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"Throughout history, different cultures all over the world reference a great tournament of champions. That dragon marking, I think it’s an invitation to fight for something known as Mortal Kombat."
Sonya Blade
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Mortal Kombat is a 2021 American Supernatural Martial Arts action film. It is the directorial debut of Simon McQuoid, was written by Greg Russo and Dave Callaham, and was co-produced by James Wan. It is based on the video game franchise of the same name, also serving as a Continuity Reboot to the film series that started with Mortal Kombat: The Movie.

The story concerns a washed-up mixed martial arts fighter named Cole Young, unaware of his hidden lineage or why he is being hunted down by Sub-Zero of the Lin-Kuei clan of assassins. He's saved in the nick of time by a man named Jax, who points him to a woman named Sonya, who reveals that he's part of a group of fighters chosen to defend Earthrealm in a high-stakes battle against the forces of Outworld.

The film stars Lewis Tan as Cole Young, Jessica McNamee as Sonya Blade, Josh Lawson as Kano, Tadanobu Asano as Raiden, Joe Taslim as Bi-Han/Sub-Zero, Mehcad Brooks as Jackson "Jax" Briggs, Ludi Lin as Liu Kang, Max Huang as Kung Lao, Chin Han as Shang Tsung, and Hiroyuki Sanada as Hanzo Hasashi/Scorpion and Nathan Jones as Reiko.

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The film was released on April 23, 2021 both in theaters and on HBO Max (the latter available through May 23).

Previews: Official Restricted Trailer.


Mortal Kombat contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: In the Japanese dub, Tatsuhisa Suzuki (Cole Young) already voiced a young guy participating into another martial arts tournament when his life is in stake. Likewise, Kazuhiko Inoue (Scorpion) already voiced another ninja before.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Liu Kang admits to Cole in a private scene that he was an orphan rescued from the streets by the monks, while the games have never elaborated on his backstory.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • At his worst, Scorpion was a Nominal Hero who only sided with the villains to get his revenge on Sub-Zero to avenge his family (which Sub-Zero isn't even responsible for, Quan Chi is). Here, Scorpion is shown to have been an Earthrealm Champion before his death and is firmly on the heroes' side to seek revenge on Sub-Zero for directly killing his family, clan, and himself, and supports Cole in battle as his descendant through his daughter.
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    • Subverted with Kano. He has one of the dragon tattoos, indicating that he is one of the chosen Champions defending Earthrealm, but only has it because he murdered the original owner. He saves Sonya and Cole's lives when they're attacked by Reptile, but is clearly shown to be the Token Evil Teammate at best. When offered the chance to betray them and defect to Shang Tsung's side, he does so without much hesitation.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: The normally fatherly and kind Raiden is far harsher here, bemoaning and insulting what's left of Earthrealm's Champions when they meet, showing little faith in them during their training. Justified, as Earthrealm has lost nine tournaments and is on the cusp of destruction, so he's clearly jaded by centuries of watching his Champions die. He warms up to them once they prove themselves. And some level of Trickster/Sink-or-Swim/Eccentric Mentor is at play.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Most of the characters' outfits are designed to look more practical and realistic than some of their game counterparts' more revealing outfits.
    • Sonya wears a tanktop and pants, similar to what she wore in the 1995 movie, instead of the cut-off top and tights she wore in the first game, or any other outfit she had before MKX.
    • Kano's modern look usually has him walking around without a shirt; here, he's always seen wearing a vest with the sleeves cut off.
    • Scorpion and Sub-Zero's ninja outfits either have no sleeves or forgo an undershirt. In this movie, the two are decked out in body armor.
    • Mileena doesn't wear a skimpy leotard, instead opting for an outfit, ironically, similar to what her "sister", Kitana, wore in the 1995 movie.
    • Subverted with Jax, who wears a tanktop, until he gets his arms frozen off and goes around for the rest of the movie without a shirt after getting his mechanical arms.
    • Zigzagged with Liu Kang, who goes shirtless like his game counterpart while training the Champions, but in actual kombat, is seen wearing a shirt.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Kung Lao's relationship with Liu Kang. In the games, Kung Lao had an Always Someone Better rivalry with Liu Kang, which never seems to cease, but they do respect each other and their skills. In the film, they get along fine, and Kung Lao was the better to Liu, who didn't have a mark at the time. They both seem to be enjoying themselves picking on Kano, but it was to help him unlock his latent powers. Liu Kang grieves for him when Shang Tsung steals his soul. This is Truer to the Text, as Kung Lao was actually friends with Liu Kang, with the rivalry only being brought up after their co-op game: Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks.
    • Scorpion also gets this treatment. In the games, he became a revenant obsessed with revenge after dying by Sub-Zero's hand. In this film, however, he is more of a guardian spirit, appearing to aid Cole during the final battle with Sub-Zero. This is justifiable by the fact that, in the games, the Shirai-Ryu were completely wiped out. In this film, the clan lives on through the bloodline of Hanzo's daughter, and by extension, Cole.
  • Adaptational Superpower Change:
    • Numerous powers that are granted by advanced technology in the games (Jax's arms, Kano's laser eye, Sonya's energy rings) are turned into magic-based superpowers called "Arcana" and are tied into their selection for the tournament.
    • In Liu Kang's Fatality, he creates a dragon using his fire powers instead of changing himself into one.
      • This move was actually based on a Fatal Blow from MK11 .
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Bi-Han/Sub-Zero I, while not a nice man by any stretch of the imagination in the games, didn't actually kill Scorpion's family, instead being framed for it by Quan Chi. In the movie, he does it himself and is quite proud of it — a characterization closer to the unrepentantly evil Noob Saibot that Bi-Han becomes in the games. Compared to the original movie he's also this, as he's not a brainwashed Elite Mook, but a willing ally to Shang Tsung instead.
    • Shang Tsung himself, while he's always been a villain, is usually known for putting on a suave, charming facade while also openly working towards the destruction of the heroes. This film presents him as a much colder, brutal entity who isn't even pretending to play by the rules of the Mortal Kombat Tournament, already acting like he's won, or in a state of dark Tranquil Fury whenever he's thwarted.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection:
    • All of the characters' special moves (nicknamed "Arcanas") are explicit super powers granted to those chosen as Champions, including ones that were previously done with weapons and cybernetics in the games.
    • In Mortal Kombat 9, Jax's arms were torn off by Ermac. In the film, Sub-Zero freezes and destroys them.
    • Zig-Zagged with Kano and Kabal. In both the games and this movie Kano is the reason that Kabal has his life support system but for the exact opposite reasons, with 9 showing Kano installing it to revive him due to their old friendship, while this movie implies that Kano betrayed him and left the injuries that required it to begin with.
  • Adapted Out: Sonya's backstory with Kano, as well as her original partner, don't make the cut for the film. In the games, Sonya relentlessly hunts Kano for killing her partner, with her hatred for him growing in every subsequent title. In this movie, Sonya didn't meet Kano at all until she found him killing a previous Earthrealm Champion, which was shortly before the present day part of the movie began. While Sonya and Kano do despise each other in the movie, their animosity is nowhere near where it is in the games.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Hanzo is getting water when his family gets attacked by Lin-Kuei assassins. By the time he hears their screams, it is already too late. After being mortally wounded by Bi-Han, he hears his infant daughter crying from her hiding space in the floor boards of his house, but expires right when he tries to get her, leaving the fear that she would be left abandoned to starve until Raiden rescues her.
    • Sub-Zero uses this to lure Cole into a one-on-one fight by taunting Cole with, and freezing, his daughter's bracelet. Cole immediately recognises that his family is in danger and goes after Sub-Zero.
  • Age Lift: In the games, Scorpion and Sub-Zero were born in the 20th century (one source saying 1969 for Scorpion and 1970 for Sub-Zero). In this movie, Scorpion was killed in 1617 and was sent to the Netherrealm for over 400 years before getting out; Sub-Zero lived 400 years into the modern day.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • As usual, poor Jax loses his arms. Sub-Zero was the cause of it in this rendition, freezing both when Jax tries to confront him, then shattering them.
    • Cole cuts off one of Goro's hands during their fight.
    • Hanzo chops an arm off of one of the Lin-Kuei assassins in the opening.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Raiden gives Cole the kunai Hanzo used before he died. Later, the kunai gets covered in Cole’s blood, which ends up summoning Scorpion to help fight Sub-Zero.
  • And Show It to You: Kano finishes Reptile by performing his classic move of tearing his heart out with his bare hand and showing it off.
  • And Starring: "With Chin Han, Joe Taslim as Bi-Han and Sub-Zero, and Hiroyuki Sanada as Hanzo Hasashi and Scorpion." The credit list also highlights "With Damon Herriman as the voice of Kabal".
  • And This Is for...: A variant. Liu Kang doesn't announce it during the battle, but only after he downs Kabal does he dedicate the kill to his fallen friend Kung Lao.
  • Arrow Catch:
    • Subverted in Hanzo and Bi-Han's first fight in 1617. Hanzo launches his rope dart at Bi-Han, but misses and embeds it in a tree. Bi-Han puts his cheek against the rope, as if to gloat about how Hanzo missed. Hanzo Hanzo proceeds to yank it back, but Bi-Han fails to catch it, cutting his cheek in the process.
    • Played straight during the climax of the movie in which Scorpion and Sub-Zero get into a similar situation. This time, Bi-Han catches the kunai flawlessly.
  • Artifact Title: Mortal Kombat refers to the tournament that decides the fate of Earthrealm against Outworld. While in the movie the characters do regularly mention the tournament as an important factor they have to prepare for, it never actually takes place, as Shang Tsung is sending warriors to target and kill Earthrealm Champions beforehand, and once thwarted, promises a direct invasion with a line implying that the Elder Gods are too busy to notice this violation of their law. While in the games the tournament angle is gradually dropped as other threats are presented, this is an unusual path to take for a reboot film series.
  • Asshole Victim: Liu Kang mentions that he got his marking by killing a child trafficker. Sonya gets hers by killing Kano.
  • Badass Boast:
    • During the dinner scene in the temple, Kano describes himself as a wanted criminal in thirty-five countries for things neither Kung Lao nor Liu Kang can imagine.
    • After a decisive defeat culminating with the death of Sub-Zero, Shang Tsung delivers one for himself and Outworld, exclaiming that he will bring armies instead of fighters next time.
  • Badass Bystander: Cole's wife Allison distracts Goro, a four-armed monster, with an ax, giving her husband a chance to recover.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Hanzo was a good family man in life before Bi-Han came to assassinate him. Once he's in the Netherealm, he gains the ability to use Hellfire, as well as other techniques when he was trapped there.
  • Backup From Other World: When Cole starts losing his battle with Sub-Zero, he tries to stab him with Scorpion’s kunai. Sub-Zero turns the blade on Cole, cutting the latter's fingers with it, but the blood ends up summoning Scorpion from the Netherealm, who helps Cole fight Sub-Zero.
  • Big Bad: Shang Tsung, as in the first game which the film's plot is primarily based on.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Sonya arrives, having killed Kano, received the dragon mark from him, and unlocking her Arcana, just in time to fatally blast Mileena with her energy rings and save Cole.
    • When Cole finds himself on the ropes during the final fight with Sub-Zero, Scorpion arrives from the Netherrealm to lend a hand.
  • Big Good: Raiden, as in the game series, is The Mentor to the Earthrealm Champions and the most powerful character on Earthrealm's side.
  • Birthmark of Destiny: Cole has had a mark on his chest since his birth. It's revealed that all the chosen fighters have them, marking them as Earthrealm's Champions, though they usually just appear whenever the tournament approaches.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics: Kung Lao's hat qualifies, although it's justified by the Arcana explanation.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Shang Tsung has them when he manifests his demonic powers.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: HBO Max transcribed Liu Kang's line "Fatality!", a reference to the finishing moves iconic to the franchise, as... "[Kang speaking foreign language]".
  • Bloodier and Gorier: This new R-rated film definitely embraces the bloody carnage the franchise is known for, after the Bloodless Carnage of the PG-13 rated '90s films.
  • Boisterous Weakling: Kano has a rather big mouth for somebody that demonstrates inferior skill compared to the other champions.
  • Bond One-Liner: Many, mostly of the Mythology Gag type.
    • Once Hanzo Hasashi dies, Bi-Han says "For the Lin-Kuei".
    • Kano's heart-ripping is followed by him saying "Kano wins!"
    • Kung Lao tops off his killing of Nitara with his buzzsaw hat with a "Flawless victory."
    • Sonya gets one in after finishing off Kano.
      [Kano has Sonya in a chokehold]
      Kano: Tell me, blondie, how does that feel?
      [Sonya grabs her nearby garden gnome and impales his laser eye with the gnome, killing him]
      Sonya: It was fucking amazing...mate.
    • After Liu Kang kills Kabal, he says, "Fatality. For Kung Lao."
  • Bookends: The movie starts with the future Scorpion failing to protect his family from the future Sub-Zero. In the climax Scorpion escapes Hell to aid his descendant Cole in saving his family from Sub-Zero.
  • Breath Weapon: Scorpion displays his most iconic fatality: breathing hellfire on an opponent, which he uses to finish off Sub-Zero.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Sonya calls Kano "mate" after fatally stabbing him in the eye. Ironically, this makes an Australian actress doing mock-Australian.
  • Brick Joke: Kano spits on Sonya's garden gnome and says how much he hates gnomes. She uses it to kill him later on.
  • Brutal Brawl: Unlike the film's flashier duels, Sonya vs. Kano takes place in Sonya's cramped house and features the two kombatants smashing each other into walls, counters, and windows, forgoing martial arts for pure fisticuffs. Sonya wins by giving Kano the most humiliating Fatality ever: death by garden gnome.
  • Bullet Dodges You: In addition to freezing Jax's shotgun and arms, Sub-Zero also freezes the pellets from said shotgun in mid-air after it's been fired.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Cole and his daughter are the descendants of Hanzo's surviving daughter, who is taken in by Raiden after Sub-Zero slaughters Hanzo and his family. As Scorpion, he shows respect for his descendant by fighting together with him against Sub-Zero. They're both visibly Asian, but this makes them 400 years removed from their known Japanese ancestry.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Despite being the protagonist of the film, Cole can't seem to win a fight without outside help. The opening scene has him go against an experienced MMA fighter who beats him by making him tap out, Sonya gets the drop on him, he's thrashed around by Reptile, beaten up during training, and faces Goro while his wife has to save him. Then he fights against Mileena until the point where Sonya saves him, and he gets brutally trounced by Sub-Zero and would be killed if not for the untimely Big Damn Heroes moment by Scorpion. And he's the protagonist of the film.
    • Kano bears the brunt of many jokes, beatdowns, and insults from the rest of the fighters. Of course, this is Kano, so he absolutely deserves all of it, and he can dish it out even better than he can take it.
  • Came Back Strong: 400 years in the Netherrealm has made Hanzo even stronger than he was before, gaining abilities such as his chain spear and Hellfire.
  • Canon Foreigner: Cole Young and his family have no counterparts in the games. Hanzo Hasashi also never had a daughter in the games.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Naturally, Scorpion lets out his iconic "GET OVER HERE!"
    • Shang Tsung utters his classic "Your soul is mine!"
    • "Fatality!", "Flawless victory!" and "[Character] wins!" all make appearances.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Played for Laughs. Early in the film, Kano spits on one of Sonya's garden gnomes, which she later uses during the climax to stab him in his empowered eye, killing him.
  • The Chosen Many: Anyone who has the mark on their body is destined to participate in Mortal Kombat. Shang Tsung purposefully hunts these people down in order to kill them before they have a chance. If someone with a mark is killed by someone without one, the latter will inherit it.
  • The Chosen One: Cole, by virtue of being a descendant of Hanzo "Scorpion" Hasashi. A prophecy states that Outworld will fail to conquer Earthrealm through Mortal Kombat when Hanzo Hasahi's blood resurfaces, the prophecy referring to Cole, and is the reason Shang Tsung sent Sub-Zero to kill Hasashi and his family in the first place (setting the whole chain of events in motion) and then to kill all of Earthrealm's Champions, which again rallies them to fight back against the Outworld assassins.
  • Combat Pragmatism:
    • Employed by the villains, who go around killing Earthrealm's Champions so that no one can defend Earthrealm in the coming tournament.
    • Employed by Sonya Blade in her fight with Kano, ducking in and out of the crawlspaces in her home for sneak attacks.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: A literal case with Hanzo Hasashi, a ninja who can flawlessly kill multiple Lin-Kuei warriors attacking him, but struggles against Bi-Han, who ends up killing him.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Cole was an orphan who never knew his parents, but that never bothered him as he already has a family of his own. Raiden tells him he is the descendant of Scorpion's surviving daughter.
  • Covers Always Lie: Despite trailers and some promotional art making him out to be a main character, Scorpion really only has two scenes in the movie, barring some sporadic visions that Cole sees, both fighting Sub-Zero at the beginning and end of the movie.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The credits are shown next to black and red recreations of scenes from the movie. And when it comes to the title, it bleeds copiously!
  • Culturally Sensitive Adaptation: Scorpion and Sub-Zero are ninjas of Japanese and Chinese descent respectively and Raiden is based on a Japanese deity named Raijin. Despite this, they were portrayed by white actors in the original games and most of the previous live-action adaptations. The film has all three characters played by Asian actors and even manages to avoid Interchangeable Asian Cultures by having them match the nationalities and ethnicities of their respective characters. This applies to all other Asian characters in the movie as well. In addition, the female characters have much more modest outfits than in most of the games.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Kung Lao vs. Nitara is embarrassingly one-sided. He simply jumps on her back, turns his hat into a buzzsaw, and crashes her into it face-first.
    Kung Lao: Flawless victory.
  • Cyborg: Subverted. Jax has metallic arms, but they're of magical, rather than technological origin. Kano similarly lacks his iconic metal face plate.
  • Damsel in Distress: Allison and Emily end up this way twice. The first time is incredibly brief, when Goro has them trapped in the truck and is close to killing them, which serves to unlock Cole's Arcana. The second time is played straight, when Sub-Zero takes them hostage to lure Cole to fight him.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Liu Kang, usually the protagonist or at least The Chosen One, takes a backseat and is simply one in the group — albeit one of the most experienced.
    • Goro, usually a big focus early into the series (or anything adapting the original tournament), only gets a minor role as a monster with a single line of dialogue that attacks Cole's family.
    • Raiden is barely in the film at all and does little to mentor the group.
    • While Scorpion is important to Cole's backstory and is essentially the Franchise Mascot, he only appears in the beginning and at the end of the film, basically existing solely to fight Sub-Zero.
  • Designated Girl Fight: When Shang Tsung's forces invades the temple, Sonya is pitted against Mileena. Subverted later when Sonya asks to get a rematch with her, but Cole asks her to fight Kano instead (as he's already seen that she can take him) and he fights Mileena. Double subverted when Mileena is overwhelming him, but Sonya kills her with a surprise energy blast freshly obtained from her killing Kano.
  • Disqualification-Induced Victory: Shang Tsung is trying to win the tournament by making sure none of Earthrealm's fighters make it there alive, thereby granting him an automatic victory. He's implied to have won the past nine tournaments this way, or at least killed enough of Earthrealm's fighters to leave them at a severe disadvantage.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A violent, vulgar, muscular man breaks into a woman's home saying "Honey, I'm home," brandishing a large array of knives and a Slasher Smile. She fights back against him by mostly hiding and using sneak attacks with knives, focusing on pragmatism and her own training because she knows that he can overpower her physically since he's so much bigger than she is. The fight is violent, with her slashing at him with knives and tossing him around with combat maneuvers, and him throwing her around the house like rag-doll, many times by her neck and hair, eventually has her pinned and is choking her to death. It ends with her desperately reaching out and grabbing something sharp and stabbing him in the eye, killing him, and finally commenting on how cathartic it was to do so. Does that sound like a Domestic Abuse situation? Normally it would be, but in this case it's not. It's Sonya and Kano's Brutal Brawl.
  • Doing In the Scientist: The Arcanas explain how the characters who use technology to get their powers in the original series now get them with magic.
  • The Dragon: Sub-Zero serves the role for Shang Tsung, taking what is traditionally Goro's spot. Though the sorcerer has many Champions, Sub-Zero is the most dangerous among them and the most personal enemy for Hanzo, and by extension Cole. He also serves as the film's Final Boss.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Sub-Zero speaks with a deep voice.
  • Eye Beams: Kano's super power, which is magical as he lacks any cybernetics.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Cole kills Goro by stabbing his bladed tonfa through the giant's eye.
    • This is also how Sonya finishes Kano, albeit with a garden gnome.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Kano starts out as one of the Champions defending Earthrealm, but ultimately betrays them by destroying the barrier protecting Raiden's temple where they are training and allowing Shang Tsung's forces to launch a surprise attack against the Earthrealm fighters. Not that he was ever really a good guy to begin with...
  • Facial Horror: Rather than her usual wide mouth with bared teeth, Mileena's mouth looks fairly normal, but she has horrific-looking bloodied bruises combined with a Glasgow Grin stretching across her cheeks. Later in the film, when Cole gains the upper hand in their fight, she unleashes a Tarkatan rage, splitting her mouth apart and baring all her teeth for the first, and ultimately last, time.
  • For the Evulz: Sub-Zero has no actual reason to keep Cole's family alive. He seemingly does it out of pure malice so that he can kill the entire family together.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When we first meet Cole Young, he's wearing a black boxer robe (which kind of makes him look like a ninja) and yellow fist tape. Now whose colors are primarily black and yellow? We later find out he is a descendant of Scorpion.
    • Cole is mocked as a "human punching bag" for his meager defense in favor of attack in his MMA matches. As it turns out, his Arcana manifests as a suit of armor that lets him absorb blows and then redirect the energy or convert it into weapons.
    • Liu Kang, one of the best trained warriors for Earth, explains that his powers manfiested instantly after killing a pedophile with the mark and getting it himself. Later on in the movie, Sonya - highly trained in fighting herself - gets her powers instantly after killing Kano, a wanted criminal.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Despite having sharp claws, invisibility, and freaking acid spit, Reptile seems to do much of his time throwing people around and not using his better offensive skills. The only times he uses the acid is to break in to Sonya's trailer and dissolve a knife in his arm, and he only claws Kano once.
    • At the moment Kung Lao is getting his soul sucked by Shang Tsung, both Raiden and Liu Kang don't use powers that can help (teleportation and shooting fireballs). Raiden does point out that, as a god, he is forbidden from interfering, but Liu Kang has no such restrictions and was an eyewitness from a position from which he could very well pelt Shang Tsung with a fireball before he got done with Kung Lao.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • At one point, you can see a mural of Dehlia, Argus, and Daegon, implying that the events that lead to that game happened in this universe.
    • A statue of Shao Khan appears in Outworld.
    • Sonya's String Theory board about the history of Mortal Kombat features images of figures resembling Nightwolf and Kotal Khan.
  • The Friend No One Likes: None of the Earthrealm Champions can stand Kano. They all show more respect and friendliness to Sonya, who isn't even a Champion.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Downplayed. Cole is introduced getting ready for a cage match with a fighter named Ramirez. After the match, they have a friendly exchange and Ramirez compliments him on the match.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: Shang Tsung says as much, which is why he can flagrantly violate the rules — in front of Raiden, no less — and never be punished for it.
  • Gorn: Finally, a Mortal Kombat live-action movie with fatalities in all their bloody glory. Many characters perform their iconic finishing moves with the bloody consequences clearly shown onscreen.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • Scorpion speaks mostly Japanese throughout the entire film, with the sole exception of his famous "GET OVER HERE!" Why he and Sub-Zero, two ancient Japanese and Chinese warriors, adopt English codenames is also not explained.
    • Taken even further in the movie's French dub, where all the catchphrases from the games are left untranslated.
  • Groin Attack: Hanzo Hasashi delivers one to Bi-Han during their fight in 1617 Japan.
  • Guns Are Worthless: The sole two scenes where guns are used depict their users (Sonya and Jax) as being nearly helpless against their enemies. Justified, since their enemies have supernatural abilities that render firearms useless.
  • Harmless Freezing: Both Averted and Played Straight over the course of the movie. The effects of flash-freezing flesh is shown in horrifying detail when Sub-Zero literally shatters Jax's arms. Later in the film, Emily and Alison being completely encased in ice does no harm that can't be fixed with a blanket and a bonfire.
  • Hate Sink: The owner of the gym where Cole fights in the beginning of the film. His only appearances consist of mocking Cole's fighting skills, deriding Cole's daughter for being his corner-man, and laughing in Cole's face when he says he's going to Hollywood. This is in stark contrast to the fighter Cole faces, who is kind and respectful afterwards, thanking him for a good match.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Kano mocks Kung Lao's "hat frisbee," but he's skilled/clever enough with it for it to be a pretty effective Arcana.
  • Hero Killer: Sub-Zero is considered the most lethal threat to the Earthrealm Champions. He killed Hanzo Hasashi, one of Japan's greatest ninjas in 1617, and is implied to have assassinated many of Earthrealm's warriors in the centuries since. He would have killed Jax after shattering the latter's arms, were it not for the intervention of the Shaolin. The heroes don't even think of fighting him one-on-one and indeed, he is slain only when Cole Young inadvertently summons Scorpion to aid in the final fight.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Liu Kang and Kung Lao are best friends, with Liu Kang admitting that Kung Lao was one of the first people who ever cared for him, and they're often seen side by side with each other. When Kung Lao is killed, Liu Kang is devastated, and takes up his iconic Martial Arts Headband in tribute. When he battles Kabal, he says "For Kung Lao" right after killing him.
  • History Repeats: Scorpion sees Cole's wife and daughter frozen in ice while Cole desperately tries to save them, which brings back memories of his wife and son being frozen to death by Sub-Zero as well as telling him that Cole and his daughter are his descendants. This triggers him enough to use his Hellfire to save them.
  • Hollywood Acid: Kano notices how fast Reptile's acid spit was melting everything it touched, and uses it to free himself from his shackles.
  • Hourglass Plot: Between Sonya and Kano. Kano starts off as a Champion that learns his Arcana during the initial journey, while Sonya is the lone non-Champion during the quest. Afterwards, Sonya kills Kano, becoming a Champion and learning her Arcana quickly.
  • An Ice Person: Sub-Zero freezes Jax's shotgun, then Jax's arms. He is later seen freezing an entire room, creating walls of ice while fighting Scorpion, and forms a dagger through freezing spilled blood. He also uses his powers to freeze people, make swords, and throw chunks of ice at people.
  • Iconic Attribute Adoption Moment:
    • Sub-Zero freezes and shatters Jax’s original arms. Jax later gets crude replacements, which are upgraded when he unlocks his Arcana.
    • Hanzo Hasashi, in the opening scene, is seen creating his iconic rope dart from a kunai in the ground and a rope.
    • Mileena’s mouth rips open during her fight with Cole, resembling her classic look in the games.
    • Before facing off against Kabal and Mileena, Liu Kang ties a red bandana around his head, like his current game counterpart does.
    • Subverted when Reptile attacks Kano. Kano gets the left side of his face slashed by Reptile's claws but the damage is only skin deep and his laser uses his still organic eye to work.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Sub-Zero, naturally, has very pale blue eyes, which the trailer highlights whenever his face is shown and he's giving his opponent a blank stare.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • Hanzo Hashashi uses a kunai (originally a masonry trowel) to form a rope dart.
    • Sonya uses her garden gnome statue to stab Kano in the eye.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Played for drama. The survival of Hanzo’s daughter means that that her heritage would last to the modern day, which is why Cole gets chosen as a defender of the realm.
  • Informed Ability: Cole is supposed to be a strong fighter, but is unable to finish a single fight by himself in the entire movie. Even after he gets his Arcana, he still needs the help of his wife, Sonya, and Scorpion respectively in order to defeat Goro, Mileena, and Sub-Zero. Though it could be classified as Overshadowed by Awesome, as Cole is powerful, but going against the greatest threats Outworld can send.
  • Instant Armor: Cole's Arcana gives him golden armor which can absorb and redirect energy, either enhancing his attacks or forming it into weapons.
  • Instant Expert: Sonya is able to use her signature sonic attacks after killing Kano and gaining his mark, and uses them to save Cole from Mileena. Arguably Justified, considering Sonya is one of the most well-trained fighters in the movie, short of Liu Kang and Kung Lao, and has the least mental and emotional hangups about using or unlocking her powers; unlike Kano and Cole, she actually wants to fight in Mortal Kombat. This is even given Foreshadowing by Liu Kang, who explains to Cole that his Arcana awoke as soon as he received the mark, because he wanted it that badly.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Averted. It's specified throughout the movie's subtitles when the characters are speaking a certain language. Hanzo actually can't understand what Bi-Han's last words to him are, because he's speaking Chinese, but the audience can. That said, Bi-Han is played by an Indonesian actor instead of a Chinese one.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: When talking about the mission in Brazil, Sonya only refers to whatever they fought as "the target" or "it." Whether this is is due to Sonya seeing it as something other than human for its powers, or expressing restrained loathing for all of her teammates lost, is up in the air.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Downplayed example. Kung Lao and Liu Kang are more than kind with Sonya when she arrives, but come off a bit abrasive when they prevent her from even taking part in practice fights. Despite Cole's protests, they correctly point out that going up against someone who can throw fire, conjure and control ice, or run faster than the eye can see with only your fists is a very good way to get yourself killed, and make the other people with powers focus on protecting you instead of actually fighting. Even when the group gets desperate enough to use Sonya for the final "tournament" against Shang Tsung's fighters, they send her against Kano, arguably the least dangerous of the opposing fighters.
  • Kill It with Fire: Liu Kang creates a giant Chinese dragon out of fire that engulfs Kabal. Then later, Scorpion roasts Sub-Zero to death with his fiery breath.
  • Kill It with Ice: As expected from Sub-Zero, this is how he kills Scorpion's family in the opening scene. He leaves his wife and son as frozen statues impaled with a blade of ice.
  • Last of His Kind: Downplayed. Cole is the last of the Shirai-Ryu descendants, but he's got a daughter.
  • Lineage Comes from the Father: Averted. Cole is a descendant of Hanzo through Hanzo's daughter, as his son was murdered by Sub-Zero.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Sub-Zero freezes Jax's arms, then bloodily shatters them.
  • Logical Weakness:
    • Kano's laser eye may be mystical rather than technologically-based, but it's still very much a laser. During the fight in Sonya's trailer, she's able to temporarily stop him from using his power altogether by throwing a bottle of acetone directly into his eye. Kano's attempt to fire his laser eye is met with violent sparks as the acetone combusts.
    • Cole's Arcana stores kinetic energy as heat, before releasing it as an attack. Sub-Zero, therefore, is his natural counter, with his ice powers sapping such heat and his freezing touch injuring Cole without needing to strike him.
  • Logo Joke: The opening of the film has fire forming the WB logo and ice forming the New Line logo; fire and ice are the powers of rivals Scorpion and Sub-Zero.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Interference in the Mortal Kombat Tournament, by gods or others, is strictly forbidden. If a Kombatant is killed before the tournament, the one who killed them takes their place as Champion. The rules are a great deal more vague on what happens if a Kombatant is killed by someone already designated as Champion for one side or the other, as well as Kombatants fighting outside the tournament itself, letting Shang Tsung send Sub-Zero, Mileena, Nitara, Kabal, Reiko, and Goro to kill the Earthrealm Champions before the tournament, ensuring there will be no opposition to fight. This is considered outright cheating to some extent, but Shang Tsung does it because he knows the gods don't care enough to stop him.
    • Raiden states that Gods are not allowed to interfere with the Mortal Kombat Tournament. This doesn't mean he can't provide Earthrealm Champions with the means to give themselves the advantage, such as teleporting the Outworld fighters to specific locations to break them up, and giving Cole the kunai covered in Hisashi's blood which allows Scorpion to join in the fight against Sub-Zero. Cole catches onto that last detail.
  • Made of Iron: In an emulation of the game, the fight scenes are centered less around deflection and dodging but, regardless of how durable they realistically should be, are shown taking an absurd amount of visceral punishment, while still fighting.
  • Magitek: The tech-based superpowers are magically formed by the Arcana.
  • Mauve Shirt: Mileena and Kabal are ultimately Shang-Tsung's henchmen, but have more characterization and screentime compared to Nitara and Reiko, and last longer than them in the climax. It also helps that they're more well-known characters from the games.
  • Meta Origin: The various superhuman abilities portrayed by the characters were originally described as magic, ki, training, technology, or biological. This movie states that anyone with the dragon symbol can become empowered with an Arcana, which manifests differently depending on the individual and consolidates the diverse powers into one source, at least for the Earthrealm Champions. This ranges from Liu Kang conjuring fire to Jax's mechanical arms getting enhanced.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • It's mentioned that Cole took a title from "Eddie Tobias," a mash-up of the names of the Mortal Kombat creators, Ed Boon and John Tobias.
    • Sonya's address, 806 W. Washington Blvd, is an old address of Nether Realm Studios, the developers of the series.
    • A statue of Shao Kahn appears in some Outworld scenes, as seen here.
    • After Kano finishes one opponent by tearing out his opponent's heart with his hands (just like one of his iconic Fatalities), he proudly exclaims, "Kano wins!"
    • The 1995 Mortal Kombat techno theme is heard in an epic orchestral version when Scorpion arrives to fight Sub-Zero. A dubstep-inspired version plays over the closing titles.
    • While alive, Hanzo's kunai is attached to a rope, like it was in the games of the original timeline. As Scorpion, the kunai is on a chain, as in the games of the rebooted timeline.
    • In Raiden's Temple, Shinnok's amulet and Kitana's fans can be seen on display. Kano actually tries to steal the former.
    • While showing the wall with all the information Sonya has gathered, the camera lingers on the picture of a Native American who looks like Nightwolf, and the article itself mentions the Matoka and the abilities of the "Night Wolf" to create tomahawks and arrows from spirit energy. The same scene also shows a statue that resembles Kotal Kahn.
    • Kung Lao telepathically sends his blade hat to the ground while spinning it like a sawblade, which kills Nitara from the head to spine (and afterward he says one of the iconic lines from the games, "Flawless victory"). In Mortal Kombat 9, his fatality involves throwing his hat like a sawblade while grabbing his opponent by the legs and dragging the victim across it, splitting the victim in half from the groin up.
    • When Jax defeats Reiko, Reiko sways back and forth stunned before Jax performs his Fatality, just like what happens in the games.
    • Liu Kang spamming the sweep kick and Kano's complaints over it. Spamming low kicks is a common "scrub killer" among many Mortal Kombat players, especially the sweep kick, and especially in the original game. Note that Liu Kang's sweep and the way Kano falls over for it almost exactly match the mocap sprite animations from the original.
    • When facing off against Scorpion, Sub-Zero creates ice swords to fight him with. This a reference to the kori blades he creates in the games.
    • At the end of the film, Sub-Zero ends up ripping off his armor. Not only does the jumpsuit underneath resemble the classic ninja outfits from the original games (just with much smaller shoulder pads), but the outfit is mostly black, alluding to Bi-Han's Noob Saibot form.
    • Scorpion executes Sub-Zero by using Hellfire from his mouth, the same way Scorpion had killed him in the games. Unlike the games, Sub-Zero isn't guiltless here.
    • Liu Kang mentions Bo' Rai Cho as the one who brought him to the Shaolin as a child.
    • After Sonya offs Kano, she unlocks her Arcana and gains the ability to shoot blasts of pink energy from her wrists like in the games.
    • Before Jax and Sub-Zero fight, you can see a wall that has "Down Arrow, Right Arrow, LP" spray-painted on it. Down, forward, Light Punch is the input command for Sub Zero's Ice Freeze move in the games.
    • When Sonya, Kano, and Cole are being given a tour through Raiden's Temple, there are various murals along the wall. One of them is of Shao Kahn, while another is of Argus and Delia, the parents of Taven and Daegon from Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.
    • Cole's gym and most of his MMA fights are based out of Chicago, where the Mortal Kombat developers (both when they were with Midway and then as Netherrealm Studios) are based.
    • As Shang Tsung kills Kung Lao, he says his iconic line from the '95 film: "Your Soul is Mine!"
    • When Liu Kang beats Kabal, he uses a variation of his classic Dragon Within finisher, closely resembling its depiction as his Mortal Kombat 11 Fatal Blow, and then says "Fatality. For Kung Lao." afterwards.
    • Kabal's outfit has a police badge with the name Stryker on it, a nod to him working with Stryker as a cop in Mortal Kombat 9.
    • A more general Mythology, rather than the games: the idea that if you kill someone with the Champion's crest, it automatically passes onto you, echoes an ancient real-world superstition where if you kill an enemy you gain their greatest power.
    • During the opening fight between Bi Han and Hanzo Hasashi, Hanzo gives Bi Han a wound near the eye, similar to the wound that Kuai Liang (the character's younger brother) would get in the third installment.
    • A subtle one, but the ashes around Bi-Han when Scorpion kills him, look more like dark shadowy liquid than ash, alluding to Bi-Hans powerset as Noob.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailer implies that Jax lost his arms seven years ago, during the mission to Brazil, as Sonya's narration is played over the scene of Jax searching the warehouse and losing a fight to Sub-Zero, having his arms frozen in the process. In fact, we never see what the Brazil incident was, and Jax loses his arms during the main plot, after meeting Cole, and receives his trademark cybernetic arms during the film.
    • Scorpion’s iconic "Get over here!" that caps off the trailer was widely mocked online because it sounded muffled and the words weren’t given much enunciation. The actual film uses a new recording of the line that's much clearer and almost identical to the games, but whether this was intentional or re-dubbed following the trailer’s release is unclear.
  • Neutral Female: Allison and Emily avoid this in their own separate ways during Cole's fight with Goro.
    • For Allison, when Goro is about kill Cole, she grabs an axe and hits Goro in the side to save Cole.
    • For Emily, she doesn't actually fight, but she screams for Cole to uppercut Goro when Goro's overwhelming the empowered Cole. It works and he regains the upper hand thanks to her.
    • For both mother and daughter, they get into the family truck and try to run Goro over. Goro has Super Strength, so it obviously doesn't work, but they get points for trying.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Liu Kang and Kung Lao repeatedly goad Kano until he discovers his laser eye, which he later uses against Sonya when he defects.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Cole can't find his Arcana and is sent home to his family. Shang Tsung decides to wipe out all the remaining Champions, and sends Goro after Cole at his home. Fighting to directly defend his family leads to Cole unlocking his Arcana and defeating Goro.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Shang Tsung never directly fights any of the Earthrealm Champions. The only time he gets personally involved in the action is when he subdues and kills Kung Lao.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Kabal states that he has to wear his trademark respirator mask and oxygen tanks due to offscreen injuries inflicted on him by Kano, but does not elaborate on the exact nature of his injuries or how they happened.
    • Almost nothing about Sonya and Jax's mission in Brazil is revealed (including what/who they were fighting).
    • We never learn who Kano or Liu Kang killed to get their marks, or how Sonya captured Kano's victim, for that matter.
    • We never learn what Hanzo did to earn the ire of Bi-Han.
  • Oh, Crap!: Sub-Zero spends most of the movie with the upper hand on everyone else, and even with the mask he shows very little emotion. However, he's visibly shocked during the climax when Cole summons Scorpion using the kunai blade. Sub-Zero is also pretty unnerved by the fact that Scorpion actually managed to draw blood during their second fight, considering no one else was able to make a dent in his armor.
  • Only in It for the Money: Kano agrees to help Sonya search for the temple in exchange for three million dollars.
  • Pædo Hunt: Liu Kang got his powers by killing a pedophile who had the dragon tattoo.
  • Papa Wolf: Cole is very protective of his wife and daughter. Scorpion's also protective of Cole and his family when he realizes they're his descendants.
  • Playing with Fire: Liu Kang's power focuses on controlling and summoning fire. Also, Scorpion learns to control the fire of the Netherrealm.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • The reason why Johnny Cage is absent, despite being part of the main cast since the beginning and for most of the games, is because having him on the same side as the heroes along with Kano would cause the two characters to overshadow each other, due to both functioning as comic relief. However, by the end of the movie, Kano is killed by Sonya and Cole is seen going off to Hollywood to go recruit Johnny Cage.
    • The actual Mortal Kombat Tournament doesn't start in this film, probably so that the movie focuses on developing the lore and the characters.
    • The Lin-Kuei aren't implied to be active, unlike in the games, to avoid answering why a bunch of Chinese assassins are running around in the modern day. Instead, Sub-Zero is depicted as being aligned with Outworld while he was with the Lin-Kuei in the 1600s, way before the plot of the movie begins.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Natch for Shang Tsung, "Your Soul is Mine!" shortly before sucking that of Kung Lao.
  • Race Lift: Of a sort. Mortal Kombat's Raiden was based on a god from Japanese Mythology, but Latino and Caucasian men have played him for the franchise's entire existence. This is the first time an actual Asian has portrayed him, specifically the Japanese Tadanobu Asano.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Sub-Zero is a little over 400 years old, but still looks like a young man (minus being pale with bright eyes).
  • Sacrificial Lion: Kung Lao fights to buy Cole and Liu Kang time to escape, only for Shang Tsung to steal his soul.
  • Saved for the Sequel: The final shot of the film firmly teases that Johnny Cage will make his anticipated reboot debut in the next film.
  • Screw the Rules, They Broke Them First!: To ensure Earthrealm will have no Champions come the next tournament, the bulk of the film involves Earthrealm's Champions being hunted down by Sub-Zero and the rest of Shang Tsung's assassins. The final act sees the Champions, with assistance from Raiden, tracking down and assassinating the assassins, so Outworld will have no Champions themselves come the tournament. Then again, Mortal Kombat has always been about fighting dirty, and this is not technically illegal by the established rules of the tournament.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • After Cole's fight with Goro, Allison and Emily both wisely choose to leave the place where they're staying to avoid anyone else showing up. They don't get away in time before Sub-Zero finds and captures them.
    • Said by Kano when he uses Reptile's acid/saliva to get out of his handcuffs.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The prophecy that foretells Hanzo's blood descendants being the key to preventing Outworld's invasion comes true, despite Shang Tsung's machinations to eliminate the possibility and, indeed, even because of what he does. Every assault on the heroes only drives Cole that much closer to becoming a true Champion and after Shang Tsung steals Kung Lao's soul, it's Cole that rallies the Earthrealm fighters, making the plan that wins them the day.
  • Sequel Hook: Before being banished back to Outworld by Raiden, Shang Tsung vows to return with more than just fighters, but armies. He also makes comments that imply Bi-Han's eventual resurrection as Noob Saibot. Cole also goes off in search of more fighters on his own, starting with Johnny Cage.
  • Shout-Out: Kano gives Liu Kang a few snarky pop-culture nicknames, namely David Copperfield and Magic Mike.
  • Shown Their Work: A pre-Scorpion Hanzo creates a prototype of his infamous rope dart/spear with a rope laying around and a kunai stuck in a garden bed; kunai are believed to have been used as masonry trowels before being modified as tools or weapons by ninjas.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: As Shang Tsung vows to return with armies, Raiden banishes him and says, "He talks too much."
  • Small Role, Big Impact: By saving her daughter, and hiding her within the hidden compartments of her house, Hanzo's wife effectively ensured her daughter survives so that the Shirai-Ryu can live on, and is taken to be raised by monks thanks to Raiden saving her. She is who Cole and his daughter are descended from, and helps Scorpion defeat Sub-Zero.
  • Sole Survivor: Hanzo's unnamed daughter is the only survivor of the Shirai Ryu massacre.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Invoked. At the end of the movie, the heroes elect to take on all of Shang Tsung's champions 1-on-1, leaving Sub-Zero for last so they can fight him 4-on-1 because he is the most dangerous of them all.
  • Spoiler Cover: The film's poster shows Cole's Arcana.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Unintentionally. Cole's blood reacts with Hanzo Hasashi's kunai to summon him from Netherrealm when Cole is hopelessly outmatched by Sub-Zero. Raiden may or may not have had something to do with that.
  • Super Strength:
    • What Jax's Arcana appears to be, which extends to his mechanical arms when it finally manifests. This is indicated by him having the Required Secondary Power to brace himself well enough to lift a boulder off Sonya and block blows from Reiko's hammer without being pushed back.
    • Downplayed with Sub-Zero. While he's not strong enough to lift a boulder, he is seen effortlessly tossing fighters larger than him, like Hanzo and Jax, several feet into the air.
  • Surprisingly Good Foreign Language: In stark contrast to most depictions of the characters, Scorpion and Sub-Zero speak their native Japanese and Chinese during their encounter at the beginning of the film. Bi-Han also seems to know a bit of Japanese, as he speaks it to intimidate Hanzo's family. Bilingual Dialogue is averted in the same conversation, as Hanzo notes he's unable to understand what Bi-Han is saying to him. Notably, Scorpion's only line of spoken English in the movie is his aforementioned Catchphrase; aside from that, all of his dialogue is in Japanese.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Several, as part of the film's goal to set itself apart from its predecessors and play more by "real world" logic. For example...
    • In the opening, a mortally wounded Hanzo hears his daughter crying and starts to crawl toward her. He makes it a few feet before keeling over dead. Despite his determination and fatherly instincts, he is simply too badly injured to get very far.
    • Sonya introduces Cole to her research, ending with he reveal that the markings and fighters are building towards Mortal Kombat. Cole wastes no time in pointing out how silly it sounds, including the fact they spelled it wrong.
    • When Kung Lao is first introduced, Kano asks who he is, and Kung Lao delivers a Badass Boast worthy of a classic martial arts movie, complete with rousing music and dramatically speaking of his ancestor, the Great Kung Lao. Kano is unimpressed, and clearly has no idea who the Great Kung Lao is, as the Mortal Kombat tournaments have been hidden from the outside world for thousands of years.
    • Kano may have the mark and be a fairly skilled brawler, but he's still an uncouth thug going up against people who've been training for the majority of their lives in formal martial arts. Even when he gets his laser eye, he's still hopelessly outmatched against even the Badass Normal Sonya Blade, and becomes the only fighter with an Arcana to be killed by someone without one on screen.
    • In a similar vein, Cole wins only one fight (against Goro), but struggles with battling Mileena and Sub-Zero, requiring outside help in both cases, because despite being an MMA fighter, he isn't trained to fight in order to kill or defend against people actively trying to murder him. His victory with Goro was only because he unlocked his Arcana in time, as well as some timely intervention by his wife.
    • In a broader sense with the series' classic Fatalities. Because the main series are video games, characters can inflict horrific damage on each other before simply moving into the next match. Here, Fatalities are depicted with exactly the kind of outcome one would expect.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Sonya and Kano do not like each other, do not get along, and can barely tolerate having to work together to save the world. Thus it should be no surprise that Kano promptly turns traitor once Kabal gives him a better offer on behalf of Shang Tsung. Or that Sonya kills him to get his dragon mark without a qualm.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: A minor example, when Kano is training with Liu Kang. After already leg sweeping him twice, Liu Kang fakes Kano in jumping to dodge his leg sweep, Kano mutters "ah, fuck" as he lands, since he knows he's going to be eating a third one.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Hanzo kills a Lin-Kuei assassin by throwing his wakizashi into his back. This forces him to create a rope dart since his sword is now stuck inside the house.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Kano, for the Earthrealm Champions. He ultimately betrays them and sides with Shang Tsung's forces.
  • Took a Level in Badass: An extremely fast example. When Bi-Han is introduced attacking Hanzo Hasashi's farm in the 1600s, he can "merely" make a room cold with his presence and freeze his hands, and even has trouble using his ice powers against Hanzo himself, relying more on physical combat. When he is re-introduced as Sub-Zero, with over 400 more years of combat experience, he can freeze entire rooms in seconds, blanket streets in ice shards with a wave of his hands, and stop shotgun pellets at point-blank range.
  • Torso with a View: Sonya uses the powers from the mark she inherited after killing Kano, to punch a hole through Mileena.
  • Tragic Keepsake:
    • Scorpion’s first rope dart used a kunai that his wife used as a garden trowel.
    • After being killed, Kung Lao’s hat flies towards the heroes when Raiden teleports them away from the infiltrated temple and is held briefly by Liu Kang. The red scarf ornamenting it is taken to be used as Liu Kang's trademark headband in his fight with Kabal.
  • The Unchosen One: Part of the reason Sonya gets ostracized by those who have the mark, and Mileena considers her Not Worth Killing, is because of this. She eventually gains a mark after killing Kano.
  • Undignified Death: In a movie where fights tend to end with the loser being killed in a spectacular fashion, we also get Kano's death by getting stabbed through the eye with a lawn gnome's pointy hat.
  • Video Credits: As part of the Creative Closing Credits, each actor's name appears next to a red and black silhouette of his or her character.
  • Villainous Valour: In the final fight against Cole Young and Scorpion, Sub-Zero realizes he is no match for the combined power of his foes. He still rises to his feet, calmly states his Battle Cry, and engages both of them in kombat. Even as he is being roasted alive by Scorpion after his defeat, he still continues to try and strangle the latter.
  • The Voiceless: Nitara has no lines of dialogue. Not that she's alive long enough to really say anything.
  • Void Between the Worlds: At a certain point, Raiden takes Earthrealm's champions to the indicatively titled "Void," a featureless plane between realms.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Nitara virtually only exists to be very quickly cut in half by Kung Lao's sawblade fatality.
  • Worthy Opponent: The MMA fighter Ramirez (who defeats Cole at the beginning) thanks him for a good fight.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Cole initially scoffs at the concept of Mortal Kombat by pointing out that it isn't even spelled correctly.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: There are two ways of becoming chosen: either the mark is passed on to you by one of your parents, or you kill the person that currently has it.
  • Your Soul is Mine!: Shang Tsung (naturally) steals the soul of Kung Lao. He even says the trope name as he does so!

"GET OVER HERE!"
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