As of yesterday, there’s been a ton of scuttlebutt around the internet about a new Mortal Kombat video that’s been making the ‘rounds. Starting on Kotaku, who broke the video, and then making its way to the YouTube, this ten minute video displays a gritty, violent, and realistic (kinda) take on Mortal Kombat and people have been blowing this thing up with questions of its legitimacy. There have been TONS of questions, rumors, and speculation about what it is. Is it a trailer for a sequel or reboot to the film franchise? Is it viral marketing campaign for a new game to be released? We actually have the answer for you, but let’s take a minute and dissect what was seen in the video. Warning: here be spoilers. If you haven’t seen the video, you can view it here!
We start out with seeing Jackson “Jaxx” Briggs (played by Michael Jai White, aka Spawn) who is running a major crimes unit in fictional Deacon City. The next scene shifts us into an interrogation scene involving Jaxx and an un-known person in the shadows. Jaxx begins showing us police profiles on Reptile, and Barakka, one is a freak serial killer who suffers from a rare skin disease and the other is a failed surgeon who tattooed and pierced his face and put 10” blades in his forearms, respectively. Next, we are introduced to Johnny Cage and we are shown a fight scene between Barakka and Cage, who was working undercover for the police department. We then get introduced to Shang Tsung, who is apparently putting on a fighting tournament involving the world’s best fighters, assassins, and serial killers. Agent Briggs is attempting to enlist the services of the man in the shadows, a former assassin, to enter the tournament and “kill them all.” This is when we’re introduced to FBI agent Sonya Blade (Jeri Ryan) who discusses with the man in the shadows someone known as Sub-Zero. It is revealed that our shadow man had killed Sub-Zero’s brother and not Sub-Zero, the man he was trying to kill. We are then explained that the man int he shadows is a former assassin that no longer uses his real name and goes by the name of Scorpion. Then the words Mortal Kombat flash on screen. Roll no credits.
In a 10-minute clip, we are introduced to a whole ton of characters from the game. Barakka, Jaxx, Sonya Blade, Reptile, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Johnny Cage, and Shang Tsung all make an appearance, even if only via dialogue. We see many of the characters have much in common with their in game counterparts, but they are set in a very gritty and realistic world versus a world filled with magic and martial arts. For example; instead of being part of a race of people just like him, Barakka is actually just a failed plastic surgeon who inserts the blades into his arms and becomes a serial killer. Reptile, on the other hand, is a serial killer who removes the heads of his victims and eats them, he also suffers from a rare skin disease that resembles scales and turns his eyes inside out. Other characters stay true in certain respects, like Scorpion using his roped weapon to kill someone, Johnny Cage dying, etc. But all of the major characters shown have some kind of difference made to them to explain their bizarre characteristics in this gritty and realistic world. Many of those hardcore fans who are purists and prefer the feel of the source material may be turned off by the idea of setting these characters in a “real world” environment, but the general consensus online is that this is a preferred way to look at the Mortal Kombat mythos. Since it wouldn’t technically be a sequel, the characters can be ret-conned in this way without ruining the previous films. Although, one would argue that it would be hard to “ruin” the second film.
As stated in the above paragraphs, the story revolves around a former assassin, now known only as Scorpion, who is being hired by the Deacon City police to infiltrate and assassinate members of an underground fighting tournament run by Shang Tsung. We know that Scorpion’s only motivation for helping is his desire to kill a man named Sub-Zero who will be at the tournament. We can only speculate as to why Scorpion wants to kill Sub-Zero, but it can be safe to assume that it involves some kind of betrayal or revenge plot. Since, up to this point, the film has only loosely resembled the source material, we can’t assume that Scorpion is a ghost or that Sub-Zero killed his family like it happened in the games. In fact, we can almost surely assume that’s NOT what is going on here. Aside from the basic plot and a few character reveals, that’s really all we’re given for this plot. Fans are left wondering if this is in fact, a reboot for the films or is it even just a reboot for the games? A way to restart the games and give them a fresh new take? Regardless of what it is, many people in forums and threads online are really digging this portrayal.
So, What’s The Story:
Kotaku has since explained that this clip was actually a “test run” of sorts. Jeri Ryan (of Star Trek) who plays Sonya Blade revealed via Twitter that the director of the clip, Kevin Tancharoen, actually had done the film to sell Warner Bros. on his vision for a re-booted Mortal Kombat movie. So, it’s not a trailer for a movie, it’s not a trailer for a game, and it’s not viral marketing. It is, in fact, just a short film created by a director who wants to get hired to make this movie and is attempting to convince Warner Brothers to let him do so. From all the fan and non-fan reaction online, he may just get the job. But, I don’t know if I’m sold on an idea of Mortal Kombat being done in this way. I prefer the magic and martial arts angle placed on the games and earlier films. Sure, it may have seemed cheesy and unrealistic, but so does Lord of the Rings if you break it down in the same way. What say you? REACT TO ME!