Joe Taslim was the first actor cast in HBO Max’s hyper-violent Mortal Kombat (he plays Sub-Zero). It was a wise decision, considering the actor and martial artist’s background as a judo champion; he’s also appeared in some of the best action movies and franchises in recent memory, including The Raid, Fast & Furious 6, and The Night Comes for Us. “Joe Taslim did an amazing job. He represented Indonesia for judo, so the guy is an athlete and he shows it, and the presence he brought to that character was just extraordinary,” director Simon McQuoid previously told Movie Web about Taslim.
His co-star Mehcad Brooks was equally complimentary in a making-of featurette (which you can watch above) for the R-rated movie. “Joe was so fast, they had to ask him to slow it down for the camera,” the actor, who plays Jax, said. “There’s like two guys that’s ever happened to: Joe Taslim and Bruce Lee.” The Lee claim isn’t entirely accurate, but it’s close enough to still be incredible. In any case, if you’re a martial artist being compared to Bruce Lee, you’re doing something right. And Lee would appreciate the thought that Taslim puts into his fight scenes:
“Let’s say a fight is four minutes,” Taslim explained. “That’s hard. There are no lines, but it’s not just a fight. There’s a story. Something is motivating those characters. What is the purpose of this fight? Does the character think he’s going to win, or does he already know he will die? Or is he just toying with his opponent who underestimates him? When you see a good fight scene, it’s never [just] a fight scene. It’s drama.”
Mortal Kombat comes out in theaters and on HBO Max on April 23.