Mortal Kombat Movie Gets 2021 Release Date

According to reports from Deadline, Warner Bros. announced that the new Mortal Kombat movie will be released on March 5, 2021. As of right now, this will go directly head-to-head with Sony and Mattel’s Masters of the Universe which was recently pushed back to this date as well.

The film is still slated to be produced by James Wan and will be directed by newcomer Simon McQuoid – a veteran and acclaimed commercial director for various companies such as Playstation, Duracell, and Nissan.

The film has started pre-production in South Australia, with no further details on cast or plot. Time will tell if the March 5th, 2021 date holds firm, but it’s a very positive sign to see James Wan and Warner Bros. still moving forward with a new Mortal Kombat movie.

James Wan

adamDMK’s Thoughts: A quick op-ed piece from yours truly. I’m super excited to finally see some concrete news on the next Mortal Kombat movie. The media aspects of Mortal Kombat, which marries the deep lore and history from the video games to the exciting characters and martial arts action is one of my favorite things about this franchise.

James Wan is a super-talented filmmaker, and I feel he can get his vision across properly. Also, curious to see what Simon McQuoid can offer. Looking through his resume of the commercials he’s filmed, some of them iconic even, I feel the movie is in very good hands. However, as we’ve recently seen with season 8 of GoT, your film can be stylistically and visually amazing, but if the plot is contrived, nonsensical, and cheesy – it won’t matter how great the film looks. James Wan has expressed a desire to do things right – so here’s hoping the previous plot “leaks” were just fan created and we get a proper adaptation of the Mortal Kombat story.

I’m a bit skeptical though – and given how the timelines and storyline in the Mortal Kombat video games are a bit “all over the place” if you will, Warner Bros. might play it safe and combine recent storylines and give in to fan service – which may or may not work well. Keeping in mind Warner Bros. recent track record of handling the Justice League and Suicide Squad franchises in particular, I’m very cautious to see how things will play out. I’m hoping my skepticism turns into a sigh of relief and we get a fun, popcorn movie with all of our favorite Kombatants and a coherent story.

Last thing I’ll say, I still feel strongly that a movie is not the proper medium for Mortal Kombat. Come @ me bro! Telling a story this complex with all of the lore in less than 120 minutes does not do the franchise justice, and we end up with a contrived mess. It CAN be done right, as we’ve seen Threshold and Paul W.S. Anderson having the right idea in 1995 – streamlining the plot and action sequences. It wasn’t rocket science then though either – good guys versus bad guys, fighting in an ancient martial arts tournament to determine the fate of the world. Couple that with awesome fight scenes and (at the time) groundbreaking visuals – and cast it correctly with decent actors, you have the recipe for a fun summer popcorn flick.

With the above being said, the lore and history of Mortal Kombat has grown exceptionally large since the 1995 film, so simplifying the story probably wouldn’t sit right with the current younger generation of fans, who’ve grown up on MK9, MKX, and MK11’s rich stories. I feel these fans will influence Warner Bros. much more than the “weathered” fans who’ve been with the franchise since the early 90s.

What exactly am I getting at? The 2010’s have shown that serial television shows are extremely popular and profitable. With the proper showrunners, some of these become masterpieces even. We’re truly in the golden age of serial television. Mortal Kombat absolutely needs to be a serial show.

I think Kevin Tancharoen had the right idea with Mortal Kombat: Legacy. I just think he was handcuffed by a lower budget and time restraints, but he was able to get the true spirit of Mortal Kombat and a lot of the lore and history down pat in basically 190 minutes of content. He mostly hit on a lot of his casting choices (namely in Season 2) as well. However, imagine 8-10 hours of content per season? With a budget much larger than Legacy’s? See where I’m getting at here?

I think Warner Bros. is missing something here. Why not have a Mortal Kombat serialized show be the crown jewel of their new WarnerMedia streaming service? Or if they were going for a more mature audience – throw it on HBO, one of their subsidiaries. I feel HBO might be a bit more of an adamDMK fantasy, but it’s still a viable option for Warner Bros. Unless it was a complete flop and utter failure, I feel a serialized show would be a more realistic long term money maker and revenue stream since movie adaptations of video games are still so hit or miss. I mean think of all the successful recent serialized shows and how they work so well as shows with hours of content as opposed to 100-minute movies. Cobra Kai? Mr. Robot? Stranger Things even?

This would also help not having to go all in on the movie – as the budget for a movie demands immediate returns to be profitable. With a serialized show, the first season can have a “lower budget” in relative terms, with a more focused plot and cast. Say the first season is just establishing your key characters, giving context to their backstories, and have it be based on the first Mortal Kombat game (or first part of MK9). If successful, the scope of show can increase over the next few seasons and additional characters, worlds, and plot threads can be introduced.

I completely understand this is just me talking out of my butt here, but like I said I have felt strongly about a Mortal Kombat serialized show for awhile now. Either way, cheers to James Wan and company putting together something fun for all of us varying Mortal Kombat fans.

Malfunctioning Controls, Gross Noises, And Other Personal Video Game Hells

Illustration for article titled Malfunctioning Controls, Gross Noises, And Other Personal Video Game Hells
Image: Bethesda / Kotaku

Only two episodes in, the new Kotaku Splitscreen has already gone to hell. It was bound to happen, but I never thought we’d get there so fast. This week, we journey to the heart of hell and perform a dissection, picking apart the vaunted warm place’s past and present as it pertains to games. Do you like Hades and Satanic panics? Then you’ll be a Satanic fan-ic of this episode.

Advertisement

First, we talk about our personal video game hells, the miserable sections and segments that you’d want to trap us in for all eternity if you were The Devil Himself. Then we take a trip into the increasingly distant past of the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s for a speedrun of gaming’s many Satanic panics, focusing on Dungeons & Dragons, Mortal Kombat, and Doom. Finally, we discuss what our good buddy hell has been up to lately in games like Hades and Baldur’s Gate 3. Also, we review 2020, aka Hell’s Own Year.

Advertisement

Get the MP3 here, and check out an excerpt below.


Ash: My personal hell is games with poor collision detection. Games where you hit the button, and it doesn’t do what you’re supposed to do. Missing collision detection or eaten button presses. So I know I’m pushing the button, and my character if it’s a platformer will jump and maybe grab for the ledge they’re trying to jump to, but not grab the ledge. Or instead of jumping onto a platform, they jump off into an abyss because for some reason it just does that. That’s hell. I know I’m doing it right, but I’m still not...doing it right.

Fahey: Have you played Fall...Fall Out Boy? I wanna say Fall Out Boy. That’s great. Have you played Fall Out Boy, because speaking of hell, Fall Out Boy. No, Fall Guys. It’s purposefully made like that, so your buttons aren’t always quite exactly what you want them to do, and you might miss jumps.

Ash: That was one of the things I was thinking about. That works.

Fahey: Well thanks, Fall Guys. The most popular game in the world—you’re hell. Good job.

Advertisement

Ash: Well actually, Fall Guys is fun, so maybe that means I’m actually a sadist? Is a sadist the one who hits people, or are they the one who likes getting hit? I’m not sure, and I should know this.

Fahey: I’d like to apologize to sadomasochists around the world for the simplistic description. It’s not all “Hit me, OK I’ll hit you, I love hitting you, I love being hit.” It’s a little more complex than that.

Advertisement

Nathan: We’re misrepresenting you. There’s more nuance.

Fahey: Speaking of nuance, Nathan, what is your video game hell? It is your turn.

Advertisement

Nathan: I have a real one and a hyper-specific one that is rooted in recent events. So the real one is, I really don’t like doing things over and over. I especially don’t like it when it happens not during a climactic boss fight where it’s supposed to be challenging, and if you finally manage to overcome it, you get the gratification of having won, and you’re like “Yeah, I overcame this big challenge that was supposed to be a big challenge.” What I hate is when it is some random fight in the middle of a game that you can tell the developer didn’t intend to be that difficult, but for whatever reason, it plays to your exact weaknesses. And so, you end up trying over and over and over and failing repeatedly.

And let’s say, on top of that, because it wasn’t intended to be that challenging, there’s a fucking 10-second cut-scene that plays ahead of it every single time, that you can’t skip. So at that point, the cut-scene becomes this “Fuck you” to the player. And you’re like “I just want to be done with this.” But I’m not someone who has the willpower to step away from that and take a break. Instead, I must do it. So my personal hell is keeping at something like that for an hour or multiple hours, and then finally pulling it off, and feeling nothing. Because you don’t feel anything after that. You just feel like you wasted a lot of time. You feel frustrated. You’re like “Alright, I never want to do that again, but also, I’m not happy that I did accomplish it.”

Advertisement

Ash: So you really didn’t like that Demyx fight in Kingdom Hearts II, huh? “Dance, water! Dance!”

Fahey: You would hate Crash Bandicoot 4, because there are so many levels where you’re gonna die a hundred times. There’s a counter at the top of the screen that shows you how many times you’ve died. I got to triple digits on several of the later levels. I hated them. I kept pausing the game, putting the controller down. I’d come back an hour later and try 10, 15 more times. That was pretty hellish. But what is your other video game hell?

Advertisement

Nathan: Alright so, my other one comes specifically from the game Hades. Ash, you’ll be able to identify with this. So you know the little Satyr guys in Styx? The ones who make that horrible phlegmy coughing sound and spit poison on you? So like, specifically if someone were to make a level that was just 100 of those of guys surrounding me. Maybe I would still have a little pool where I could cure myself of the poison, but it wouldn’t matter because I’d just immediately get hit again. And they’d all be making that horrible, horrible noise that I cannot get out of my head.

Fahey: OK, you need to make the noise before we go on.

Ash: Please don’t do that. It’s right in my ear.

[Nathan and Fahey make horrible noises at Ash for multiple consecutive minutes.]


For much more, listen to the entire episode. New episodes drop every Friday, and don’t forget to like and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. Also, if you feel so inclined, leave a review, or you can always drop us a line at [email protected] with comments, questions, and even episode topic suggestions. See you next week!

Mortal Kombat 11 Cheapens Its Guest Characters’ Legacies

Everything you love will eventually be corrupted in the name of capitalism.
Everything you love will eventually be corrupted in the name of capitalism.
Screenshot: NetherRealm Studios

At the end of First Blood, the 1982 movie adaptation of the David Morrell novel of the same name, John Rambo tells his former commanding officer that there’s no turning off the violence he was taught to inflict as a veteran of the Vietnam War. He breaks down. He weeps. It’s a powerful image: the quintessential action hero, broken and defeated, shepherded away in handcuffs from the carnage he spent 93 minutes creating.

Advertisement

And now he’ll be fighting a ninja that can turn into a puddle of water in Mortal Kombat 11.

Thanks to Mortal Kombat developer NetherRealm Studios’ acquisition by the gaming division of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, it’s been able to acquire iconic guest characters for the series’ most recent installments. 2009’s Mortal Kombat kicked things off with an appearance by A Nightmare on Elm Street slasher Freddy Krueger, and things have only ramped up from there. In just a year’s time, characters like Joker, Spawn, The Terminator, Robocop, and (come next month) Rambo have joined the cast of Mortal Kombat 11, giving the game a mainstream appeal that fighters rarely enjoy.

Advertisement

Since debuting in 1992, the Mortal Kombat series has treated violence with a campiness that’s almost endearing. Back then, watching a fighting game character rip out their opponent’s spine after a match was considered novel and naughty. Where those pixelated graphics make such abject violence nonsensical in hindsight, however, the franchise’s transition to more realistic models has only heightened the discomfort the original game was no doubt meant to elicit. This is all well and good for the longtime Mortal Kombat fighters that were created for such treatment, but it does an injustice to the characters the developers have pulled from other properties.

Sylvester Stallone’s gut-wrenching portrayal of the traumatized Rambo eventually spawned a number of sequels—most recently 2019’s maligned Rambo: Last Blood—none of which carry the same weight or gravitas of the original. First Blood introduced audiences to the walking embodiment of Vietnam War-induced PTSD. It brought the violence that the United States inflicted on the peoples of Southeast Asia home. But the franchise soon became just another hollow symbol of American exceptionalism bearing little resemblance to the source material.

As Rambo’s appearance in Mortal Kombat 11 is explicitly based on First Blood, I’m uneasy about the partnership. It’s important to note that he only kills one person in that initial film, and unintentionally at that. Most of the movie depicts Rambo’s attempts to evade capture, using only nonlethal methods to dispatch his pursuers. Having him behead Sub-Zero or use a bow and arrow to shoot Scorpion’s eyes out the back of his head completely undermines his character in First Blood and the movie’s underlying message. You may be thinking, “well, we don’t know if he’s going to do those things in the game yet.” And you might have a point if Mortal Kombat 11 didn’t already have a history of cheapening the legacies of its guest characters.

1987’s RoboCop is one of my favorite movies of all time. Not only is it a superb action flick, but the way in which director Paul Verhoeven satirizes the entire genre with his depiction of capitalism acting as the impetus for an increasingly militaristic police state still resonates today. And, much like First Blood, it also has a lot to say about violence, particularly its traumatizing effects and the way it’s used by those in power. That said, you completely miss out on these key details if your only knowledge of RoboCop as a character comes from his appearance in Mortal Kombat 11, which almost celebrates the themes that the movie was meant to critique.

While just appearing in a game like Mortal Kombat 11 does the character a disservice, the most egregious example of Mortal Kombat 11’s misunderstanding of RoboCop comes during one of his Brutalities, round-ending finishers during which the game unleashes its most heinous violence. In the movie, RoboCop becomes RoboCop after police officer Alex Murphy is gunned down. It’s a brutal scene. Murphy’s hand is blown off by a shotgun, then his arm. His attackers reduce him to a bloody torso before shooting him in the head. Even as a cyborg, RoboCop is haunted by memories of his death. So, naturally, Mortal Kombat 11 turns this sequence into a Brutality, allowing RoboCop players to inflict the same violence that led to his creation.

Like many Verhoeven projects, RoboCop is a violent movie. RoboCop is a violent character. He’s been programmed to dispatch crime without hesitation, which often leads to extrajudicial moments like shooting a would-be rapist’s dick off. But in turning his violently traumatizing murder into a gameplay mechanic, the Mortal Kombat 11 developers showed a complete misunderstanding for what continues to make the film relevant. It’s possible to enjoy RoboCop as a mindless piece of entertainment—believe me, I love the stupid shit in this movie—but I was blown away by the disregard Mortal Kombat 11 shows for even the most simple story beats.

Advertisement

I adore Mortal Kombat, even as its violence has become more and more realistic. There’s something very satisfying in the crunchiness and squishiness of its combat. The campiness for which it’s become known is a core part of the series’ identity that I don’t want to see go away. But as it stands, the devs have proven they don’t have the finesse to handle the legacies of characters like Rambo and RoboCop. It’s hard to get across the anti-war and anti-corporation themes of the source material in the 99 seconds of a fighting game match, and I’d rather they not try if this is the best they can do.

Mortal Kombat 11 Datamine Uncovers New Voices From 1995 Movie Actors

Christopher Lambert provided a unique take on Raiden in the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie adaptation.
Christopher Lambert provided a unique take on Raiden in the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie adaptation.
Photo: IMDB

It’s hard to hide anything in your game when thousands of players can search through it with a fine-toothed comb. The folks at NetherRealm Studios found this out recently when one fan uncovered a variety of unused Mortal Kombat 11 audio files that sound as if they were recorded by the stars of the 1995 cult-classic movie based on the longstanding fighting game franchise.

Advertisement

The audio files in question replace the voices of Raiden, Sonya Blade, and Johnny Cage with new ones that sound very similar to Christopher Lambert, Bridgette Wilson, and Linden Ashby, who played those respective characters in the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie.

While uploads of the voices have quickly been removed from YouTube and Twitter by parties claiming to represent Warner Bros., the link below will take you to a Reddit post in which original excavator, Ix, shows off what they discovered.

Advertisement

These findings have ignited some excitement in the Mortal Kombat community. When a fighter’s voice was changed in the past, it usually arose from using a special skin that essentially turned them into someone else.

Jax Briggs, for instance, had a special costume in Mortal Kombat X that turned him into Carl Weathers, complete with dialogue recorded by the Predator star himself. And when Shang Tsung debuted in Mortal Kombat 11, he did so with motion-capture and voice acting by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who also played the character in the ‘90s movie.

I’m not a huge fan of Sonya or Johnny, but I would love to see Christopher Lambert’s take on Raiden given some love in Mortal Kombat 11. But hey, even if these voices aren’t ever officially released, at least players were able to peer into an alternate reality in which known asshole Ronda Rousey didn’t get to portray the series’ most prominent female character.

How Erica Lindbeck, Voice Of Final Fantasy VII Remake’s Jessie, Got Her Break

Less than a decade into her career, voice actor Erica Lindbeck has over 150 credits to her name. From her start as random background characters, she’s gone on to voice everyone from Barbie to Cassie Cage, Black Cat to Futaba Sakura. If you play video games, you’ve probably heard her voice.

In our fourth episode of “Behind The Voice,” we talk to Erica about how she came to voice acting and how she juggles so many roles. She tells us how this frantic pace has taken a physical toll on her, but she’s found a way to turn even that into a positive.

Advertisement

You can connect with Erica on her new Twitch channel if you’re in the mood for some spooky stories. She’s kinda hilarious, too.

Supreme Is Releasing A Mortal Kombat Arcade Cabinet

Illustration for article titled Supreme Is Releasing A iMortal Kombat/i Arcade Cabinet
Image: Kotaku

I have seen Supreme collab on some real dumb shit in my time, from cookies to literal bricks, but this upcoming Mortal Kombat arcade cabinet is something else.

Advertisement

The label showed off its Fall/Winter 2020 collection earlier this week, and among stuff like this:

Illustration for article titled Supreme Is Releasing A iMortal Kombat/i Arcade Cabinet
Image: Supreme

Advertisement

Was this:

Illustration for article titled Supreme Is Releasing A iMortal Kombat/i Arcade Cabinet
Image: Supreme

Yup. It’s a Mortal Kombat arcade cabinet, including the first three games of the series. As PCMag point out, though, this isn’t a custom piece, it’s just a rebrand of an existing Mortal Kombat machine built and sold by Arcade1UP.

Illustration for article titled Supreme Is Releasing A iMortal Kombat/i Arcade Cabinet
Image: Arcade1UP

Advertisement

The only difference here being the presence of Supreme logos all over the cabinet art and the inclusion of a Supreme-branded riser (which turns this sitting-height cabinet into a standing-height one).

The total cost of an Arcade1UP Mortal Kombat cabinet, with the riser added as an accessory (they’re normally sold separately), would be $360.

Advertisement

Expect the Supreme one to sell (at least at resale, where they’ll all end up) for around the same, only with more zeroes at the end.