The trailer for the upcoming Mortal Kombat movie did not pull any punches, and it showed off a brand new blood dagger finisher move from Sub-Zero. The 2021 movie will be the third live-action film based on the fighting game series that began almost thirty years ago. It looks as if the film will not only attempt to be a faithful adaptation of the games, but will also attempt to capture the series’ signature extreme violence in new and exciting ways.
The video games became infamous in the early 1990s for featuring large amounts of blood and graphic depictions of death and violence. While the original Mortal Kombat‘s fatalities are relatively tame by today’s standards, there had rarely been games that violent before and it caused such a public outcry that it eventually lead to the creation of the ESRB ratings system. Since then the games have continued to up the ante with how ridiculously violent each new entry could be. However, the movie adaptations from the 90s, Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation were both rated PG-13 and thus couldn’t properly capture the violence of the games. The new movie’s red band trailer shows it is much closer to the intensity of the original video games than the toned-down movie adaptations, however.
The best example of this is with Sub-Zero, an iconic character from the series. Much of the new trailer shows off the ninja assassin’s impressive ice powers and establishes some of the ways he’ll use them in the film’s action set pieces. The Mortal Kombat trailer opens with him freezing Jax’s arms and shattering them into bloody bits, which is a classic technique of his from the video games. What isn’t in the games, however, is his brand-new blood dagger finisher he’s seen using against his longtime rival, Scorpion.
This move involves Sub-Zero slicing his opponent with an ice sword, causing blood to shoot up in the air, and then freezing that blood into a dagger, catching it, and then finally stabbing it back into his opponent’s body. It’s gnarly, creative, and just a bit silly, so it feels like something that might’ve been ripped straight from the games, yet it’s actually a creation for the movie. In the whole history of Mortal Kombat, none of Sub-Zero’s fatalities used an attack quite like this one, and it’s not a well-known part of his moveset. It’s a brand-new finisher that’s right in line with Sub-Zero as a character and a fighter.
This is a good sign for the movie, as it shows that the filmmakers involved understand the core appeal of Mortal Kombat. At the same time, they’re able to bring new things to the table while expanding on what’s already in the img material to make what could end up being one of the better video game movies in recent years.