Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match, is the fourth animated film in the franchise and sees Johnny Cage in 1980s Hollywood on a mission to become a famous actor. However, his world soon changes when his co-star disappears, and he embarks on a journey filled with danger and deceit.
Featuring a terrific voice cast, the film stars Community’s Joel McHale as Johnny Cage and Jennifer Grey as Herself. We sat down with McHale to discuss his love of Mortal Kombat and how much fun it is to play Johnny Cage…
What’s it like coming back to play Johnny Cage again?
It’s great! When they first asked whether I wanted to play Johnny Cage, I was like ‘I’m offended that you would even wonder what my answer would be because it was such a yes’. Such a big yes! I would do it in a heartbeat and it was so fun to make.
I love how these movies are adult. I love how we can swear and there are adult themes and the violence is wonderfully over-the-top. I think they’ve really done a great job with this version of Mortal Kombat.
If you had told me in 1992 when I was playing this in Seattle as a teenager, that I was gonna play him in these movies, I would have been like: ‘What did I do so right in my life that all of a sudden, I’m the Johnny Cage voice?!’. I don’t know why I’m so lucky. But yeah, it was really cool to come back and do a whole movie of it. It was really fun.
Also it looks really great. It looks so wonderfully Eighties. It’s a real tribute to that time, and that Miami Vice-look is kind of established. I love that stuff.
And I know all the references! There are all sorts of references that I’m sure young people will be, ‘what the…? I’ll have to look it up’. I’ve got them all ready to go. A lot of Hungry Hungry Hippos references were ready to go.
In the previous Mortal Kombat movies, Johnny is part of an ensemble. What does a Mortal Kombat movie with Johnny as the centre look it?
It’s really annoying for the producers because I don’t stop talking!
I’ll be in the booth and I tell a lot of jokes, and I improvise a lot of jokes to varying degrees of success [haha]. I don’t stop talking and they were like ‘yes, Joel we have ten options for this one line. Thank you. Let’s move on. You’ve done an hour.’
How different is voice acting to on-camera acting?
You don’t have to dress up and you don’t have to go through makeup. So there’s that part which I love.
But the effort of the voice is no joke. I’m standing the whole time. I want to make sure the energy of the scene is matching what that scene is calling for.
So it does actually become work in the way that I’m using my voice and I want to make each scene great. It’s like a workout. I find it intense and wonderful. Then at the end of the day, I’m tired. So yeah, it was really fun.
Voiceovers are very different and I like to improvise a lot!
We see more of Johnny’s backstory in this movie, what was it like to find out more about his past?
It’s an origin story movie and it’s a full comedy, which was so cool of them to let that part of it fly because in the other movies, Johnny Cage is a comic relief, in a really fun, great way.
In this one, they really let jokes fly, which I was like, ‘thank you for that’. So it’s a slightly different shade of that. It’s not a different type of movie, but it’s just slightly more comedic and I’ll take that any day of the week. It was really fun.
He’s such a pompous ass and he’s so self-focused. I’m really good at playing dicks apparently! Everyone’s like ‘why do you always play a dick?” And I’m like, I don’t know, it’s just a gift!’
He has to face a few things in his life that he doesn’t like to face, so I love all that stuff. It gives him a lot of perspective. I was really so happy they did they did this. I would love to do another!
What are you looking forward to audiences seeing in Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match?
When I saw Thor: Ragnarok or Army of Darkness – the combination of comedy and action and over-the-top violence – that is a genre that I love. So hopefully they’ll get that out of it.
This universe was [started] in 1992. It’s just so rare that something like this continues. I mean, is there any other video game that’s done this!?
I’m honoured to be a part of it. I’m not kidding, you always hear actors saying ‘it’s honour to do this role’, but ask any of my friends – when I’m like, ‘I’m fucking Johnny Cage!’, they’re like, ‘holy shit!’
Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match is available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Download now.