A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a bit about Mortal Kombat: Legacy. It got my mind racing as to what a full-fledged MK movie reboot might look like. So, without further ado, I present to you my dream cast for that (not so realistic) movie.
Director: Guillermo Del Toro
With Hellboy and Pacific Rim, Del Toro has proven that he can do action. He’s also proven that he’s a master of the weird and macabre. Truth be told, the world of Mortal Kombat isn’t all that different from the world of Hellboy, so Del Toro seems the perfect fit to bring to life the oddities of Outworld juxtaposed with the everyday of Earthrealm.
Raiden: Liam Neeson
By casting Liam Neeson as Raiden, we’re sending a clear message that this is to be a self-serious re-envisioning of the series, as self-serious is really the only mode that Liam Neeson has. It’s hard not to see Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and not already see the similarities with Raiden; everything from the poise and compassion, to even the outfit. Neeson’s character in episode I is a perfect portrait of what Raiden should look like.
Kano: Gerard Butler
I struggled between choosing Butler and Russell Crowe for this role. Both have the edge needed to play Kano, and both could handle the action well. Ultimately, Butler being a bit younger felt like a better fit for Kano.
Sonya Blade: Katie Sackhoff
When I thought about the perfect Sonya Blade, initially I thought of Scarlett Johansen. She’s got the curves, and obviously has the action chops given her role as Black Widow. The more I thought about it though, Katie Sackhoff kept creeping into my mind. Her headstrong role as Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica seems an utterly perfect primer to play Sonya Blade. Sure, she may not have the triple-A sex appeal of a ScarJo, but Katie Sackhoff isn’t ugly by any stretch.
Johnny Cage: Mark Wahlberg
Finding an action star to play the role of an action star seems like an easy task. I thought initially about Chris Pratt and even Zac Efron, but they both seemed too young. The thing is, Johnny Cage’s character is a somewhat washed up action star, so the actor has to have a bit of age to them, while still maintaining that action star look. Mark Wahlberg’s natural personality seems a bit like Johnny Cage’s anyway.
Sub-Zero: Christian Bale
In my imagining of Mortal Kombat we’ll see a unmasked Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Of the two, Sub-Zero was the original villain, and Bale definitely has the range to play the ice-cold assassin. Bruce Wayne, with Wayne’s compassion substituted by the psychosis of Patrick Bateman makes for an extremely interesting take on Sub-Zero.
Scorpion: Ryan Gosling
Stick with me here…who does emo brooding better than Ryan Gosling? Aloof, and distracted, his characters always seem to have an air of mystery, with nice helping of ruthless violence thrown in. Casting Gosling as Scorpion seems appropriate to me as Scorpion cares little for anything other than vengeance. He says little and fights like a man possessed (because he is) which, again, fits well with roles Gosling has played in the past.
Liu Kang: James Kyson Lee
Of all the actors on this list, James Kyson Lee (apparently going simply by James Kyson now) is by far the least well known. Kyson played Ando Masahashi, Hiro’s lovable sidekick on Heroes. Bringing the same bright-eyed charisma he showed as Ando to the character of Liu Kang would give some credit to the idea that Liu is the most genuine force for good in Earthrealm.
Shang Tsung: Ken Watanabe
To be honest, Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa’s original performance as Shang Tsung is hard to top. The original Mortal Kombat movie may not be a classic, but Tagawa’s portrayal of Shang Tsung was nearly pitch-perfect. That said, in the spirit of coming up with a completely new cast, I felt like there were only two real choices to play Shang Tsung; Ken Watanabe and Hiroyuki Sanada. Ultimately I chose Watanabe because he has a larger body of work to draw from. Specifically, his role as Rha’s Al Ghul, though small, lends itself to envisioning Watanabe as Shang Tsung.