Mortal Combat

It’s very difficult to address this topic without, you know, saying, erm, uh…MOOORRRTAAALLL KOMBAAAAAT!

Ahh, much better.

New Line, in conjunction with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, is producing a new Mortal Kombat film, 14 years after their last adaptation of the popular video game franchise. Kevin Tancharoen, the man responsible for the popular web-series Mortal Kombat: Legacy (pictured), will be directing. “I’ve always been a huge fan of the games,” Tancharoen tells EW. His first Mortal Kombat project was a proof-of-concept video meant to be shown only to studios, but which was accidentally posted to YouTube by none other than himself. “I was mortified at first because I thought I was going to be in a mess of trouble with Warner Bros.” (You can check out the video below.)

However, thanks to the overwhelmingly positive response online, the studio did the opposite. In conjunction with the release of the latest iteration of the game, Warner Bros. tasked him with producing the relatively high-production-value Legacy. Then when the game hit paydirt — selling 3 million copies, far higher than expectations — they began thinking of restarting the movies, which, to be honest, aren’t remembered as one of the high points of the ’90s cinema. “I remembered the old films, which I don’t think left people hungry for more,” says Toby Emmerich, president of New Line. “But when you look at how well the game was doing and you look at what Kevin did with it just on his own, you don’t have to squint too hard to see how it might make a good movie.”

One of the problems with the earlier films was that they were PG-13. For a video game series notorious for its creative violence (and for irritating Sen. Joe Lieberman), that’s essentially the equivalent of the lame grey sweat they subbed into the SNES version. They don’t plan for that to be the case here. “Up to this point, we’ve only been talking ‘rated R,’” says Tancharoen. “I like realistic takes on things, I like it when it’s a little darker and grittier. And I want the martial arts to feel real as opposed to balletic and super-choreographed. It needs to feel brutal, because that’s the nature of the video game itself.” New Line is aiming on having the film hit theaters in 2013, and we’ll see then whether it’s a flawless victory or a fatality.

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