then dive in to the Media & Merchandise forum to join the countdown to the April 23rd release!

Mortal Kombat Movie Release
04/23/2021 03:00 AM EDT
Techno Syndrome 2021 Hypes Mortal Kombat Movie
Listen to the latest version!

Originally released in 1994: Techno Syndrome has gone on to live up to its name -- infecting generations who've come to regard it the theme of Mortal Kombat. Many first heard it during the 1995 feature film and now the latest theatrical reboot meets expectant demand with a new 2021 cover version. Listen to the new strain:

Techno Syndrome was originally released as part of Mortal Kombat: The Album: a 1994 concept recording by Oliver Adams and Maurice Engelen as "The Immortals". The Belgian duo created themes for each of the main characters in the original Mortal Kombat, with two tracks dedicated to the general sensation of the video game.

Known as the "Theme to Mortal Kombat" once included in the major motion picture adaptation, the infectious dance track became part of a phenomenon that intertwined with home ports of the video game, and the memetic cry heard in the Mortal Monday advertising campaign. Fan sleuthing recently uncovered the identity of the voice behind the iconic shout.

The rallying bellow returns in the newest version of the song, an embellished modern EDM cover by Benjamin Wallfisch. Listen to the full track embeded above, and hear an orchestral version in the official red band trailer.

[Related Article: Emergence: The Song From the Mortal Kombat Movie Trailer]

Mortal Kombat is now showing in some territories, with a wide release in theatres, IMAX, and streaming to HBO Max in the United States for 31 days after premiering April 23rd. Share your thoughts about the movie soundtrack in the comments below and find more sights and sounds in the Media & Merchandise forum.

Mortal Kombat Movie Release
04/23/2021 03:00 AM EDT
Official Mortal Kombat IMAX Movie Poster
Kombatants strike a pose!

Mortal Kombat is making its return to the big screen and it's going to include showings on the biggest screen of IMAX! To promote the occasion fan-favourite digital artist BossLogic has been enlisted to create a dynamic new poster that shows off the soon-to-be larger than life fighters! Take a look:

Australian artist BossLogic created artwork visualizing the cast before the release of the film, and arranges the fighters in front of the dramatic watch of series mascots Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim). Outworld's fighters are predominantly positioned over Earthrealm's defenders, including Kano (Josh Lawson), whose loyalties seem destined to shift once the action begins.

Mortal Kombat is already screening in some regions, but officially opens in wide release April 23rd. IMAX showtimes begin in Australia starting April 21st. Visit the IMAX website for additional information on showtimes.

Mortal Kombat Movie Release
04/23/2021 03:00 AM EDT
Shouting Mortal Kombat Kid IDed & Interviewed
The voice of Mortal Monday found!

It's a battlecry that continues to echo through the annals of gaming history. The bellowing shout of "Mortal Kombat" was originally meant to gather fans around home console ports released on the first Mortal Monday, but its subsequent use in music and promotion has taken on a life of its own. Now after almost thirty years the man behind the shout has allegedly been discovered!

We jokingly dubbed the commercial's shouting boy "Morty Monday" when a popular YouTuber speculated about his enigmatic yelling. Thanks to the sleuthing efforts of another YouTube channel, RKVC (via Slate), we can now know him as actor Kyle Wyatt!

Watch: Mortal Monday Commercial | RKVC found the voice of MORTAL KOMBAT | Unedited RKVC Interview with Kyle Wyatt

The key to finding the lost star of Mortal Monday proved to be an obscure Screen Actors Guild credit indexed within a PDF. According to Wyatt, it was just one of his first acting gigs, and it came without any pomp and circumstance. He wasn't even aware of its cultural impact.

The Texas native embarked on a journey to New York with his friend, Donald Wesley, to pursue a mutual passion for a career in acting. Fresh out of college and in his early twenties, he found himself in the financial district near Wall Street, pulled from a mob of extras by the director to be face that stepped out of the crowd.

Instructed simply to part from the group and shout to an overhead camera crane, Wyatt's audio was directly recorded in the street from multiple takes. As he describes the filming, it was largely the product of improvisational flourish. The final audio mix is the same shout he uttered in the early nineties, which Wyatt says was also modulated and used in the song Techno Syndrome, and to open the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie.

So it seems another longstanding Mortal Kombat mystery has been solved. When did you first hear the MK shout? Share your thoughts on Mortal Monday in the comments below and dive deeper into retro in the 2D Kombat Klassics forum!

Mortal Kombat Meet the Kast Featurette
Talking heads & new footage.

With every new trailer & promotional spot the Mortal Kombat movie is revealed just a little bit more. In a new featurette we get to hear the perspectives of the director and cast while also seeing a few fresh snippets of characters and scenes. Watch:

Director Simon McQuoid remains dedicated to a mantra of respecting the material and fans who "deserve to see their beloved characters elevated to this cinematic height". This echoes sentiments expressed in his trailer breakdown and producer James Wan's comments.

The goal of being faithful to the source material is immediately offset by Lewis Tan, who promises a "powerful experience that we haven't seen before". That'll be particularly true of his character Cole Young who has no relation to the video games, but can be seen on building sized billboards reflecting his status as a lead protagonist according to the official plot synopsis.

The cast of stars comment on the details and mild contradictions of the upcoming Mortal Kombat feature adaptation. Chin Han (Shang Tsung) speaks to the epic scope of the material, and Joe Taslim (Sub-Zero) the cast of well known characters from the games. While the grounded "reality" of performances and action is something the likes of Josh Lawson (Kano) and Sisi Stringer (Mileena) are enlisted to remind us of.

The featurette also includes some moments not yet seen in the official red band trailer or various promotional spots hitting different markets. The scenes include crisp views of Kabal, Reptile, and Reiko. All that and much more, but worry not. There's bound to be plenty of surprises waiting with a final runtime just under 2 hours!

Mortal Kombat has been pushed back for a theatrical release of April 23rd, also streaming to HBO Max for 31 days in the United States. Subscribe to the MK Online calendar to countdown the days and share your thoughts in the Media & Merchandise forum!

Mortal Kombat Movie Release
04/23/2021 03:00 AM EDT
Mortal Kombat Theatrical Runtime Under 2hrs
Time will lead you to...

Trends in cinema have increasingly ballooned big budget genre movies well past the 2 hour mark, but Mortal Kombat looks set to buck the trend by keeping its runtime under that threshold when it comes to reopening theatres. Read on for full details:

AMC Theatres have posted a runtime of 1 hour 50 minutes for the R rated revivial.

According to previous comments by producer Todd Garner: the theatrical release won't be jumping into tournament action as abruptly as the beloved 1995 adaptation, but the runtime will keep it close to the nineties classic, which ranged from 93-101 minutes in length. That's between 9-17 minutes shorter than the 2021 movie.

The new film dedicates around 13 minutes to a dynamic action sequence set in feudal Japan. The opening scene has been featured in previews, showing an attack by Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) and the Lin Kuei on gardening ninja Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada). The pair are destined to meet in the modern era later in the film when Bi-Han serves the machinations of Shang Tsung (Chin Han) as the ice wielding Sub-Zero.

The movie will also introduce new creation Cole Young (Lewis Tan): a down on his luck MMA cage fighter with a dragon-shaped birthmark that alludes to a hidden destiny. Through well known characters from the video game he will learn to unlock his "arcana" soul power and fight back against Outworld's deadly warriors.

[Related Article: Mortal Kombat Movie Trailer Delivers Action]

Prepare yourself with the official movie synopsis and watch some of the latest TV spots that promise war & super powers! Then download the MKO App via App Store or Google Play to subscribe to the release day countdown! Mortal Kombat is currently scheduled for theatrical and streaming release April 23rd!

Mortal Kombat Movie Release
04/23/2021 03:00 AM EDT
Mortal Kombat Billboard Promotes Cole Young
Lewis Tan features in building size promo!

Mortal Kombat will have a brand new protagonist created for the film when it returns to theatres very soon. The public is getting to know Cole Young ahead of his debut thanks to giant-size billboards promoting the film. Take a look:

Star Lewis Tan shared a photo of the billboard on social media [embedded below]. The building sized image repurposes the same artwork seen in previously released character posters, complete with the old release date. The movie was recently pushed back a week.

Franchise rivals Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Sub-Zero have also been appearing on billboards around the United States. The movie's producer Todd Garner has shared two impressive shots showcasing the iconic warriors.

Mortal Kombat is currently scheduled for an official theatrical and streaming release of April 23rd. Download the MKO App via App Store or Google Play to subscribe to calendar alerts and add your feedback to the discussion in the Media & Merchandise forum!

Mortal Kombat Movie Release
04/23/2021 03:00 AM EDT
Recently Uncovered Code Shows Knuckles Playable in Mortal Kombat 1
Sega's Lock-On Technology Further Ahead Than Realized

Long-time gamers might be familiar with one under-utilized piece of technology from the 1990s: lock-on technology. This was Sega's buzzword that allowed the Genesis (or MegaDrive) cart Sonic & Knuckles to physically connect to other cartridges to enhance gameplay. Up until recently, it was thought that this was only compatible with two existing games: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog 3, allowing the gamer to play as Knuckles in those games. This was until 2005, when a user-created patch added the ability to play as Knuckles in the original Sonic The Hedgehog (full story).

Today, a former programmer at Probe (who has chosen to remain anonymous) released the code showing Knuckles was scheduled to be a playable character in the original Mortal Kombat. Some of the details on the cooperation between Sega and Probe are still somewhat murky, but it is apparent that the gameplay was 100% finalized. We tested it on the original hardware, and all of the special moves were intact. Knuckles even has a Fatality. Check out the pics below:

It is unclear why the code, which appears to be finished, had to be pulled from the game. Perhaps it was due to concerns about the violence, or maybe Nintendo was upset about Sega getting such an exclusive.

Update: It's been confirmed. A spokesman from Sega of America, speaking on condition of anonymity, stated that it was important for Sonic & Knuckles be released with a rating of E for Everyone. That meant that all traces of the Fatality, or any connection to the Mortal Kombat franchise, had to be removed.

MK11 Rain Mortal Kombat Mobile Trailers
A storm is coming!

Mortal Kombat Mobile is bringing another new fighter into its epic ranks and its one of the popular additions from Ultimate Mortal Kombat 11! Prepare for a downpour when Rain descends upon the free-to-play app! Watch the reveal and gameplay trailers for a full forecast:

Watch: MK Mobile Rain Reveal Trailer | MK Mobile Rain Gameplay Trailer

Edenia's arrogant demi-god delivers a deluge of destruction as he defends with new passive powers and inflicts soggy combinations that will make the mobile battlefield slick with water and opponent's blood!

Combine Rain's soaking ability with Raiden's lightning for a shocking hydro-electric assault bonus, or rely on Rain's own storm power to stun his opponents and set them up for the spike of his glaive glove -- a new trademark weapon introduced in Ultimate MK11!

Look for opportunities to control the elements with Rain by downloading Mortal Kombat Mobile for iOS and Android via AppStore and Google Play. Share your thoughts about the addition of the Kombat Pack 2 fighter in the comments below and discuss more of what you want to see in MK Mobile in the Mortal Kombat 11 forum!

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