[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Mortal Kombat (2021).]
Jessica McNamee’s Sonya Blade finds herself in an especially curious predicament in the new Mortal Kombat movie. She’s essentially the ringleader and the one who’s pieced everything together – from mark to Mortal Kombat tournament – and ultimately makes her way to Lord Raiden’s (Tadanobu Asano) temple with Cole (Lewis Tan) and Kano (Josh Lawson), both of whom have marks. Butt then she’s hit with the reality of what it means to not have one herself.
We see this become a sore spot for Sonya a number of times in the movie – Kano taunting her about it and her not being allowed to train in the fight pit, for example. At one point, Liu Kang (Ludi Lin) warns, “A fighter without a marking can never achieve their Arcana and a fighter without an Arcana is a liability.” Sonya’s frustration with the situation is mighty apparent throughout, even without Sonya ever expressing that frustration via dialogue.
Really, there could have been a whole movie about Sonya figuring out what Mortal Kombat is all about and how she truly feels about not having a mark herself, but this is an ensemble film we’ve got here and there’s only so much screen time to go around. While McNamee does make the most of the amount of spotlight Sonya’s given, some curiosity remains about what drives Sonya to stand by the other fighters despite not being fully welcome herself.
During our Collider Ladies Night interview with McNamee, we saved a little time for Mortal Kombat spoilers and had to discuss why that mark is so important to Sonya. McNamee explained that it comes down to two main things for her:
“I think there’s two parts to that. Yes, she’s such a do-gooder and she’s obviously special forces and her whole mission in life is to fight for the greater good, so definitely to save Earth.”
In addition to that pure dedication to saving the world, there are some deeply personal motivating factors in the mix. McNamee continued:
“And then the other thing is there is the backstory of Jax and also, like she speaks about in that exposition scene, she’s seen this happen before and it’s wiped out her whole team and so she wants revenge.”
As Sonya explains in that speech, she and Jax were on a mission in Brazil to capture a wanted fugitive. By the time they arrived on the scene, their target was exhibiting super human abilities and decimated their unit. Jax, however, was able to stop this individual and upon killing him, their target’s dragon marking transferred over to Jax.
So yes, there’s a clear need for vengeance here, but given how much McNamee is able to convey with or without extensive dialogue, can you imagine the potential of a character study that digs into Sonya’s experience balancing her need for revenge, her hopes to save the world and further proving that she was worthy of a spot on the team, so to speak, from the very beginning?
Sounds like prime material for a prequel film about Sonya to me, and McNamee was very open to the idea:
“That’s the great thing about this is there could be. We don’t know!”
If you’re looking to hear more from the Mortal Kombat star on her experience bringing Sonya Blade to screen, what it was like working with Emma Stone and Steve Carell on Battle of the Sexes, what she knows about The Meg 2 and more, be sure to check out our full Collider Ladies Night conversation in the video at the top of this article!
Simon McQuoid’s new adaptation is a mostly joyless slog that can’t even deliver exhilarating fights.
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