It’s a question that goes back to Doom, if not before:  Why make movie adaptations of video games?  Easy answer:  “Why not?”  Or “easy money.”  So why are so many so lackluster, in story, and often in production values?  The triumphs mark the exceptions, from Tron and Tron: Legacy to the Resident Evil series, and a fine enough effort by Angelina Jolie and Alicia Vikander in two efforts to get a Tomb Raider film series to take hold, for starters.  Then there’s Assassin’s Creed, Warcraft, Street Fighter, Wing Commander, and worse (at least Prince of Persia: Sands of Time had some fun in it).  Often listed among the worst of them all is 1995’s Mortal Kombat, a film that couldn’t be saved even by casting Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa as the charismatic villain or casting an ex-Bond girl (Talisa Soto).  It’s those same characters and apparently plot that will get a retry this spring with the big-screen reboot Mortal KombatHowever this movie features leads of the stellar martial arts marvels The Night Comes for Us and Wu Assassins, and the special effects are light years ahead of the prior films.  Check out the first trailer for the movie below.

Adapted from the 22 or more incarnations of the Midway, and now Warner, games, the movie adaptations had the one benefit for movie audiences of launching Paul W.S. Anderson, who would be known for directing video game films, including entries in the Resident Evil, Death Race, and Monster Hunter franchises.  New director Simon McQuoid takes the reins on the next version, actually the third following the poorly received 1997 sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.  Music is by Shazam! and Blade Runner 2049’s Benjamin Wallfisch.

The movie features a more interesting and diverse cast, including Jessica McNamee (The Meg), Josh Lawson (House of Lies), Tadanobu Asano (Thor, Battleship), Mehcad Brooks (Supergirl, True Blood), Ludi Lin (Aquaman, Power Rangers), with stand-out, fan-favorite Asian and AAPI character actors being Hiroyuki Sanada (The Last Samurai, The Wolverine, Lost, Westworld, Avengers: Endgame), Chin Han(Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Dark Knight, Skyscraper),Lewis Tan (Wu Assassins, Deadpool 2, Iron Fist), and The Night Comes for Us actor Joe Taslim (Star Trek Beyond, The Raid: Redemption, Fast & Furious 6).

Here’s the trailer for Mortal Kombat:

A film celebrating an impressive Asian and AAPI cast, Mortal Kombat arrives in theaters and HBO Max April 16, 2021.