How Mortal Kombat’s Director Made a Blockbuster That Still Stays True to Its Gaming Roots

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat may be a Hollywood blockbuster however it’s largely an Australian production. The remake of the 1995 film, was shot in part with an Aussie cast, a large Australian crew and a phenomenal South Australian backdrop.

“Oh, it was wonderful,” director Simon McQuoid said in an interview with The Latch. “It’s always a joy to be doing this in my home country. I mean, a lot of the commercials I do are all over the place and I don’t shoot much in Australia at all so it was quite a novelty for me.”

“There was this really wonderful blend of international experience and prowess with Bennett [executive producer] and the production designer and the actors that came in and then you had really national people from Sydney and Melbourne, key crew. And then you had these amazing South Australian crew, with people really skilled at what they did.”

For American-born producer, E Bennett Walsh, the film is his third production in Australia, however, he is continuously amazed by the Australian crew.

“I think the talent here is amazing,” Walsh told The Latch during the same interview. “The added thing was doing the post-production here, which was new for me. And I think there’s a big growth industry there to finish movies here.”

Walsh added that the film was completed by home-grown Aussie visual effects companies — Rising Sun, Method, Slate and Mr X.

“We shot in Adelaide and did the post-production in Sydney. The vendors were here and we were with them all the time, so instead of it being remote, which is very typical, we were able to have a lot of face-to-face conversations,” he said.

In his directorial debut, Perth-raised McQuoid helms the new iteration which not only honours the original and popular game but has subtle nods to the country from which he came.

“It was extremely important,” he said of ensuring the film is true to its gaming roots. “There’s no point in taking on property like this if you’re going to change it fundamentally or the key ingredients. The DNA that makes up Mortal Kombat is really what we’re working with here.”

“And the thing that needs to be amplified and elevated and really my process wasn’t about changing it was about taking and studying what makes up each character and what makes up the lore and what makes the music. The authenticity and the brutality of that and putting those things together and then making a big cinematic version of it. That was the new bit and the new bit wasn’t changing. The new bit was how it was presented.”

After more than two decades in development, Mortal Kombat is expected to be a smash hit, bringing to life fan favourites including Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, Kano, and Raiden.

The story centres around Cole Young (Lewis Tan), a mixed martial arts fighter with a mysterious birthmark who suddenly finds himself the target of Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim). To protect himself and his family, Cole joins a collection of warriors who have been selected to keep Earthrealm safe from the forces of Outworld.

With the help of Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano), Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) and others, Cole embraces his destiny as a fighter and prepares to face off against the Outworld enemies in a battle for the future of the universe.

The core cast features Lewis Tan as Cole, Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero, Australian actors McNamee as Sonya Blade and Josh Lawson as Kano plus Tadanobu Asano as Raiden, Mehcad Brooks as Jackson “Jax” Briggs, Ludi Lin as Liu Kang, Chin Han as Shang Tsung.

This is the third movie in the Mortal Kombat franchise, with the first released in 1995.

See the highly anticipated live-action adaptation of Mortal Kombat at HOYTS first on Wednesday, April 21. Book your tickets here.

Read more stories from TheLatch— and subscribe to our email newsletter.