It’s finally here- the much-awaited Mortal Kombat trailer for the live-action reboot. From Sub-Zero mercilessly ripping off a man’s arms to Scorpion easily dispatching a couple of Chinese assassins, there is a lot to unpack. The trailer will raise a lot of eyebrows, especially of the videogame enthusiasts as there are indeed aspects where the film will stray away from its roots. But it does stick to its origin in many ways as explained by the film’s director Simon McQuoid.
Jax vs Sub-Zero
The opening second of the Mortal Kombat trailer pits Major Jackson “Jax” Briggs (Mehcad Brooks) against Joe Taslim’s ruthless Sub-Zero and as McQuoid shared, it is the first time that he comes face-to-face with the assassin. And if you’ve watched the trailer, you already know that the meeting doesn’t end well as Sub-Zero begins with effortlessly thwarting Jax’s attempt to shoot him at point-blank range- a show of power that McQuoid thinks is necessary to set the tone for the character.
“[Sub-Zero] has no problem freezing the gun, he’s in total control. This was a whole setup to educate what Sub-Zero is doing here and show he, literally in the face of danger, has no problem.”
Then comes the first of the many scenes that confirms that there will be no dearth of violence or gore in the film as Sub-Zero proceeds to freeze Jax’s arms and then shatter them completely. Now, the video gamers would know that Jax’s origin story states two alternate ways Jax lost his arms and ended up with his iconic bionic extensions- in the original timeline he lost his arms in a fight with Prince Goro and in the alternate timeline of MK 2011, Ermac telekinetically ripped them off. But according to the Mortal Kombat trailer, Jax loses his arms because of Sub-Zero.
“In this film we needed to drive a few certain characters and narratives, and so given that [Jax losing his arms] had been done a couple of different ways in the past, we felt we had a bit of license to do that again here,” McQuoid said. “We’ve really tried to be very truthful and true to the canon where we can be, but every now and again, we might deviate slightly where we felt that it was okay to do so.”
The reboot’s Sub-Zero is the major villain of the story
In a videogame, there exist two versions of Sub-Zero- one is Bi-Han, who is majorly a villain and his younger brother, Kuai Lang, who takes a more positive approach when he becomes Sub-Zero and even befriends is brother’s nemesis, Scorpion. But McQuoid has clarified that we won’t be seeing a combined version of the two characters, such that Sib-Zero eventually becomes a hero by the end of the film. He has confirmed that the reboot’s assassin is the original Sub-Zero i.e., Bi-Han and is going to be the prime antagonist.
Scorpion’s new look
In the videogames, Scorpion is depicted in a proper ninja-like attire but Mortal Kombat is evidently gunning for a look that is more samurai looking.
“Hiroyuki Sanada was really incredibly helpful in getting the Japanese history right on this character. We really wanted to be very true to his heritage and make it feel very genuine. That’s really why it was born out of this touch of samurai about it. Obviously, there’s been many, many versions of Scorpion’s costume and how he looks, but out of authenticity came this version of Scorpion that kind of felt real, but also felt very powerful.”
“[Scorpion’s costume] needed to have the armour plating with the detail in it and had a sort of dignity and elegance about it, which matched his character from the beginning,” he further added.
Scorpion vs Sub-Zero
It’s Scorpion and Sub-Zero’s rivalry that is the most crucial part in the video games and the live-action reboot too will follow a similar pattern as we see Hanzo Hasashi a.k.a. Scorpion facing off against a deadly attack from the members of the Lin Kuei clan.
“It’s really about seeing [Scorpion’s] evolution on the screen and the ingredients, both emotional and physical as to why he becomes Scorpion. And so that is explained across the opening of our film. And it’s a pretty brutal, nasty fight.”
But apart from his appearance, everything else has been designed according to the video games, like Scorpion’s signature “spear.”
“We did a bit of research into what a kunai actually is, and it was originally, not exclusively, but it was often used as a gardening tool in 14th century, Japan,” McQuoid explained. “That’s why [Scorpion] has the kunai on the end of that rope because that’s all he has at the time. You’ll see how he sort of adapts and turns that rope and that gardening tool into a pretty lethal weapon that really does the job.”
But costumes, props, and special effects can prove to be ineffective if the actors weren’t whole-heartedly playing their parts. McQuoid wanted the characters of Scorpion and Sub-Zero to be defined by more than just their powers and thankfully, both actors exceeded his expectations.
“Joe Taslim did an amazing job [as Sub-Zero.] He represented Indonesia for judo, so the guy is an athlete and he shows it, and the presence he brought to that character was just extraordinary,” he shared. “And [Scorpion actor] Hiroyuki Sanada is a very, very gifted swordsman and athlete in his own ways. Physicality between these two guys was quite extraordinary to watch. Just years and years of experience and ability to do these moves was kind of all baked into them. … That level of brutality and physicality is what I wanted to bring to the film, and those guys certainly delivered.”
Mortal Kombat is set to release in theatres and on HBO Max this April 16. The news comes to us via IGN.