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SYFY WIRE Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat Is the Reason Why Paul W.S. Anderson Directed All Those Resident Evil Movies

Finishing what you started is kind of the moral of Mortal Kombat, right?

By Josh Weiss

What film franchise immediately comes to mind when we say the name "Paul W.S. Anderson"? Resident Evil would be the correct answer, owing to the fact that the English filmmaker wrote all six entries, helming four, in the video game-inspired saga starring his future wife, Milla Jovovich (who played the character of Alice across all the movies prior to the recent reboot).

Anderson's longtime tenure with the Umbrella Corporation can actually be credited to his 1995 blockbuster adaptation of Mortal Kombat (now streaming via the SYFY app), whose 1997 sequel — Mortal Kombat Annihilation — the director turned down in favor of Event Horizon.

RELATED: How 'Resident Evil' director Paul W.S. Anderson almost killed off Alice in ‘The Final Chapter’

"I wanted to try something different," Anderson explained during a 2015 interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "I did Event Horizon next, which was super dark and couldn’t be more different from Mortal Kombat." In the end, the sequel gig marked the directorial debut of veteran cinematographer, John R. Leonetti (Childs Play 3, The Mask).

How directing Mortal Kombat led Paul W.S. Anderson to sticking with Resident Evil

"Looking back on it, I went, 'Ah, maybe I should have done it,'" Anderson said of declining Annihilation, which failed to reach the box office heights of its predecessor. "It’s one of the reasons why on a go-forward basis, when I became involved with Resident Evil, I felt if I’m going to do another one of these adaptations, this time I’m going to stay with it. I’m going to really stay with the franchise and shepherd it. Ironically, me not doing Mortal Kombat II is kind of the reason I’ve ended up doing Resident Evil one, two, three, four, five, six ..."

To date, the franchise has grossed over $1 billion worldwide.

What's the latest on Paul W.S. Anderson's George R.R. Martin project?

Back in 2021, we learned that Anderson would follow up Monster Hunter (also a Capcom adaptation, although it failed to launch a franchise) with a feature-length stab at the 1982 short story "In the Lost Lands" by Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin. Jovovich and Dave Bautista headline the film, which wrapped production in Poland earlier this year, according to Martin's official blog.

"We’ve just started the post production process, and there’s a lot of special effects and other work yet to do, so In the Lost Lands likely won’t be appearing at your local cinema until some time in 2024," he wrote. "We are also hoping to do a tie-in graphic novel, which will include both my original story (quite short, at 6,000 words or so) and the larger, darker, more expansive world of the film. That’s still in early days, though."

Per Deadline, the story follows a feared sorceress named Gray Alys (Jovovich) hired by a queen to obtain the power of shapeshifting from a dangerous territory known simply as the "Lost Lands." Bautista plays Alys's guide, Boyce.

Mortal Kombat (1995) is now available to watch via the SYFY appNeed more action in your life? Head over to Peacock for Fast XJohn Wick Chapters 1-3The ContinentalJason BournePitch BlackKick-Ass 2King KongJurassic WorldJurassic World DominionBattleship, and more!