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All we know about the R-rated, live-action Mortal Kombat film reboot in 2021

Get over here and learn all about what may be the most violent Hollywood movie of 2021.

Finish him! A live-action movie from producer James Wan (The Conjuring, Aquaman) will reboot the iconic fighting game franchise for the big screen. Finally, after so many years, Mortal Kombat is koming back to theaters.

Yes, the very same video games where you gleefully rip out your best friend’s spine will once again open in theaters. The movie will arrive more than two decades after the last movie, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation in 1997, killed it at the box office but failed to excite critics. In 2021, Warner Bros. is getting another round.

Here's everything we know so far about the movie, including its plot summary, release dates, first-look reveals, and trailers. Bookmark this page and come back periodically as we'll update the page as more information is revealed. For now: Fight!

When will Mortal Kombat open in theaters?

Mortal Kombat is scheduled to hit theaters over MLK weekend on January 15, 2021. The film was originally scheduled for March 5, 2021 but was moved up several weeks by Warner Bros.

Where can I watch the trailer for Mortal Kombat?

Although production on Mortal Kombat wrapped over the Christmas holidays, there is currently no trailer for the film. However, one photo from the film’s set has emerged, posted by screenwriter Greg Russo on Twitter (@WriterRusso).

Who is starring in Mortal Kombat?

Mortal Kombat will be a large ensemble movie made up of known actors from other franchise/genre media. The movie’s confirmed cast is below:

  • Ludi Lin (Power Rangers) as Liu Kang, a Shaolin monk from Earth who is invited to the mysterious Mortal Kombat tournament.
  • Mechad Brooks (Supergirl) as Jax, an American Special Forces soldier who later gains augmented, cybernetic arms.
  • Jessica McNamee (The Meg) as Sonya Blade, a tough-as-nails soldier who leads the Outer World Investigation Agency, an Earth-based unit that deals with extra-worldly threats. She harbors a grudge against Kano, leader of the mercenary clan the Black Dragon, who killed her former partner.
  • Josh Lawson (House of Lies) as Kano, leader of the Black Dragons who wears a metal plate to hide facial injuries sustained from Jax.
  • Tadanobu Asano (Thor) as Raiden, an immortal thunder god who helps Earth win Mortal Kombat.
  • Hiroyuki Sanada (Westworld) as Scorpion, an undead ninja who seeks vengeance for his family against his rival, Sub-Zero. Best remembered for his fiery spear that pulls his targets close to afford him a killing shot.
  • Joe Taslim (The Raid) as Sub-Zero, a ninja from the Lin Kuei clan who possesses the powers of ice.
  • Chin Han (The Dark Knight) as Shang Tsung, a sinister Shaolin monk and shape-shifter who can absorb the souls of the living.
  • Sisi Stringer as Mileena, a half-human, half-Tarkatan assassin.
  • Max Huang as Kung Lao, a Shaolin monk and best friend of Liu Kang who is remembered by fans for his unique weapon: His razor-sharp, circular hat.
  • Lewis Tan (Into the Badlands) in an unknown role. It is worth pointing out that the actor for fan-favorite character Johnny Cage has not yet been revealed…

Mortal Kombat will be directed by first-time director Simon McQuoid, a commercial filmmaker who has directed feature film-quality ads for PlayStation, HP, H&R Block, Nissan, Duracell/Star Wars, the Call of Duty and Halo video games, and Netflix.

What is Mortal Kombat?

The original 'Mortal Kombat,' released in arcades, stunned with gruesome violence with lifelike realism never before seen from a video game.World of Longplays

Mortal Kombat is a popular series of violent fighting games that debuted in arcades in 1992. It remains one of the rare American-made video game hits of the early '90s. Its premise centers around an ancient martial arts tournament where the greatest warriors from throughout the multiverse compete to prevent their realms from invasion. A trio from Earth, under the stewardship of Raiden, team up to prevent Earth's enslavement.

The first game, developed by Midway Games in Chicago, was an immediate hit that generated controversy for its lifelike depictions of intense gore and violence. With its iconic "Fatality" finishing moves, players could rip out their opponent's spines, burn them alive, or literally punch heads off. Because the games used real-life actors whose movements were filmed and digitized into the game, the game's violence looked all too real as opposed to the hand-drawn avatars in similar games like Street Fighter and Fatal Fury.

While not the only game taken to task before Congress in 1993, Mortal Kombat was among the games that prompted then U.S. Senators Joe Lieberman and Herb Kohl to argue for censorship in video games. This resulted in the formation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board, or ESRB, that essentially acts as the MPAA for video games.

Despite (or maybe because of) these controversies, Mortal Kombat became one of the definitive media franchises of the '90s, spawning multiple sequels, comics, merchandise, and an animated series. Two live-action theatrical films, 1995’s Mortal Kombat and 1997’s Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, were also released and became cult hits.

Games in the main series’ canon were released until Mortal Kombat: Armageddon in 2006, which functioned as a symbolic end to the series. After a brief hiatus that included one spin-off game, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe and the subsequent closure of Midway Games, the series returned in a successful 2011 reboot, Mortal Kombat (commonly referred to as Mortal Kombat 9 due to it being the ninth game) from the newly-formed NetherRealm Studios. A sequel for the current generation of consoles, Mortal Kombat X, was released in 2015. Mortal Kombat 11 was released earlier this year to wide acclaim.

Wasn't there supposed to be a third movie?

A third movie was planned after Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, as lead actor Robin Shou (Liu Kang) signed a three-picture deal. But the movie, rumored to be titled Mortal Kombat: Devastation was canceled after Annihilation failed to keep the franchise's momentum going. Devastation languished in development hell for years, with multiple actors, writers, and directors entering and leaving the project.

In 2010, a fan film titled Mortal Kombat: Rebirth was directed by Kevin Tancharoen. The short went viral on the internet and inspired the potential of a new movie. Rebirth led to a two-season web-series, Mortal Kombat: Legacy which continued to gauge interest in a new movie until Tancharoen dropped out of the film project in 2013. In 2015, James Wan signed on to produce Mortal Kombat with Warner Bros. After many years of starts and stops, production wrapped in Australia in early 2020 and will open in theaters in 2021.

What is the plot of Mortal Kombat?

Details regarding the story of Mortal Kombat are scarce. But you can bet that the film will loosely adapt the first game in the series, where some of Earth’s best warriors fight to save the planet from conquest.

Will the film be as violent as the games?

Several of the film's producers have teased on social media that the film will borrow some of the games' most brutal elements. Producer and screenwriter Greg Russo tweeted that the movie "WILL be R-Rated" and that, "for the first time ever," the game's fatalities will be depicted on the big screen.

Mortal Kombat will open in theaters on January 15, 2021.

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