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Characters / Mortal Kombat II Part 1

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Mortal Kombat Main Character Index
Main series: MK1 (Part 1 | Part 2) | MK2 (Part 1 | Part 2) | MK3 | MK4 | Deadly Alliance | Deception | Armageddon | MK vs. DC Universe | MK9 | MKX | MK11
Spin-offs: Mythologies: Sub-Zero | Special Forces
Non-video game: The Movie | Conquest | Defenders of the Realm
Individual Characters: Scorpion | Johnny Cage | Liu Kang | Raiden | Shang Tsung | Sub-Zero II | Kitana | Mileena | Shao Kahn | Shinnok


Spoilers for Mythologies will be unmarked

For tropes relating to Jade, Smoke, Noob Saibot, Kintaro, and Shao Kahn see Part 2.

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    Sub-Zero II 

Sub-Zero (Kuai Liang)

See Kuai Liang



See Kitana



See Mileena


Major Jackson "Jax" Briggs

Debut game: Mortal Kombat II (John Parrish)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat 3 (John Parrish), Mortal Kombat 4 (John Parrish), Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (Craig J. Harris), Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (Craig J. Harris), Mortal Kombat: Unchained (Craig J. Harris), Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (Craig J. Harris), Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (Dan Washington), Mortal Kombat 9 (Marz Timms), Mortal Kombat X (Greg Eagles and Carl Weathers, English; Gerardo Vásquez, Latin American Spanish), Mortal Kombat 11 (William Stephens, English; Israel Idonije, Face Model; Héctor Estrada, Latin American Spanish)
Major Jackson "Jax" Briggs was the first African-American character in the Mortal Kombat series and an archetypal American hero. Leader of the Outer World Investigation Agency (OIA), he is an extremely capable fighter when it comes to protecting Earthrealm. His most prominent traits are his cybernetically-enhanced arms.

Prior the start of the series, Jax was a member of the Special Forces and was dedicated to the dismantling of the Black Dragon Clan. He almost succeeded: after disposing of the rest of their members, Jax faced the clan's leader Kano and beat him in combat. Kano was captured, but the criminal escaped at a later date. Following the events of Mortal Kombat, Briggs went in search of both the escaped Kano and Lt. Sonya Blade. He confronted Johnny Cage about the tournament, but at first didn't believe Cage's claims. However, after receiving a video signal from Sonya herself, he visited Johnny at a commercial shoot with the intent to apologize to Cage for not believing him. Jax found the actor fighting a horde of Tarkatans led by Kintaro; he helped fight off the intruders until the other Earthrealm warriors showed up to help. Afterwards Jax traveled into Outworld to compete in the next tournament along with the Earthrealm warriors in hopes of finding Sonya and Kano. Here, Jax soon came to learn of the Emperor Shao Kahn's plans for Earthrealm. He was successful in freeing Sonya, but not only did Kano escape once more, the Earth government did not believe the Major's warnings. Jax began to prepare for the imminent conflict, and donned himself bionic implants. When Kahn come to Earth, Jackson Briggs was ready for it.

After Shao Kahn's attempt at claiming Earthrealm failed, Jax became the commanding officer of the Outer World Investigation Agency; the OIA was not only assigned to explore and map other realms, but were also committed to the destruction of portals that could lead to Earth. After briefly assisting Raiden in the defeat of Shinnok in Edenia, Jax and Sonya found the Lin Kuei cyborg Cyrax, malfunctioning and trapped in a desert. Returning with him to their home base, they restored his humanity and gained a new ally. Years later, trouble would occur again, as not only were agents Kenshi and Cyrax lost in Outworld, but the OIA underground facility was nuked into oblivion by the traitor Hsu Hao. Jax tracked him in Outworld and killed the Red Dragon member. Afterward, he was among the group of warriors who made a final stand against the Deadly Alliance of Shang Tsung and Quan Chi, but was unfortunately killed in the ensuing fight along with the rest of his allies. He, like his friends, was eventually found by Onaga and revived as a mindless drone.

Jax is pretty much the same hardass as always in Mortal Kombat 9, but with a few changes to his story. At the outset of the story, he is held captive on Shang Tsung's island and Sonya becomes involved in the tournament with the goal of extracting him. He enters the Outworld tournament on a rescue mission when Sonya is captured during an Outworld invasion of the Shaolin temple. Unlike the original timeline, Jax did not voluntarily change his arms to mechanical arms, but had his arms destroyed by Ermac during the Outworld tournament — the mechanical arms he has are prosthetic. He aids the Earthrealm warriors until Sindel and the cybernetic Lin Kuei attack their base of operations, where he is slain. His soul is resurrected by Quan Chi in the Netherrealm but Mortal Kombat X shows how he escaped enslavement. He has an adult daughter by the time of Mortal Kombat X named "Jacqueline" (who goes by "Jacqui").

Unfortunately, his life didn't get better, even after being discharged honorably in Mortal Kombat 11. His time as a revenant, combined with the stress of losing his original arms, losing his wife to sickness, having PTSD, and his fear of losing Jacqui, resulted with him making a deal with Kronika in hopes of a better world where Jacqui won't have to fight anymore. Another Jax is brought back from the past due to Kronika's machinations and is far from pleased at what his future self has done.

  • All-American Face: He even pulls out the American flag and wraps it around him in his MK9 win pose!
  • An Arm and a Leg: We find out in 9, at least as far as that timeline is concerned, he gains his cybernetic arms due to Ermac destroying both of his original ones. He himself has a few fatalities that involve this, most notably his Klassic fatality in X.
  • Artificial Limbs: Since 3. It was not explained if they were mere upgrades or actual replacements. 9 went with the replacement route, as he had his arms ripped off by Ermac.
  • Bald of Awesome: In his appearance in MK vs. DC. His depiction in Annihilation also fits this trope.
  • Bald of Evil: During his unwitting tenure in Quan Chi's Netherrealm army as a revenant.
  • Batter Up!: Fatality in Mortal Kombat 11 where Jax severed an arm using his metal arms, chucks the head flying up, cue Charge theme! hits the head releasing a skull using an arm as a bat and the skull flies to the camera.
  • Badass Beard: sports this at the story of Mortal Kombat 11. Also use to differentiate who is the future Jax.
  • Berserk Button: Finding out that Jacqui is joining the Special Forces, Johnny Cage, and Ermac.
  • The Big Guy of the Five-Man Band: Of the group of heroes, he's one of the most combat-oriented, and also noticeably has the largest physique among the good guys in X.
  • Big "OMG!": Knock him off of the Sky Temple in Armageddon and he'll utter one of these before screaming that he can't believe this is happening to him right before he hits the ground.
  • Call to Agriculture: Becomes a farmer after being restored to life and retiring from the army in MKX. However, he's still willing to go out and fight alongside the Special Forces to protect Jacqui if needed.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Jax's weapon of choice in 4 is a spiked club.
  • Catchphrase: "Gotcha!" Later installments also add "Oh yeah!" or "Aww yeah!"
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Even before getting the metal arms, Jax was freakishly strong; the MKII comic shows him grappling with Kintaro, whose strength is exceptional even by Shokan standards.
  • Cigar Chomper: MK9 and X have given him a fine appreciation of cigars, especially following his resurrection. He even uses it to add insult to injury during a fatality.
  • The Comically Serious: Commonly during his intro dialogues in X, when not snarking it up.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Revenant Jax is a dead ringer for Terry Crews, and one of his alternate skins in X is modeled on Carl Weathers.
  • Cool Guns: Gets a pretty sweet assault rifle/machine gun from the time of Deadly Alliance to vs. DCU, which is strapped to his back. Appropriately, his main costume in DA and Armageddon comes complete with a Badass Bandolier. MKX gives him the Heavy Weapons variation, which arms him with a rocket launcher and an SMG. In 11 he has a grenade launcher as part of his gear.
  • Cool Old Guy: Given the 25-year Time Skip in X, he's at least in his fifties then, so he qualifies.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: What happens to him in his endings in Armageddon and DC Universe.
  • Cyborg: From Mortal Kombat 3 onward. However, dialogue in 11 seems to indicate that, in the Mortal Kombat universe, the term "cyborg" is reserved for full-body converts like the Cyber Lin Kuei. Jax's intro dialogue with the Terminator has him deny the label of "cyborg", referring to himself as "just cybernetically enhanced."
  • Da Chief: To Sonya.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
  • Depending on the Writer: Jax is supposed to be Sonya's level-headed CO and a typical American hero, but this characterization doesn't always stick from game to game. To wit:
    • Special Forces and Deadly Alliance made Jax akin to a Blaxploitation character.
    • Shaolin Monks and vs. DCU show him as very cool-headed and sagely, putting him more in line with his intended personality. On top of that vs. DCU gives him shades of being a Spirited Competitor as well.
    • 9 strays closer to the original trilogy, as he's more relaxed than Sonya, though he does have more of a temper here; at one point he picks a fight with the mouthy Johnny Cage, but does later admit he was out of line. X expands on this portrayal by making Jax an Older and Wiser, overprotective father who's a Shell-Shocked Veteran due to serving Quan Chi against his will for years.
  • Dual Tonfas: Wielded them as a weapon style starting in Deadly Alliance.
  • Expy: Was initially inspired by Power Man in Mortal Kombat II.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Met his wife who helped him as he recovered from the trauma of being a revenant. This eventually leads to them marrying and having Jacqui.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Delivers quite possibly the most unique version of this to his future self!
    Future!Jax: You don't know how bad it gets! Losing your arms was just the beginning!
    Jax: I know you suffered, you still do. But you don't betray your unit. And you sure as shit don't betray your family!
  • Future Me Scares Me: In MK11. Jax's past self is disgusted with his present self for selling out to Kronika, and unhesitatingly agrees to fight him in place of Jacqui.
    Past!Jax: Never thought I'd stoop so low.
  • Genius Bruiser: A tech wiz. His expertise with computers is almost singlehandedly responsible for the respective Heel-Face Turns of Cyrax in 4/Gold and Cyber Sub-Zero in 9. And one of 11's intros has him reprogram a Terminator as well.
    Jax: "Heard you're a tech geek."
    Takeda: I've got some toys you'll like."
    Jax: "Well, who do you think designed them?"
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: One of his MK3 Fatalities has him somehow grow huge and crush the opponent underneath his boot.
  • Good Parents: Justified overprotectiveness aside, he's shown to be a loving father to Jacqui and the two of them are quite close.
  • The Grappler: He has a series of special command throws that can be chained together. In fact, his most famous attack is the "Gotcha" Grab, in which he lifts an opponent off the ground and hits them repeatedly.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Crossing over with Despair Event Horizon. It's revealed in Mortal Kombat 11 the toll of servitude under Quan Chi and his strained family life was ultimately too much for him, and he's easily seduced to Kronika's side. It isn't until the end does he just return to the side of good after being convinced by Raiden.
  • He's Back: His chapter in MKX is all about him getting his confidence back and showing he can still fight with the best of them, in a battle through the Netherrealm to capture Quan Chi, no less.
  • Honorary Uncle: To Cassie Cage in Mortal Kombat X.
  • Hunk: With or without cybernetic arms.
  • In Spite of a Nail: In the original timeline, he voluntarily changed his arms to cybernetic ones in order to be able to better combat the Outworld forces. In the MK9 timeline, Ermac destroyed his human arms, and they had to be replaced with cybernetic ones.
  • It's All About Me: His Defection to Kronikas side is motivated by what he thinks is the best case scenario for Jacqui, that if he helps Kronika out, Jacqui will not join the special forces (which she did of her own volition and doesn't regret it) and settle down to be a housewife. As honorable and well intentioned his motives are, they are only what HE wants, not Jacqui, making it more selfish than altruistic.
  • It's Personal:
    • With Ermac, for destroying his human arms.
    Ermac: And now you seek revenge...
    Jax: Let's call it my "pound of flesh."
    • With Quan Chi as well, what with him making him a revenant and all.
  • Karmic Jackpot: In his Tower ending in 11, he uses Kronika's power to speed up Black History, to make sure to minimize the amount of time blacks spent as slaves (or prevent it entirely) instead of merely working for the interests of himself & his family. That said, through his efforts, not only is the world a better place, he lives happily with his family.
  • King of Beasts: Jax can turn into a Lion as his Animality in MK3.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: It is very rare for Jax to be referred to by his full name Jackson.
  • Large and in Charge: He's 6'8" and a Special Forces Major.
  • Lightning Bruiser: As of 3 and UMK3 and onwards. When he first debuted, Jax and Baraka were the only Kombatants that didn't have a rush attack. After getting the Dash Punch special move, Jax moves as a blur and crashes into enemies with an outstretched fist.
  • The Lost Lenore: The present day version loses his wife between X and 11, which ties into his motivation for joining Kronika's side.
  • Megaton Punch: As a special move. His Dash Punch sends them flying as does the augmented version of "Gotcha" grab.
  • Metronomic Man Mashing: Perhaps the first example in fighting game history, his quad slam had him bodyslam enemies up to 4 times for 40% of their life. Later games change how the move looks and in the latest game, up to 5 slams can be done.
  • Mighty Glacier: Generally caters to this play style, packing a huge punch as grappler while not being very mobile.
  • More Dakka: Jax's arms contain missile launchers and he has used machine guns, rocket launchers and grenade launchers in recent games starting from Deadly Alliance. X even gives him a variation called "Heavy Weapons".
  • Neck Lift: One of his special moves, that follows with him punching the enemy multiple times.
  • Nice Hat: Both his regular and alternate outfits from Deadly Alliance and Armageddon sport one.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In his MK9 arcade ending, he uses a new cyber scanner to track down the Big Bad's remaining forces. While in the virtual reality interface, he ends up connecting to the cybernetics in Kano's eye. Jax beats up Kano in cyberspace and traps his consciousness inside the Special Forces mainframe, supposedly trapping him forever. In Kano's ending, it's revealed that after this, he manages to break free as he gains control over all of the Special Forces weapons systems, basically becoming SkyNet.
  • Non-Dubbed Grunts: His "Gotcha!" soundbyte in X and 11 is actually from 9.
  • Open-Minded Parent: In contrast to the present-day Jax, the Jax from the past is much more tolerant of Jacqui's career as a soldier. Justified as due to being plucked from the timeline, he was unburdened by his future self's PTSD from his time as a revenant and in active service, hence he doesn't have as much worries about Jacqui's military service as much as his older self did.
  • Over Heating: In 11, his arms will heat up the more punches he lands. This in turn makes his punches deal more damage and allows him to pull off more special attacks and combos.
  • Overprotective Dad: Toward Jacqui Briggs, whom he loves more than life itself. Jax was strongly against her joining the Special Forces, especially in the aftermath of the Netherrealm War, when the military began to tackle threats from supernatural dimensions on top of standard threats. Understandably so, given Jax spent years as a revenant in Quan Chi's service. According to a memory she and Cassie share in one chapter, when Johnny broke the news to Jax, he came home with a broken jaw. It's also Played for Laughs in one pre-fight dialogue bit.
    Takeda: Is this because I'm dating Jacqui?
    Jax: You're dating Jacqui?
    Takeda: Real smooth, Takeda...
  • Papa Wolf: Do not screw with Jacqui.
  • Pure Energy: He can throw purple energy waves as projectiles in some games.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: His Piston Punch.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Jax is the Blue to Sonya's Red, typically portrayed as being cool-headed and almost sagely in some portrayals as Sonya's superior. Meanwhile, Sonya is more likely to rush into action and pick fights.
  • Reforged into a Minion: Like Sub-Zero, Jax was brainwashed to serve Quan Chi and Shinnok in 9, but he's brought Back from the Dead in X.
  • Retired Badass: Following his resurrection, Jax retired from active service. Sonya and Johnny manage to convince him to come back, though not necessarily on the frontlines. That, he does on his own.
  • Retirony: In his arcade ending, Jax agrees to lead the Cage Special Forces team while Johnny recovers from the injuries he received in Story Mode. The team is ambushed by Kotal Khan's forces, and Jax is shot in the chest while protecting Jacqui from Erron Black.
  • Rocket Punch: In MK3, UMK3, MKT, and MK vs. DC, he could shoot missiles out of his bionic arms. It returns in MK11 as a fireball style attack once his arms have heated up from strikes.
  • Salt and Pepper: An inversion with Sonya.
  • Scary Black Man: Zigzagged. Normally, Jax is a levelheaded guy (especially compared to some of his comrades) but when in a bad mood or under mind control, he's one dangerous dude. Played straight during his time as a revenant, but counterbalanced by him being depicted as clearly brainwashed, while the other revenants (barring Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and possibly Kung-Lao) are Drunk on the Dark Side.
  • Sexy Sax Man: His MK11 Friendship, Sexy Jax-O-Phone, which is pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin. It even doubles as a Shout-Out to the Epic Sax Guy himself!
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Tells Cage this about his relationship with Sonya; it's apparently a strictly professional one, with Jax only acting as her CO. He had a... quibble with Cage for that.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: In MKX, after he's been resurrected, Jax is too traumatized by the ordeal to work for the army and retires. When he does go back into action after a visit form Sonya, it's glorious. Unfortunately, he never deals with this properly and it's still lingering in his mind come the events of 11. After his wife passes away, he breaks down emotionally and is forced into honorable discharge, living alone on his farm and worrying about Jacqui in the field.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Jax can punch the ground hard enough to shake the whole area, damaging his opponent. This could also be used for a unique type of combo in the 2D Mortal Kombat games.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": Landing his backbreaker in MKII produces a meaty "SNAP!" soundbite.
  • Smoking Is Cool: In X and 11, after being restored to humanity, he has taken to smoking cigars in and out of battle.
  • Spam Attack: His "Gotcha" grab is a downplayed example. If he grabs an enemy, he can punch the helpless foe up to 5 times. These punches aren't particularly quick, merely that his foes can't move while he's holding them. In Mortal Kombat X, Jax can enhance the grab so that he can lay a large barrage of lightning-fast punches on a captured foe.
  • Spikes of Villainy: In X, Jax sports these on the shoulders of his cybernetic arms in his revenant form.
  • Stance System:
    • Keeps Muay Thai through Deadly Alliance to Armageddon. Also has Judo in DA and Unchained, a style which Smoke would go on to use as secondary.
    • His variations in X are Pumped Up, Heavy Weapons and Wrestler.
  • Super Strength: His various depictions show him being at least as strong as a Shokan warrior, and this was before his bionics.
  • Taking the Bullet: His MKX Ladder ending has him stopping Erron Black's ambush on Takeda, Jin, Cassie, and Jacqui by jumping in front and using his metal arms to block the bullets. Unfortunately, he goes into shock shortly after as one bullet hit his chest.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He's 6'8".
  • Token Good Teammate: In 11's story mode, he joins Kronika's Legion of Doom. Among all of Kronika's allies, his motive for a better Alternate Timeline is decidedly unselfish (to protect his daughter), if motivated by crippling despair and fear.
  • Undeathly Pallor: A grayish-white skin after being revived as a brainwashed minion.
  • Volcanic Veins: He gains these upon being revived as a brainwashed minion of Quan Chi.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Except in X, where he wears a vest in his default costume and wears a farmer's outfit at one point.
    • Averted completely in 11, where his default features him wearing a vest with a shirt under it.
  • Weapon of Choice: Has a spiked club in 4, which is replaced by tonfa in Deadly Alliance to Armageddon, along with his various guns.
  • Whole Costume Reference: A DLC costume in X is based on Carl Weathers in Predator, complete with Weathers himself providing voicework.
  • World's Strongest Man: Pretty much treated as this compared to every human Kombatant around when he was fully flesh and blood. After going bionic, he's become even mightier.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Shades of it, including a backbreaker during his X-Ray in 9. And in X his X-Ray is a powerbomb chained into an inverted wheelbarrow suplex. One of his variations in X is even called "Wrestler." 11 takes it further; his quad slam is a bunch of various suplexes and piledrivers, his back throw is a sleeper hold and his anti-air attack is Kenta Kobashi's Burning Hammer.
  • Your Head Asplode: He does this in his early Fatalities.


"My blades will find your heart."

Debut game: Mortal Kombat II (Richard Divizio)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat Trilogy (Richard Divizio), Mortal Kombat Gold (Richard Divizio), Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (Ryan Rosenberg), Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (Dan Washington), Mortal Kombat 9 (Bob Carter), Mortal Kombat X (cameo) (Greg Eagles, English; Gerardo Vásquez, Latin American Spanish), Mortal Kombat 11 (Steve Blum, English; Carlos del Campo, Latin American Spanish)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (Dennis Keiffer), Mortal Kombat: Rebirth (Lateef Crowder)

A mean, unforgiving, and unpredictable warrior, Baraka belongs to a race of nomadic beings called Tarkata, whose realm was conquered ages ago by Shao Kahn, causing him to swear loyalty as a result. Baraka, like most other members of his race, possesses long blades extending from his forearms that he uses to nasty effect in battle.

In the events leading up to Mortal Kombat II, Baraka led the attack on the Shaolin Temple in Earthrealm, which spurred Liu Kang to seek vengeance in Outworld as predicted by his master, Shao Kahn. During the ensuing tournament, Baraka partnered with Mileena, herself part-Tarkata, to overthrow the Emperor and rule together, but Mileena was murdered and Baraka fleed to the lowlands of Outworld. In the time prior to the events of Mortal Kombat Gold, Baraka encountered the necromancer Quan Chi while wandering through Edenia. Quan Chi offered Baraka a chance to rule the realm at his side if he agreed to join the army of Shinnok. Eager for battle, he readily accepted. Once again Baraka planned to betray his new masters, but after Shinnok was defeated by Liu Kang, his opportunity was lost once again.

After the Deadly Alliance was defeated by the risen Onaga, Baraka and his Tarkata horde joined the Dragon King. After freeing Mileena from her prison, Baraka recruited her to Onaga's ranks. Posing as her sister Kitana, she misdirect the Edenian forces into combat against Baraka's Tarkatan raiding parties, thus giving time to Onaga for him to complete his schemes. However, Mileena gave command of Kitana's army to Bo' Rai Cho, and under his command, a lot of Tarkatans warriors were killed, angering Baraka. In the end, Onaga was defeated, Baraka finding himself once more allied with the losing faction.

Baraka is basically unchanged during the events of Mortal Kombat 9. He makes a couple of cameos in Mortal Kombat X, where he is killed by D'Vorah once Kotal Kahn makes his move to overthrow Mileena. Kronika would later bring another version of himself in Mortal Kombat 11 as one of her accomplices.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Baraka is this to Mileena. She never displays any attraction to him, but he is very fixated on her.
    • His Armageddon ending has him force her to marry him or die and she simply chooses the better option of living.
    • In X, Mileena is outraged at Johnny suggesting she slept with him.
    • 11 sees one match intro Baraka proposing mating to Mileena's face. She harshly ridicules the very notion of her having sex with him. Another has Baraka trying to (unsuccessfully) sway Mileena away from Shao Kahn, claiming she belongs more with the Tarkatans.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: In Scorpion's Revenge, Baraka's personality is reverted to his Midway characterization as a mindless beast.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: His species, the Tarkatans, are said to be like this and generally depicted as nothing more than bloodthirsty animals. It is mostly subverted by Mortal Kombat 11, where not all Tarkatans are revealed to be evil as with any sentient species, and he is willing to listen to Kitana once she gets his men to calm down.
    • Played straight again in his arcade ladder ending: He abuses Kronika's power to empower his race and go on a bloodthirsty multiverse conquest.
  • Anti-Villain: Portrayed this way in 11, although Baraka is still a much edgier and less heroic take. He is largely characterized as a leader among the Tarkatans willing to do whatever is necessary to save his people. His people being an orcish nomadic tribe that eats people.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Seems to be this to Kung Lao, judging by Shaolin Monks and Armageddon's intro cinematics. This animosity is drawn from Baraka's hordes having a hand in the shaolin masters' deaths in II. In fact, it is Kung Lao who manages to kill him in the end, judging by the intro to 9.
    • D'Vorah, and the feeling is mutual. The Baraka pulled from the past is made aware of his fate at her hands, and she endlessly ridicules and mocks him for it in their match banter.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • In one of his Fatalities from Deception, Baraka uses his blades to slices the arms, legs, and neck of his victim. He then stabs the torso and rips it out...
    • If the opening of MK9 depicting Armageddon's aftermath is any indication, he lost his left arm before being sliced in half by Kung Lao, having it lodged in Sub-Zero's back.
  • Art Evolution: Has undergone several redesigns over the course of his appearances across the series. In Mortal Kombat Gold, he has several large staples across his body and a more humanoid shaped head, alluding to Kung Lao supposedly bisecting him during the events of the third game. In Deception, he loses the staples and has a more monstrous appearance, complete with rows of spikes down his back. Come the reboot, he returns to a more humanoid design, although he is given cheek spikes and a unique arm build to separate him from the other Tarkata in Mortal Kombat X. Mortal Kombat 11 swaps the cheek spikes for ones on his arms in his default look and redesigns his skin to look more wrinkly and gives him rows of teeth that are more numerous.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Given the fact that Tarkatans don't have lips, as well as the design of their lower face and teeth leaving them with a constantly open mouth, none of them, Baraka included, should be able to speak with any degree of fluency. That being said, it sure does look intimidating to have all those chompers, doesn't it?
  • Artistic License – Physics: His signature projectile and an 11 intro involve him grinding his bone blades together, which spark. Obviously impossible, but the Rule of Cool wins out again.
  • Audible Sharpness: His Tarkata blades. Think of them like Wolverine's claws.
  • Ax-Crazy: Played straight in the original continuity, where he is little more than an animalistic monster. Mostly subverted in the new timeline, where Baraka is much more civil and stoic out of kombat.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Some levels in the challenge tower in 9 are a "hold-the-line" type, where you have to spam a certain move as a character to prevent zombies/Tarkatans from reaching your end of the screen. Baraka stars in one, but back-to-back with Mileena, whom you have to control at the same time.
  • Bad with the Bone: In 11, his arm blades are retractable bony protrusions by default. They still slice as good as the metallic ones, though.
  • Badass Normal: Relative to this series at any rate. Baraka has no real supernatural abilities to his name, being a fairly standard issue Tarkatan. His superior intelligence and skill to the rest of his kind, coupled with what comes with being a Tarkatan, makes up for this.
  • Bald of Evil: Another trait that seems to be part of his species.
  • The Berserker: Several of his moves involve violently attacking the opponent with his blades and Baraka himself is quite eager to kill people.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: He remarks about believing in a variant in 11, where an intro with Jade has him remark he prefers death over becoming a revenant as she does.
  • Berserk Button: While his stoicism rarely lets him be openly provoked by insults, an intro with the Terminator indicates Baraka does not take kindly to being called ugly, let alone a "motherfucker."
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Like all Tarkatans, Baraka sports twin razor-sharp blades in his arms, along with several sharp growths. The blades can be customized with gear in 11.
  • Brain Food: Mortal Kombat 11 shows that he's developed a taste for gray matter. Not only does one of his Fatalities end with him eating his opponent's brain, but his Brutality win pose shows that he keeps a brain on himself to eat as a snack.
  • The Bus Came Back: Returns as a playable character in Mortal Kombat 11 after being non-playable in the previous game.
  • Butter Face: A male example. Has a muscular, saliently sculpted body... but the face is anything but attractive. This is downplayed in 11, where he has a more ravaged looking physique despite retaining his muscles.
  • Butt-Monkey: In MKX, Baraka seems to exist to be humiliated. Not only is he beaten up twice in Story Mode, but Alien's (non-canon) storyline sees him as the victim of a chestburster. To add even more insult to injury, one player who experimented with a modded copy of the game discovered that Baraka was severely nerfed from his Mortal Kombat 9 incarnation.
  • Cannibal Clan:
    • According to Jade's ending in Deception, Tarkatans will viciously attack and devour any Tarkatan from foreign tribes. Tanya, being smeared with Tarkatan essence by Jade while standing with Baraka and his horde, learns this the hard way. It's also heavily hinted through the series that Tarkatans aren't afraid of eating regular people as well, which is confirmed by Baraka’s Brain Food tendencies in Mortal Kombat 11.
    • Speaking of which, a flashback in the MKX comics reveals that Tarkatans aren't themselves above being eaten by regular people. Just ask Kotal Kahn, Ferra and Torr.
  • Cool Helmet: Some of Baraka's gear options in 11 give him helmets to wear, including a samurai-esque one.
  • The Comically Serious: As seen thoroughly in character interactions, Baraka has no sense of humor. Some characters like Johnny Cage and even Kitana enjoy snarking at his unpleasant personality.
    Cassie: Dude! You're so metal, Baraka!
    Baraka: Mettle is proved in kombat!
    Cassie: Ugh; why do I even try with you?
  • Defector from Decadence: Realizing where serving someone like Shao Kahn leads him and his people down the line, he defects and joins the side of good with Sheeva and the Shokan following after.
  • The Dragon: While he has always been implied to be highly favored by Shao Kahn, Mortal Kombat 11 implies he is closer to this than being a mere general. His defection elevates Skarlet to this position, something she brags about to his face.
  • Dumb Muscle: In the Midway days, this was what Baraka's "character" amounted to. He gradually subverts this since the reboot, where he has an actual personality and motives.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • His MK Gold ending sees he and the now god Quan Chi conquer Edenia. Baraka is fine and happy, until Quan Chi then murders everybody. Baraka finds this completely insane and calls Quan Chi a madman. Unsurprisingly, Baraka doesn't live long after that.
    • An intro with Jade in 11 indicates he finds the existence of Netherrealm revenants to be a fate worse than death.
  • Evil Is Petty: Despite Kitana giving him and his people the best lives they could ask for, Baraka decides in one match continuity, it's worth less than being able to freely eat people and defects over it.
    Liu Kang: You gave Kitana your word...
    Baraka: She goes back on hers!
    Liu Kang: Peace requires compromise, Baraka.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Has a deep, guttural voice in most of his appearances. In particular, 11 has the famously deep-voiced Steve Blum portraying him with an artificially deepened voice.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: Additionally in 11, his voice appears to have gained a pronounced rasp.
  • Eye Scream: His X-Ray move in MK9 has him impale his foe on one blade and use the other to stab their throat, and finally their eye. One of his win quotes in 11 also implies he has a taste for eating them.
    Save me the eyes!
  • Fatal Flaw: Honor before reason. Baraka knows Shao Kahn treats his people like garbage, and yet still believes it is dishonorable to rebel against him. Even when other kharacters begin to turn on Shao Kahn for good reason, Baraka refuses to do so. Taken a step further with Mileena after Shao Kahn dies, who he serves to the last breath to honor the late Kahn's will. D'Vorah lampshades how idiotic this is, and he mostly grows out of it by 11.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: "Baraka" means "blessing" in Arabic, and refers to the blessed energies that God grants those close to him.
  • Graceful Loser: Showing that his Blood Knight personality goes both ways, defeating Baraka in combat is the quickest way to earn his loyalty and respect. The heroes use this to have him pull a Heel–Face Turn in 11.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Not Baraka, but Skarlet and Kollector to him. Baraka's position in Shao Kahn's council is apparently so highly coveted and luxurious that the two express jealousy and a strong desire to replace him.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Nearly every one of his endings suggests this. However, Baraka is actually very stoic in the new continuity.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Courtesy of Kung Lao at the end of 3. In Gold, he's held together with large metal staples. By Deception, he's back to normal.
    • This is true for his head at least, in the aftermath of Armageddon. Again, courtesy of Kung Lao.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After trading blows with Jade and Kitana in 11, Baraka finally throws in his lot with them against Shao Kahn, and Kronika.
  • Hero Killer: While we only see the aftermath he apparently managed to kill Sub-Zero during the Armageddon battle before being killed by Kung Lao, though both events were undone by Raiden's meddling in time.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: While always implied with the Cannibal Clan tendencies his species has shown, this was outright confirmed in 11 where he has several moves and finishers that involve biting the opponent and consuming their flesh.
  • Hypocritical Humor: He calls Sindel a "hideous skag". As Sindel points out, he's pretty hideous himself.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • In MKII, Baraka could finish his opponents by lifting them with and letting them slide down his blades, while the victim screams and flails about helplessly before expiring. Several of his other fatalities and moves have a tendency to impale the opponent as well.
    • He inflicts this upon Kuai Liang during Armageddon in the original timeline and can be killed this way in the new timeline.
  • Improbable Weapon User: In Mortal Kombat 11, he now wields a flag, which he uses as a spear. It can be customized via gear options.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Sort of. His Friendship in 11 features him pulling out a cake, throwing it in the air, and cutting it to pieces with his blades, showering himself in icing in the process, after which an intact lump of cake bounces off his head and confuses him. He doesn't eat the cake, though. Possibly because the Joker killed him with a cake in his reveal video.
  • Jerkass: Big time in the eleventh entry, where he expresses much more of a personality. Most of his interactions with other characters are rude or insulting, with about the only person him wholly respecting being Jade.
    Liu Kang: You respect Kitana, yes?
    Baraka: But not her concubine, Liu Kang.
    Liu Kang: Her concubine?!
  • Jobber: Has a tendency to repeatedly show up during 9's story mode to get beaten up. It gets a lot worse for him in Mortal Kombat X, where he gets Demoted to Extra as a character you must beat up to progress. The fight with D'Vorah gets him killed. Despite him getting more spotlight in 11, he still doesn’t fair a whole lot better in this regard. Geras is well aware of this tendency.
    Geras: Submit your tribe to Kronika.
    Baraka: Tarkatans do not submit, Geras!
    Geras: It is their entire history...
  • Kick the Dog: In one of his intros in 11, he impales a small lizard on his blades.
  • Kiss-Kiss-Slap: With Mileena. This being Mortal Kombat, and with both of them being Always Chaotic Evil, the "Kisses" are plots to rule Outworld together as king and queen, and the "Slaps" are betrayal and brutal attempts at murder.
  • Kubrick Stare: His iconic victory pose has him bow with his arms crossed and blades extended while he looks up at the screen with his Slasher Smile.
  • Lean and Mean: Notably less bulky or buff than the majority of other male fighters in most of his appearances, but he more than makes up for it with ferocity.
  • Looks Like Orlok: Has the pointy ears and and sharp teeth to resemble Orlok, which is a result of his original costume using an Orlok mask as its base.
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter: One Of his variations in 11, Flag Day, makes extensive use of a Tarkatan tribal flag that he plants into the ground, essentially giving him a stage interactable that he can place anywhere and that only he can use. He also gains a damage buff if he is near the planted flag, and while holding it it acts as a layer of armor and he can perform a full screen charge with it.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The root of his face turn is thoroughly explained in his pre-match banter with Shao Kahn: it's revealed the Kahn horribly mistreated the Tarkatans and looked down upon them, reducing them to serfs claiming they're no better than dogs - and useless on the battlefield.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Has a rather large amount of teeth far bigger than any normal human's.
  • Nightmare Face: Oooh boy... Tarkatans are all about this trope.
  • Noble Demon: To an extent: He highly values honor and loyalty, chiding some decidedly treacherous characters for their disloyalty even if they have good reasons. Unlike his master, he also averts being a poor sport when faced with defeat, and being beaten in kombat is the best way to earn his respect.
    • Deconstructed by X, where his undying loyalty to a tyrant that never deserved it leads to the destruction of him and his entire race. Figuring out where his allegiances best lie instead of being blindly loyal to anyone particularly powerful is an integral part of his character development in 11.
  • The Nose Knows: According to his endings in Deception and 9, all Tarkatans have a really keen sense of smell.
    • This was proven further in "Aftermath", when Baraka was able to deduce the disguised Shokan was actually Shang Tsung. Keep in mind that Shang Tsung is a master of disguise, so either his transformation can't hide scent, or the Tarkatan's sense of smell is that impressive.
  • Nominal Hero: After his mild Heel–Face Turn he's not really so much a better person as he is simply securing a better future for the Tarkatans. Versus match intros zigzag on whether his face turn will stick, as some indicate he's pleased with Kotal, and others being very dissatisfied with Kitana enforcing regulations on the more barbaric Tarkatan traditions.
  • Not So Above It All: Surprisingly for him, and only once, does he entertain Earthrealm's penchant for jokes with Jacqui.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: He's a vicious, animalistic monster... and still Shao Kahn's most trusted general. In particular, this is shown well in his MK9 ladder ending. It's revealed that the Shao Kahn he killed was Shang Tsung, who had transformed into the emperor. It seemingly fooled everybody except him. The Tarkatans became Shao Kahn's favored race thanks to his loyalty!
  • Off with His Head!: A classic Fatality for him is to use one of his blades to cut his opponent's head off in one clean slice. Even his own head, as an Hara-kiri in Deception.
  • Pardon My Klingon: Quite literally tells Kano to fuck off in one of his intros:
    Kano: Better get right with Kronika.
    Baraka: NOKT you and Kronika!
    Kano: Heh, now that's a bonzer attitude.
  • Pointy Ears: Comes as a result of his original costume being made from an Orlok mask.
  • Posthumous Character: Died some time before the events of X at D'Vorah's hands. It gets played on for the Season 2 Kombat Pack, where chest explodes, revealing a Xenomorph sprouting out.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: If Mortal Kombat X is any indication, he serves Shao Kahn out of admiration for his fighting skill due to him having conquered his realm. One of his intros with Sonya in MK11 has her asking what it would take to earn his respect, and he responds with beating him down unmercifully.
    • Proven in the story mode: He honors Kitana of hearing reason when she bests him in a duel, despite the circumstances, and orders all his brethren to stand down.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: In all games barring Mortal Kombat X and 11, where his brain-eating fatality shows that his eyes are more of a milky beige color.
  • Retcon: Originally, it was stated that the Tarkata were a cross between Outworld humans and demons from the Netherrealm. However, this seems to have been dropped come the reboot, as Baraka claims in the tenth game that Shao Kahn conquered his realm.
  • Sinister Scythe: His weapon unique to Gold.
  • Spin Attack: In certain games, Baraka has a special move that allows him to spin around like a top with his blades extended. In MKT he could spin indefinitely.
    • One Of his fatalities in MK9 is an inversion; he impales his opponent on one of his arm blades, lifts them above his head, and then spins them on the blade while using his other blade to hack off all of their limbs.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Not only is he a bad guy, Baraka also has plenty of bony stubs on his arms to go with his arm blades and alignment. The DA-D-A trilogy gave him spikes on his back while MKX added someon his cheeks. Mortal Kombat 11 instead has his arms covered with spikes by default, although some costumes remove them and gear can bring back spikes on his head.
  • Spot the Imposter: In his ending to 9, the Shao Kahn he kills is actually Shang Tsung in disguise, who was plotting to overthrow the real one; only Baraka recognized him. His loyalty is rewarded with leadership of the Shokkan and Centaur armies, along with the Tarkatans, and he's able to unite them into one Badass Army.
  • Stance System: He has Silat and Hung Gar for Deception and Unchained. He only keeps the former for Armageddon, with Drahmin taking up the latter.
  • Sword Drag: His "between rounds" victory animation in MK9 is him dragging an arm blade on the ground and snarling.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Baraka's story in 11 starts to finally go his way after joining Kitana's Kahnship. He is promised a better future for his people than Shao Kahn has ever offered, he is given a lot more respect by the rest of the cast, and he loses his Jobber title during the story.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Baraka is depicted as more civil and reasonable in 11. He's not exactly respectful or nice, but it's definitely an improvement from his attitude in previous games.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Subverted. When he finds out that Spawn's body was "deep-fried in Hellfire," his response is, "Eh, that passes for edible."
  • To Serve Man: His ending in 11 has every other realm serving this to the Tarkatan clans.
  • Unexplained Recovery: How he survived getting cut in half to come back in the fourth game is a riddle for the ages.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Shao Kahn in the rebooted timeline, even after his death. When D'Vorah calls him out on his enduring loyalty to Mileena despite the odds, he says he is honoring Shao Khan's will by serving her.
    • Subverted by Mortal Kombat 11, where he finally wisens up to what kind of person Shao Kahn is and what serving him entails. This is further cemented in their pre-match intros, where not a single one doesn't reek of mutual contempt.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: In MKX, Baraka has tiny spikes growing out of his cheeks.
  • Villain Respect: Jade's intervention of Kotal preparing to brutally execute a village of Tarkatans over an accident earns his respect, and he lets her know this.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: His Animality turns him into a vulture.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: His appearance in 4 and his alternate costumes in 11 have Baraka ditch his tunic.
  • Weapon of Choice: A razor cane in Gold. He uses his Tarkatan blades more predominantly throughout the series.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Baraka uses his arm blades for everything. If something challenges him that it would not work, he is only inspired to use them more.
    Baraka: I will cut you down, Geras.
    Geras: Be assured I will rise again.
    Baraka: Then I'll dice you into smaller pieces!
  • Whole Costume Reference: 11 gives him a DLC skin that makes him look like Killer Croc.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: While he's seemingly not afraid by any means, Baraka is admittedly bothered by ghosts and revenants. His interactions with Noob Saibot amount to wondering what hell he came from or who summoned him, and telling him to shoo. Noob, of course, is seemingly amused by this.
  • Wild Card: Judging from intro dialogues in Mortal Kombat 11, Baraka's allegiances appear to be up in the air. Numerous characters, including those from Earthrealm, try swaying him and the Tarakatans to their sides.
  • Wolverine Wannabe: A savage, bestial warrior with a highly powerful nose, a Healing Factor, and two retractable blades hidden in his forearms. He's a lot uglier than Wolverine, though. According to the writers, his blades were meant to be longer, but they decided this would give Baraka an unfair reach, so they shortened them to be more standard Wolverine blades.

    Kung Lao 

Kung Lao

Debut game: Mortal Kombat II (Tony Marquez)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat 3 (Tony Marquez), Mortal Kombat Gold (Joshua Y. Tsui), Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat 9 (Jin Hyong), Mortal Kombat X (Will Yun Lee, English; Eduardo Garza, Latin American Spanish), Mortal Kombat 11 (Sunil Malhotra, English; Tian Shuai, Face Model; Alan Fernando Velázquez, Latin American Spanish)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: Legacy (Mark Dacascos), Mortal Kombat (2021) (Max Huang)

A member of the same Shaolin order as Liu Kang, Kung Lao is the descendant of the Great Kung Lao who defeated Shang Tsung many generations before. His trademark feature is his razor-brimmed hat, which he can throw as a weapon.

Kung Lao is a quiet man who does not advocate violence or conflict. As such, he decided to omit himself from the Mortal Kombat tournament that Liu Kang attended and subsequently won (though this is retconned in 9). Later on, the Shaolin temple was attacked by Outworld monsters and Kung Lao decided that now was the time to act and stepped through the portal to Outworld to fight off the evil alongside Liu Kang. Upon returning from their success in Outworld, Kung Lao attempted to reunite the White Lotus Society, but was derailed when Shao Kahn invaded Earthrealm. Chosen as one of Raiden's protected warriors, he once again left his life of peace to defend Earthrealm from Outworld.

After driving back Shao Kahn's invasion, Kung Lao decided to retire to a solitary existence and led his companions to believe he perished from injury. When word of Shinnok's ambition reaches him along with rumors that Goro, the man who had killed his namesake ancestor, is still living he returns to battle. He encounters Goro but rather than come to blows, the two warriors come to peace and end generations of bitterness. Kung Lao was the first to discover Liu Kang's body following Shang Tsung and Quan Chi's ambush and swears vengeance. He trains himself under the same master as Liu Kang with the hopes that his newfound skill would bring justice. Unfortunately, this was not the case and he would find himself unable to stand against Tsung and was vanquished. He was revived to serve Onaga's goals during Deception but frees his spirit in time to climb the pyramid in Armageddon.

Kung Lao's story changes quite dramatically in Mortal Kombat 9. For starters, he is present at the original tournament, unlike the first canon (though it does take after the events of Shaolin Monks where he dresses up as a guard), having snuck into the tournament out of jealousy towards Liu Kang. Raiden exposes him and has him fight Scorpion so he can be eliminated and not affect the course of events. Later on he participates in the Outworld tournament and this time Raiden allows him to face Outworld's champion, Kintaro, instead of Liu Kang. Unfortunately this has the negative effect of Shao Kahn simply snapping his neck from behind and killing him instantly after he wins, leaving Liu Kang to avenge his death and events mostly play out as they did in Mortal Kombat II as a result. His soul is resurrected as a Netherrealm slave by Quan Chi, and he does not escape from his captor come the events of Mortal Kombat X.

Thanks to Kronika meddling with time in Mortal Kombat 11, another version of himself and Liu Kang ended up being involved with the plot and they're clearly disgusted at what their older revenant selves have become as servants of Kronika and the Netherrealm.

  • Adaptational Jerkass:
    • In Shaolin Monks, the same Kung Lao who was once a humble warrior who did not seek the spotlight is now an honour obsessed, ill-tempered Jerk Jock who endlessly teases Liu Kang about Kitana, not to mention buying into Shang Tsung's scheme.
    • Downplayed in Armageddon and the rebooted timeline. He's still a humble warrior like his old characterization but he wants to prove that he can be better than Liu.
    • In the intro dialogues of 11, he's very arrogant, narcissistic and jealous to the point that he's worse than Johnny Cage, even the pre-Character Development one from his time. Lao believes he deserves be the "The Chosen One" and thinks he's a better match for Kitana (of course she disagrees). His revenant is no better compared his normal self, and throws in his lot with Kronika, completely lacking the Being Evil Sucks mentality displayed in MKX.
  • Adapted Out: Of the live-action movie, where Liu Kang is stated to be the Great Kung Lao's descendant instead.
  • Always Second Best:
    • Towards Liu Kang in Armageddon and 9 a little bit. Extremely blatant in Shaolin Monks.
    • A favorite insult against him among the X and 11 roster is to unfavorably compare him to Liu Kang.
  • Back from the Dead: Subverted in Mortal Kombat X. His regular appearance belongs to the mutiplayer Alternate Universe; he's still a revenant by the end of the story mode.
  • Bald of Evil: Interesting variation. While as a revenant under the service of Quan Chi (and bound to his will), he's completely bald. Other revenants like Stryker or Liu Kang have full heads of hair.
  • Bash Brothers: With Liu Kang. Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is practically this trope and they have a chapter in MK11 focused on them infiltrating the Wu Shi Academy and taking on their undead counterparts.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Some interactions in X and 11 show that he quite likes his hat, and does not appreciate people insulting it.
      Kung Lao: Why are you here, Cage?
      Johnny Cage: To tell you Zorro's mom wants her hat back.
      Kung Lao: Any hope for mercy is lost.
    • His interactions with Bo' Rai Cho, Cassie Cage and Kitana show he's also not very happy with the idea of being compared to Liu Kang.
      Kung Lao: The lesser Cage.
      Cassie Cage: Liu Kang lite.
      Kung Lao: A mouth in search of a fist.
    • Similar to Liu Kang and Kitana, Raiden is probably this in X since he most likely blames their deaths on him as well, since he "allowed" them to happen. Unlike Liu Kang and Kitana, he doesn't actually enjoy being a revenant, so he pretty much seems just as unhappy with him as they are.
    • As revealed by certain intro dialogues in 11, he doesn't take kindly to people mocking his name.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He despises his family's treatment of Kung Jin, in which he tells Raiden in one of his intros.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: While obviously a capable fighter, his interactions with Liu Kang in 11 suggests that he's a bit of a slacker when it comes to his duties as a monk.
  • Cain and Abel: Being revived as a revenant, his cousin becomes one of Earthrealm's heroes, Lao becomes Cain to Jin's Abel.
  • Celibate Hero: As a Shaolin, this is almost a requirement. But that doesn't stop him from flirting with women in 11.
  • Characterization Marches On: Kung Lao's appearances before Shaolin Monks didn't have his rivalry with Liu Kang and he wasn't the hothead SM cemented him as. Come Shaolin Monks, he's presented as jealous of Liu Kang and driven to show he's just as worthy to be a hero as him. While the game is of dubious canonicity elements of it were used in later games, in this case namely Kung Lao's characterization (the earliest game after SM to have this is Armageddon in the case of Kung Lao's ending).
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: In general, he's rash, immature, and definitely not as great as he wants anyone to believe. However, he is shown to be stronger than most of the kombatants when push comes to shove. He was able to take down both Goro and Kintaro and the Deadly Alliance, a duo that even Raiden couldn't beat.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kung Lao does this quite a bit more in pre-fight banter in Mortal Kombat X, especially if he's facing a comedic character.
  • A Death in the Limelight: At the end of his chapter in MK9, his neck is snapped by Shao Kahn.
  • Defector from Decadence: His ending in X shows that he wants to find a way out of the Netherrealm. Kung Jin, who has not given up any hope on Lao, aids him to redeem his soul and return him to the side of good.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: According to both Shaolin Monks and 9, Kung Lao disguised himself as one of Shang Tsung's bodyguards to infiltrate the first game's tournament. In the latter, one of Raiden's "hot flashes" tips him off to this, causing the thunder god to berate the monk and force him into battle against Scorpion so that he'd lose and be disqualified.
  • Driven by Envy: In 11, Kung Lao's Revenant incarnation is excessively envious of Liu Kang. Once the Revenant Liu Kang is taken out of the picture, Kung Lao shreds any prior restraint in expressing his seething jealousy.
    It should have been me!
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: His MKX Arcade ending has Kung Jin coming to his aid to help redeem his soul and return him to life. Unfortunately, this ending is shown to be non-canon in 11.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Even the usually cocky Lao can't stand Frost's arrogance in 11, remarking in one intro that he at least respects his elders.
    • He does not support his family's treatment of Kung Jin.
  • Faking the Dead: He was apparently killed by Shao Kahn during Trilogy. He survived, but for a time allowed his allies to believe him dead.
  • Famous Ancestor: The descendant of the Great Kung Lao, the Champion of Mortal Kombat who prevented Shang Tsung's tenth victory ages ago and was eventually killed by Goro. This Kung Lao is Kung Lao X. In his arcade ending in 9, it turns out he's actually the Great Kung Lao reincarnate.
  • Fatal Flaw: In 9, Pride. It gets him into a fight he can't win in the first tournament, and he gets a nice Neck Snap while he's grandstanding after a victory.
  • Femme Fatalons: As a revenant, disturbingly enough.
  • Future Me Scares Me: In 11, due to Timey-Wimey Ball, the living Kung Lao is able to meet the revenant Kung Lao... and he's not pleased of what he becomes.
    The thought of me becoming you sickens me!
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Revenant Kung Lao drops any pretense of respect he has towards his rival and proudly declares he'll help Kronika destroy the current timeline if it lets him one-up Liu Kang in the next.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: He can invoke this on his enemies by subjecting them to a number of fatalities involving his hat, usually bisecting them vertically.
  • Heel–Face Turn: With Kung Jin's aid he is able to pull one in his MKX ending.
  • Heroic Neutral: While a key player in the battle against evil, at his core, he's a man of peace and would prefer to live a life of solitude and tranquility.
  • Heroic Willpower: In his (and Kung Jin's) Mortal Kombat X Arcade Ladder endings with Jin's help he's able to fight the corruption in his soul and fight for good.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Liu Kang. Shaolin Monks goes the Vitriolic Best Buds route (moreso from Kung Lao's side), whereas 9 tries to strike a fine balance.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: He has this going for him, big time. Best shown when Sheeva teases Kung Lao by making a light jab at Earthrealmers, to which he responds by angrily asserting he is as strong as any Shokan. She then lampshades how easily his ego is bruised.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kung Lao is very self-assured to the point of arrogance and comparisons to Liu Kang are a sore spot for him. When actually in contact with Liu Kang, however, any animosity mostly amounts to playful ribbing and he shows nothing short of pride in witness to his friends' accomplishments, even when he became a god.
    • In MK11, he's understandably more openly skeptical of Raiden after learning that he was responsible for his fate in the new timeline. When confronted over this by the revenants, he makes it clear that he doesn't hold it against him like they do.
    Kung Lao: Lord Raiden may make mistakes, but he doesn't murder his followers.
    • Unlike Liu Kang in the last game, Kung Lao, in one of his intro dialogues, is accepting of his nephew and laments how the rest of his family mistreated him.
  • Killer Rabbit: Literally! Two of his Vs. Fatalities in Shaolin Monks involve him pulling a rabbit out of his hat; the first has him beat them to death with it, the second has the rabbit viciously maul them until they're dead.
  • The Lancer: To Liu Kang, who he generally accompanies as a fellow Shaolin and is frequently shown to be his best friend and closest confidant.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Generally depicted with long hair, often wrapped in a ponytail.
  • Manchild: He's 24 but has the temperament of a lazy teenager. His bio in MKX outright states that his immaturity and impetuousness are the reasons to why he's not taken as seriously as Liu Kang.
  • Martial Pacifist: Generally avoids picking fights, but is more than capable of finishing them.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: His name comes from his ancestor, The Great Kung Lao.
  • Nice Hat: It also doubles as a weapon!
  • "No. Just... No" Reaction: When Mileena flirts with him. "Do not even THINK of it!" indeed.
  • Opposites Attract: He and Liu Kang are best friends in spite of having completely different personalities.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: This is increasingly the case with him when it comes to Liu Kang, in spite of the former being a decent warrior and being more well-received in his debut by the fandom than the latter. This is most glaring in 9, while Liu Kang was (once again) the hero and involved with and included in many of the storylines, Kung Lao's time on-screen alive didn't even span 15 minutes.
  • Panthera Awesome: He turns into a cheetah for his Animality.
  • Reforged into a Minion: Like Sub-Zero and Jax, he was brainwashed to serve Quan Chi and Shinnok in 9, and remains a brainwashed one in X. However, his MKX arcade ending shows that he seems to dislike his current status as a revenant, and wants to get out of the Netherrealm. Kung Jin, who didn't give up any hope on him, comes to his aid and redeems his soul to the side of good thanks to his Heroic Willpower.
  • Refusal of the Call: Original canon only; in both Shaolin Monks and 9, he decides to disguise himself as a bodyguard and head to the MK tournament anyway (however, the latter gives him a justifiable reason, by having Kung Lao wanting to defeat Goro to avenge his ancestor).
  • Reincarnation: His MK9 arcade ending reveals that he is The Great Kung Lao reborn in the modern day, which also means he got the chance to redeem his loss against Goro from 500 years ago.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Kung Lao's ending in 3 has him dying in battle against Shao Kahn and his absence in vanilla 4 reinforced the idea he was Killed Off for Real. The Updated Re-release, Mortal Kombat 4 revealed that Lao had simply gone into hiding to live a life of peace until he learned of Goro's return and decided to avenge his ancestor's death at the Shokan prince's hands.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Kung Lao decided that the best time get his revenge on Goro is when the latter is in the midst of peaceful negotiations with Kitana by scarring the Shokan's chest. Indeed, Kitana does call him out on it and the only reason Lao's stunt doesn't ruin the negotiations is because Goro is very understanding.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He's the first to discover Liu Kang's corpse when Shang Tsung and Quan Chi kill Liu Kang in Deadly Alliance. He doesn't take it well, and trains with Bo' Rai Cho to learn some new tricks to defeat the two. It... doesn't quite work out the way Kung Lao intended.
  • Self-Serving Memory: He tells his past, human self that Shao Kahn snapped his neck and Raiden saw it coming, but did not intervene. In actuality, Raiden (and nobody for that matter) did not anticipate it and was incredibly furious at Shao Kahn for doing so.
  • Shadow Archetype: Serves as one to his past self in 11. Revenant Kung Lao is what would happen if Kung Lao was purely Driven by Envy towards his friend and rival Liu Kang, and only cared about avenging the death of his ancestor instead of fighting for a greater good just as his ancestor did. His entire reason for joining Kronika is so he can have a do-over and defeat Shao Kahn in the tournament to one-up Liu Kang.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: In his and Kung Jin's MKX arcade endings, Kung Lao seems to dislike his current status as a revenant, and wants to get out of the Netherrealm. Kung Jin, who didn't give up any hope on him, comes to his aid and redeems his soul to the side of good. Though this ending is not canonical.
  • Stance System:
    • Mantis Kung Fu and Shaolin Fist in Deadly Alliance, and just Shaolin Fist in Armageddon, as Shujinko becomes the Mantis practitioner.
    • In X, his variations are Buzz Saw, Tempest, and Hat Trick.
  • Summon Magic: In 11, a customization move allows him to summon the spirit of the Great Kung Lao to assist him.
  • Teleportation: One of his signature moves allows him to teleport near the opponent.
  • There Is Another: He is Earth's backup champion in case Liu Kang fails or is killed somehow. He knows this and isn't all that pleased about it.
  • The Rival: To Liu Kang as of Shaolin Monks.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Up to Eleven in 11 where his personality more resembles Kung Jin or pre Character Development Johhny Cage than it does the Kung Lao from previous games.
    • Although, his more arrogant persona is mainly limited to the pre-fight dialogues which tend to be flexible with the characters' actual personalities, especially the ones with both living and revenant skins (11 doesn't have skin-exclusive dialogues). In the story mode, he acts more in line with his previous depictions, with his rivalry with Liu Kang being Played for Laughs.
  • Spin Attack: Almost every special attack he has involves spinning either himself or his hat.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He's 5'10".
  • Uncertain Doom: In 11. His past self in Aftermath is tossed overboard into the bottomless Sea of Blood, courtesy of Sindel or Shao Kahn. Considering how his revenant is still alive and kicking when Shang Tsung assaulted Kronika's hideout later, it's safe to assume that the original isn't dead, somehow.
  • Undeathly Pallor: A grayish-white skin after being revived as a brainwashed minion.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: While he is envious of Liu Kang and the two bicker constantly, they are still best friends and practically brothers who will do anything to help when the other is in need.
  • Volcanic Veins: He gains these upon being revived as a brainwashed minion of Quan Chi.
  • Warrior Monk: Like Liu Kang, he's a Shaolin Monk who fights for Earthrealm, although he's far more reluctant about it in the original timeline.
  • Weapon of Choice: In addition to his hat, he also had a battle axe in Gold and a broadsword in Deadly Alliance and Armageddon.
  • You're Insane!: Not to the enemy, but in his own words to Liu Kang in 11, their future is "insane".


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