First look at Mortal Kombat, 2021 (Red Band)

Official description from Werner Bros. Pictures

From New Line Cinema comes the explosive new cinematic adventure “Mortal Kombat,” inspired by the blockbuster video game franchise, which most recently enjoyed the most successful video game launch in its history, Mortal Kombat 11. The film is helmed by award-winning Australian commercial filmmaker Simon McQuoid, marking his feature directorial debut, and produced by James Wan (“The Conjuring” universe films, “Aquaman,”), Todd Garner (“Into the Storm,” “Tag”), McQuoid and E. Bennett Walsh (“Men in Black: International,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”).

In “Mortal Kombat,” MMA fighter Cole Young, accustomed to taking a beating for money, is unaware of his heritage—or why Outworld’s Emperor Shang Tsung has sent his best warrior, Sub-Zero, an otherworldly Cryomancer, to hunt Cole down. Fearing for his family’s safety, Cole goes in search of Sonya Blade at the direction of Jax, a Special Forces Major who bears the same strange dragon marking Cole was born with. Soon, he finds himself at the temple of Lord Raiden, an Elder God and the protector of Earthrealm, who grants sanctuary to those who bear the mark. Here, Cole trains with experienced warriors Liu Kang, Kung Lao and rogue mercenary Kano, as he prepares to stand with Earth’s greatest champions against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe. But will Cole be pushed hard enough to unlock his arcana—the immense power from within his soul—in time to save not only his family, but to stop Outworld once and for all?

The diverse international cast reflects the global nature of the brand, with talent spanning the worlds of film, television and martial arts. The ensemble includes Lewis Tan (“Deadpool 2,” Netflix’s “Wu Assassins”) as Cole Young; Jessica McNamee (“The Meg”) as Sonya Blade; Josh Lawson (“Bombshell”) as Kano; Tadanobu Asano (“Midway”) as Lord Raiden; Mehcad Brooks (TV’s “Supergirl”) as Jackson “Jax” Bridges; Ludi Lin (“Aquaman”) as Liu Kang; with Chin Han (“Skyscraper”) as Shang Tsung; Joe Taslim (“Star Trek Beyond”) as Bi-Han and Sub-Zero; and Hiroyuki Sanada (“Skyscraper”) as Hanzo Hasashi and Scorpion. Also featured are Max Huang as Kung Lao; Sisi Stringer as Mileena; Matilda Kimber as Emily Young; and Laura Brent as Allison Young.

McQuoid directed from a screenplay by Greg Russo and Dave Callaham (“Wonder Woman 1984”), from a story by Oren Uziel (“Mortal Kombat: Rebirth”) and Russo, based on the videogame created by Ed Boon and John Tobias. Richard Brener, Dave Neustadter, Victoria Palmeri, Michael Clear, Jeremy Stein and Larry Kasanoff served as executive producers.

Bringing the hugely popular property to the big screen, McQuoid led a team of Australian and U.S. filmmakers, including director of photography Germain McMicking (“True Detective,” “Top of the Lake: China Girl”), production designer Naaman Marshall (“Underwater,” “Servant”), editors Dan Lebental (“Spider-Man: Far From Home”) and Scott Gray (“Top of the Lake,” “Daffodils”), visual effect supervisor Chris Godfrey (“Hacksaw Ridge”) and costume designer Cappi Ireland (“Lion,” “The Rover”). The music is by Benjamin Wallfisch (“Blade Runner 2049,” the “IT” films). New Line Cinema Presents an Atomic Monster/Broken Road Production, “Mortal Kombat.”

The film is set for release nationwide on April 16, 2021 in theaters and will be available in the U.S. on HBO Max for 31 days from theatrical release. It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Our thoughts

As a movie based on a video game, “Mortal Kombat” does not have a high bar too clear and based on this trailer, it’s well on track to do so. What we have here is a perfect example of knowing who your audience is and playing to that strength.

For example, the very first action beat of the trailer is Jax, with two regular human arms, in a one on one fight with Sub-Zero. The fight goes about as well as you would imagine and in all its splendor, we see Jax become much more lore friendly.

We get our first glimpse of Sonya Blade, Kano, Liu Kong, Kung Lao and Raiden. It seems from the trailer that these fighters, along with the films protagonist Cole Young will be going up against the more, shall we say, evil champions.

Rounding out the evil side we have Mileena, Shang Tsung and everyones favorite four armed Goro. The special effects, as brief as we see, look tight on the small screen. If you stream this on HBO Max it seems like it will look great, jury is still out on seeing it on the big screen though. Obviously, a Mortal Kombat movie wouldn’t be complete without Scorpion and Sub-Zero. We get them in all of their bloody, icy and whipping goodness. We even get a bit of fan-service dialog from Scorpion towards the end.

Again, this movie knows who its audience is.

Overall, it looks great. This trailer does exactly what a Mortal Kombat trailer should. This movie will not be for everyone, much like the games, but if you get it, you get it.

The film is set for release nationwide on April 16, 2021 in theaters and will be available in the U.S. on HBO Max for 31 days from theatrical release. It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.