An R-rated martial arts action movie with a heavy fantasy element based on a hugely popular property that’s endured for three decades comes burdened with a certain level of expectation, and nobody’s going to either fire up HBO Max or head to the theater to check out the Mortal Kombat reboot expecting an intimate character-driven drama packed full of awards-caliber acting and thoughtful subtext.
People want blood, guts, gore and fatalities, which is exactly what they’re going to get based on comments from virtually all of the key players on both sides of the camera. Mortal Kombat isn’t going to please crowds, win over longtime fans of the property or convert new ones with its narrative; it’s all about the fight scenes.
The trailer promised some game-accurate and very grisly fatalities, and the ensemble cast is packed full of actors who have extensive experience when it comes to either stunt work or various martial arts disciplines. Leading man Lewis Tan possesses both in abundance, having spent years working as a stuntman before getting into acting, while Sub-Zero star Joe Taslim was a member of the Indonesian national judo team for over a decade.
In a new interview, Simon McQuoid revealed that he’d pressured his team to make sure the fight choreography could live up to the expectations of what Mortal Kombat fans want to see, and even told the crew to deliver the best fights ever committed to film.
“The fights themselves, what we’ve attempted to do is to innovate within. To drive character forward and story forward within the fight. So we spent a lot of time on that. The fight team are incredible on this movie. The first thing I said to Kyle Gardiner, who is the stunt coordinator, he runs the whole thing, I said to him, ‘Okay Kyle, we have to make the best fights that have ever been on film. So, no pressure’. But it was really about building character and story within the fight itself so it didn’t just feel like a plugin. It actually felt like part of the scene and part of the act.”
Those are lofty aspirations, but there’s no harm in shooting for the moon, we’ll just have to wait and see whether or not McQuoid managed to accomplish what he wanted when Mortal Kombat hits the big screen and HBO Max next month.