Oh, My God! Oh, My God! Oh, My God! It’s finally here…
The official Mortal Kombat (2021) movie trailer!
If, for whatever reason, you haven’t seen it yet, here is the official Red Band trailer that was released yesterday and set the internet abuzz. It is violent, so viewer discretion is advised. Let’s watch it together again and see below for my thoughts and reactions…
0:05 – 0:21: This is such a powerful introduction to not only Sub-Zero, but the Mortal Kombat universe as a whole. It’s cool (no pun intended). It’s violent. It’s full of bad ass characters. Joe Taslim is a great choice for Bi-Han here. Fantastic martial artist and good action actor. Mahcad Brooks (Jax) is another super solid casting choice. I do think Michael Jai White in his prime is the perfect fit for Jax, but with that being said Mehcad brings a lot of serious acting chops to this role – which has never really been at the forefront for this character in the media.
0:22 – 0:24: Two notes about this snippet. I think this is a perfectly applicable addition to the lore of Jax losing his arms. Second thing, this “fatality” seems like a video game. It’s not overtly gruesome or even too comical. It fits this style of movie perfectly. In fact, although someone getting their limbs torn off is gory and violent – the way it’s seemingly displayed in this movie, like how the games make it sort of look cartoonish, is absolutely perfect.
0:25 – 0:27: One of the first casting choices I remember hearing about – Jessica McNamee as Sonya Blade. I’ve always liked this choice in casting – and so far from the snippets we’ve seen of her as Sonya, this is a perfect role.
0:28 – 0:30: F’ yeah! So good to see the New Line logo back. If there’s anything on my wish list for this movie – I seriously hope we get a nod to ‘Techno Syndrome’ or at the very least someone shouting ‘Mortal Kombat’.
0:31 – 0:43: “Good news and bad news. Bad news is the whole team is dead. The good news is I don’t think anyone is gonna miss Shatterstar, he was a bit of a prick.” I like Lewis Tan, a lot, most notably as the cocky asshole Shatterstar in Deadpool 2. The original rumors were that Lewis Tan was going to be Johnny Cage – which would have also been pretty cool. However, when it was released that he was playing a new character named Cole Young, I was rather indifferent about it. Part of me felt like we didn’t need a new main character to act as a faux Liu Kang. But the more and more I thought about it, I’m actually okay with this. We sort of need a protagonist to take us through the traditional “Hero’s Journey” trope. While Liu was suited for this in the first couple of movies, mainly due to a different time and place in movies, it just doesn’t fit that narrative in 2021 anymore. Liu, in the lore, is a Shaolin Monk pretty much bred for this tournament since birth. He sort of has an unfair advantage among other protagonists. To introduce Mortal Kombat to a newer generation, you can’t just throw in a Shaolin Monk with magical abilities to be your main guy. That doesn’t raise a lot of stakes. However, you do need an everyday Joe to take us through the journey and for us as an audience to use Cole Young as our eyes and ears and someone the audience can relate to – story writing 101. I thought Liu’s sort of dark persona in the Mortal Kombat: Legacy web series was a nice different take on the traditional protagonist as well. But we can’t simply throw 95’s Liu Kang into this setting. It just wouldn’t work. So Cole Young has me intrigued.
0:44 – 0:53: Various shots and a super quick summary of what the tournament is. This all works very well to get HYPE. One thing I will say, for a first time “movie” director, Simon McQuoid’s cinematography is absolutely gorgeous. I spoke about it in a previous post, but felt the movie was in good hands with McQuoid. He has a long resume of iconic TV commercials – all of which had great shots to them. I was excited to see a lot of the same stunning cinematics in the trailer too. It’s also helpful when you film in the beautiful and wonderfully mysterious continent of Australia as well.
0:54 – 1:11: Oh, My God! Yes! I mean, it’s not hard to make Hanzo Hasashi look like a total badass. But heck, Hiroyuki Sanada makes him look outright terrifying. Super excited to see more of Hazno / Scorpion!
1:12 – 1:28: Very cool introduction of all of your main protagonists. Josh Lawson is awesome and have always loved the casting of him as Kano. Isn’t it also awesome that Kano, across all mediums, is now universally Australian? Just because Trevor Goddard was so dang awesome? I also love the casting of Ludi Lin as Liu Kang. He was the Black Ranger from the woefully underrated Power Rangers movie and also Captain Murk in Aquaman. He’s very fast rising actor and think he’s suited well for this role. I don’t know much about Max Huang as Kung Lao. Looks the part though. Given Max’s roles as mostly a stuntman, this might be an indication that Kung’s role is mostly that of a fighting one instead of deep thoughts and speaking. Could be pleasantly surprised though. And finally… Tadanobu Asano as Raiden. Very solid Japanese actor and also looks the part! Raiden is such a hard character to portray. Christopher Lambert and Jeffrey Meek played him well, but he was more of a wise-cracking big brother type. That’s almost too cartoonish and campy for an MK movie in 2021. Raiden is a god – with infinite wisdom and power. So you need someone to portray him as otherworldly, yet able to humanize him a bit as well. It’s tough! I am excited to see what Asano can do here though!
1:31 – 1:34: Niiiiice. Quick cuts of some awesome shots. Scorpion in full glory! We also see fan-favorite Mileena for the first time.
1:38 – 1:39: So…. that’s totally Reptile right?
1:40: This is our first look, in the trailer, at Shang Tsung right? I’m a big fan of Chin Han, so yet again, another homerun in terms of casting choices.
1:41 – 1:54: Oh man, a lot to unpack in these 13 seconds. First, these are some great quick cuts showing all of the mystical elements of this universe. This absolutely has to be a selling point to get the casual fan excited to watch this movie. Who doesn’t like fire dragons and ice blades? Second, holy crap that’s Goro!!!!
1:56 – 2:15: Annnnnd here’s the climax of our trailer! Sub-Zero vs. Scorpion. A rivalry as old as time. Many smart writers have always said Subby vs Scorp is the number 1 greatest story in this universe, not to mention that these two are almost always unanimously the fan favorite characters. You absolutely have to emphasize this storyline and these characters for a Mortal Kombat story to be successful. It looks like McQuoid and gang hit another homerun with that approach. Awesome and brutal fight scene, great looking visuals, and really showing the terrifying, yet badass, ability of these characters.
2:16 – 2:20: Mortal Kombat title card. This title card looks amazing by the way.
2:21 – 2:24: Fatalities galore. Okay – and here’s your second strongest selling point for an MK movie! But again, it’s done cartoonishly enough where it’s, dare I say… tasteful in terms of on-screen violence? It’s certainly not gruesome by any means.
2:25 – 2:27: Did I already say I love everything about Josh Lawson? Looks like he’ll be the much needed comic relief for this movie. And…. he’s totally betraying Sonya and Jax by the end of this movie right?
And there you have it. The internet is abuzz and everyone I have personally talked to has said similar things… as in HBO Max please take our money. There were a lot of cool Easter Eggs and reveals in the trailer, so I’m guessing the movie itself will contain a bunch as well. I don’t care if this falls flat on its face, for the first time in 24 years we’re getting a Mortal Kombat movie… and one that looks faithful to the franchise and badass at every turn. I’m so HYPED for this.