Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz! I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Fatalities” with a minor in “Jean-Claude Van Damme”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
This week Supercult mashes ↓ → ← ← + HK in Mortal Kombat!
Once every generation, an inter-dimensional tournament is held for the fate of the universe. Shaolin warrior Liu Kang and his friends, movie star Johnny Cage, and military officer Sonya Blade are summoned by the lighting god Raiden to defend the Earth from the forces of the evil Emperor Shao Kahn and the demonic sorcerer Shang Tsung. It’s time to test your might and choose your destiny! This is Mortal Kombat!
Released in 1995, Mortal Kombat is an American fantasy martial arts film based on the early entries in the video game series released in 1992 and 1993, and a healthy dose of inspiration from classic kung fu movies like Enter the Dragon (1973). The film includes many nods to the lore, special moves, and even audio clips from the games. The film was also accompanied by a novel that includes scenes that were cut from the film, such as a fight between Sonya and Jade, another of Shang Tsung’s servants, and an animated prequel film Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins. The Journey Begins consists of 38 minutes of brutally bad 2D and 3D animation as the three main characters walk around listening to Raiden narrating the back story of half the MK universe.
Mortal Kombat features classic characters such as Kano, Kitana, Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Reptile, Jax, and Goro, as well as some newly created red shirt characters. Robin Shou originally turned down the opportunity to audition for the movie, assuming he’d be cast as a stereotypical Asian villain, but he reconsidered at the advice of his agent and was cast in the lead role of Liu Kang. The original concept for the Mortal Kombat game was to make a video game starring Jean-Claude Van Damme fighting villains and to even make a deal to license the film Bloodsport. When that fell through, the creators spoofed the entire situation with the playable character Johnny Cage, who was supposed to be martial arts movie star. Years later, Jean-Claude Van Damme would continue to snub the MK franchise by turning down the role of Johnny Cage to do another Supercult film, Street Fighter (1992). Gary Daniels, Tom Cruise, and Johnny Depp were all considered for the role of Johnny Cage until, Brandon Lee, the star of The Crow and the Supercult Classic Laser Mission, was cast. Unfortunately Lee died before production began and Linden Ashby was brought on to replace him. World class martial arts expert Chris Casamassa was hired to work as a stunt ninja, but at the audition the producers were so impressed that he was cast as the fan favorite Scorpion.
Originally the character of Kano was Japanese-American. However, Ed Boon and John Tobias, the creators of the Mortal Kombat series, were so impressed with how Trevor Goddard portrayed him that they retconned Kano’s history in future games to make him Australian, which they thought was Goddard’s nationality. They later learned that, although Goddard gave Kano an Australian accent, Goddard himself was actually born in England but had claimed to be of Australian descent. American actor Sandy Helberg (Spaceballs (1987), This Is Spinal Tap (1984), High Anxiety (1977)) is briefly seen in the beginning of Mortal Kombat as the director of Cage’s latest movie. Originally, this part was to be a cameo appearance by Steven Spielberg who a log time fan of videogames and the Mortal Kombat series, however scheduling conflicts forced him to back out.
Mortal Kombat has a 5.8 on IMDB, a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes and a rating of 58/100 on Metaritic. Critics were decidedly lukewarm towards the film, praising the otherworldly atmosphere, impressive (for the time) visuals, and enjoyably cheesy style, while attacking the flimsy dialogue, plot, and acting. Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune called it “the only half-way decent video game movie [he] has ever seen” and “a lot of fun” while Roger Ebert noted that fans of the series be disappointed by the film’s killings being much less brutal than the notoriously violent video games. Indeed, the original screenplay for the film was more faithful to the game with its graphic violence, strong language, and ‘R’ rating.
Despite receiving mixed reviews by critics, Mortal Kombat spent three weeks as the number-one film at the U.S. box officer, earning over $122 million worldwide from a $18 million budget. As of April 2014, the film sits as the fourth highest grossing video game adaptation ever released behind Pokemon: The First Movie at #3, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time at #2, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider at #1. Due to its commercial success, Threshold Entertainment followed it with a 1997 sequel, the embarrassingly Mortal Kombat: Annihilation which has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 3%, and two spin-off TV series, Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm and Mortal Kombat: Konquest. A Mortal Kombat film reboot was announced by New Line Cinema in 2011, but as of early 2015 it remains in development hell.
Let’s be honest here. Mortal Kombat is nothing but a cheap excuse for unnecessary slow-motion, luscious Asian mullets, and a chance to see Johnny Cage punch the gargantuan four-armed Goro in the balls. We wouldn’t have it any other way!
Grab a fist full of quarters and turn up the techno!
The Supercult show is proud to present Mortal Kombat!