Mortal Kombat is a popular American animated film franchise based on a series of arcade games, first produced by Midway Games in 1990. The movie has grown to become a staple in the annals of video game history, spawning not only a sequel but several prequels and remakes. Popular films such as X-Men, Spider-Man, Conan the Barbarian, Fantastic Four and The Mask have all included some form of the storyline, and this article will explore the origins of Mortal Kombat.
It is of little surprise that the first film adaptation of Mortal Kombat was a huge hit with audiences around the world. With an original score composed by John Williams, the movie was a box office hit and established the template for many future films. The film used the martial arts fighting styles of Japanese cinema to provide a unique thrill and narrative. In contrast to the more cartoon like approach of the previous Mortal Kombat games, the fighting involved a blend of choreographed and live action scenes. It is possible that the inspiration for the fighting techniques seen in the movie came from the real-life martial arts: a mixture of traditional boxing, karate, judo, Goju and Judo that incorporated a blend of striking and counter attacking moves. Due to its highly choreographed and theatrical style of presentation, the early Mortal Kombat films were not received well by hardcore fans of the game, however, with the release of the sequel to the game gained a fresh, third attitude, and it has been ever since enjoyed by audiences worldwide.
The first movie in the franchise was released in theaters on February 16th, 1993, and starred appearances by various famous actors from the realm of martial arts. The movie was a box office hit, however, it was widely panned by critics due to its "bloated" nature and rushed action sequences. Though, it did introduce new characters, such as Raiden, who had special appeal to diehard fans of the game. The second film, wherein the story was told from the viewpoint of an infant child, saw improvements in the direction and storyline. It also featured characters that would become iconic to the diehard fan base of the Mortal Kombat series.
The third and latest movie in the Mortal Kombat series features a newer story, written by director Mike Wolk. In this movie, fatalities are no longer just fatalities but have special moves and other upgrades. The fatalities in the movie are made up from the upgrades of the original characters and can be custom designed. There are also new, original boss battles, bonus discs, special moves and endings, along with the traditional scoring system.
Mortal Kombat X, or the "sequel" to the original Mortal Kombat, sees the story told from the perspective of the movie star of the previous games. This makes for an interesting change, seeing that Raiden, the main playable character, is now more of a non-fighting video game character, going up against his nemeses. His moves have been changed, and he is now more machine than man. The movie star is Guy Green, better known as Scorpion.
Each of the previous games featured some variation on the classic, button-based controller. While this has remained the same in later entries, the key difference in this game is the use of the Xbox Live Arcade controller instead. This allows the player to play with the movements of the character (pressing the stick to do a spinning dash), and the ability to execute attacks and combo moves. Using the arcade stick is much smoother than using the buttons, and the result is a fluid movement which makes playing as a real person feels very natural.