Kevin Tancharoen's MORTAL KOMBAT Will Rebirth in 2013

Guy who gave us the Mortal Kombat: Rebirth short and then the Mortal Kombat: Legacy webisodes will direct a big screen reboot of the fighting video game franchise.

So it looks like Kevin Tancharoen is going to get his chance to bring the fighting video game Mortal Kombat franchise back to the big screen. This is the guy who directed the Fame remake and the Glee 3D concert movie but none of those failures won him this gig. It was instead the virals that got fanboys tongues wagging last summer when he self-financed a promo trailer for what he could do if he was even given the chance to bring the world's greatest fighting tournament back into theatres. Titled Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, the original 8 minute viral was of surprisingly high production value and included some recognisable faces, including Michael Jai White as the character Jax, Jeri Ryan as Sonya Blade and explained in length the back-stories for Reptile, Baraka, Scorpion and a really well put together fight scene involving Johnny Cage. Kombat geeks loved it and despite initially trying to block the video from hitting the web, Warner Bros listened to the discussion and interest in the franchise it sparked and they quickly greenlit a 10 part webisodes series for $2 million. Titled Mortal Kombat: Legacy the episodes were again popular and according to Deadline it's convinced Warner Bros to go ahead with a big screen reboot of the video game franchise. Here's the first part of the webisode which has been viewed by over 14 and a half million times; Tancharoen will direct the film next year for a 2013 release that will mark a return to the big screen after a whopping 16 years absence and it will go under the banner of New Line. It's an extremely rare case of WB making a film in conjunction with their video game division, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment who have owned the franchise since they acquired Midway Games out of bankruptcy for $49 million in 2009, and this past April they released their own MK game, the ninth in the series, that sold over 3 million copies. Rookie Oren Uziel (writer of the 2009 blacklisted screenplay Shimmer Lake & The Kitchen Sink, a high school genre mashing film with vampires, zombies & aliens that Jonah Hill is directing) has been tasked with writing duties. His name may seem familiar as in January 2010 he was hired by Warner Bros to write a Mortal Kombat reboot but the studio were never fully keen on backing it. That led to Uziel and Tancharoen putting their heads together on the 8 minute viral (Uziel wrote it) and now they get to work on a full-length movie that WB do actually want to see made. Tancharoen says his new movie (which will be made for well under $100 million) will look to offer a 'realistic take' on the MK universe, which is precisely what direction his webisodes went in. No word yet on a title but I wouldn't at all be surprised if it was actually titled Mortal Kombat: Rebirth or Mortal Kombat: Legacy and followed a similar storyline to the webisodes with Michael Jai White sure to star in there somewhere and probably Jeri Ryan, Ian Anthony Dale, Lateef Crowder and Matt Mullins will be in contention somewhere. The movie returns the martial arts inspired franchise to New Line where the then independent studio released Paul W.S. Anderson's Mortal Kombat in 1995 that delivered the mythology from the game in a respectful manner, contained all the major characters and the fight scenes were cool, despite not being as bloody and r-rated as my older self would have liked. It grossed $122 million and was top of the box office for three weeks. A sequel came in 1997 with Mortal Kombat: Annihilation that was less successful. Briefly my thoughts - personally, I think going the realistic route is a huge mistake and the new Mortal Kombat movie should embrace exactly what the source material is. A balls-to-the-wall, bloody, R-Rated gore fest with tons of fantasy (flying fireballs, frozen shoots) that has a deep mythology. Otherwise €“ what is the point? You lose what the game is about. Mortal Kombat isn't meant to be serious.... Plus they simply MUST hire celebrated fight choreographer Larnell Stoval whose work you can see in Undisputed 3: Redemption to make these fight scenes as exhilarating as they can be. What's your opinion on the new Mortal Kombat movie and how would you like to see the game approached?
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.