Mortal Kombat’s colorful fighters, deep lore (read: ridiculous), and exaggerated violence lend themselves better to film and television than most game franchises. Who doesn’t want to see a demonic ninja rip the heart of a shape-changing wizard? It’s baby money, and Hollywood clearly agrees. The beloved franchise has a long history of spilled blood outside the confines of video games with varying degrees of success, from ’90s movies to an animated series to a few live-action shows – and I’ve watched them all. .
So with the new Mortal Kombat Movie bringing our favorite kombatants back to the big screen again, I guess I would give my personal, worst to best rating of the Mortal Kombat screen adaptations. From the surprisingly awesome to the hilariously horrifying, everything on this list is worth taking a look at if you’re feeling yourself a MK devotee.
Honorable mention: Mortal Kombat: Live Tour (1995)
It wasn’t a movie or TV adaptation, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Mortal Kombat: Live Tour. For those of you who weren’t kids in the early ’90s, I really can’t overstate how popular Mortal Kombat really was back then. Sure, it’s still a big franchise today, but it was sort of a pop culture phenomenon in its early years and their 200-city touring show was a prime example of that. Young MK fans flocked to convention centers, theaters, and arenas to see their heart-wrenching heroes in the flesh, indulging in choreographed fights and martial arts demonstrations dressed in pretty bad costumes (even for the time). It’s super cheesy, but I love watching clips of this weird thing every now and then. I never got to see it live, but I’d like to know if any of you were lucky enough to have your parents train you to watch Sub-Zero’s backflip to techno and laser lights.