Film / Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mka-249x300_8877.jpg

"DESTROY ALL EXPECTATIONS."

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, the second film based on the Mortal Kombat videogame franchise, incorporates characters and plot details from the series' first three games with a heavy emphasis on Mortal Kombat 3.

After the events of the first film, Liu Kang (Robin Shou) won Mortal Kombat for Earthrealm and broke Outworld's streak of consecutive tournament victories...and yet, Shao Kahn (Brian Thompson) — the Emperor of Outworld — has somehow managed to begin Outworld's invasion anyway. While Raiden (James Remar) confronts the Elder Gods over Kahn's invasion, Liu Kang undergoes specialized training in order to face Shao Kahn (who has far more power than Shang Tsung ever did), and Sonya Blade (Sandra Hess) reunites with her partner Jackson "Jax" Briggs (Lynn Williams) to help him fight various Outworld warriors as they arrive on Earth. Kahn's Outworld forces outnumber and overpower Earthrealm's, however, and it will take every ounce of skill and power Earth's heroes have to drive back the invasion and defeat Shao Kahn once and for all.


Mortal Kombat: Annihilation kontains examples of the following tropes:

  • Aborted Arc: Quite a few, owing to the film's rushed nature. The first draft of the script had an entire subplot setup for Kurtis Stryker and Kabal, detailing what happened to them after being captured by Rain (they were going to be prisoners together in a cobalt mine overseen by Baraka; incidentally Kitana was going to be held captive in this same prison, rather than the palace as she was in the final draft). This subplot is cut in the final product, turning Stryker and Kabal effectively into plot mice. Also notable is Sheeva, who in early drafts (and the novelization) accompanies Sindel when she attacks the heroes in Outworld (befitting Sheeva's role as Sindel's protector) and is killed in battle with Raiden. In the film, she gets a bridge dropped on her damn near literally. Finally, Baraka was a more fleshed out character in earlier scripts, being the warden of the prison that was cut from the final film release rather than just another slavering badguy attacking the heroes out of nowhere.
  • Action Girl: Sonya manages to be this in this movie.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Jade. In the games, she is Kitana's best bud and genuinely always serve her best interest. (Incidentally, Jade did act as a servant of Shao Kahn in the games temporarily as well, but only because Jade, first and foremost, served Kitana, who had yet to know the truth about herself and Kahnnote ) Here, she more or less acts like Tanya: complete traitor and psychopath.
    • Cyrax is a sort of retroactive case. Here, he's a minion of evil (serving under Shao Kahn rather than the Lin Kuei), while the games wouldn't establish him as one of the good guys until Mortal Kombat Gold.
    • Scorpion is a strange case. In the games he is something of a Wild Card, having no affiliation with either the heroes or the villains, but solely pursuing his own goals (though he would become more heroic as the series progressed). In the first film he is a henchman of Shang Tsung, but is expressly identified as having been enslaved into this state. In this film he, by all intents and purposes, is working for Outworld again, kidnapping Princess Kitana and delivering her to Shao Kahn. What makes this a weird case is how his character bio attempts to assert that he is still the Wild Card that he is in the games, and the only reason he attacks the good guys is because they inadvertently wander into his territory the Netherrealm during their journey (why he delivers Kitana to Shao Kahn is left unexplained). This is not supported at all by the film, unless the Netherrealm of the films is located deep under the Earth's surface rather than in another... well, realm.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Shao Kahn. In the games he is a genuinely terrifying threat, the first Bigger Bad in the series (though later ones like Shinnok and Onaga would be established, Kahn's threat still remained constant). Here, he's little more than a very physically capable Psychotic Manchild, and his Daddy Issues with Shinnok are emphasized to the point of making him more pathetic to viewers than fearsome.
    • Stryker and Kabal can both come across as this, as in the games they are both among the most powerful Earthrealm kombatants, buth are both almost Adapted Out here, only being given brief mentions. Although they had a subplot in earlier drafts of the script (in which they would have been shown to be prisoners in a cobalt mine overseen by Baraka and ultimately subverting this trope by rallying the rest of the prisoners after Liu rescued Kitana), this was cut near entirely, though Rain still admits to taking them prisoner rather than killing them (earning him a quick death from Bad Boss Kahn.
    • Speaking of Rain... in the games he is a very formidable ninja, established from the start as an Edenian of powerful lineage (first the son of an Edenian general, later revealed to be an Edenian demigod). In the film, although he is established as Shao Kahn's general (and thus of higher rank than Sheeva, Motaro and Ermac) he is dispatched in a single blow by Shao Kahn.
  • Animorphism: Liu Kang meets Nightwolf while the latter is in his wolf form. He teaches Liu to change into a dragon to gain an edge over Shao Kahn, who it turns out can transform into an even larger hydra.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The final fate of Raiden, who is promoted to an Elder God at the film's end.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: This trope is the law of the land in Outworld, so much so that Shao Kahn's generals Motaro and Sheeva are identified in their character bios as the leaders of their respective races (in the games they are powerful representatives, but not outright rulers). And then there's Shao Kahn who rules solely by power and fear.
  • Ax-Crazy: Seems to be a common theme on the villain side. Shao Kahn is so much this that he kills almost as many of his henchmen as the heroes themselves do, and his generals are so much this that they can barely restrain themselves from attacking each other in war council meetings.
  • Bad Boss: Shao Kahn's entire character is just a combination of this trope and Daddy Issues. He kills his general Rain just because Rain took the Earthrealm fighters Kabal and Stryker prisoner rather than killing them and making them beg for their lives (echoing an earlier demand from Shinnok when he himself failed to kill or capture Raiden). Later minions fare little better, and in his profile on the DVD it is expressly stated that Kahn is not happy unless everyone in a room with him, friend and foe alike, fears him.
  • Bald of Evil: Shao Kahn is bald and is the Big Bad of the film.
  • Big Bad: Shao Kahn is the main antagonist this time around, instead of a looming threat like in the previous film.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Baraka and the other Tartakans.
  • Brought Down to Normal:
    • Jax's cybernetics were damaged in his fight at the end. In all reality, they never seemed to give him that big of an advantage in the first place. Still he manages to hand Motaro's ass to him with his normal arms.
    • Raiden suffers this over the course of the film, first from the merger of Earthrealm and Outworld weakening him, and later when he sacrifices his immortality to the Elder Gods in exchange for being allowed to help the heroes resist Kahn.
    • Shao Kahn gets hit with this midway through the final battle, as punishment for breaking the rules of Mortal Kombat.
  • Cain and Abel: Shao Kahn is the Cain, Raiden is the Abel.
  • Composite Character: This movie's version of Smoke has Smoke's grey paint job and ability to turn to smoke, but everything else about him comes from Sektor, the only one of the three cyber ninjas not to appear in the movie.
  • Degraded Boss: Reptile. In the first film he is the last and toughest of the ninja opponents, ambushing Liu Kang in Outworld and giving him one of the most dynamic fights in the whole movie. In this sequel he himself doesn't appear, due to being Killed Off for Real, but a trio of Mooks with his distinctive appearance (presumably other members of his race) appear to fight Raiden alongside Sindel. All three are very soundly beaten.
  • Designated Girl Fight:
    • Sonya versus Mileena, which plays out just like a Cat Fight. Rolling in the mud and everything.
    • Also, Kitana versus Sindel during the final battle.
  • Dirty Coward: Shao Kahn, who cynically takes a hostage after it becomes clear that he cannot defeat Raiden fairly.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Kahn kills Rain for not making Stryker and Kabal beg for their lives and/or killing them. He gave Rain no orders to do either of these acts beforehand, mind, but Kahn killed him anyway so he could vent his daddy issues on someone.
    • After their little ruse fails, Jade and Sindel make a tactically correct move by retreating from a force they could not defeat on their own. Kahn then basically kills Jade for not failing.
  • Drop the Hammer: As in the games, Shao Kahn uses a warhammer as his Weapon of Choice, though he strangely only uses it once (to kill Rain with) and does not carry it with him into battle.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    • Johnny Cage is killed off as soon as possible into the film to show how powerful Shao Kahn is.
    • Rain gets a hammer dropped on him, simply to establish Kahn as a Bad Boss of the distinctly irrational flavor.
    • Sheeva gets a cage gets dropped on her. The filmmakers seem to really hate the Shokan. There were plans to have a fight scene between her and Raiden which never panned out. Her actress Marjean Holden herself lamented that they gave her character such an inglorious send-off.
  • Duels Decide Everything: Defied. Just because Shao Kahn lost the last Mortal Kombat tournament doesn't mean he's not going to simply invade anyway. Double Subverted at the climax, when the Elder Gods declare the fight between Liu Kang and Shao Kahn to be a tournament anyway.
  • Enemy Mine: Sub Zero II doesn't like Liu Kang for killing his older brother, but he's willing to help him protect Kitana for the greater good.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Ermac, rather fittingly, is this, if only as a consequence of being yet another Flat Character. In the games he is a gestalt entity made up of the souls of millions of Shao Kahn's victims during his conquest of Edenia, that was then brainwashed into working for Kahn. Here he works for Kahn as in the games, but there is no indication if he does so out of More Than Mind Control as in the games, or if he is truly evil here. Notably, he is not depicted as particularly malevolent (or benevolent), and if anything seems to be a Punch-Clock Villain, which makes him stand out amidst all the Ax-Crazy types Kahn otherwise surrounds himself with. In the final battle, Noob Saibot spawns from his chest, which just raises further questions... though they don't particularly matter as Sonya quickly kills him off regardless.
  • Excuse Plot: A rare film example, as characters mostly wander around to get into fights every five minutes.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: You can tell which role Jade is playing at any given moment just by looking at her do: while she's pretending to be with the good guys, she has a fringe and a ponytail. When she's playing evil (not just after she reveals her allegiance to Shao Kahn, but also when she fights Liu Kang for the first time), she has her hair completely combed backwards and tied in a bun.
  • First Girl Wins: Jade attempts to seduce Liu Kang but is rejected in favor of Kitana.
  • Flat Character: Plenty. The first movie wasn't exactly high on character development, but this movie had Smoke (showed up with no introduction and lost his fight), Ermac (stood around and did nothing until the end, then lost his fight), Mileena (showed up out of nowhere, lost her fight), Rain (killed off so quickly his appearance was more of a cameo)... this movie had a problem with forcing characters in for no real reason other than to have them.
  • Flexible Tourney Rules: The tourney rules are well and truly screwed and Shao Kahn invades directly without so much as setting up a tournament at all. As Nightwolf says to Liu, "The Tournament had rules. This time, anything goes." The Elder Gods spring a trap by calling a tourney and removing Kahn's immortality when he least expects it, allowing Liu to destroy him for good.
    • Further elaboration: Shinnok is an Elder God (in the games, he'd fallen from grace long ago, but that's another story), and as such he's not supposed to directly interfere with the running of the Mortal Kombat tournament—but he's violated that rule by giving Shao Kahn the power to invade Earth despite Outworld having lost the tournament. He manages to keep that info secret from the other Elder Gods, but it's when he directly tries to kill Liu Kang that the Elder Gods finally see fit to intervene (when earlier they didn't care despite Raiden's protests).
  • For the Evulz: You'd be forgiven for thinking the Lin Kuei ninja clan were Adapted Out; as it turns out they were not (something only mentioned in the DVD character bios), but willingly allied themselves with Outworld for... reasons?
    • This is also the motivation of Shinnok, who has near-unlimited power as an Elder God yet wants even more power by proxy through Shao Kahn.
  • Happy Ending Override: The first film with ended with our heroes winning Mortal Kombat and defeating Shang Tsung, greeting the arriving Shao Kahn with a cocky, "Who cares? We're gonna kick your ass!" attitude and Ass Kicking Pose. Here, Kahn's arrival is treated as a major deal, all the heroes are scared, Raiden starts losing his powers, and Johnny Cage is killed off in the first three minutes.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Scorpion to Liu Kang and Sub Zero after he catches Kitana.
    Scorpion: SUCKERS!!!!
  • An Ice Person: As his name unsubtly indicates, Sub-Zero has ice-based powers.
  • Immediate Sequel: Picks up right after the first movie left off, though it leaves out Shao Kahn being a giant.
  • Immortal Immaturity: Ageless Shao Kahn is over hundreds of thousands of years old but has little interest in anything beyond being the Bad Boss to end all Bad Bosses and making his Daddy proud of him. The first comes to him easily, but the latter eludes him to the very end.
  • In the Hood: Shinnok, who in a departure from his depiction in the games appears to be a simple old man in a hood and robes.
  • Indecisive Deconstruction: An Unintentional Deconstruction of Duels Decide Everything. The trope is deconstructed when Shao Kahn refuses to abide by the rules and just invades Earth by force of arms, while the Elder Gods just watch, and it's mentioned that "this time, there are no rules." Then the Elder Gods call a tournament when Liu Kang and Shao Kahn face off. The resulting message amounts to "the rules are as strong as the Powers That Be's ability to enforce them," which is clearly deconstructive, but it emerges from a Random Events Plot and it's clear that nobody was actually intending to criticize the premise of the franchise.
  • Kudzu Plot: The film goes so far into the politics of the Elder Gods and Outworld that there is no way the uninitiated can understand it. Hell, so little of it comes from the games even the initiated can't understand it. And the story basically takes a backseat to the protagonists finding the rest of the cast.
  • Large Ham: Shao Kahn tries to be this, but his constant Daddy Issues overshadow even this aspect of him. A better representative of the trope is Sindel, who is expressly identified as such by her actor on the DVD character profiles. Raiden also indulges in some scenery-chewing when opportunity permits.
  • Left Stuck After Attack: Jax ripping his roboticized arm out of a wall just in time to deflect an evil robot's acid attack.
  • Living Shadow: Noob Saibot, who makes a downright bizarre last-minute appearance as some kind of animated shadow/duplicate thing of Ermac.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Nearly every character from the first three games appear. A few, such as Mileena and Cyrax, end up only being named in the DVD bios or the credits.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Poor Jax has this 3 times. The first and major is that he had no idea of Sonya's adventures in Outworld and Mortal Kombat. The second, was that the repercussions of said tournament resulted Shao Kahn sending his squads to exterminate potential threats including him. And the Third, was that he didn't know about Johnny Cage or his death. The latter of which sparked some jealousy.
    Jax: Who the hell is Johnny!?
  • The Mole: Jade is introduced as part of the series for Liu Kang, but is later revealed to part of the ploy to capture the main characters together with Sindel.
  • Mud Wrestling: The Cat Fight between Mileena and Sonya very quickly devolves into this.
  • Murderous Thighs: Sonya uses Murderous Ankles on Ermac.
  • Older Than They Look: Nightwolf, though you'd either have to read the novelization or the characters bios on the DVD to know it. While the body Nightwolf inhabits is that of a young man, Nightwolf himself is identified as an ancient guardian of his people, presumably passing from one warrior to the next over the years.
  • One-Winged Angel: Shao Kahn's Hydra Animality, which is a form exclusive to this film. It might actually be cool, if not for the silly transformation effects and how brief the fight between him and Liu Kang's Dragon Animality is.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Nightwolf isn't inflicted with lycanthropy, he's just a Voluntary Shapeshifter with only one form.
  • Playing Gertrude: Musetta Vander, who plays Sindel, is only four years older than Talisa Soto, who plays her daughter Kitana. Probably justified given Edenians' ridiculously long lifespan as established in the games, though.
  • The Power of Blood: After Shao Kahn and Liu Kang's Animality fight, both kombatants crash to the ground and demorph to their regular forms, bruised and bleeding. Liu Kang copes with this, but Kahn is downright horrified, as his bleeding indicates that he is no longer immortal, a fear which his father quickly confirms.
    Liu Kang: Your blood flows, Kahn. Just like the blood of a mortal.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: In stark contrast to Shao Kahn, Shinnok has little use for Cartoonish Supervillainy, and would easily be the film's Knight of Cerebus if he was not bound from acting by the rules and limits of his position as an Elder God. Near the end of the film, when it becomes clear that Kahn is going to lose, he sneers at his sniveling son "Must I do everything for you?" and prepares to use his godlike power to dispatch Liu Kang himself, wasting no time with threats or boasts as his son would. Only the timely arrival of the Elder Gods saves Liu.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Motaro wastes no time in bragging about the hunting prowess of his race the Centaurians.
  • Psychotic Manchild: Behind the thin veneer of his near-Physical God strength Shao Kahn in this film is little more than an immortal manchild whose every act invariably goes back to pleasing Daddy.
  • Race Lift: In the games, Jade varies from being Ambiguously Brown to having more African features. In the film, she's played by Irina Pantaeva, a Buryat model.
  • Random Events Plot: In a cross with Pinball Protagonist, the story is mostly the main characters meeting the enormous roster of Mortal Kombat 3, fighting them, and supposedly driving a storyline forward.
  • Related in the Adaptation:
    • Raiden and Shao Kahn are brothers, and Shinnok is their father.
    • Subverted (possibly even averted) with Kitana and Mileena, though their physical similarity is noted by Sonya.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The final fate of Shinnok, who is sealed away by the Elder Gods as punishment for breaking the sacred rules of Mortal Kombat.
  • Shapeshifter Showdown: Liu and Kahn at the end, though each only uses one form.
  • Shoot the Messenger: In the novelization only, one of the Tarkatans from the Baraka battle survives the fight with Liu Kang and reports his and Kitana's escape to Shao Kahn. Ever the Bad Boss, Kahn prepared to do this, only to be stopped by, of all people, Shinnok (though Shinnok is by no means benevolent, he is pragmatic).
  • Smug Snake: Shao Kahn's total overconfidence, which Shinnok warns him about (and is expressly identified as his only weakness in his bio on the DVD), and near-absolute contempt for everything and everyone that is not himself or his father, turns him into one of these. Being an immortal Physical God warlord, Kahn has utterly no understanding of the human capacity for Heroic Willpower.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": In the novelization Shinnok's name is spelled as "Shinnock", though it is spelled correctly in the DVD bios. Raiden's name is also spelled "Rayden", as was the standard spelling for the character's name at the time.
    • Shao Kahn's name is consistently spelled in the DVD bios as "Shao-Kahn", with a hyphen.
  • Spinning out of Here: Queen Sindel literally dances in a circle, Wonder Woman-style, to teleport.
    • This trope also comes into play with the "Velospheres", man-sized hollow metal balls that the heroes make use of early in the film. They are propelled through a series of tunnels in the Earth by volcanic gases, and allow their users to travel across the planet in a matter of hours.
    Kitana: They are faster than I remember.
  • Stronger Sibling: Raiden is established as this, with the late revelation that he was pitted against his brother Kahn millions of years ago and was able to beat Kahn, though his brotherly compassion kept him from being able to kill him. This status has not changed in the present day, at least not until Raiden is depowered.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Johnny Cage, which probably happened because of his death in the third game, from which the movie takes most of its story.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: Queen Sindel looks pretty much the same age as her daughter Kitana. In the games, her race the Edenians are established to have longer-than-human lifespans, so Sindel is Really 700 Years Old.
  • Tail Slap: Motaro makes generous use of this when he fights Jax in the final battle.
  • Take Me Instead: Raiden offers himself up as Kahn's prisoner in exchange for Johnny Cage. Kahn, for some reason, accepts, then immediately declines anyway and kills Johnny.
  • This Is the Final Battle: Shao Kahn at the end. "Prepare for final battle!"
  • This Was His True Form: After being beaten at the end, Shao Kahn's body devolves into a living version of the dragon crest tattoo that is his family's crest, which then blinks out of existence just like the fake crests used by his minions.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sonya Blade. In the first movie, she beat up some mooks, got smacked around by Kano after he was told to go easy on her, eventually managing to get her legs around his neck, and then was dragged off by Shang Tsung to give the guys someone to rescue. In this movie, she kills Cyrax, Mileena, Ermac, and a whole bunch of mooks. A definite upgrade.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Though the movie does not state this, it is indirectly implies that this is the reason behind Shao Kahn's defeat: being an ageless warlord with Immortal Immaturity, it has been eons since Kahn last had a fight with anyone on his level, and he has long since gotten used to crushing anyone who challenges him with raw brute force, having nothing to fear from any comer thanks to his immortality. When said immortality is taken from him by the Elder Gods, he is rendered utterly demoralized, allowing Liu Kang to dominate and ultimately defeat him.
  • We Can Rule Together: Shinnok offers this to his son Raiden shortly before the final battle, and of course is turned down.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Nightwolf's "test" involves three stages. We never see the third nor given an explanation of what it is, though in the novel it is identified as Liu finally overcoming his self-doubt and facing Shao Kahn in the final battle.
    • One of the major criticisms of the movie involved characters simply disappearing after their allotted scenes. Sub-Zero disappears after his fight with Scorpion, who disappears after capturing Kitana. Nightwolf doesn't show up again either despite the story seeming to position him as a major character.
    • Due to their subplot being cut, Kurtis Stryker and Kabal are both this as well, with neither character appearing though they are identified as having been captured and not killed (Kahn could have simply had them killed later, of course, but if he did, it is never mentioned).
  • Woman Scorned: The DVD character bios imply that this is the reason why Jade betrays the heroes, asserting that she genuinely wanted Liu Kang's affection (rather than cynically seducing him as the film itself implies) and then turning against him after he rejects her in favor of Kitana.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • Rain tells Shao Kahn that Outworld's forces captured two fighters (Kabal and Stryker) without making them beg for their lives or killing them. Kahn shows his displeasure by hitting Rain with a giant hammer and knocking him into some sort of Hell Well.
    • Jade, Kahn's mole in the ranks of the heroes, gets it even worse when she fails at her job — Kahn feeds her to a monster carving in the wall, which gives out a great big burp when it's done with her.
    • Subverted in the novelization by Shinnok, who tells his Ax-Crazy son not to Shoot the Messenger.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/MortalKombatAnnihilation