Saturday, October 01, 2011

New "Mortal Kombat" Director Proudly Declares Intent to Do Everything Wrong

Well, that didn't take long.

Hero Complex has a short interview up with Kevin Tancharoen, currently living the dream of every fan-film maker (except, y'know, for the part about already being a professional film director) after his "Mortal Kombat" YouTube short (nobody is buying that the short was "accidentally" made public, yes?) got him put in charge of the new "Mortal Kombat" movie.

I'd joke that the piece reads like something I'd draft as a parody of everything wrong with genre film; but in this case it actually reads like a parody of everything wrong with genre film I already did.


It'd be tacky to repost the whole (short) article, so here are the choice bits (in boldface) from Tanchroen's mouth:

"Yes, my sensibilities lean more toward realism as opposed to the more mythological stuff that Mortal Kombat automatically has."

Kill me now.

"It will be more realistic and gritty than the last two movies, but also a very big story."

I don't even know what these words mean anymore...

"I want it to be bloody, but in a natural sense and not gratuitous, crazy spurting pools of blood. That takes it to a different level of camp."

So, basically the only thing that originally distinguised the property - and the number one thing people agreed was missing from every earlier version - he doesn't want to do. This is up there with the stories Kevin Smith tells about Jon Peters wanting Superman to never fly or wear his costume.

Well, at the very least he's not shameless enough to name-drop Christopher Nolan - the go to "justifier" for this sort of thing. Oh, wait...

"Chris Nolan started the trend of making everything in this type of genre grounded."

Someone needs to draft a special Guiness World Record for being the best movie ever to have an almost-entirely negative effect on it's genre and just hand it to "The Dark Knight" at this point.

"What took most people by surprise with my shorts, I think, is that you never would think of putting Mortal Kombat in a realistic setting."

Imagine that...

"But I believe it’s a fighting game and it’s meant for that purpose."

I'm not even kidding here: If anyone has an english-language translation of what the hell that sentence is supposed to mean, I want to hear it.

What's kind of infuriating is that, for the same bargain-basement price Warners is almost-certainly getting Tancharoen for, a producer who actually gave a shit about this material could've likely scooped up a mid-level action guy from the Hong Kong, Korean or even Japanese set that actually knows how to do this sort of thing. (Takeshi Miike could probably knock the best Mortal Kombat movie ever out in a weekend.)

Then again, maybe it'll be good. Just this last week a movie I'd been fully-prepared to despise - with very good reason - turned out to be shockingly good (as in "this is pretty good, and I am shocked by this") so who knows? Either way, I look forward to hearing the usual off-topic reminders that no video game originating prior to 2001 deserves to be a movie - don't let me down, kiddies ;)

41 comments:

Danny said...

"I want it to be bloody, but in a natural sense and not gratuitous, crazy spurting pools of blood."
AKA PG13

Some Swedish Guy said...

So the one thing that made a pretty mediocre game series special is being removed?

Logan said...

Ordinarily I'd agree with you, but it sounds like he's making a big screen version of Rebirth, and that's fine with me.

Paladin said...

Isn't the mere intention to make another "Mortal Kombat" movie ALREADY doing everything wrong???

Anonymous said...

What was this movie you were prepared to despise?

Steven said...

Sorry to break it to you Bob but movies are made to make MONEY and your tastes don't appeal to the majority.

Scott pilgrim and Sucker punch for instance even Watchmen didn't make much money while Pirates 4 and Transformers 3 both broke the billion dollar mark.

You stick Batman in a comic accurate version of the costume and you would watch it flop harder than batman and robin.

Anonymous said...

I think it should be illegal for America to produce, fund or have any involvement any movie about fighting games. Seriously Warner bros youd be better off given 100 million dollars to the guys that made avenging fist than this douche or any douche this far west of hong-kong. They may not make a great movie but at least youd see where the 100 million went.

multimediaculture said...

MovieBob, I'm wondering if you watched the Mortal Kombat shorts. They were actually pretty good! If the movie follows those, then he doesn't totally eschew the mythology. He just grounds the Earth realm in some form of reality and doesn't drown it out with the fantastical crap that made the later games less appealing.

AC said...

Ironically, the award for the best COMIC ever to have an almost-entirely negative effect on its genre goes also goes to Batman - The Dark Knight Returns. That comic (and Watchmen, and maybe Squadron Supreme) had the same "dark, gritty, realistic, post-modern re-imagining" of a bright, colorful character. Unfortunately, everyone trying to replicate its success just saw dark colors, violence, and obscenity and copied that without understanding how or why to use it well.

This post probably needs a captioned picture of Mickey Rourke to go with it...

Aiddon said...

meh, MK is pretty much the bottom-rung of brand name fighting games as far as I'm concerned, so it not having a good movie is not even CLOSE a tragedy for the genre or medium. Plus MK's setup doesn't translate well into a movie; put it into live-action form and then you're hit with a jarring dissonance. Games do not need movies; it's a misconception that needs to stop.

patrick.b.healy said...

@Anon: I'm pretty sure he means Drive.

Eh, a bad movie will be made and it will make money. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Once again, this comes off as bitching for the sake of bitching. These guys can make a porn film and it won't disrespect the source material.

Elessar said...

Oh calm down Bob, it's Mortal Kombat. It's not Half-Life, it's not Portal, it's not Bioshock. Hell, it's not even Soul Calibur or Street Fighter. It's a step below frakking Tekken. Just because it involves magic and ninjas doesn't mean it's a masterpiece that deserves a respectful adaptation. It's a stupid, silly, convoluted series of fighting games that was only briefly notable for a stupid amount of gore. You talked about when you checked out of Mortal Kombat: Rebirth? Well I checked out of Mortal Kombat as a franchise when they decided they didn't feel like spelling Combat right. Keeping true to the source material doesn't mean a damned thing. All you can hope is that movie is good on it's own merits.

genguidanos said...

I can see a Portal movie now. An hour and a half of a silent protagonist moving through white antiseptic rooms while an annoying robot voice bitches at her, all the while solving logic based puzzles but without the audiences participation, thus removing the primary entertaining aspect of the property. Of course Andy Serkis would have to be called in to play the part of the Companion Cube.

The Offender said...

While I am in no way defending this what this man has to say; I do need to ask you something Bob. Why is it that every time something wants to be more "real and gritty" you reaction is to point that out as a bad idea? I don't think it is always good by any means, but you always seem to think it bad. I would just like to know why.

Big fan of your work by the way.

Anonymous said...

@ The Offender

Speaking for myself only, 'real and gritty' tends to translate into 'real and gritty ampersand to a 14-year-old's swaggering faux-macho idea of what real and gritty is supposed to be' And that idea is ultraviolence with no real purpose, horribly written characters with the emotional depth of a spoon and the moral compass of an Enron executive, women in the role of 'boobs and ass I can ogle', and other such excesses of the 'real and gritty' crowd.

To put it in comic book parlance: when directors and producers say they want to do it 'real and gritty', they mean they want to make Watchmen. What we usually get, however, is closer to the entire works of Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane.

Real and gritty can be done well. Movies like Se7en, No Country For Old Men, and even The Dark Knight prove that. However, those movies WERE real and gritty; they didn't TRY to be real and gritty, if that makes any sense.

akkuma420 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Curttehmurt said...

Christ, wasn't Mortal Kombat Legacy enough for Live-Action Mortal Kombat for now? I don't really think another movie is super necessary

Anonymous said...

"Speaking for myself only, 'real and gritty' tends to translate into 'real and gritty ampersand to a 14-year-old's swaggering faux-macho idea of what real and gritty is supposed to be' And that idea is ultraviolence with no real purpose, horribly written characters with the emotional depth of a spoon and the moral compass of an Enron executive, women in the role of 'boobs and ass I can ogle', and other such excesses of the 'real and gritty' crowd."

So it will be perfectly within the spirit of the games.

jojjo said...

Anonymous 1:38/
Yes, except for the sad fact that "gritty and realistic" tends to mean "bland, boring and unnecessarily pretentious" as well as all that.

Shawn Rutledge said...

Bob,

Hell yes Miike could do this (probably as a trilogy) in a weekend, and for a quarter of the budget. The downside of that is that the studio heads would look at it and refuse to release it based on the fact that it would never ever get a PG-13 or even an R rating. Just see what Showtime did to his episode of Masters of Horror for an example here.

Alien426 said...

Steven: "while Pirates 4 and Transformers 3 both broke the billion dollar mark"

I have not watched either of those movies, but I don't think either was "realistic and gritty".

While no one wants Mortal Kombat to feature Johnny Depp or giant robots making giant explosions, I think that if we take a step back, we can see that an MK film could work great with lots of action instead of a "very big story".

lordy said...

Little unfair to critise him for mentioning Nolan, seeing how it was the interviewer who brought that up.

I liked both Rebirth and Legacy though, so have no problem with this. And actually thought the worst shorts were the Mileena and Kitana ones, which were completely removed from Earth, while the Raiden one was really very well done.

Nathan said...

I have to be honest. I didn't read the article but I'm ok with this. I actually dug the Mortal Kombat: Legacy shorts. They got me interested in a game series I really don't care about. I thought they were a new take on it, and I'd pay to see that as a full-length movie with the shorts as a sort of prequel. I was kinda getting that impression, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Question Moviebob: why do you (or anyone for that matter) want a film to be filled with gore (realistic or camp)? I'm not being sarcastic or trying to annoy anyone; I'm seriously asking why so many movie goers enjoy watching gore. I love sci-fi, fantasy, goofy, all of it. I loved Scott Pilgrim and I enjoyed 300 (which had gore but didn't make it the point like Saw 2-etc.) and just about every other nerd film made in the past 10 years. And yet I still don't get why so many of my fellow fans want to see more gore.

Ezenwa said...

Way I see it: if you want a straight-up telling of MK in movies, with gore, and respect to the subject matter, and with good fight scenes, I'm sorry if you get mad at this, but it should be directed by Zack Snyder. His best work is directing adaptations of things, instead of original stuff, and in all essences and fairness, the adaptations were pretty good.

That said, a realistic and gritty MK? Isn't that an oxy moron? The very essence of MK is a weekend afternoon karate movie flick. So, now, we should gritty it up by making Jax and Sonya a couple of cops from Law and Order: SVU? Give me a freaking break. Seriously. Is it really that hard to go with that kind of camp? If Tarantino can pull it off with some modern spin with Kill Bill, and if Rodriguez can do it almost ad nauseum with his flicks, why can't Mortal Kombat?

Is Hollywood always bent on taking video game franchises and literally gutting them in theaters, even when the plot points themselves can work on the silver screen (the main reason I can't stand any RE films is because the games pretty much gave Hollywood all the story and characters they need from the games). Heck, even Prince of Persia could have been much better.

But, like all the wonderful MK fanboys who want a grim and gritty, realistic look at the franchise (what is this, 90's Marvel, or worse, the New DC?), they'll get their wish, love the hype and either defend how good this movie is going to be, even if it sucks, or cry like babies when it gets messed up.

Now, I have more reason to watch the MK: Legacy, and maybe even get the DVD, just so I can get something close to what MK should be like on film. Sheesh. And to end the rant, I bet the key reason this guy decided to take this route is b/c he read all the Youtube trolls saying how much they hated the direction away from the teaser.

DON'T FEED THE TROLLS! I really hope I'm wrong about this movie and it comes out good. Rant over. :-)

Joe said...

@Anonymous 11:38--exactly. Like Bob said, what do "grim & gritty" mean anymore? Has any film version of Batman really been "grim and gritty" when ultimately Batman is still a billionaire playboy who dresses up as a bat to fight a clown? The central premise is already ridiculous--I don't see why adding rocket-armed penguins or magic fear gas and a secret army of
ninjas counts as "gritty" but having a teenaged sidekick automatically isn't.

Now, as silly and juvenile as the original Mortal Kombat property is, the supernatural, Outworld-stuff was the only thing that was interesting about it. If you take that away, what do you have? A bunch of cops and robbers with mental problems and deformities slugging it out in random brawls? Doesn't appeal to me.

Anonymous said...

Every time I think I've had enough of Bob's bullshit, something like this comes up and I remember why I started coming here to begin with.

Someone needs to draft a special Guiness World Record for being the best movie ever to have an almost-entirely negative effect on it's genre and just hand it to "The Dark Knight" at this point.

Amen to that.

Christian said...

@Ezenwa:

"Weekend afternoon karate movie flick"?

Please tell me you were quoting MF Doom.

Ezenwa said...

@Christian

Yes. Yes I was. I'm a huge fan. Have 4 of his albums. And, I couldn't come up with a better description, while writing my comment, as I was pressed for time.

That said, I guess I meant to say, one of those martial arts movies you'd see on a weekend afternoon or something. That said, I hoped you'd see the similarities in a sense. With its growing popularity, one would think that the MK series is gaming's "Big Trouble in Little China".

CraftyAndy said...

mother fuck. I want the mythological elements. I always considered MOrtal Kombat the DBZ of the states. With characters dying and going to the netherrealm, coming back as specteres, demons, possessing people. That shit is cool and interesting. I don't pay for reality in my movies. And I sure as hell don't want a "realistic" reptile I want a realistic "looking" reptile.
Let me guess Shau Kahn is going to be running some drug trade or terrorist organization? A secret army to plot a coup like in Street Figher? fuck fuck fuck fuck

Christian said...

@Ezenwa

No, I got what you were saying, it just made me happy to see the quote. Major cookie points for you.

Ezenwa said...

@Christian

YES. Gotta love the cookie points! That said,

@Moviebob

When are we going to see a review or a discussion, from your P.O.V. on Tommy Wiseau, The Room, and all related materia?

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