Mortal Kombat hasn’t exactly had the best film legacy of any videogame franchise. The first film, which kicked off Paul W.S. Anderson’s dominance of the videogame adaptation market back in 1995, was pretty silly but ultimately fun—and serviceable enough that Anderson kept getting gigs, including the massive Resident Evil franchise and his recent Monster Hunter. Every MK film after that, though…well, those are best left forgotten or at least, knowingly hate-watched. Now Simon McQuoid is making his directorial debut with an R-rated reboot of the franchise—and it just dropped a fatality-filled first trailer.
That R rating is important: Previous films have been PG-13, presumably targeting the younger crowd that movie execs thought were the only folks playing games. This trailer doesn’t mess around with that nonsense, though. The kills are big, nasty and just as over-the-top as MK diehards would want—and the plot’s just as ridiculous. Take a look:
And that final soundtrack riff just drives it on home. Deliciously goofy.
Let’s not get hung up on the movie explaining what a birthmark is (though that is a very, very funny thing to leave in your first trailer) and focus on the actual references to the games. A giant tournament, in which Lewis Tan’s Cole Young must enter, showing off fighters like the frigid Sub-Zero and “get over here”-ing Scorpion. And things get nasty. Ice daggers, flash-frozen arms, stabbed heads and one heart removed from the body, Temple of Doom style. This is basically all we need to see from a Mortal Kombat movie: Kills, kills, kills. Sure, there will be set dressing and the necessary plot to get everyone together, but people are going to watch this for the same reason they watch Godzilla fight Kong: It’s big action figure silliness writ large with top-of-the-line VFX.
We’ll see if this film truly finishes us or if it wimps out with a Babality when the movie hits HBO Max on April 16.