By Paul Salfen
Mortal Kombat is a 2021 American martial arts fantasy film directed by Simon McQuoid (in his feature directorial debut), from a screenplay by Greg Russo and Dave Callaham and a story by Russo and Oren Uziel. It is based on the video game franchise of the same name created by Ed Boon and John Tobias, serving as a reboot to the Mortal Kombat film series. The film stars Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, Chin Han, Joe Taslim, and Hiroyuki Sanada.
Following the critical and commercial failure of the 1997 film Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, a third Mortal Kombat film languished in development hell for a period of nearly two decades. In late 2010, Warner Bros. Pictures (whose parent company acquired the franchise from Midway Games in 2009) began developing a new film, with Kevin Tancharoen serving as director from a script written by Uziel in the wake of their Mortal Kombat: Rebirth short film. James Wan was announced as a producer in August 2015 and McQuoid was hired as director in November 2016. Production took place at Adelaide Studios in Adelaide and at other locations in South Australia. Principal photography occurred from September to December 2019.
Mortal Kombat was released by Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema internationally on April 8, 2021, and was released in the United States on April 23, simultaneously in theaters in 3D and on the HBO Max streaming service. The film received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for the violence and faithfulness to the games but criticism for the screenplay.