First 'Mortal Kombat' trailer promises R-rated fatalities and fan-favorite characters

Talk about your immortal franchises. Since its humble origins as 1992's biggest (and most controversial) video game, Mortal Kombat has expanded into feature films, comic books, TV shows and even tie-in novels. And now it's returning to the big screen for the first time since 1997's blockbuster-that-wasn't, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. The all-new Mortal Kombat is being overseen by proven hit-maker James Wan, the maestro behind cinematic universes ranging from Saw to The Conjuring to Aquaman. And based on the just-released first trailer, the film is going to have his signature mixture of over-the-top action and graphic horror. (Watch the trailer above.)

Wan isn't directing Mortal Kombat, instead entrusting those duties to first-time filmmaker Simon McQuoid. But the producer was instrumental in convincing Warner Bros. to give Mortal Kombat fans the brutal R-rated experience that they'd long been hoping for, complete with those notorious "finishing moves." "We had a lot of discussions about getting the balance right so there was gore and there was blood and there were fatalities," McQuoid told Entertainment Weekly recently. "And there is gore, blood, and fatalities."

Mehcad Brooks as Jax and Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero in the first 'Mortal Kombat' trailer (Photo: Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)
Mehcad Brooks as Jax and Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero in the first Mortal Kombat trailer. (Photo: Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment) (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Enterta)

There's also a deep bench of fan favorite characters, from the ice cold Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) and fiery Liu Kang (Ludi Lin) to deadly Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) and steely Jax Briggs (Mehcad Brooks). The loose plot of the movie finds newcomer Cole Young — an MMA fighter played by Lewis Tan — discovering that he's part of a larger universe filled with powerful characters who are alternately looking to help him... or finish him.

Based on the Twitter reaction, Wan and McQuoid's choice to go R-rated will richly reward them when the movie drops in theaters and on HBO Max in April. Rapper, actor and old-school Mortal Kombat fan Ice-T led the chorus of praise.

Mortal Kombat premieres April 16 in theaters and on HBO Max.

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