Mortal Kombat is one of the most famous fighting games of all time – it was created and developed by Midway Games, all the way back in 1991. The characters, stories, and gameplay mechanics are something that truly attracted the abundance of players all over the world. Which of course meant, that Hollywood decided to adapt the movies into live-action movies.
While some fans disliked them wholeheartedly, Mortal Kombat movies developed a cult following and are considered among the best movies based on video games, and fans talk about them even today. Inspired by the new game adaptations that are released every now and then, we decided to talk about Mortal Kombat movies, and talk about them in detail. So, for that, in this article, we will talk about how many Mortal Kombat movies are out there and their watch order.
If you are interested in this topic and love the Mortal Kombat franchise, check out this article!
How Many Mortal Kombat Movies Are There?
Even though there twenty-three Mortal Games released since 1992, there are only three Mortal Kombat movies created in the last few decades. We will talk about each movie in detail and see if they really caught the true charm of Mortal Kombat games. First, two movies got released in the span of two years, 1995 and 1997 respectively, while we had to wait twenty years for the Mortal Kombat movie released last year.
Mortal Kombat Movies in Order (At Glance)
As we already said, there are plenty of Mortal Kombat games released since 1992 and their plots are mostly surrounding the original premise of the games. Even though we got two Mortal Kombat movies in the span of two years, Hollywood strayed away from the franchise because game adaptations to live-action films were not received really well. However, in true remake fashion that is happening in the last few years, Hollywood came back to the notable gaming franchise once again and decided to create another Mortal Kombat movie that was released in 2021. These are Mortal Kombat games at glance:
- Mortal Kombat (1995)
- Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)
- Mortal Kombat (2021)
What Is the Best Way To Watch Mortal Kombat Movies?
You can definitely watch the Mortal Kombat movies by the release date. After the popularity of the first Mortal Kombat movie in 1995, the sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation in 1997, was bombed at the box office and with critics, which prompted the movie executives to bin another announced sequel. The newest entry on this list, Mortal Kombat from 2021 is essentially a remake – they restarted the franchise. So, yes, definitely watch the movies in release date order.
Mortal Kombat Movies in Order by Release Date
1. Mortal Kombat (1995)
As we already mentioned, the first Mortal Kombat was released in 1995, after the original game became really popular all over the world. The director of the movie was Paul Anderson, and the writer who worked on the film was Kevin Droney. The premise of the movie was based on the original Mortal Kombat game, developed and created by Ed Boon and John Tobias. The premise goes something like this – a martial arts tournament called Mortal Kombat is held once every generation between the representatives of the Earth and Outworld, which were conceived by Elder Gods, amid the invasion of the Earth by Outworld.
If the Outworld representatives achieve ten consecutive victories, the Outworld Emperor will come and conquer the Earth Realm. Of course, they already have nine consecutive wins, and this tournament is probably the most important one in the Earth’s history. Ryden is the defender of the Earth Realm and chooses Earth’s representatives to fight in the Mortal Kombat tournament – he chooses Sonya Blade, Liu Kang, and Johnny Cage.
Each character has something to prove or achieve in this tournament – Johnny Cage is a movie star whose fighting skills are doubted by the media. Sonya is an officer who is forcefully pushed onto the boat towards the island by the crime boss Kano, who killed her partner. Finally, Liu Kang, a Shaolin monk, seeks revenge for his brother, against Shang Tsung, a tournament host.
There are other characters who appear in the movie – Prince Gorro, Reptile, Scorpio, Sub-Zero, Princess Kitana, and more. The movie is full of cool sequences and tries to stay really true to its original source material. The movie also provides the fans of the games cool teaming up with other characters and overall good fun. After some years, the movie gained a cult following, and fans still gladly talk about it today.
We won’t spoil anything or the ending, but we will just say that the movie leaves an open ending for the sequel that we will talk about in the next paragraph.
2. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)
Just two years after the original movie was released, in 1997 we got the awaited sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. It is largely an adaptation of the Mortal Kombat 3 game released in 1995.
The movie changed a lot in its background staff – Paul Anderson was not the director anymore and was replaced by John R. Leonetti. The writers were changed as well, Brent V. Friedman and Bryce Zabel were responsible for the movie’s story. The premise of the second Mortal Kombat movie follows immediately after the happenings of the first movie.
The Outworld emperor Shao Kahn opens the portal to the Earth and resurrects Queen Sindel, Princess Kitana’s deceased mother, to begin and complete his invasion. Unfortunately, for the fans, Johnny Cage gets killed at the beginning of the movie. The crew falls back to seek help, and Sonya introduces the viewers to the cult character from the game Major Jackson “Jax” Briggs. After they separate, Sonya is attacked by the assassin Mileena, and everything escalates from there.
Meanwhile, Kitana and Liu Kang are trying to search for a Native American called Nighwolf who allegedly knows how to beat Kahn. Ryden is trying to reason with the Elder Gods, and eventually falls back and goes back to his allies to defeat Outworld Evil. Jax, Sonya, and Kitana kill Kahn’s soldiers, and eventually, Liu Kang simultaneously defeats Kahn, saves the world, and finally avenges his brother.
This sequel bombed massively in every single department – the story and overall look of the movie were catastrophic. After the infamous failure in every single department, the studio New Line Cinema decided to cancel the sequel that was announced. The movie is forgotten and could not replicate the success the first movie garnered.
3. Mortal Kombat (2021)
Finally, we have the most recent movie on this list, simply called Mortal Kombat. After years of Mortal Kombat live-action franchise film projects being in development hell, in 2016, Simon McQuoid was confirmed as the new director of the movie, and writers Greg Russo and Dave Callaham were confirmed to be part of the Mortal Kombat reboot project.
New Line and Warner Bros. finally took the franchise and decided to “resurrect” it, and the first step was to put the movie in the cinemas and release it on HBO Max. The movie received mixed reviews from critics and became the most successful movie release on the HBO Max streaming platform ever. It is safe to say that the movie was successful.
The premise of the movie is essentially like the first movie from 1995 – this time film creators decided to adapt more of the game’s origin story. However, the movie used the original character as the main protagonist, Cole Young, instead of Johnny Cage this time. The famous character wasn’t even part of this movie, however, it was hinted that he will be back for the sequel.
Jax is in this movie as well and most of the characters that only appeared in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. After Cole Young saves the day (instead of Liu Kang), and is revealed he is actually a descendant of Scorpio, Shang Tsung vows revenge on the Earth Realm, and Raiden declares he will already start training new warriors for the next tournament.
All in all, the Mortal Kombat reboot reintroduced the franchise in a good fashion – it was not flawless but the charm and focus on martial arts could be felt from the first movie.
Where To Watch Mortal Kombat Movies?
Outside of Europe, you can watch the movies on Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+ streaming platforms, while Europeans can watch the movies on HBO Max.
Will There Be More Mortal Kombat Movies?
After development hell the movie franchise suffered for two decades, the Mortal Kombat movie from last year gave us hope for more movies and Mortal Kombat content. Thankfully, a sequel is already in development – Jeremy Slater, who is also known for his work on Umbrella Academy, Moonknight, and Exorcist. He also worked on the Fantastic Four movie and live-action Death Note, and Simon McQuoid is confirmed as the director for the sequel.
This is certainly good news for the fans of the notable fighting game franchise and we hope they will at least replicate the success of the previous movie.