Mortal Kombat: Rebirth: Undead Monday

Posted by Grey Monday, June 14, 2010

Has the entire Mortal Kombat franchise frozen over to the next level in suspended animation in life we called 'Limbo'? Well, over Johnny Cage's dead body it would seemed. Yes, I meant that in a literal way.

Update: The film is now a reality.

For the last few days, the online community, particularly the fanfares of the gruesomely famous fighting game series, Mortal Kombat (affectionately known to the fans as just 'MK'), has been raving over an initially anonymous and mysterious short film depicting a realistic take on the MK mythology.

The short footage, approximately at a length of nearly eight minutes, was nothing like the numerous live action takes on the infamously gruesome (yes that's me being lazy with words) fighting game series, of which campy and often over-the-top dramatics are usually employed. And by that, I am also making a direct reference to the Mortal Kombat: Live Tour, a stage show not unlike what you can expect from the Mighty Morphine-snorting Power Rangers live show.

While you take some time off to shake off the traumatic effects of the above images, I shall continue to rabble on the short film. True to the original vision of the shamelessly gore nature of the series, the short featured an alternate version of the MK universe by basing all the characters with distinctly different origins based on realism. Zero mention of any supernatural element were mentioned with the main plotline, the tournament itself still being a main plot.

A plot synopsis courtesy of wikipedia:

The film follows Deacon City Police Captain Jackson Briggs as he informs an assassin Hanzo Hasashi about the criminals Reptile and Baraka; the latter has recently killed actor-turned-undercover-officer Johnny Cage in a fight. Briggs believes they were both working for a man named Shang Tsung. He asks Hasashi to kill them in a mysterious tournament hosted by Tsung. When offered his freedom in exchange for accomplishing such tasks, Hasashi reveals that he willingly had himself incarcerated--and could free himself at any time. Then Sonya Blade arrives with a folder and informs Hasashi that his enemy Sub-Zero is alive and the one he killed was his older brother. It becomes clear to Hasashi that the terms of his participation in the tournament involve killing Reptile, Baraka and Shang Tsung in return for access to Sub-Zero. Since the real Sub-Zero will be at the tournament, Hasashi, now calling himself Scorpion, agrees to participate.

Yes, one of the most irritatingly popular character in fighting game history is DEAD. That's for whoever out there who thought that the notion of a game character modeled after Jean-Claude Van Damme is a cool idea. Without further ado, the short film as embedded below from YouTube.

An insanely cool and incredibly dark work that reeks of 'Saw' and other latter day modern horror yarn yet staying within a twisted course of the original Mortal Kombat. The 'Dark Knight'-esque reimagination is definitely going to ignite widespread debates amongst all die-hard MK fanbs. And in a good way.

Too well-made to be a fan work and too star-studded to be a personal project. After tormenting MK fans across the planet for days, leading to widespread speculation on whether if this was some leaked footage of the earlier reported Warner Bros reboot, or some extended tailer to a new installment of the game that was meant to reboot all previous continuity, minimal information were gradually revealed by twitter messages from Jeri Ryan (who played the role of Sonya Blade in the short film) and official statements by representatives of actor Michael Jai White (who played the role of Jackson Briggs AKA Jax, fans should noticed that the last two letters of his first name as displayed on his office door are faded, thus reading as "Jacks", a nod to "Jax"). All remained unclear until director Kevin Tancharoen (who directed the disastrous 2009 remake of the 1980 musical film 'Fame') revealed himself as the director of the short film and that the intention of the film was to sell Warner Bros his dark vision for a reimagined MK film.

Speaking at length with Collider, Tancharoen indicated that with a budget of a meagre $7,500, he made the short film over the course of two days with a preproduction period of two months, and that most people donated their time in making it. Intriguing enough, the director also indicated his intentions to make a movie that balances the real world with the mysticism and the special powers by comparing it to the way Harry Potter exists in two worlds.

Although MK fans everywhere have generally approved the wild reimagining treatment, it remains to be seen if Warner Bros feels the same (understandably so, given the underwhelming impact of 'Fame'). Nevertheless, it should be noted that Oren Uziel, the writer of the short film is currently listed on IMDb to write the next Mortal Kombat movie at Warner Bros.

For those who can't spare eight minutes for the short film for whatever lame reason as well as an in-depth pseudo-analysis into the film, check out our comments alongside the screenshots below after the jump.

No, if memory serves me well, no such city in the series proper.

Check out Jackson Briggs's name on the office door: The last two letters of his first name are faded, thus reading as "Jacks", a nod to "Jax".

While Baraka is only of the more prominent leaders of the henchmen of arch-villain Shao Kahn in the series proper, he was given quite the demented twist here. Portrayed by Brazilian-born actor and Capoeira practitioner, Lateef Crowder (who incidentally will be playing the role of Eddy Gordo in the upcoming Tekken feature film), Baraka, also known as Alan Zane here, is a plastic surgeon who went on a murderous run after accidentally killing a patient. Unable to live with the shame of being labeled a failed doctor, Zane pierced his face, sharpened his teeth, and surgically attached a pair of metal blades to his forearms.

You don't see it here, but Baraka decapitated Johnny Cage with his arm blades after a climax battle scene.

Jeri Ryan, best known for being a Borg and lately, as Tara Cole on TNT's Leverage, said on her Twitter account that she took the part of Sonya Blade as a favor to a friend. Quite a fit, I will say.

A relatively unknown actor, Richard Dorton's turn as Reptile is one of the defining moment in this creepy reimagination. A mass-murderer born with a rare genetic disorder harlequin type ichthyosis, in which his skin produces too many cells and his eyes are formed inside out. It is said he likes to devour the heads of his victims, which is a nod to his "Head Eat" Fatality from the video game series.

Finally, rounding out the cast is Ian Anthony Dale (who also happened to be in the Tekken feature film as Kazuya Mishima) as the ultimate MK badass Scorpion (AKA Hanzo Hasashi), the top assassin of the Shirai Ryu who offered himself up to the police for killing the man he thought was his nemesis. While it is stated here that Scorpion has killed Sub-Zero's brother mistakening him for his nemesis Sub-Zero, the reverse is true in the series proper of which Scorpion successfully murdered Sub-Zero, which in turns led to his brother becoming the new Sub-Zero, while the original Sub-Zero became Noob Saibot. Overtly convoluted by all means. And just like in the series proper, his eyes are completely white. Cool.

Making their presence felt yet not making any physical appearance are Shang Tsung and Sub-Zero, respectively in photograph.

Intriguing enough, GiantBomb has reported the findings of one of their reader who has found the image of this supposedly all-new, all-different Sub-Zero kicking around for over a year now at ZBrushCentral, a forum devoted to a "digital sculpting and painting program" called ZBrush.


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