MovieBob - Intermission
Advice From A Fanboy: Mortal Kombat

Bob "MovieBob" Chipman | 7 Oct 2011 16:00
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Shoot for an "R"

This will probably happen anyway, but it still needs to be hammered home: The main problem people had with the original MK movies wasn't their silly scripts and questionable acting - people were expecting that. The problem was that someone decided to make a game whose principle unique feature was its over-the-top levels of gore. If you get nothing else right, every fight scene in a Mortal Kombat movie should end up looking like an explosion at the ketchup factory.

And it isn't like there's no precedent for this - the Resident Evil movies continue to rake in the dough with R ratings. 300, which frequently looks more like Mortal Kombat than Mortal Kombat, was a phenomenon despite its R-rating. The only reason to not make this an R is if you wind up spending too much on it. Incidentally ...

Don't Spend Too Much on This

There is no earthly reason to make Mortal Kombat as a $100 million epic. It's about a fighting tournament. That means one-on-one single-location fight scenes for the most part with maybe a big all-out brawl towards the end. A good deal of your characters wear full face masks or are freakish monsters, which means you don't need to cast expensive "name" actors to play them - though, since this is a martial arts film, you should probably be ignoring "name" stars in general and think about hiring martial artists. Speaking of which ...

Know Your Roots

The fighting tournament subgenre of martial arts movies endures because it's damn near the most perfect build-your-own-action-movie kit ever designed. Just draft up a roster of unusual characters and set up their various relationships and personalities, and the "tournament" takes care of the rest. You're free to focus on the inter-character drama and the overall big story because there's no reason to waste time contriving convoluted reasons for action scenes to happen - it's a fighting tournament! If it's been too long since you had a fight scene, you can just bang the gong and have one!

Films (and games) in this genre all descend from the iconic Hong Kong film, Master of The Flying Guillotine. Watch it, and understand what you must do.

Outsource

Hollywood, let me tell you a story: Far, far away, across the wide blue sea in the place where the sun wakes from its nightly naps, there are magical places with names like "Hong Kong," "Thailand" and "Japan." And in these magical places they have movie industries much like your own,except that theirs are filled with directors, stuntpeople and even actors who make hundreds of movies in this very genre every month for much, much, much less money than you can conceive of. Just think about that.

Hell, you might even consider dropping the fan-film wunderkind you've tapped to direct it and consider hiring a seasoned professional from one of these national cinemas who'd probably be willing to work for a similar price and turn out as-good or even better a product with far greater efficiency. Kazuaki Kiriya, Riyuhei Kitamura or Andrew Lau could pick this stuff up no sweat - hell, Takeshi Miike could probably knock Mortal Kombat out over a weekend and still blow your mind with it.

Heck, you could think even think really outside the box and look to India - y'know, that economically-booming country whose national film industry rakes in billions and is bursting at the seams with talented young professionals turning out visually stunning work to rival your own? Perhaps you've seen some bits of Endhiran?

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