Mortal Kombat Rebirth Director Talks Feature Film

Published 5 years ago by , Updated June 27th, 2013 at 3:14 pm,

On Tuesday we showed you the incredible Mortal Kombat Rebirth viral trailer. At the time, industry outlets were debating whether or not the trailer was teasing a new Mortal Kombat film reboot or a new video game installment – we thought film reboot, of course.

Now, Kevin Tancharoen, who directed Mortal Kombat Rebirth is discussing the trailer – which is actually a teaser intended to convince Warner Bros. to utilize his take, and subsequently his directorial skills, in the inevitable franchise reboot.

Before reading ahead, don’t forget to check out Tancharoen’s awesome Mortal Kombat Rebirth short film. You can see it – HERE.

Tancharoen covered a lot of ground when he spoke with Collider yesterday – giving a good summary of how the short film came together as well where he’d like to take the larger feature. Judging by the overwhelmingly positive response online, we’re betting the Tancharoen may get his wish.

Apparently, Mortal Kombat Rebirth was produced, primarily, through small favors and volunteer work. Which is pretty amazing considering the high-caliber actors and gritty big-budget look of the film:

“It all started at the beginning of April and it took two months to do all the post and the editing.  I edited it myself and the visual effects were great people donating their time.  It turned out to be pretty awesome.  I was very, very happy about it.  It’s one of those passion projects that lived in my head.  The technology is so accessible now.  There’s was no reason why I shouldn’t do it, so I did it… And of course, when you’re working by yourself, you have a limited resource of budget.  I made this thing for $7,500.  I couldn’t go balls-to-the-wall on visual effects.  I had to utilize what I could and make the best of it.”

It’s hard to look at the trailer and believe that it isn’t actually attached to a project already-in-progress, but Tancharoen reveals that no one knew he was working on the Mortal Kombat short:

“This was something I did completely on my own.  However, there is a little bit of a tie-in, because I happen to be friends with Oren Uziel (who was already expected to write a Mortal Kombat reboot for Warner Bros). And since we’re friends, I just called him up and said “Listen, I want to do this.  This is what I have in mind.  I want it to be contained, because I am not a studio with endless amounts of cash.”  Then we started storyboarding from there, and started calling my friends, and started pulling as many favors as I possibly could.   And I was thrilled that they all said yes.”

Reptile Mortal Kombat Rebirth Mortal Kombat Rebirth Director Talks Feature Film

Tancharoen also discusses the gritty, real-life, feel of the film – as well as the potential to upset Mortal Kombat die-hards:

“I would love it if Warner Bros. wanted to do it this way.  But I was so passionate about doing this, that I just had to pick up the camera and do it.  Now like I said, because I am such a fan of the Mortal Kombat series, I know there’s a lot of concern about the mysticism and the special powers and all that kind of stuff.  Well, like I said, this is really designed — the short so far is really designed like a prologue to the movie. Now, in a movie version, I am going to have that mysticism there, but it has to be done in a very tasteful way.  I wouldn’t like it too campy or too cheesy.  I know this is a weird analogy, but it’s the best one I can think of right now.  It’s kind of like when in Harry Potter, there’s two universes that coexist with each other.  There’s the real world, and then you get on the train and then you go to Hogwart’s, and that’s where all the magic is.”

Casting Scorpion as the main protagonist (even though he’s still an evil guy) in Tancharoen’s vision for the film was, at least in my opinion, the most surprising (but also the most intriguing) deviance from the original films:

“I love Liu Kang, but Liu Kang has been told already in the first and second movies.  Now I want Liu Kang for the tournament.  I don’t want to have to follow him as the main protagonist because that would be repeating the first movie.  Of course, as a kid, to me there were only two characters that I loved.  And it was Scorpion, and Sub-Zero.  And the fact that we haven’t seen their rivalry played out, I think, is a shame.  Because I really want to see that story.  To me there’s nothing better than a really, really good rivalry against each other, and a revenge tale.  It’s all so, to me, gratifying.  I wanted to utilize Scorpion, because he is arguably the most iconic of the Mortal Kombat franchise.”

Scorpion Mortal Kombat Rebirth Mortal Kombat Rebirth Director Talks Feature Film

Tancharoen also covers a number of other topics including his interest in genre films as well as his approach to special moves and fatalities – should Mortal Kombat Rebirth become a reality. You can check out the full Collider interview HERE.

The only truly disappointing note in the interview is the fact that this film isn’t already being made. If you’d asked me 72 hours ago whether I’d go see a new Mortal Kombat film, much less be excited for one, I’d have probably laughed the idea off. Tancharoen has me sold on his vision, and contrary to some detractors, I actually hope that in the final film the director keeps the mysticism in check. The only point of the interview that made me anxious was the analogy to Harry Potter’s two universes. Should Tancharoen get to make this film, I’d be much more interested in the real-world side of things than the “Outworld” side.

In the end, I hope the gritty feel of the trailer wasn’t just the result of Tancharoen’s low funds. It’d be a shame if, given more resources and a big budget, the film lost that vibe.

We’ll keep you posted as we hear more. The timing of the Mortal Kombat Rebirth release was no coincidence – with E3 2010 next week. Warner Bros. has to be scrambling about now, because I’m sure they’d love to lock this down ASAP.

What do you think of the Mortal Kombat Rebirth trailer? What direction would you like to see Tancharoen take the franchise?

Source: Collider

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  1. I’m excited for the prospects of this movie, but I fear that like every video game adaptation, it is doomed to fail.

  2. The guy clearly has a lot of passion for the project, and shows what can be done with practically no money, Hollywood should really be taking note of this guy and his attitude.

    The teaser real looks fantastic, I love the new direction, because the old one wasn’t working. MK Annahilation was a total stinker of the highest order.

    This new vision could be a film people actually want to see, and not just fans of the of the games, this has broad appeal espicially to horror fans.

  3. This would be a great movie to really reboot the MK series if the director can stick to the gritty realism. The short has really got me excited to see a full length feature film without all the camp and cheese of the other MK movies. Magic is fine in a video game but I think a “real world” reboot is what’s needed here. The choreography was spot on with enough action to keep me on the edge of my seat. The Scorpion vs Sub-Zero rivalry is something that’s never been explored in depth and would certainly make for a good storyline. Let’s move away from Lui Kang for a little bit and give some of the other characters a little time in the spotlight. There are a whole slew of them to choose from and this Scorpion vs Sub-Zero story would be a great jump start to the franchise.

  4. I loved the trailer. Even posted a link on my FB page for my friends to watch it. I love the gritty, dark feel. I think MK could benefit from that feel. If this film got made, i’d hope that it felt this way throughout. A non-video game feel would be wonderful.

  5. Ya know, i guess video game movies never succeed financially, but the first MK movie was good. I was like 11 years old, and that movie was successful to me. The soundtrack got me into music honestly. Doom wasn’t a total piece of crap, and Prince of Persia was done on a big Disney scale. So, yeah, it’s not all bad

  6. I am a big fan of the MK universe (and an apologist of the 1995 film), so it took me a few viewings of this to get over my initial dread. Once over that, I was definitely impressed, but I feel like this would only work as a straight to DVD movie as opposed to a wide release feature. That’s what this looked like a trailer for.

    However, if they do go through with this and they decide to make it a full on wide release film, they HAVE to get Michael Jai White as Jax. Thanks to this, I can’t see anyone else playing him now.

    • From what I hear, Jaa has retired from acting to be a monk, but that would have been perfect casting…although Robin Shou could probably still pull it off. That would end up killing the seriousness of it all though.

    • i think tony jaa would be a good kung lao

    • Thats a great idea, i definitely second Tony Jaa as Lui Kang. I also think they should cast Scott Adkins (Boyka from undisputed 3) for Kano.

    • I see your point. if he used actual images found online, that’s pretty low

  7. From the look of the trailer, smells like “The Dark Night” approach except this one is much darker with a R rated.
    So I’m not sure if WB really sold to his idea yet. All I know they are very interested on 3D as of now in trend.

    • Like the laughing ones in Mortal Kombat 2’s living forest level?

      I don’t think a more realistic approach means that Tancharoen is going to entirely get rid of the super natural (obviously he’s not – even in the trailer). But if he can ground those powers a bit, make them “grittier,” and more believable – then he’ll potentially be able to draw people who aren’t just fans of the game to the theatre.

      I think it’s a delicate balance but it seems as though Tancharoen has a fresh take – I’d rather see that, instead of a reboot that follows Liu Kang around for a campy, lack-luster, trek through the Mortal Kombat tournament.

        • Man you’re a hater!!! This idea is great; don’t give off a rant when this guy had very little to work with and made a great trailer/short film. You’ll be the only one in this room not watching it while we enjoy it when he gets approved by Warner Bros.

          • Wow there is hate for this realism thing. If it stays in the realm of reality, then I applaud the creativity. If it’s gonna fantastical like the original then go for it using some better effects and more Scorpion and Sub-Zero.

            But since it sounds like he’s doin’ both then stop cpmplaining ya whiny mooks and try to look at the fine print of a story up there before saying something negative.

            I say this movie might just top the other video game movies, and in a better way this time (Prince of Persia hint).

        • I’m all with u drake 10 this is a joke

        • Thats your problem, your close minded. What you want another failure like the second Mortal Kombat movie. As a true Mortal Kombat fan you should know that the game nearly banned, that the death the blood the sadistic killings was what made this game the most popular. If you wanted mysticism and cheesy go play Street Fighter. Look what the dark knight did with the joker. Of course you want to draw different people, you want more people to become fans. They need to draw more fans for Mortal Kombat can be played by our great grandchildren.

  8. Is every body in the world stupid, as seen in the trailer this movie would be a bad idea please don’t make this movie it will just ruin the chance to make a good movie for someone with the talent to bring it to life. We do not need another dragon ball evolution, or street fighter chun li story crapy movie, if the character are change and the story too, then just name it some thing else like sin city 2. u get the point

    • a good adaptation isn’t about being exactly like the original. Its about capturing the heart and tone of what made the source material great. And in case you forgot the games really didn’t have that much of a story until recently and even then the story is still too campy to work as a movie.


  10. Looks amazing…I like the two worlds idea. They should do these kind of things more, put out trailers to gauge the opinion of the public…MK to me has always been one of those franchises where if radical changes were made im not gonna flip out…I think people shouldent complain and be happy someone decided to reboot or revision a terrible franchise. Even the first one all i hear is guys saying: it was so great when i was 11…lol but when was the last time you watched it?

    And i really dont wanna hear about how much the movie will change MK when their have been a gazillion games all going in different directions. I love that the director is smart enough not to insult the built in fan base but progress the storyline where as we already know the characters and are comfortable with them.

  11. I think this could be the best MK movie yet…i really do. Although i dident really like seeing Baraka as a self mutilating Jamaican doctor with piercings…lol.

    • well if it becomes a movie i think they’ll change that and his looks since he only had about 7500 to make the trailer..

  12. For a low budget and limited time, I may not like to look of Baraka, but that fight was niiiiiiiice. We even got a “fatality”. I actually like the idea of having a few MK characters on the sidelines, like Sonya Blade (Stryker should also be one of the cops)…but hey, if the feature happens and Micheal Jai White is again Jax? Jax cannot sit on the sidelines.

    That’s all there is to it.

  13. I wish that the movie ends up exactly like the trailer: no weird mystical stuff other than Sub-Zero freezing stuff. I like the way that it made all of the characters as close as possible to the originals, but in the real world. As long as all of the characters introduced so far stay the same (except Jax needs metal arms). I don’t want to see Scorpion shooting spears from his hands. Or spewing fire. Or being a skull. Or exploding. I think he should still have some power though… I mean, his eyes turned all white, so I think when he’s Scorpion, he should be inhumanly strong or agile or something. I would normally want it to be as close to the games as possible, but I like this new direction.

  14. This needs to happen!!!!

  15. The trailer looks really good and I like the ideas he’s put up, despite being a low budget project using actual photos if he did is insensitive. What if that was your kid shown to be disturbing or scary. He should have just left them out and the trailer would have lost nothing. Just sayin…

  16. What is this, the Rob Zombie version?
    I loved the first film and wouldn’t mind seeing a good remake. But this ain’t it! It looks more like a really bad slasher movie. Heavy on the gore. Totally sick!!
    I’ll have to say I did like the idea of Jerri Ryan as Soyna Blade though.
    The music from the first movie is classic, and still used today in martial arts studios around the country. Yeah, remake it, but make it right.

    • Hold on, hold on…Am I seriously hearing a MK fan complaining about GORE??? WTF?!? Gore is what the entire franchise was built upon. No gore, no MK. By the way the first 2 movies SUCKED ASS!!! You could film a couple of retarded midgets slapping each other with pork chops and it would be a better film than the first two.

      • Dude, that is totally insensitive. You ought to be totally ashamed of yourself. I hope you enjoy your stay in hell.

        “Retarded midgets slapping each other pork chops”, How dare you!

        Everyone knows they’d use Beef Jerky.

  17. This looked AWESOME… Their 7500 investment entertained me thats for sure! Can’t imagine what they will show if they had more money!!! Hopefully they get to do a MK movie.

  18. I’ve been a fan of Mortal Kombat since I started playing it as a kid, I clearly remember the day my parents bought me Mortal Kombat 2 for the SNES after weeks of begging. Needless to say it consumed my life during 2nd and 3rd grade. I continued playing all the MK games up until Deadly Alliance and loved the two movies, even though they weren’t spectacular at any level, as a true fan of the series I appreciated them (and Kitana was sooo hot!) I would love to see a new, reboot movie like the one Tancharoen has in mind. I give him props for writing and directing this trailer and I hope Warner Bros gives him a shot at making them alot of money, lol. Oh and by the way, I WANT A NEW MK GAME FOR XBOX LIVE!!!!

  19. Quite possibly the best fan-made flick since Batman: Dead End.

    Just WOW.

  20. best fkn remake of a movie i ever seen, its amazing i love the realistic feeling no cheesy stuff like the other 2 movies it looks so sick and i love how scorpion is the main guy. im so excited for this movie

  21. Ive never been so pumped up for a possibility of a movie coming out. This looks amazing, and i love Kevin’s passion.

  22. This trailer looked amazing. Especially after the first 2 that were so cheesy. The real-world spin put on this film just brought the mortal kombat franchise to a competetive level. I hope that this film gets picked up but is able to maintain its touch of reality.

  23. would lyk 2 see dis.. d trailer is awesome.. and i like the concept that scorpion would be d main protagonist in dis movie.. Kevin Tancharoen is good!

  24. I’m a fan of MK since the first MK. This short movie was really good, I just hope to see special effects as the video game, so that the movie capture our memory from the game, because that’s why we want to see this MK rebirth. (FX like Shang Tsum’s Sull, Sub-zero ice ball, the fire from Scorpion- and maximize the FX, not to have the FX and the end of the movie.)

  25. The trailer looks amazing. I really hope this becomes a reality. I would love to see it!

  26. I gave up on the movie industry a long time ago…but I would be at the theater opening weekend to see this.