August 19, 1995
From Entertainment Correspondent Dennis Michael
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN)--'Mortal Kombat' comes to 2000 screens around the country this weekend. But the movie is more than just a film, even more than just a film based on a video game, it's a tightly organized campaign to saturate the culture. (153k aiff sound file) (153k wav sound file)
'Mortal Kombat' as a video game is already a $2 billion business. The take is going up this weekend with the debut of the feature film based on the game. It stars Christopher Lambert as 'Rayden' the god of lightning who is the tongue- in-cheek coach for the defenders of mankind. Lambert, an enthusiastic video gamer himself, says he knows this one is going to be the big one. "I think it's the first time that you're translating a video game into a movie with a real story because the two previous movies, for me, didn't have a story. It was just fights and fights and fights and fights, after half an hour it's boring," said Lambert.
'Mortal Kombat' has something that no other game based film, probably no other film ever had, a battle plan. The movie's release is just the start. Every two weeks until well into fall, there's another 'Mortal Kombat' product or media event on the schedule. "We have a movie that releases on over 2000 screens on August 18th, we have a direct to video state-of- the-art digital animated special that comes out august 29th. This tour hits Radio City Music Hall on September 14, we have a CD-ROM coming out October 1 and Mortal Kombat three comes out in October," said the film's producer Larry Kasanoff.
Kasanoff is directing a commercial for the 'Mortal Kombat' live tour, something that shows what can happen when you plan carefully. The sets for the commercial and the tour were originally made for the movie and were also digitized for the made-for-video animation release. Animators who contributed spectacular effects for the movie were tapped for the animation special and some of the cutting edge 'motion capture' work made for the game ended up in the film. "We had a shot in the movie where Linden Ashby, who plays Johnny Cage, fights Goro, an eight foot, four armed creature, on a ledge 2000 feet high," said Kasanoff. "So we used motion capture animation. We reused the data, we redressed the characters from the animation to look like Johnny Cage and Goro in the movie, put it on the ledge and you can't tell the difference."
Special effects alone doesn't make a hit movie, and neither does shrewd planning. Kasanoff said, "Hit movies are made by great stories and great filmmaking. Mortal Kombat is a great story. That's why it will make a great movie."
Critics may be ready to duke it out but Mortal Kombat is ready to fight.
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