The fatality-laden fighting game franchise Mortal Kombat is heading back to the big screen for a bruising, beat-em-up extravaganza. The games have been adapted twice before – Paul WS Anderson’s decent, Enter the Dragon-with-superpowers 1995 original and its universally derided follow-up, Annihilation. This new version, though, is scaling things up, with the upcoming shoot in south Australia said to be the biggest production in the region’s history.
With the movie due to start filming later this year, the casting announcements are flying out fast. Variety is now reporting that Chin Han (Skyscraper, The Dark Knight) and Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine, Avengers: Endgame) have been cast as classic MK characters Shang Tsung and Scorpion, respectively.
Shang Tsung was the “final boss,” if you like, of the original film (in which he was memorably played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) and is likely to play the same role here. A sorcerer from the Outworld realm who absorbs the souls of those he defeats in order to keep his power, his ultimate goal is to kick off an invasion of Earthrealm by first defeating its greatest champions in the titular fighting tournament.
Scorpion, meanwhile, is an undead ninja on the hunt for revenge against his killer and one of the game’s most popular characters. The arch-enemy of his icy counterpart Sub-Zero (to be played by The Raid‘s Joe Taslim), Scorpion famously wields a chain spear (“Get over here!”) and can breathe fire. As the man who’s taken on both Hawkeye (Ronin) and Wolverine on the big screen, we’re excited to see what Sanada brings to the video game adaptations’s fight scenes.
The rest Mortal Kombat cast is filling out nicely. As well as the casting announcements above, Ludi Lin (who played the Black Ranger in 2017’s Power Rangers movie and, aptly, one of the fighting game avatars in Black Mirror episode “Striking Vipers”) is playing Shaolin monk warrior and Earthrealm hero Liu Kang.
The Meg‘s Jessica McNamee has been cast as tough-as-nails US Special Forces officer Sonya Blade, while Supergirl‘s Jimmy Olsen, Mehcad Brooks, will play her metal-armed partner Jax. Their nemesis, cybernetically enhanced crime lord Kano, will be played by Aussie actor Josh Lawson (Anchorman 2).
Earthrealm protector and thunder god Raiden – a role taken by Christopher Lambert in the original movie adaptation – will be portrayed by Tadanobu Asano, who played Hogun, one of the Warriors Three, in Marvel’s Thor movies. And newcomer Sisi Stringer will play the supernatural sai-wielding baddie, Mileena.
Mortal Kombat arrives in theaters on March 5, 2021.
Read and download the Den of Geek SDCC 2019 Special Edition Magazine right here!