Nasty Punch Outta Nowhere: Mortal Kombat Test Footage

It was difficult to go anywhere in the early '90s without hearing about Mortal Kombat, whether from voracious arcade fiends jonesin' for competition or from parents petitioning for the game's demise. How could people resist? Ed Boon and John Tobias' game featured multi-hued ninjas launching frost and spears at each other against fantasy-like backdrops, up until a point where you could execute a "finishing move" and kill the opposition in a grotesque manner -- such as ripping a head, along with the spinal cord, clean from the body, or electrocuting one's cranium until it exploded. They might seem pale in comparison now, but this cartoonish chaos really struck a nerve.

Parents had every right to try and squash the franchise due to its blossoming popularity with the youth (which, according to this news story from 2007, still holds weight as a viable argument), but it continued to persevere in the videogaming realm and, on top of that, sparked a double-feature of combat-heavy films, Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Alliance. However, to maximize on the market of the teenagers playing the Mature-rated game, New Line and Paul W.S. Anderson constructed two PG-13 films that got all the taglines right, crammed in all sorts of digital effects, and nailed the looks for each character down. Only, there was absolutely no grit, no sense of bone-crushing combat, which led the franchise to peter out.

All of a sudden, some thirteen years after the original film comes out, the video above pops up on YouTube with the title "Mortal Kombat: REBORN". Alright, sure, our kneejerk reaction leads us to assume that it'd be fan footage; however, once we hear the booming voice and see Micheal Jai White (Gambol from The Dark Knight) step out of a police office with Jackson Briggs scrolled on the door, it's obvious that this isn't a bunch of kids photographing themselves in their backyard. As the slate of footage kicks into gear -- complete with well-polished production design, gritty yet focused cinematography, one full-on, nerve-rattling fight sequence, and a conveyance of realism within (most of) the characters in a violent modern-era setting -- it's obvious that the creators behind the video know how to approach a real Mortal Kombat picture.

What's unseen are any dates for release, credits, or anything indicating an actual film being constructed, something that's a bit of a sucker punch after seeing how raw and, well, how badass this could become. According to the folks at Latino Review, there's a reason for the vagueness: it's essentially test footage or, more appropriately, a studio pitch to Warner Brothers, released so that might become a bit of a viral hit with the fans. And, gauging by their reactions across the internet, it appears as if it's really working. Here are some of the details behind the casting jobs and the choreography:

* The short was directed by Kevin Tancharoen, who did the remake of Fame last year. Judging from this short, Kevin is the perfect director for this movie.

* Jacks is played by Michael Jai White. Michael played Spawn and was in Undisputed II. Michael makes a great Jacks (Jax).

* Sonya Blade is played by Jeri Ryan, who played Seven of Nine in Star Trek: Voyager.

* Baraka was played by the very talented Lateef Crowder, who plays the Brazilian fighter in Undisputed III.

* Scorpion is played by Ian Anthony Dale. Ian plays Kazuya in the upcoming big screen version of Tekken.

* Johnny Cage was played by up and coming martial arts sensation Matt Mullins.

* Still working on who played Reptile. Will update when I find out.

* The fight choreography was done by Larnell Stovall. Larnell did the fight choreography for Undisputed III and is one of the best fight choreographers in the business. You want to see the fights you deserve? Then you fans should DEMAND he be the guy in one charge for this reboot. Click HERE to read the exclusive interview I did with Larnell.

* I know who might be playing Sub-Zero, but don't want to mention it in case it screws something up. He'd be perfect for the part.

Source: Latino Review

Could this Mortal Kombat have been made during the franchise's heyday? Absolutely not. Striking this balance between violence, horror, and core fight choreography would've sent the already-fuming parents into a tailspin. It's only now after the series of video games have become irrelevant that this visceral production could actually get made without picketing protesters and the like. Moreover, it's hitting at a pinnacle point where a) many of the once-teenage fans are now healthily in their late-'20s or '30s, and b) mixed martial arts (MMA) has hit a pop culture stride. If there's a time to strike the iron, Warner Brothers, it's now.


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