Most people who sat through the two 'Mortal Kombat' films have spent the subsequent years trying to forget them. While the original was watchable (if only to laugh at Christopher Lambert as Rayden), the sequel was such a disaster that it essentially killed the film franchise.
Videogames are big business these days, though, and Hollywood has been quick to gobble up the rights to any game series that might make a good screen property. With that in mind, it feels like the time is right to bring 'Mortal Kombat' back from the grave. It appeared as though that was exactly what was going to happen last year when a short teaser for something titled 'Mortal Kombat: Rebirth' took the Internet by storm.
Directed by Kevin Tancharoen, the short was shot entirely on spec (with a budget of roughly $7,500) and designed by the filmmaker as a demo of what he could do with the film if Warner Bros. allowed him to direct. The clip featured some impressive special effects to go along with the acting talents of Michael Jai White – who took on the role of the game character Jax – and Jeri Ryan. Game fans were suitably intrigued.
Unfortunately, plans for a new film based on this material are on hold – but that hasn't stopped Tancharoen from moving ahead with a brand new 'Mortal Kombat' series that will air on the Internet.
According to Bloody-Disgusting, the new 'Mortal Kombat' will be a ten episode web series written by Tancharoen along with Todd and Aaron Helbing. Michael Jai White will reprise his role as Jax. The story will once again feature a group of the world's best fighters taking on the villainous Shao Khan and Shang Tsung in order to save the planet. Casting will get underway soon, with the production reportedly looking to fill the roles of Shang Tsung, Liu Kang, Sub Zero, Durak, Kabal, Kitana/Mileena and Scorpion.
Details about what this means for a 'Mortal Kombat' feature film are sketchy. BD is reporting that audiences will have to make do with the planned ten episode webseries, but actor Michael Jai White has taken a different approach when discussing it.
In an appearance on Episode 74 of My Take Radio's podcast (jump to near the 34:00 mark for the discussion), the actor states that Warner Bros. is still signed on to do a new film and that these shorts will be a launching pad to the feature. White describes the shorts as character introductions designed to get audiences up to speed with the new 'Mortal Kombat' universe. It makes sense – Warner Bros. and Tancharoen could build buzz for a feature film through the webisodes.
At this point, no one seems to be entirely sure what the plan is for a feature film. What we do know is that the web series is moving forward and is set to begin shooting in Vancouver next month. We'll keep you up to date on 'Mortal Kombat' as the project continues to develop.