More than any other video game property (not named Resident Evil) Mortal Kombat has found a way to survive, where others have failed. Well, relatively speaking that is. Two movies, a web series and a live-action TV series. That’s more than one might expect, from a game that’s primarily just beating the crap out of your opponent. Yet, there keeps on popping up a new variation every handful of years, often to coincide with a new game release. Seeing as how Mortal Kombat XI was released in April, you’d almost say we were overdue for some news. As luck should have it, a bit of casting on the James Wan (Saw, Aquaman) produced film through New Line Cinema, just happened to crop up this week.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the exclusive yesterday that Joe Taslim is the first person to close a deal for the latest big screen adaptation. He’ll be tackling the oh so pivotal (in terms of popularity) character of Sub Zero. Regardless of how much time he may or may not spend underneath the mask, adding Taslim to the mix says the movie will be an action-first affair. Not that there was likely any worry there, but it’s nonetheless reassuring. What Taslim brings to the table is a strong physical presence and skill set that hasn’t totally be squandered in his US roles. You only need to compare his usage in Fast & Furious 6 to anything Iko Uwais has done stateside (Mile 22, Stuber) .
The reason Uwais is tossed into the mix is obvious. He and Taslim first came to worldwide attention, after their great showing in The Raid. They then teamed up again in last year’s deliriously bone-crunching The Night Comes For Us. That film highlighted, that between the two, Taslim has a glint more grizzled action-star resolve. It’s not necessarily award-winning work mind you, but some of the acting he does there, shows he can carry a film on his shoulders. Should we be lucky enough, the early casting might be a sign he’s getting that chance in a Hollywood production. Of course, should worse come to worse, no one will complain if tomorrow it’s announced Uwais is playing Scorpion.
What to you think of the casting? Do you think another Mortal Kombat movie is a good idea? Is the fighting most important to you or are you more hoping they focus on the exhaustive (and convoluted) mythology? What’s your dream casting for Johnny Cage, Liu Kang and Sonya Blade? Let us know down in the comments. While it’s easy to dismiss something as goofy as this franchise getting another stab at live-action life, as long as the focus is on fun, it could be a solid summer distraction. It’s not as if Double Dragon, Dead or Alive, Street Fighter or Tekken were the greatest films either. There’s always room for improvement. Plus, as studios start to get better at blending practical effects with an over reliance on CGI, this is one property that can actually withstand over-the-top embellishments. No one wants stringent realism when it comes to fatalities.
Outside of the casting, there’s nothing to report on. Director Simon Miqouid is making his feature debut. Screenwriter Greg Russo hasn’t done anything else. This is about as blank slate as movies come. At the same time, that means anything is possible on this film. Which, strangely enough, is kind of exciting. Once we know more about the new Mortal Kombat film, we’ll update you immediately.