Why Does Hollywood always have to F*** it up?

CriticalGaming

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So Mortal Kombat is a pretty cool game series. Been around for what...30 years now? It's got lots of lore and shitloads of story to pull from that people all love and enjoy for the most part. While the writing itself might not be Oscar worthy (who gives a shit) it is still deep and very well established after so much time and so many many games.

All Hollywood had to do was make an R-rated version of the first MK film with perhaps a little bit more of the new canon added and everything would have been fine. Great even. Look I just wanna see people with super powers fuck each other up in gory ways, with a mix of some kick ass Bruce Lee shit. That's not too much to ask is it?

Well apparently for Hollywood it is, because everyone in Hollywood is stupid.

So Mortal Kombat (2021) just came out and you know it looked really slick in the trailers right? Sub-zero fucking people up, Scorpion looked good, Jax looks like Steve Harvey but that's okay Steve Harvey is a sexy *****, Sonya....looks like a plain ass lady but i can forgive that because it's not like Sonya is the most interestingly designed character in MK. Then you have Mileena...and holy fuck what the fuck is that? It looks like someone just rubbed a bunch of lipstick over her cheeks and called it a day. She has a mask! Use the mask if you want to be lazy in the make-up department you morons!

So after the intro of Scorpion and Sub-zero's little backstory fight (which is cool), we get introduced to everyone's favorite MK character Cole....Cole uh....(checks notes)..Cole nobody! Who the fuck is this? Why do we need a new random dipshit for a story with like 30 other viable characters!?

Okay I'm not gonna review the movie, that's not the point.

The point of the thread is why does Hollywood even bother with using a property if they aren't even going to pay any attention to it? All this effort to make a new Mortal Kombat and you don't even pay any attention to Mortal Kombat's story? It's just tossed in there as an afterthought and used really fucking stupidly. I understand that liberties need to be taken and corners need to be cut because of limited runtime, but if you look around at the other things that Hollywood has adapted, you'll find that they do take care with other media.

Books, Broadway shows, comics, for the most part Hollywood does show the property a decent level of respect when creating a film. Now sometimes the property is "Maze Runner" which is stupid to begin with so it's hardly the fault of Hollywood for the films also being stupid.

I thought Hollywood learned their lesson with this. Look at how much care they've put into Marvel stuff, even greenlighting a Deadpool series that fixes previous mistakes. Yet every fucking time it comes to a video game property, it's like they get the dumbest fucking idiots to write and cast the goddamn thing and I don't understand? Why purposefully make a piece of shit that will ultimately bomb?

Hollywood done fucked it up again. This is why I don't pay for movies anymore.
 
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SilentPony

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I think the obvious answer is that a video game's plot doesn't translate to movie form very well. A game needs a plot that's interactable and enjoyable to play for 8-10 hours. A movie needs a non-interactable plot that's started, middled and finished in 90mins.

Specifically to Mortal Kombat, the plot is a tissue thin cover to explain how characters magically come back to life, why new ninjas periodically show up, and how every single issue needs to be solved with a fist fight. Imagine having a plot in Smash Brothers that attempts to explain how OoT Link, Skyward Sword Link, Wind Waker Link, Link's Awakening Link and Majora's Mask Link are all fighting at the same time in Samus' bathroom using Pokemon.
Its not the point is my point. Tournament Fighters are not known to be story rich games, they're all set up, no plot or consequences. Every Mortal Kombat games needs to have an equally valid canon ending for every single character, all of which are non-canon because the writers will just reset things in the next one. You can't do continuity and progression in a story that's 100% about killing characters. I like Johnny Cage. Well too bad, he died 6 games ago, but then we brought him back to life, but he's different now, but also only in the DLC and he fights a zombie version of himself and his own daughter and its just a mess.
 
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Piscian

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It's a bit more complicated than "Hollywood", but yeah I get the sentiment. As a film buff I honestly could write an hours long treatise on the glaring mistakes made in producing Mortal Kombat (2021). Going through the film step by step - dialog, aesthetic choices, scripting, storyboarding, it would be easy money betting on which scenes were thrown together when, where budget cuts caused rewrites etc. The film is the perfect specimen for examination of "Hollywood" bloat.

In this particular case my conspiracy mind would point out that this was another "WB" snafu. You can find so many interviews and stories online from actors, directors and writers who have gone through the insanity of WB film production.

WB still to this day will have something like 10-20 producers and execs sit in a room reviewing films all the way up through production. In Mortal Kombats case, its also worth pointing out the crew is largely a mystery bunch. There's no context for why any of these people were chosen, even the fight coordinator is a nobody.

It's an interesting contrast to whats been happening with Disney. After the Age Of Ultron meltdown and then Rise Of Crapwalker they've started to get on board with the idea of trusting singular voices to drive production, like when you hire the Russo bros, back the fuck off and let them own the production. Maybe they'll fail but clearly the metrics are showing having Execs micromanage is failing to work out at the box office.

WB on the other hand, as we saw with with the complete meltdown of the DCCU has not quite learn from Disney just yet.
 
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Phoenixmgs

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I wouldn't really say it's Hollywood per se. Video game movies usually get bad talent which means bad writing. And having a new character be the audience surrogate character is just a symptom of bad writing. The same thing happened to comic book movies, the talent making them early on was shit so you got shit movies most of the time.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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I’ve read that they basically added Cole because having Kano and Johnny Cage would be too much smart-ass’ing for one movie. Now that Kano’s gone, and this looks like it killed the BO (at least in pandemic #’s), we’ll see what Cage brings to the sequel.

Also, they deliberately wanted to avoid just “remaking” the original but violent, so there’s that.
 
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laggyteabag

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Yeah, I don't know why they went in this direction, other than some studio big-wig who demanded that there must be someone "relatable".

Mortal Kombat is about cheesy characters, fun lore, and over-the-top gore. And this is an R-rated film, so everybody who is watching this, knows what they are getting into.

This is a franchise about an interdimensional fight-to-the-death tournament, where a 500 year old dead ninja from hell, will fight an Australian mercenary with a laser eye, and both characters can and will punch each other's literal brains out. I don't really see where a man who just wants to keep his wife and daughter safe, fits into this. This isn't some family film about trying to send some positive message, or whatever.

He was just so dull, it was just distracting. Every time he appeared on the screen, I audibly said "Who the fuck are you?", because he just didn't belong.

I'll be genuinely interested to see if he reappears in the sequel. Provided there is one.
 
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Agema

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Hollywood done fucked it up again. This is why I don't pay for movies anymore.
Nobody makes a mega-smash relying only on fans, unless the property they're making a movie of is Harry Potter or Spiderman league big. If they don't try to reach out beyond fans, they are limiting their earnings, potentially catastrophically. The fans can be abused a bit: they'll watch it anyway even if they grumble. They certainly couldn't justify a substantial budget aiming just at fans.

After that, it's simply a different beast transferring media. Mortal Kombat is a paper-thin excuse for gamers to take the role of characters beating each other up. It barely has a story, relatable characters, etc. You may as well string together twenty consecutive 1-round boxing matches and call it a movie, and it would fail at the box office. It's much harder to adapt than a book where all that stuff already exists.

From there, the obvious attraction of Cole is the cliche of the humble tyro who must learn to be a great champion (peasant who finds out he's heir to the throne; spindly wristed, bullied kid who finds out he's a great mage, etc.). Yes, in a way totally tedious, but it should be a safe hook to hang the film on for non-devotees of Mortal Kombat. Otherwise without this, as above, I doubt this movie could justify even half the budget, and then what would be the point if it were just the original MK with more blood?

And finally, Phoenixmgs is right: this sort of project is not going to attract the sort of top-flight talent to make a really good job. Maybe the director will have done something to make his mark and get some decent offers in future - I think it's his debut.
 
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CaitSeith

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The point of the thread is why does Hollywood even bother with using a property if they aren't even going to pay any attention to it?
Because they think they know better (at least, they think they know how to make movies to make more money than by being accurate to the game). You should be aware of that by now.
 
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BrawlMan

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@CriticalGaming, you're going to love this.

I thought the MK 2021 was okay, but the 1995 version is the better film. Scorpion's Revenge is definitely better than MK 2021. As far as fighting game movies go, SFII: The Animated Movie is still king. Rampage (2018) had similar changes I felt that were unnecessary. For example, the animals are already animals in the film, compared to the games, where they were humans turned in to giant animals. I find it ironic that a films like Deep Horizon and Double Impact are better film adaptions of Doom and Double Dragon than the actual adaptions. Ninja Assassin is basically a live-action Ninja Gaiden.
 

Meximagician

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Mostly it seems to come down to embarrassment. The big names don't want to work on video game or comic products at all, the smaller names don't have the restraint to not pointlessly meddle*. The best example comes from the first X-Men film, where Wolverine asks (regarding their costumes) "You actually go outside in these things?" and Cyclops quips "Would you prefer yellow spandex?"

Yes, yes we would Scott, you ruby quartz speccy douche. We would prefer the design iterated over 20+ years by professionals, over the black leather preteen-angst-riddled jumpsuits Jimmy the intern slapped together two weeks ago. Hell I'd prefer Cyclops' Uncanny X-Men design, cause at least that stupid jumbo 'X' visor is visually distinct, even if it does looks like staging notes someone mistook for a new design.

And for anyone still saying that video game writing must be re-written for the big screen: Hardcore Henry... exists? It's even 96 minutes, so it's not a problem with runtime, just be more willing to have the action, physical comedy, and spectacle take center stage. This is the entertainment industry, isn't it?

*side note: Even good film adaptations have changes, Jurassic Park changed little things, Die Hard (adapted from Nothing Lasts Forever) changed major themes. However, these changes were made with the answers to both 'why?' and 'to be replaced with what?' in mind from the start. Changing things just because you 'don't like it' or 'just to leave some fingerprints' leads to sloppy, unfocused works.
 

BrawlMan

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Yes, yes we would Scott, you ruby quartz speccy douche. We would prefer the design iterated over 20+ years by professionals, over the black leather preteen-angst-riddled jumpsuits Jimmy the intern slapped together two weeks ago. Hell I'd prefer Cyclops' Uncanny X-Men design, cause at least that stupid jumbo 'X' visor is visually distinct, even if it does looks like staging notes someone mistook for a new design.
That design trait with the black leather dates back to Batman (1989), The Crow (1994) and Blade (1998). This the era where things had to be taken "seriously" and any type of color was seen as "silly" or "stupid". Thank God, the Spider-Man films and MCU shot and killed that awful design trend.

And for anyone still saying that video game writing must be re-written for the big screen: Hardcore Henry... exists? It's even 96 minutes, so it's not a problem with runtime, just be more willing to have the action, physical comedy, and spectacle take center stage. This is the entertainment industry, isn't it?
Hardcore Henry is such an awesome thrill ride. It's basically F.E.A.R, COD, and Universal Soldier all rolled in to one. HH doubles as a remake to Universal Soldier as well.
 

MrCalavera

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And for anyone still saying that video game writing must be re-written for the big screen: Hardcore Henry... exists? It's even 96 minutes, so it's not a problem with runtime, just be more willing to have the action, physical comedy, and spectacle take center stage. This is the entertainment industry, isn't it?
There are movies out there that succeed at adapting video game tropes to a (figurative now)movie reel, without being based on any particular video game.

Besides HH, Edge of Tomorrow comes to mind, for example. Or, though i may be reaching here, Crank.
 

BrawlMan

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Besides HH, Edge of Tomorrow comes to mind, for example. Or, though i may be reaching here, Crank.
Edge of Tomorrow is based on the light novel-manga, All You Need Is Kill, btw. Your point still stands. Crank is usually considered the best GTA movie ever made. The creators of Crank were inspired by GTA to an extent. You know what, Dog Soldiers is a better Resident Evil movie, than all of the Paul WS Anderson "adaptions".
 

Piscian

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Might be a bit before some folks time, but theres an Uncredited Tekken movie called Avenging Fist. Essentially they couldn't get the rights to Tekken so they just made their own thing. You can spot a couple characters that just got a name change. Despite being cheesy its generally considered to be far superior to the real Tekken Movie. Jackie Chans buddy Sammo Hung is in it.


At the end of the film, the film reads "Important notice: The movie is not based on or related to any of the "Tekken" video games and is not licensed by Namco Limited".
 
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Gordon_4

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Nobody makes a mega-smash relying only on fans, unless the property they're making a movie of is Harry Potter or Spiderman league big. If they don't try to reach out beyond fans, they are limiting their earnings, potentially catastrophically. The fans can be abused a bit: they'll watch it anyway even if they grumble. They certainly couldn't justify a substantial budget aiming just at fans.

After that, it's simply a different beast transferring media. Mortal Kombat is a paper-thin excuse for gamers to take the role of characters beating each other up. It barely has a story, relatable characters, etc. You may as well string together twenty consecutive 1-round boxing matches and call it a movie, and it would fail at the box office. It's much harder to adapt than a book where all that stuff already exists.

From there, the obvious attraction of Cole is the cliche of the humble tyro who must learn to be a great champion (peasant who finds out he's heir to the throne; spindly wristed, bullied kid who finds out he's a great mage, etc.). Yes, in a way totally tedious, but it should be a safe hook to hang the film on for non-devotees of Mortal Kombat. Otherwise without this, as above, I doubt this movie could justify even half the budget, and then what would be the point if it were just the original MK with more blood?

And finally, Phoenixmgs is right: this sort of project is not going to attract the sort of top-flight talent to make a really good job. Maybe the director will have done something to make his mark and get some decent offers in future - I think it's his debut.
The only problem here is that the original Mortal Kombat just used Johnny, Sonya and Liu AS the audience surrogates and each have fairly simple to grasp motivations for jumping in on the plot: Sonya and Liu both want revenge against Kano and Shang Tsung respectively, and Johnny wants to prove his martial arts skills are legit. Fighting tournament motivation 101.

Of course we could just stop dancing around it and make the movie ABOUT Scorpion and Sub Zero since they’re some of the de facto faces of the game.
 
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BrawlMan

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Might be a bit before some folks time, but theres an Uncredited Tekken movie called Avenging Fist. Essentially they couldn't get the rights to Tekken so they just made their own thing. You can spot a couple characters that just got a name change. Despite being cheesy its generally considered to be far superior to the real Tekken Movie. Jackie Chans buddy Sammo Hung is in it.

Never heard of it, but I had to least be 11 or 12 when that film released.

The Purge movies are basically Mahunt in movie form. No snuff film elements though, but it works out for the better in my opinion.

 

hanselthecaretaker

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@CriticalGaming, you're going to love this.


One of the comments basically summed up the direction the movie took for me -

Eidlones
I think one of the big reasons video game movies can't get better, is because studios think that it's too weird for non-fans to get into. So to make it more palatable to them, they water it down and add in generic shit like Cole and his sole personality trait being he loves his family.


It totally threw the whole movie off. They could’ve had the tournament be an actual tournament (on Shang’s island!) and still had the Scorpion/Sub Zero rivalry interlaced throughout, with cheeky comic relief when needed. For a movie that boasted so much about the fight scenes too, it was disappointing that only Scorpion and Sub Zero did much of it. I literally don’t remember much of any other bits. Well, the GORO fight but that ended pretty much the opposite of how it should have.

Hopefully they can steer this ship back in course for a sequel. It’s disappointing when I’d still hold these couple fights above 90% of what MK2021 had -



It’s like they were afraid to just let the fights speak for themselves in the new one, aside from Hanzo and Bi Han and their mystical forms.
 
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Dirty Hipsters

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Did you actually claim that Mortal Kombat's story is deep?

It's about as deep as one of those plastic kiddy pools.
 
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