Watch the first red-band trailer for the new video game movie adaptation.

By Nick Romano
February 18, 2021 at 11:00 AM EST
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Let the tournament begin!

The first Mortal Kombat trailer has arrived to preview what director Simon McQuoid and his cast led by Lewis Tan were working on in Australia back in 2019. And from what we're seeing, it's a brutal, bloody show.

The footage begins with words from Sonya Blade (The Meg's Jessica McNamee), a member of a special forces unit, as she recounts this one time she and her team went to Brazil in search of a wanted fugitive only to come face to face with Sub-Zero (Warrior's Joe Taslim), a being from the realm Outworld with the ability to control ice. He used his cryomancy to shatter the arms of Jax Briggs (Supergirl's Mehcad Brooks), leading him to acquire metallic arms that we know from his portrayal in the game.

Sub-Zero is now after a man named Cole Young (Tan), a down-on-his-luck MMA fighter with a mysterious dragon birthmark of unknown origins. He turns to Jax and Sonya in search of answers, and they tell him, "It's not a birthmark... It means you've been chosen." It's "an invitation to fight for something known." That would be the Mortal Kombat tournament, in which Earthrealm's mightiest champions face-off against opponents from Outworld.

There are so many characters packed into this trailer, including Lord Raiden (Thor's Tadanobu Asano), who welcomes Earthrealm champions bearing the mark to train at his temple. Those champions would be Sonya, Cole, Liu Kang (Power Rangers' Ludi Lin), the cybernetically enhanced Kano (House of Lies' Josh Lawson), and Kung Lao (stuntman Max Huang). Also spotted are Shang Tsung (Skyscraper's Chin Han), a sorcerer from Outworld who sent Sub-Zero to attack Cole; Mileena (Sisi Stringer), licking her victim's blood off her blade; the multi-armed Goro; and, in the final frenetic moments of the trailer, you can spot Kano battling Reptile, another character from the game.

As a side note, the official plot description for Mortal Kombat describes Shang as the emperor of Outworld. However, the trailer depicts a statue of Shao Kahn, a tyrant of the Outworld throne across the video games.

Then, of course, there's Hanzo Hasashi (The Wolverine's Hiroyuki Sanada), who first fights his mortal enemy Bi-Han in the age of feudal Japan before facing him again in the present day when they are both supernaturally charged as Scorpion and Sub-Zero, respectively. The fact that Cole seems to be having visions of Scorpion can't be a coincidence either, right?

And if all that weren't enough, we get a look at some of the fatalities and brutalities, those always gruesome moves characters can pull off in the games. Liu summons a fiery dragon to devour his opponent, Sub-Zero conjures an ice wall and hurls Scorpion through it, and Kano holds the throbbing heart of Reptile in his hands.

Then, in a moment of fan service, Scorpion utters three of his most famous words from the entire Mortal Kombat franchise: "Get over here!" Just in case the score by composer Benjamin Wallfisch, based on the games' classic theme music, didn't get your blood pumping.

Mortal Kombat will be released in theaters and for a 31-day window on HBO Max starting April 16.

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