Video games, stellar or otherwise, tend not to have stellar movie adaptations and always be otherwise. Mortal Kombat used to be one of them, namely the movies from the ’90s. 

Envelope-pushing games, but box-office-tanking movies. Those very movies are now only enjoyed by, say, a specific audience with a more adaptive taste—akin to how The Room has a cult following.

For those who make a black and white distinction between a good movie and a bad movie, the Mortal Kombat series has never caught on.

That, of course, changed last week with the release of 2021’s reiteration of the franchise, made for both the more casual watchers and also the source-material fans who have a fatal infatuation with the violence. 

What makes the movie so good, then? Apart from the gory visuals, we reckon it is how thoroughly the cast themselves were in love with the video games.

From Mashing Buttons To Dressing As Scorpion

2021’s Mortal Kombat was mainly watched on HBO, and the next logical step for the publisher was to release the behind-the-scenes of the movie. In their video, the cast members provided their history with the game.

Greg Russo, who wrote the screenplay and the story for the movie, commented that he had fond memories of going to the gaming arcades in his early teenage years.

This long and robust bonding with the franchise enabled him to rise above the chaos of the previous movies and tell a story that not only did fan service but also tell an emotional one.

Jessica McNamee, who plays Sonya Blade, remembered mashing away on the buttons of her Super Nintendo when she was in the second grade and being excited when she hit the “Finish him!!” screen.

Mehcad Brooks, actor for Jax, would dress up as Scorpion when he was in elementary school, complete with the guttural and iconic “Get over here!” as he ran about the house.

Lui Kang actor Ludi Lin never forgot the first time he performed a fatality move and having his heart go off in races. Joe Taslim, who plays Sub-Zero, loved performing the spinal rip of the character. Max Huang, the actor for Kung Lao, believes his character has the best fatalities.

Cole Young actor Lewis Tan remembers his parents never being happy with him playing the game. So he would simply sneak a session late at night. He ended his monologue by saying, “now look at me mom.”

McQuoid’s Ambitions

Director McQuoid demonstrated a deep understanding of what the games mean and what they spell for the adaptation. Showing deep respect for the franchise, he commented that his goal was to take the old elements from the classic games and balance them with the new features from the more recent generations of the series and project them in the movie. 

From utilizing real locations inspired by the games to be as accurate to the characters’ costumes as possible, the movie has been a testament to respecting the audience who genuinely love the series. 

Not underplaying the violence and not compromising the story by just having stunts, the movie comes from a place of understanding a fan can only have. 

Mortal Kombat is, thus, of the fans, by the fans, and for the fans.