On Tuesday this viral video hit the ‘Net and quickly garnered critical acclaim. After watching this extremely well produced short film based on the classic video game Mortal Kombat people everywhere began to speculate. Was this a teaser trailer for a reboot of 1995′s Mortal Kombat film or was it just a fan-made work of art? Shortly after its arrival it was discovered that the seven-and-a-half minute short was directed by Kevin Tancharoen (director of 2009′s Fame) and it was produced in an attempt to pitch Tancharoen’s vision for a reimagined Mortal Kombat movie to Warner Brothers (as confirmed by actress Jeri Ryan’s Twitter feed). Mortal Kombat: Rebirth was Tancharoen’s way of saying, “Hey WB, check out this video, see what I can do, and let’s talk about making a new Mortal Kombat flick.”
This mini-movie is nothing short of fantastic. Though it takes place in the MK universe, the characters’ origins are based in reality. Instead of attributing their abilities to the supernatural, each villain transforms into their malaligned selves due to psychotic breaks or hereditary disease. These characters have mental and physical “issues” and they know martial arts. That’s Tancharoen’s spin on the MK universe. And obviously he retains the overall plot which revolves around the tournament. From the intense fight sequence to the stunning camera shots and visuals, Tancharoen’s short deserves WB approval. As Jackson Briggs was trying to convince Hanzo Hasashi/Scorpion to enter the tournament to kill Baraka, Reptile, and the other villains I was instantly imagining and anticipating how the story would continue. And then I remembered I was only watching a short clip on YouTube. I have no doubt this masterpiece of a short will lead to a feature-length MK movie sometime in the near future.
MK: Rebirth stars Michael Jai White as Jackson Briggs, Matt Mullins as Johnny Cage, Ian Anthony Dale as Hanzo Hasashi/Scorpion, Richard Dorton as Reptile, Lateef Crowder as Alan Zane/Baraka, and Jeri Ryan as Sonya Blade. The fight sequence was choreographed by Larnell Stovall.
In an interview with Collider, Tancharoen went into detail about how the short was made. It was shot using two RED cameras over the course of two days; the fight sequence was shot in about four hours due to time constraints; movie studios had no idea it was being made; and the budget was $7,500. If he were to direct a feature film, Tancharoen says he would balance the real world with the mysticism and special powers (he considers them to be two separate universes that coexist), “fatalities” would be incorporated into the tournament in an “organic way”, and Michael Jai White (who plays Jackson Briggs) would reprise his role as head of the Deacon City Police Department. Read the informative interview here.
Earlier this year it was reported that Warner Bros. (who bought the rights to MK in 2009) was interested in rebooting the Mortal Kombat film franchise and looking to get Oren Uziel to pen the script. And who wrote the short? You guessed it–Uziel. Thanks to instant positive feedback and fan support the video has officially gone viral and it wouldn’t be crazy to think WB execs caught wind of it. A gritty, hard R-rated Mortal Kombat film is just what the insane doctor ordered.