Live-action game adaptations have become popular in recent years. Some of the most popular live-action movies adapted from games are Sonic the Hedgehog, Uncharted, Detective Pikachu, and Tomb Raider. However, few know that 1995’s Mortal Kombat was the first successful live-action game adaptation. Along with the critical success, the games have achieved very good sales results. So naturally, as soon as the opportunity arose to create a new live adaptation of this franchise, the studio greenlight it. Now, with the upcoming sequel to the 2021 Mortal Kombat movie, Mortal Kombat 2, let’s check out what we know about it so far and what we can expect from it.
[Warning: Spoilers from Mortal Kombat 2021 movie and potential spoilers from Mortal Kombat 2 are below!]
History of Mortal Kombat live-action adaptations
Sequels are the curse of the film industry. With any successful project, there’s usually an idea for a potential sequel, which will bring the studios a ton of money. The same thing happened with the Mortal Kombat series in the 1990s. After the success of 1995’s Mortal Kombat, the studio decided to create a sequel called Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, which was a big mistake. Almost the entire cast from the previous film, even the iconic Christopher Lambert, left due to the poor script. The only actors who remained were Robin Shou (Liu Kang) and Talisa Soto (Princess Kitana).
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation was a huge flop. Not only financial but also critical. With its poor dialogue, action/fighting scenes, visual effects, and lack of respect for the source material, it is still considered not only the worst live-action game adaptation but also one of the worst movies ever made. Not surprisingly, the studio did not decide to adapt Mortal Kombat for a long time.
The first new film in the rebooted Mortal Kombat universe was released in 2021. Directed by Simon McQuaid (his directorial debut) and written by Oren Uziel and Greg Russo, the film earned just $30 million over its budget and was released during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was very well received by audiences with a score of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes (as of July 29, 2023). I really enjoyed this film and I liked what they did, showing new origin stories for each character.
It was also a great decision to introduce a new character in the series, Cole Young (Lewis Tan), a descendant of Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada). I really liked how they researched and connected events from the past to the present. Especially when it pays off in the emotional and epic final battle.
The script for Mortal Kombat 2 is being written by Jeremy Slater along with Mortal Kombat veterans and creators of the entire series Ed Boon and John Tobias. They have joined the sequel’s writing team, sending positive signals to fans. Ed Boon and John Tobias know this universe like no one else.
Their involvement and some kind of supervision/assistance can easily raise morale and certainly give us a good MK story. In addition, the film will continue everything that was already established in the previous one. We’ll get a Mortal Kombat tournament, there will be more bloody moments, more characters, and most importantly, great fight scenes and action sequences.
The story of Mortal Kombat 2
Mortal Kombat 2 will begin not long after the first film. The Earthrealm defense team of Cole Young, Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee), Jax Briggs (Mehcad Brooks), and Liu Kang (Ludi Lin), is led by Raiden (Tadanobu Asano), who has tasked them with finding new champions. One of those champions is Johnny Cage played by Karl Urban. Yes, Johnny Cage will finally appear on the big screen again, and he will be played by this charismatic actor.
The story will also focus on the Netherrealm and its ruler, Emperor Shao Kahn (Martyn Ford). He will order Shang Tsung (Chin Han) to recruit warriors such as Baraka (CJ. Bloomfield) and other cult villains from the realm. The inclusion of Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat 2 will show his conquest of Edenia and the death of King Jerrod (Desmond Chiam) – father of Kitana (Adeline Rudolph) and husband of Sindel (Ana Thu Nguyen).
We’ll see scenes between Kitana and Jade (Tati Gabrielle), how they joined the fight against Shao Kahn, what will happen to Earthrealm if they lose the tournament and more. The film will also feature Cole’s battle with Bi-Han a.k.a. Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim), who was resurrected by Quan Chi (Damon Herriman) and now calls himself Noob Saibot. Hiroyuki Sanada will also return as Scorpion and will have a larger role than in the first film.
Another recurring character from the first film is Kano (Josh Lawson). He was killed by Sonya but was brought back to life and will now have his iconic metal plate as an eye. I think that since Mileena (Sisi Stringer), Reiko (Nathan Jones), Nitara (Mel Jarnson), and Kabal (Daniel Nelson) were definitively “killed” in the previous film, they will not return.
There will certainly be more scenes involving Raiden, showing Shang Tsung’s magical abilities, and revealing more of the character’s past. I’m also almost certain that we’ll get some substantial character development in this film, which I’m very excited about.
Mortal Kombat 2 and the strikes
Unfortunately, that’s all we know so far, as filming and production of Mortal Kombat 2 has been halted due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. It’s unclear when the film will actually release, but will likely arrive in theaters in 2024, barring a very long delay before everyone can get back to work on it again.
Mortal Kombat 2 is in the works and will probably release in 2024. Are you hyped for it? Did you like the first movie? Let us know on Twitter and our own Discord channel.