New 'Mortal Kombat' movie 'needs to feel brutal,' says director


It’s very difficult to address this topic without, you know, saying, erm, uh…MOOORRRTAAALLL KOMBAAAAAT!

Ahh, much better.

New Line, in conjunction with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, is producing a new Mortal Kombat film, 14 years after their last adaptation of the popular video game franchise. Kevin Tancharoen, the man responsible for the popular web-series Mortal Kombat: Legacy (pictured), will be directing. “I’ve always been a huge fan of the games,” Tancharoen tells EW. His first Mortal Kombat project was a proof-of-concept video meant to be shown only to studios, but which was accidentally posted to YouTube by none other than himself. “I was mortified at first because I thought I was going to be in a mess of trouble with Warner Bros.” (You can check out the video below.)

However, thanks to the overwhelmingly positive response online, the studio did the opposite. In conjunction with the release of the latest iteration of the game, Warner Bros. tasked him with producing the relatively high-production-value Legacy. Then when the game hit paydirt — selling 3 million copies, far higher than expectations — they began thinking of restarting the movies, which, to be honest, aren’t remembered as one of the high points of the ’90s cinema. “I remembered the old films, which I don’t think left people hungry for more,” says Toby Emmerich, president of New Line. “But when you look at how well the game was doing and you look at what Kevin did with it just on his own, you don’t have to squint too hard to see how it might make a good movie.”

One of the problems with the earlier films was that they were PG-13. For a video game series notorious for its creative violence (and for irritating Sen. Joe Lieberman), that’s essentially the equivalent of the lame grey sweat they subbed into the SNES version. They don’t plan for that to be the case here. “Up to this point, we’ve only been talking ‘rated R,’” says Tancharoen. “I like realistic takes on things, I like it when it’s a little darker and grittier. And I want the martial arts to feel real as opposed to balletic and super-choreographed. It needs to feel brutal, because that’s the nature of the video game itself.” New Line is aiming on having the film hit theaters in 2013, and we’ll see then whether it’s a flawless victory or a fatality.

Read more:
‘Mortal Kombat': New web series will star Michael Jai White and Jeri Ryan
EW’s review of 1995’s ‘Mortal Kombat’ feature film
15 Videogame-Based Movies: How’d They Score?

Comments (61 total) Add your comment
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  • Jamie’s FanGirl

    Already a fatality with me. I saw all but one of the webisodes and I thought they were terrible–dry, boring and completely rewriting canon. Having become a James Remar fan in the last few years, I have–almost by default–become a Raiden fan and the whole “Raiden in a mental hospital” concept irritated me to no end.

    I was vaguely hoping that someone other than Tancharoen would be directing, but thought it was unlikely. Looks like I was right.

    • Jay

      I did like all of the episodes EXCEPT the Raiden one. Just like you, it irritated me.
      I really hope the director does not go “too gritty” or “realistic”.
      MK legacy was OK in terms of the fighting, but I really hated the fact that Reptile, Baraka, etc. instead of coming from Outworld we freaks of nature. Not cool.
      The Outworld and magical aspects need to be there. MK with no Outworld, Netherrealm, special moves, etc, is no MK!

      • tang2

        I don’t care if it’s pg-13, R, realitic or not. What matters is getting a decent story down.BTW,I wanna share a good news to you.My best friend ,she just has announced her wedding with a millionaire man who is a businessman!they met via is the largest and best club for rich people and their admirers to chat online. …You do not have to be rich or famous. ,but you can meet one , It’s worthy a try,Maybe you wanna check it out or tell your friends!

      • Jenn

        LMAO at these whiners crying about “canon” in a cheesy children’s video game. Hahahaha. Losers.

      • Malcom

        Seriously Jenn? We can tell by your rants that you haven’t got any lately. I you know what I mean. Loser.

      • Malcom

        If you know what I mean you Loser douche Beochhhh

    • Kiki

      I have to disagree. I loved the Raiden episode. I thought the concept was a good idea. And it’s not like he turned out to be really crazy.

    • Jon

      The Mortal Kombat movie from 1995 was awesome! I don’t know what the author is talking about!

    • bill

      my bestfriend makes $77 an hóur on the cómputer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month her check was $7,487 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read about it here CashHàrd.cóm

      • The Chew!

        Hey, Bill. My best friend makes $8 an hour at McDonald’s. Maybe you should get off your a$$, stop spamming EW’s discussion board with nonsense, and get a job.

  • sdfsdf


    • Xander

      If by ‘FIRST” you meant “THIRD”, well, right on tiger!

      • Josh

        Actually, if you check the timestamps, he’s “SECOND.”

  • Chad

    I wonder if this is going to be straight-up realism like the original short, or more traditional like the web series

  • PJM

    I can’t get behind a director who’s idea of making things gritty and real involve completely changing the story.

    • OCC

      really.. you do know that you’re talking about Mortal Kombat… not Gone With the Wind… right?!

      • PJM

        Well, you’d think they’d learn their lesson the first time around; changing the stories in video game “adaptations” yield poor results.

        Besides, Rebirth was just a different film altogether; it just had names of MK characters in it.

    • Jay

      It’s not Gone with the Wind, which is exactly why it doesn’t need to be gritty and real.

  • Jamie

    Traditionalists hate change. Hater be hating. In the web series there was Outworld and Reptile and Baraka came from there. And the Raiden ep was awesome, how do you explain a God of Thunder in a world like ours, well K did it and he did it with style and grace. I look forward to a different take on MK and we’ll wait to see how it turns out. Like I said haters are gonna hate.

  • Mike

    I don’t care if it’s pg-13, R, realitic or not. What matters is getting a decent story down.

  • jason

    they better have the music….thats all that matters to me 8)…classic

  • Len Affleck

    I hope they will include the following characters in the reboot film:
    Goro, Johnny Cage, Kitana, Kung Lao, Liu Kang, Mileena, Noob Saibot, Raiden, Reptile, Scorpion, Shang Tsung, Shao Kahn, Sonya Blade, Sub-Zero

    • Kiki

      I hope if they use Johnny Cage that he won’t end up killed again…

  • I_KEA

    Can’t wait to watch the movie! Good Luck

  • LOL

    America loves crap.

  • RP

    There’s re-imagining, there’s re-interpretation, and then there’s fanfic. I get that they don’t want to do the exact same movie again but I’m not sure I’m interested in watching some other movie that just happens to have characters that have the same names as those in the Mortal Kombat series.

    Maybe I’d be more willing to give this a shot if it weren’t for the fact that most video game movies already ignore the existing plot and insert there own. Look at what happened to Doom. Video game movies having only the most superficial ties to the game they’re supposedly based on is the NORM. Why should I think this is one will somehow manage to do that without being terrible?

    • RP

      ‘their’ own

      • OCC


  • Colleen

    This sounds awesome. The first movie was a direct rip off of “Enter the Dragon”. But, the music was cool and the fight scenes were great. The second one was a joke, replacing 2/3 of the cast is a bad start. The effects were terrible. I haven`t seen the “webisodes” but I`ll check them out. The director seems like a real fan which will be good for the movie. But, the real Raydon will always be Chistopher Lambert. I would have liked to have seen him fight.

  • Kyle

    all I know is this trailer gave me the chills at the end of it.

    if they continue with the theme of this trailer I don’t see how they could go wrong.

  • Benjamin N.

    People caring about the storyline in MK…seriously?

    The web series was dull and generic. I will not be seeing the movie.

  • Johnny Cage

    My favorite was prince goro. he’s my hero, we’re going to get married and have little gore’s running around the house.

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