Mortal Kombat movie: Shang Tsung powers up in this exclusive new image

Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

"There’s a lot of fighting in the film," Mortal Kombat movie director Simon McQuoid promises. And you would certainly hope he's right – this, after all, is an adaptation of one of the most famous fighting video game series of all time. Unlike the last Mortal Kombat movie, though, this one promises bloody fatalities aplenty.

"Some fights are big, some are small, but my main goal was to make the fights mean something," McQuoid tells Total Film. "I wanted the fights to look and feel like they didn’t just sort of pop out of the story and then come back in. 

"I didn’t want anything generic. I didn’t want anything that you could see in any action movie. The stunt team on this were just amazing, and they designed some pretty fucking incredible things.”

Above you can see an exclusive image from the new Mortal Kombat movie. It features Chin Han (Ghost in the Shell, Marco Polo, The Dark Knight) as the villain Shang Tsung, who was famously played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa in the 1995 movie adaptation. (GamesRadar+ previously spoke to Han about the role here)

Warner Bros/Mortal Kombat

(Image credit: HBO Max)

"It’s unapologetically brutal," McQuoid continues. “We spent a lot of time talking about blood and what it looks like, but we just wanted to do it in a smart way. We have to make it mean something and we have to make you care. When we need to push it to 10 we definitely pushed it to 10, so there was no one shying away from that. And there’s one moment I saw today that had me leaping for joy. It’s like Christmas morning every day in the editing suite at the moment – I go in and the effects company have revved everything up... I just can't wait for you all to see it."

It might have taken 25 years to bring Mortal Kombat to the big screen but talk is already turning to possible sequels, even if “cinematic universe” isn’t a phrase McQuoid is comfortable using just yet. “To be honest, that’s going to be for the fans to decide,” he says. “When you look back at the games and where they’ve gone with their worlds and their stories and the characters, obviously, there’s a lot more to draw from. But let’s not get arrogant here. Let’s try and get step one right first...”

Mortal Kombat is scheduled to open in US cinemas and on HBO Max on 16 April (check out the latest HBO Max prices with our guide). For much more on the film – plus an exclusive report from the set of Godzilla vs Kong – pick up a copy of the new issue of Total Film magazine when it hits shelves (real and digital) this Friday, March 5. Check out the new covers below:

Total Film's Godzilla vs. Kong covers

(Image credit: Future)

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Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.