Mortal Kombat Movie Producer Explains Why the First 13 Minutes Are So Crucial

The upcoming live-action movie based on the Mortal Kombat gaming series seems set to deliver a violent, bloody epic befitting the iconic nature of the games. In a recent interview, the films’ producer Todd Garner explained that all the fights and bloodbaths in the story actually serve to tell an emotional story of a terrible feud between Hanzo Hasashi aka Scorpion, and Bi-Han aka Sub-Zero.

“Where you begin the movie is everything. So if you’re starting with whatever character, that’s the movie you’re telling. So we’re telling that movie. You saw the beginning of our movie and that’s the movie we’re ultimately telling is what does it mean when you try to exterminate someone’s entire race, their entire clan? What is the responsibility of that? What does that mean? And what does it mean to the person who lost everything or almost everything? What does that person do with it? In this case, one of them goes to hell, and sits there and waits and plans his revenge. And the other turns into an ice Ninja that can freeze your blood and stab you with it.”

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The rivalry between Scorpion and Sub-Zero has long been a cornerstone of the Mortal Kombat mythology. In most versions of their backstory, the two belong to rival ninja clans, whose war leads to the decimation of Scorpion’s wife, child and the entire village. In the afterlife, Scorpion plots his revenge against Sub-Zero, and the whole affair is complicated by the fact that Bi-Han also dies at some point, with his younger brother becoming the new Sub-Zero.

The trailer for the upcoming Mortal Kombat shows glimpses of the war between Scorpion and Sub-Zero, as well as the latter’s adventures on Earth in the first few minutes of the film, which leads to the involvement of the Earth realm and its warriors in the ancient interdimensional tournament called Mortal Kombat. According to Garner, Sub-Zero’s actions in the beginning set up the central conflict and tone of the entire story.

“Clearly we’re setting up the heart of the movie in the first 13 minutes. So when you make that decision to start a movie that way with no English words spoken in a very carousel way with revenge and heartbreak and tragedy, that’s the movie you’re telling. And you can’t then just shift gears and have the ’90s techno soundtrack, and everybody in spandex running around, bicycle kicking each other. So once you make that choice, you have to stick with it and for better or for worse, ride that wave until it crashes. And that’s what this movie does.”

Directed by Simon McQuoid and produced by James Wan, Mortal Kombat stars Lewis Tan as Cole Young, Jessica McNamee as Sonya Blade, Josh Lawson as Kano, Tadanobu Asano as Lord Raiden, Mehcad Brooks as Jackson “Jax” Bridges, Ludi Lin as Liu Kang, Chin Han as Shang Tsung, Joe Taslim as Bi-Han and Sub-Zero, Hiroyuki Sanada as Hanzo Hasashi and Scorpion, Max Huang as Kung Lao, Sisi Stringer as Mileena, Matilda Kimber as Emily Young and Laura Brent as Allison Young. The film arrives in theaters and on HBO Max on April 16. ComicBook brought us this story first.

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