I don’t know about you, but E3 got me SUPER stoked to slap Mortal Kombat X into my PS4 next year! In my excitement I went back and watched one of the few video game movies that actually encompasses the feel of the original material. That movie? You guessed it, New Line Cinema’s Mortal Kombat! Well, despite having a lot of input from original game creators Ed Boon and John Tobias, there are a few things in the film that aren’t quite canon, so here is my list of the five biggest things they did differently than the original storyline for the games. I am not including parts from the rebooted timeline, however, since the movie wasn’t based on that timeline. (Also, we’re only gonna talk about the first Mortal Kombat movie, because Annihilation got so much wrong this article would have to be printed in hardback…)
#5 — Liu Kang’s Origins
While the film got a good portion of Liu Kang’s back-story correct, they missed a few pretty major points. For starters, in the game series Liu Kang doesn’t have a younger brother, nor does he leave his life behind. He, for the most part, fully-embraces his destiny to be the defender of Earthrealm. But I suppose coming back to face his destiny in order to avenge his dead brother does have more depth to it than, “it was his destiny to do so, so he did.” Also it helps establish how much of a dick Shang Tsung is.
#4 — Kano: The Thug from Down Unda
This is actually a fun example of something non-canon becoming changed. When the movie came out the games actually portrayed Kano as an American-Japanese expat and feared leader of the Black Dragon crime syndicate. But the late, great Trevor Goddard portrayed him as an unusual Cockney-English character that American audiences mistook for Australian. So for every game going forward, Kano’s backstory and eventually voice-actors changed to Australian. He was also portrayed as slovenly and kind of a bumbling idiot. Luckily that didn’t really carry over into the games, because I’ve always seen Kano as kind of a shady bad-ass! I mean the dude rips people’s hearts clean out of their chest with his bare hands. How much of a clown can he really be? The gritty “re-imagining” Mortal Kombat: Legacy created for Machinima definitely got that shady bad-ass feeling right.
#3 — Reptile is LITERALLY a reptile
I’m not sure HOW this decision was made. I mean it’s not like the writer, Kevin Droney, didn’t know anything about the game. Like I said, most of it is spot-on! Maybe the studio just wanted an excuse to put a SUPER mid-’90s CGI monster in the flick. And funnily enough, this is another case of a weird change becoming canon. Because in later iterations of the game, namely in the PS2 era, there are versions of Reptile as an actual lizard-creature who wears ninja garb and stands upright. (I personally much prefer the regular ninja renditions.) I am glad that when Reptile finally faces off with Liu Kang he magically possesses a dead body and BECOMES a ninja. Because watching Robin Shou wriggle around with a fake monster for the whole fight would have been super lame!
#2 — Man, that Raiden guy sure is sassy!
Now don’t get me wrong, I thought Christopher Lambert freakin’ ROCKED IT as Raiden. He is even billed first on the cast list on IMDB! And he was leaps and bounds better than Dexter’s Dad in Annihilation. But in the series, Raiden is very stoic and all-knowing. He is a god, for crying out loud! He alone is in charge of keeping the forces of Outworld at bay! Eventually he even becomes an Elder God! (Complete with spooky glowing red eyes.) But I guess it was 1995 and “sassy guy in charge” was pretty popular. Gotta sell those movie tickets some how! Now go zap some people you big sassy goon!
#1 — Scorpion’s Living Serpent Spear
And here we have another example of the studio saying, “CGI is HUGE right now! Make that evil ninja-dude’s spear thing a snake!” In absolutely EVERY version of every Mortal Kombat ever, both before and after the movie, Scorpion’s Serpent Spear is a ninja Kunai on the end of a rope. Now maybe this is just me nitpicking because Hanzo Hasashi, the betrayed and murdered ninja turned avenging specter, Scorpion is not just my favorite character from the series, but one of my all time favorite video game characters EVER! Throughout the series Scorpion has maintained a consistent level of BAD. ASS. The CG for the spear was pretty cool when I was a kid, but since it was so expensive to do something like that back in the day, it turns into a gimmick in the movie. A vehicle to use the famous Ed Boon “GET OVER HERE!” audio clip. The fluid movements of Scorpion and his spear are part of what makes his fighting style so uniquely cool! Ugh… sorry folks. Sorry, I just… I love Scorpion so much.
What do you think of the list? Like it? Hate it? Let me know in the comments. What did I miss that REALLY threw you off from the movie? Also, be sure to check out me trying to convince people the Mortal Kombat series is more amazing than Street Fighter in GeekTyrant VS! Lastly, I leave you with a picture of me dressed as Scorpion, just so you know my love is real…