2021’s Mortal Kombat director Simon McQuoid almost didn’t work on the film at all, THR reports. The director, who also made PlayStation’s 2011 “Long Live Play” commercial, says he didn’t want to work in video game adaptations as he transitioned into feature filmmaking.
“The first movie out, I think it shouldn’t be a video game,” McQuoid remembers telling his agent. “I’ve done video game commercials, and I get it, but let’s try to get something other than that.”
Despite that hesitancy, McQuoid’s agent Dan Cohan persisted in getting the Mortal Kombat script in front of his eyes.
“When I read the script, I thought, ‘Well, there’s enough here that if we can have this elegance and this cinematic beauty and authentic grit inside it, then maybe we can do that,’” McQuoid said.
Staying true to Mortal Kombat’s roots as a violent fighting game franchise, awash in gory finisher moves, wasn’t ever up for debate, McQuoid adds.
“[An R rating] was never in debate,” McQuoid said. “We never talked about a rating. All we talked about was, “We have to do the title justice and we have to be authentic and we have to be powerful and fun and we have to make sure we’re giving the game the respect it deserves.” Then obviously, out of that, comes a certain stylistic thing, which gives a rating. We knew to do that, it’s not going to be a PG-13. It’s not going to be a G. But it was never in debate. Never discussed.”
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As for the future, McQuoid says that while he’s “genre-agnostic,” he enjoys spy and heist films, but isn’t a fan of horror.
Mortal Kombat is out now on HBO Max and in theaters. IGN’s review calls it a “fun time for fans of the game franchise” that stumbles a bit through the first half as it sets up a ton of characters. Sub-Zero actor Joe Taslim (The Raid, The Night Comes For Us) says he’s signed on for four more films if the franchise takes off. If you’re still on the fence, you can watch the first seven minutes of Mortal Kombat here.
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer for IGN.