Hiroyuki Sanada tried to prepare for his role as Hanzo Hasashi/Scorpion by playing Mortal Kombat video games. "Of course I was beaten every time, just losing and losing," he laughs. "But I kept at the games to keep learning the stories, the background and the characters. It was so much fun."
Hanzo Hasashi uses a kunai weapon in his garden These knives are the most recognized ninja weapon, but they were all purpose tool mainly used to dig and scale wall, ninjas preferred this tool because it was light and easy to travel with.
Max Huang was a member of the Jackie Chan Stunt Team and would pitch ideas to make Mortal Kombat's choreography even better. He even used this background to retrain himself when adopting Kung Lao's martial arts style, which is very different from his own.
When looking at the photograph with "Mortal Kombat" written on it, Cole says "combat" was spelled incorrectly. When the original game Mortal Kombat (1992) was being developed, it originally was titled "Mortal Combat", but there was difficulty in securing that title. Video game designer Steve Ritchie suggested renaming the game to "Mortal Kombat" , with creator Ed Boon observing that the strikingly misspelled title helped to draw attention.
Hiroyuki Sanada, had no knowledge of the Mortal Kombat franchise prior to being cast for the film. He researched the property online, but also tried a "hands-on approach" by finding the classic game at a game center, in which he was "beaten every time, just losing and losing." Despite his worries about the role, he discovered that fans had Photoshopped his face on the body of Scorpion even before he was offered the part. The character's look was based on traditional Samurai armor, with certain twists, such as a sharp chain from hi kunai on the shoulder plates.
To explain why many prominent warriors in the Mortal Kombat universe have supernatural abilities, the film's writers introduced a new concept called ''arcana'' - an unlockable inner power for those bearing a dragon marking. Surprisingly, the filmmakers also decided to add it to traditionally non-powered fighters. For example, in video games, Kano's laser eye, Sonya's energy rings, and Jax's cybernetic arms are all products of advanced technology, but in this film, those are special powers granted to them by the arcana.
The film was initially rated NC-17 upon first submission to the MPAA for graphic violence. Director Simon McQuoid later hired an additional editor to cut down several gory and brutal fighting scenes to achieve a commercially desired R-rating. Funny enough, the first movie adaptation Mortal Kombat (1995) was initially written to be R-rated, but the studio insisted on rewrites to give it a more commercially viable PG-13 rating.
Unlike many of his fellow stars, Max Huang was first introduced to Mortal Kombat via the earlier films of the franchise and then became a full-fledged fan. He played the game in order to refamiliarize himself with his character's fighting style. His appearance is based on the Shaolin monks of China, though his hat is actually a Korean-style hat.
The filmmakers shot an Outworld location and fight at Black Hill Quarry, a black granite quarry in the town of Black Hill, 112 kilometers from Adelaide. Simon McQuoid observed: "No one wants to go and shoot in the bottom of a disused coal mine, but when you go down there with these beautiful Ultra Vista lenses we were shooting with, and you have these incredible actors in their costumes, you put them in this implausible location and all of a sudden it becomes another world."
Mehcad Brooks called it a "dream come true" to be able to play Jax, having long been a fan of the franchise. His outfit was designed as rugged and urban, but his real-life tattoos had to be covered up before a tattoo specially designed for the character could be applied.
The original vocal recording of the iconic Scorpion line, "Get Over Here!" which aired in the trailer for the movie was met with mixed/generally negative responses from fans. In the film, the dialogue is re-recorded and run through a different sound filter to lean more favourably towards the delivery from the game, originally voiced by Ed Boon, one of the creators of Mortal Kombat.
Although Reptile's default look in most Mortal Kombat games is that of a humanoid ninja (with varying degrees of reptilian features), this film probably based his appearance on that from Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002), which is the most lizard-like he has ever been, complete with a snout and a tail.
Producer James Wan has said of this production: "I'm really happy and excited to be bringing another show back to Australia with Mortal Kombat, especially after having such a great experience filming Aquaman. Now we get to experience South Australia with its scenic locations and a wealth of artistic talent to work with. It will be perfectly suited for this fantasy-action project."
To play an MMA fighter, Lewis Tan watched videos of welterweight UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal for inspiration as to how Cole moves. Tan himself is a professional kickboxer and muay thai fighter, and he used his experiences in the ring (especially losses) as key components of playing Cole.
Jessica McNamee had no gaming background prior to being cast for the film. Her dive into the mythology of Mortal Kombat helped to realize the true depth of her character's vendetta against Kano, something she felt she could not have picked up from the film's script alone. Her collection of knives was designed with distinctive Damascus pattern, reminiscent of flowing water.
(~1:23:40) In the fight between Sonya Blade and Kano, a knife flies across the room into drawing on a dart board shown for a brief second. The drawing is a picture of Sonya holding Kano's detached head (signed 'Love Sonya'.
Raiden's temple is painted with various murals which hint at the greater Mortal Kombat lore. These include the Great Kung Lao defeating Shang Tsung in the Mortal Kombat tournament; Goro killing the Great Kung Lao in the subsequent tournament; Argus and Delia putting Taven and Daegon to a long slumber, Shao Kahn poisoning Onaga the Dragon King, and Bi-Han killing Hanzo Hasashi.
In the fight between Jax and Reiko, Reiko's vambrace and gauntlet armor on his arms are in the style of Jax's bionic hands from the "Mortal Kombat" games. Jax has differently designed arms and hands in this film.
The film was scheduled to be released on March 5, 2021, but was moved up to January 15, 2021, until producer Todd Garner confirmed in November 2020 that the film would be delayed until theaters reopen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After Warner Bros announced that their entire 2021 slate would be released on HBO Max on the same date they hit theaters, the film was given a new release date of April 17, 2021 in theaters and on HBO Max.
A planned third Mortal Kombat film, called "Mortal Kombat: Devastation" was initially developed with Christopher Lambert, Linden Ashby, Adoni Maropis, Robin Shou, Chris Casamassa, Keith Cooke, Lynn 'Red' Williams and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa were hired to be in the cast as Lord Rayden, Johnny Cage, Quan Chi, Liu Kang, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Jax and Shaung Tsung, respectively. Talisa Soto and Sandra Hess were in talks to reprise their respective roles of Princess Kitana and Lt. Sonya Blade. Matthew Marsden was said to have been considered for the role of Kurtis Stryker, while Dolph Lundgren was in talks to portray Shao Khan. mink was hired to direct, with Drew McWeeny from Ain't it Cool News and his writing partner Scott Swan working on the script. Russell Mulcahy was later hired as a replacement to direct. Sean Catherine Derek and Lawrence Kasanoff took turns writing the script, which would have had Johnny Cage resurrected to help the heroes against Quan Chi and a resurrected Shang Tsung. According to Casamassa, production was halted, and eventually never happened, due to Hurricane Katrina destroying most of the sets. After plans for this third film fell through, the film rights went to Warner Bros. where it was decided the series would be rebooted.
In June 2009, a bankruptcy lawsuit saw Lawrence Kasanoff suing Midway, mentioning that a third film was in the works. Warner Bros. (which became the parent of New Line in 2008, after over a decade of both operating as separate divisions of Time Warner) ended up purchasing most of Midway's assets, including Mortal Kombat.
In this movie, Kung Lao and Liu Kang are portrayed as cousins. The actors; Max Huang (Kung Lao) and Ludi Lin (Liu Kang) indeed do have an informal "familial" relationship in real life. Both previously worked as members of Jackie Chan's Stunt Team, which in Chinese is actually known as "Chan's Family Group".
After watching the movie, pro wrestler Mike Mizanin lamented on social media about Johnny Cage not being part of the film. He expressed an interest in being cast in the role for the next installment. Creator Ed Boon responded, "Guy makes a compelling case."
Kano is played by Australian actor Josh Lawson, after the two predecessors were British. Interestingly, in the original Mortal Kombat (1992) game, Kano was Japanese-American, but in the first movie adaptation Mortal Kombat (1995), British actor Trevor Goddard played him with a Cockney accent. The game's creators Ed Boon and John Tobias were so impressed by Goddard's interpretation of the character (who they mistakenly believed was Australian) that they retconned Kano's history to Australian in future games.
Mortal Kombat: Rebirth (2010) and Mortal Kombat: Legacy (2011) director Kevin Tancharoen was going to direct the film with Oren Uziel, who wrote the original short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth. Shooting was expected to begin in March 2012 with a budget of well under $100 million and a release date of 2013, coordinated with the next installment of the video game series being produced by the same studios, but it was later delayed due to budget constraints. Tancharoen eventually left the project after making season 2 of Mortal Kombat: Legacy (2011).
In 2003, Paul W.S. Anderson, who directed Mortal Kombat (1995), was offered to direct the third film but turned it down to work on Alien vs. Predator (2004). In 2010, he told G4 in a interview that he expressed interest in returning to Mortal Kombat, though he is not currently under consideration to do so.
Chin Han stated that he enjoyed the film's take on the existing Mortal Kombat IP, as it provides insights to why Shang Tsung is the way he is. The character's costume is based on ancient Chinese armour.
Courtney Gibson, CEO of Adelaide Studios and the South Australian Film Corporation, has said of this production: "Brought to life by Australian creative talent working in partnership with U.S. studios, Mortal Kombat will be a boon for South Australia and a massive shot in the arm for our industry and Adelaide Studios, delivering unprecedented screen spend into the state and a huge number of jobs for South Australians."
Screenwriter Greg Russo stated that Cole Young's storyline came in part from his own life. As he began working on the project, he and his spouse were about to have their first child. He incorporated his own questions about what it meant to be a father and if he would be a good dad into the character.
In preparing for the film, Lord Raiden actor Tadanobu Asano felt it was important to not just read his own lines, but also dialogue of others speaking about Raiden in order to truly understand the character.
When Kung Lao starts testing Cole and Kano, he says "All you can do now is test your might." This refers specifically to a mini-game called "Test Your Might" in the first game, Mortal Kombat (1992): players could familiarize themselves with the game controls by chopping through piles of material ranging from planks of wood to a block of pure diamond.
This film marks Elissa Cadwell's acting debut. She previously did stunt work for several films, including Aquaman (2018), which was directed by James Wan (who is one of the producers of this Mortal Kombat film).
The original costume for Sub-Zero weighted 7kg. It was so heavy that actor Joe Taslim said he could not even walk with it. The costume department prepared another costume, which according to Joe was still heavy but doable.
The film's final confirmed release date of April 16th, 2021 is fitting, as the last three Mortal Kombat games (Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat X, and Mortal Kombat 11) were also April releases (2011, 2015, and 2019 respectively).
When Jax gives Cole directions to find Sonya Blade he says 806 West Washington Blvd in Gary, Indiana. This refers to a former address of Nether Realm Studios, the developers of the "Mortal Kombat" game series.
Director Simon McQuoid has said of this production: "Having lived in Adelaide early in my career, I am thrilled to be back in South Australia to make my directorial debut with Mortal Kombat. We need many different elements for its success and have found them all right here; the uniquely beautiful landscapes, the outstanding world-class stage facilities and VFX houses, and the brilliant artists and technicians from across the film-making community. I'm grateful to the Premier and people of South Australia for having us, we're all very excited to be here."
The film was shot on Adelaide Studios' Sound Stages, utilizing the state's world-class crews and acting talent, with post-production in South Australia's internationally acclaimed visual effects and post-production facilities.
Liu Kang, one of the best trained warriors for Earth, explains that his powers manfiested instantly after killing a pedophile with the mark and getting it himself. Later on in the movie, Sonya - highly trained in fighting herself - gets her powers instantly after killing Kano, a wanted criminal.
Fans of the video games will recognize a few of the game's popular elements and tactics in the film: When Liu Kang battles Kano in the Fight Pit, he repeatedly takes him down with a crouching leg sweep. In the game, inexperienced players could repeatedly sweep their opponents leg over and over again--on occasion, until victory--without taking any damage, a practice often frowned upon by more experienced players. During Cole's MMA fight and his climactic fight against Goro, Cole is constantly advised to use the uppercut. In the game, the uppercut inflicts massive damage to the opponent and is done from the crouching position. Kano's special arcana ability is a laser eye; in the game, he has a cybernetic eye that can shoot lasers. He also uses his headbutt move from the first game, and during the fight with Reptile, Kano rips the latter's heart out, which is his signature Fatality. Kung Lao uses his hat as a buzz saw to cut an opponent in half; in the game, his signature Fatality is using his hat to slice his opponent down from top to bottom. Liu Kang uses his trademark Bicycle Kick from the game on Kabal, and then summons a fire dragon to kill him; in the game, changing into a dragon and eating the opponent is Liu Kang's signature Fatality. Reptile is invisible at first, and his saliva is highly acidic and corrosive; in the games, Reptile can spit acid as a fighting move, as well as becoming invisible. Jax's arms are frozen and then ripped off by Sub-Zero. Later, he gets metallic arms, and crushes an opponent's head by smashing it with his hands; in the second game, ripping off his opponent's arms and using the 'Head Clap' are two of Jax's Fatalities, and in the third game, Jax has bionic arms because his own have been destroyed. Scorpion pulls Sub-Zero towards him with his spear while yelling "Come over here!", his signature move from the games. When Scorpion ignites Sub-Zero with his fire breath, his jaw takes on a skeletal appearance; in the game, Scorpion's signature Fatality is removing a full face mask, revealing a skeletal head underneath that subsequently breaths fire on his opponent. Sonya Blade uses her legs to grab her opponents' heads and subdue them, and her arcana power consists of energy rings; in the games, Sonya has a Leg Throw move, and she can fire pink energy rings. Shang Tsung absorbs an opponent's soul with the words "Your soul is mine!"; absorbing souls is his Fatality in the games, but the quote comes from the original Mortal Kombat (1995) movie. Goro tries to rip out Cole's head and spine, a move done by Sub-Zero in the games. Kitana's blue fan from the games can be seen in Raiden's temple when Cole, Kano and Sonya get their first tour. The Pit Stage from the games makes an appearance during the fight between Jax and Reiko, even though no one is punched into the spikes down the pit in the movie. The spoken terms "Fight!", "Kano Wins", "Fatality" and "Flawless victory" from the games are re-used.
Unsurprisingly, most of the characters from this film were pulled from various Mortal Kombat games. Goro, Kano, Liu Kang, Raiden, Reptile, Scorpion, Shang Tsung, Sonya, and Sub-Zero debuted in Mortal Kombat (1992). Jax, Kung Lao, and Mileena first appeared in Mortal Kombat II (1993). Kabal was introduced in Mortal Kombat 3 (1995). Reiko was added to the roster in Mortal Kombat 4 (1997). Nitara became available in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002). Although Scorpion/Hanzo Hasashi's family was the driving force for his story since the first game, their names - Harumi and Satoshi - were not revealed until Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (2006).
Cole is mocked as a "human punching bag" for his meager attack and defense in his MMA matches. As it turns out, his Arcana manifests as a suit of armor that lets him absorb blows and then redirect the energy or convert it into weapons.
The characters Reiko and Nitara were two of the lesser-known fighters from later Mortal Kombat games. They were unpopular with the fans, which is probably the reason why they are quite spectacularly killed by Jax (Head Clap) and Kung Lao (Buzz Saw Hat).