Rugal (Park) steals three relics from a museum: The Kagura Mirror, the Yagami Necklace and the Kusanagi Sword. He uses them to disappear into a dimensional portal to awaken a mythical entity known as the Orochi, which grants limitless powers. However, the sword is revealed to be a fake and the quest is delayed, so Rugal decides to use the King of Fighters tournament, which is held in an alternate dimension, for his benefit. The real sword is with the Kusanagi family, and it's up to Kyo Kusanagi (Faris), Mai Shiranui (Maggie Q), and her boyfriend Iori Yagami (Lee) to stop Rugal.
This film features examples of:
- Adaptational Nationality:
- Kyo Kusanagi is Japanese in the games, but an American of Japanese descent in the film.
- Rugal Bernstein is German in the games, but Scottish actor Ray Park speaks in his normal accent.
- Adapted Out: The film omits the vast majority of the cast of the games (which admitedly consists of Loads and Loads of Characters), in favor of mostly focusing on Kyo, Iori, Mai, Rugal, and Terry.
- Agent Scully: Agent Terry Bogard is skeptic to believe in the crazy things about dimensions going on, even when it becomes clear that something odd is going on.
- Big Bra to Fill: Mai Shiranui is quite curvy in the games, but is portrayed by the much slender Maggie Q.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Rugal brainwashes Mature and Vice into becoming his servants.
- But Not Too Gay: The most explicit proof we get of Mature and Vice being in a same-sex relationship with each other is that they caress a little before receiving a call to participate in the tournament.
- Forceful Kiss: Rugal forces a kiss on Mature to brainwash her into becoming his servant.
- Half-Breed Discrimination: Seemingly to enforce the idea that he's Japanese-American despite the fact that his actor is obviously wholly Caucasian, Kyo gets disparagingly called a "half-breed" at one point.
- Lipstick Lesbian: Both Mature and Vice look conventionally femenine and are in a relationship with each other.
- The Mole: Mai is revealed to have been an undercover operative sent by the CIA to infiltrate Chizuru's organization a year before the events of the film.
- Race Lift: In the games, Kyo Kusanagi is Japanese through and through, but in the film is made Japanese-American, played by an obviously white Sean Faris.
- The Reveal: Kyo believes that Rugal was the responsible for leaving his father in a coma. It is later revealed it was actually Iori, after allowing the Orochi to take control of his body, and that he has been its host ever since.
- Sequel Hook: The film ends with Iori staring menacingly at Kyo from the other side of a pier, clearly setting up a potential second movie, which now seems unlikely.
- Stocking Filler: Mai's outfit includes boots/stockings that go over the knee, complete with garter belts.
- You Killed My Father: Well, he had a ten-year coma before dying, but Kyo believes that Rugal is responsible for leaving his father in a coma in the first place. Turns out it was actually Iori under the influence of the Orochi.