|Mortal Kombat: Rebirth|
|Directed by||Kevin Tancharoen|
|Based on||Mortal Kombat|
by Ed Boon & John Tobias
|Edited by||Kevin Tanchaoren|
Mortal Kombat: Rebirth is a 2010 American short fan film directed by Kevin Tancharoen, with fight choreography by Larnell Stovall. Based on the Mortal Kombat series of fighting games, the short-film "actually was made by the director to sell Warner Bros. on his vision for a reimagined Mortal Kombat film." The pitch eventually evolved into the web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy.
The short-film features an alternative version of the Mortal Kombat universe. The characters of the game are portrayed with vastly different origins, based on realism. There is no mention of Outworld or any other supernatural elements, although the tournament itself is a main part of the storyline in this short. Tancharoen himself has noted that he wouldn't shy away from supernatural elements entirely, but they have to be "done in a very tasteful way".
Deacon City Police Captain Jackson Briggs informs the assassin Hanzo Hasashi about the criminals Reptile and Baraka; the latter has recently killed actor-turned-undercover-officer Johnny Cage in a fight. Briggs believes they were both working for a man named Shang Tsung. He asks Hasashi to kill them in a mysterious tournament hosted by Tsung. When offered his freedom in exchange for accomplishing such tasks, Hasashi reveals that he willingly had himself incarcerated—and could free himself at any time. Then Sonya Blade arrives with a folder and informs Hasashi that his enemy Sub-Zero is alive and the one he killed was his brother. It becomes clear to Hasashi that the terms of his participation in the tournament involve killing Reptile, Baraka and Shang Tsung in return for access to Sub-Zero. Since the real Sub-Zero will be at the tournament, Hasashi, now calling himself Scorpion, agrees to participate.
Initially appearing on YouTube, the video was received with confusion by websites such as IGN and 1UP.com, both of which were uncertain if the video was a viral marketing ploy to promote either a new film or a video game. Contradicting reports came from the actors involved, with White's representatives believing it was an advertisement for an upcoming Mortal Kombat game, while Ryan admitted her appearance was as a favor to a friend and described the video as a pitch for a film.
Kevin Tancharoen, the director of the short film, spent about $7,500 to produce it. Known for productions with a completely different appeal as the dance film You Got Served and the musical Fame, Tancharoen took two months to produce everything. Filming took place in April 2010 over a period of two days, using borrowed cameras. Actor Matt Mullins already knew the director, but had not had an opportunity to work with him. A few months before filming Tancharoen called him, inviting him to participate in a short film he was planning to shoot. The script was sent to Mullins who, impressed with the text and the director's vision for the franchise, agreed to participate as Johnny Cage. Tancharoen himself has admitted that the film was never meant to be seen public, he merely wanted to use it as a pitch to Warner Bros, but when uploading it to YouTube, he accidentally published it to the public.
Series creator Ed Boon himself has noted that the film was "awesome" and had "no idea it was being made", though he did opine that it "probably crosses the line" as far as "re-imagining" goes. He later stated that he thought it was "incredibly well done" and that it was "a legitimate alternate universe Mortal Kombat".
Larnell Stovall, besides being responsible for the choreography of all the fights, was also responsible for presenting Michael Jai White to the project. Jeri Ryan, when asked about her role in the film, said she agreed to do it as a favor to a friend.