The upcoming Mortal Kombat movie will not only feature the infamous fatalities on the big screen for the first time, but will also feature ones taken directly from the game. This follows the confirmation from a few weeks ago of the film’s R-rating and use of the lethal finishing moves, assuaging fans’ fears that its violence would be watered down in the same way that was a part of what made the movies from the mid-’90s so disappointing.
When the first Mortal Kombat movie was made in 1995 video game movies were still in their infancy, with it being only the fourth ever made after the uniformly dire Super Mario Bros, Double Dragon and Street Fighter. A major aspect of what let fans down was the PG-13 rating of a movie based on a game so notorious for its over-the-top violence that it was a major factor in the creation of ESRB ratings, so the promise of brutality comparable to the game has already allowed fans to become tentatively excited.
The news of the game-accurate fatalities came from ComicBook, reporting on writer Greg Russo expanding on his previous promise of their use. This means that not only will the game feature various characters being killed in excessively gory manners, but they will be precisely the deaths that gamers have enjoyed sadistically executing for close to three decades. He also stated that they wouldn’t just be thrown around as expendable visual set pieces, but that each time they are utilized it would serve a specific purpose to the story, reflecting its developments at that particular moment.
Such a self-imposed restriction might limit the use of certain explicit kills, such as Kano tearing out his opponent’s still-beating heart, Sub-Zero ripping off their head and yanking out their blood-dripping spinal column with it, or Raiden channeling lightning into his enemy’s head to make it explode. However, the vast variety in the finishing moves featured in the game’s multiple installments throughout the years still allows for plenty of variations to play out over the length of a single movie.
While it would certainly be a lot of fun having every fight in the film end in a ludicrously gory death, having game accurate fatalities be an integral part of the story shows that the film is being taken seriously rather than a simple attempt at a cash grab by further adapting a popular franchise. Some story aspects regarding the franchise’s dozens of characters the deaths impart could be Shang Tsung’s dark powers being illustrated by sucking out a defeated opponent’s soul; Scorpion being revealed as undead after he pulls off his mask to reveal a skull face that breathes fire to incinerate his enemies; Mileena unveiling her terrifying mandibles after impaling her opponent’s head with a sai and devouring their face; Liu Kang transforming into a dragon and biting opponents in half by channeling the full power of the Shaolin monks; or Sonya’s kiss of death being a reaction to patronizing men. Whatever moves have been chosen for the final film, it will be a welcome and satisfying sight to see them played out on the big screen.