Though Mortal Kombat director Simon McQuoid admits he hadn’t been the most loyal fan of the video game series over the years, he and his cast more than made up for lost time through research—and by “research,” we of course mean: Button-mashing, heart-ripping, Goro-fighting gameplay, racking up the fatalities until they knew the characters inside and out. All of their hard work paid off, bringing an astounding level of detail to Mortal Kombat (his feature debut) that longtime fans will surely appreciate, threading the mechanics of gameplay into its many, many action scenes. In the video above, The A.V. Club speaks with McQuoid about the process of adapting the ancient art of Mortal Kombat from the arcade to film, and how the movie’s creative team ensured that their newest fighter—Lewis Tan’s Cole Young—fit in with the rest of franchise’s storied universe.
Mortal Kombat hits theaters—and begins streaming exclusively on HBO Max—on Friday, April 23.