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Mortal Kombat: The bloody tournament begins in first trailer for video game's big screen return

By Josh Weiss
Mortal Kombat

The Mortal Kombat video game franchise is looking to test its might on the big screen after a 24-year hiatus with a brand-new film adaptation from newcomer Simon McQuoid.

After releasing a plot synopsis and some first-look production stills in January, Warner Bros. has unveiled an official trailer for the film, which officially nabbed itself an R-rating for its depiction of the games' gorey finishing moves. "We've picked a couple of iconic ones," McQuoid told Entertainment Weekly. "There's a lot of really cool signature moves that you'll see, a lot of Easter eggs that we snuck into the film, but there are some really badass fatalities that I can't wait to see on the big screen. They're brutal, man. They, they don't hold back."

Executive produced by Aquaman director James Wan, Mortal Kombat begins in feudal Japan before jumping to present day, where a washed-up MMA fighter named Cole Young (Lewis Tan playing a character that didn't appear in the source material) realizes his destiny by partaking in "a high-stakes tournament to defeat the invading enemies from Outerworld." Said tournament gives the movie its epic name.

Choose your fighter and watch the trailer below. (Fair warning: this is a red band video intended for mature audiences)

As you can see, the film isn't shying away from the games by including such lines as "Finish them!" and "Kano wins." And speaking of sick finishing moves, it's absolutely mind-blowing to see Sub-Zero (played by Joe Taslim who also takes on the role of "Bi-Han" in the feudal prologue) turn an opponent's blood into a dagger. Insane!

Hiroyuki Sanada ("Hanzo Hasashi/Scorpion"), Mehcad Brooks ("Major Jackson 'Jax' Briggs"), Jessica McNamee ("Sonya Blade"), Tadanobu Asano ("Lord Raiden"), Ludi Lin ("Liu Kang"), "Max Huang ("Kung Lao"), and Josh Lawson ("Kano") co-star.

"I've been playing the game since I was a kid," McQuoid also said to EW. "For lack of a better way to describe it, you don't want to mess it up because it's so iconic. You want to bring something new to the table that people haven't seen before, but at the same time, really respect and pay homage to these legendary worlds that were already created."

Here's the official poster:

Mortal Kombat poster

Mortal Kombat was first brought to the silver screen in 1995 by director Paul W.S. Anderson. While it wasn't critically acclaimed, the cinematic translation was a box office success, raking in over $120 million against a modest budget of $18 million. A John R. Leonetti-directed sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, was released in 1997 and was not able to reach the financial heights of its predecessor. Despite a larger budget of $31 million, it barely broke even with $51 million worldwide. Since that time, the franchise's presence on the big screen has lain dormant, with subsequent adaptations occupying the realms of TV and animation.

The movie was originally scheduled to hit theaters in early 2021, but that became impossible when reshoots were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mortal Kombat will now simultaneously open in theaters and on HBO Max Friday, April 16. It's one of nearly 20 WB releases that is receiving a dual streaming/theatrical rollout this year.

Head to the gallery below for some trailer moments you may have missed...