Not long ago, any movie based on a video game franchise was met with a mix of skepticism and cringe. There was a very good reason for this. Historically, movies based on video games suck. Just look at the infamous “Super Mario Bros” movie and you’ll see just how bad it got.
Then, the “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie came along and finally, someone cracked the code. We finally had proof that movies based on video games don’t have to suck. Now, like superhero movies before them, movies based on video games have the potential to open entirely new worlds that can both delight audiences and make millions at the box office.
As someone who still remembers watching the “Super Mario Bros” movie, I applaud this shift. It’s way overdue.
This brings me to the latest “Mortal Kombat” movie. Recently, the trailer for a new iteration of the classic video game franchise came out and, in the interest of transparency, I thought it was glorious. As someone who was a kid in the 1990s when this game first came out, this was just perfect. If you haven’t seen it, definitely check it out. Just don’t do it if you have a weak stomach.
Now, this isn’t the first time Mortal Kombat has been turned into a movie. There was two previous movies in the late 90s, one just called “Mortal Kombat” and its sequel, “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.” Both those movies had their moments, but they were cheesy as hell, poorly acted, and captured none of the elaborate lore of the games. Then again, that just made them on par with most movies based on video games.
This movie looks much more promising. From the trailer alone, it’s clear that Warner Brothers putting in the time, money, and effort to make this movie the catalyst for a whole new franchise. The precedent was set with “Sonic the Hedgehog,” but given the sheer breadth of Mortal Kombat’s history and story, this could be a franchise with enough content to launch its own cinematic universe.
Personally, I hope it succeeds. The more video game movies that succeed, the better. I think it’s good for movies and video games alike if these franchises succeed in multiple mediums. It can only serve to help both.
In addition, there’s another aspect about this movie and this franchise that intrigues me. It actually has nothing to do with the movie itself or the impact it could have on the entertainment landscape. Unlike previous video game movies, this one is based off the one video game that my mother personally didn’t like and was reluctant to let me play.
Now, my mother is a wonderful, amazing woman. She’s the sweetest, most loving person on this planet. That, I’m sure of. Growing up, she was not the kind of mother who would try to shelter me from media violence. She even let me watch R-rated movies as a kid from time to time. I still remember watching the first Terminator movie with her.
However, she drew the line at Mortal Kombat.
It wasn’t just because of all the negative media surrounding this game at the time. Hell, compared to video game controversies today, that almost seemed quaint. What happened was my mom saw me and my cousin playing the game. My cousin also happened to have a Sega Genesis and that version of the game had animated blood.
Between the blood and the fatalities, my mom refused to let me ever buy that game. Even if I saved up money and bought it myself, she wouldn’t let me have it or any of the sequels. I did try to persuade her at times. I never succeeded. My mom is a woman of principle. There’s just no way around that.
Ultimately, I never did buy the game. However, I still had plenty of chances to play it. I had friends and cousins who had the game. It was a popular arcade game, as well. I wasn’t completely forbidden from experiencing it. In hindsight, it seemed like a solid compromise. For that, I commend my mother’s parenting skills.
I don’t know if that aspect of this game will affect how I see this movie. A part of me will always see Mortal Kombat as the one game that my mother would not let me buy. Maybe that’ll never go away. Maybe this franchise will always have that mystique to it. Whatever the case, I just hope it’s a good movie and one that continues to raise the bar.
Plus, I’ll never get tired of Scorpion yelling “Get over here!”