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Series / Mortal Kombat: Conquest

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"In each of us there burns a soul of a warrior. In every generation a few are chosen to prove it. Centuries ago, in a time of darkness and fury, that fate befell three strangers. A monk, Kung Lao; an exiled guard, Siro; and a thief, Taja, who have to defend our realm from the forces of Outworld. By fighting for their lives, by fighting for their honor and by fighting for their a tournament called Mortal Kombat."

Mortal Kombat: Conquest was a short-lived live-action TV series based on the highly successful Mortal Kombat video games, airing from 1998 to 1999 first in syndication and then on TNT.

The series revolved around the winner of the previous Mortal Kombat, Kung Lao and his allies Siro and Taja versus various individuals who threaten Earthrealm. The series is a Prequel to the events of the video games, despite the appearance of numerous characters who would not canonically show up until centuries later. The series is considered to be Broad Strokes canon to the main timeline.

It was finally released on DVD in the US in March 2015 after originally being released elsewhere.

This series contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: In the premier, Shang Tsung vows to free the warriors imprisoned in Shao Kahn's mines so that he can raise up an army and overthrow him. This plot point only comes up one other time during the episode "Festival of Death" when Shang Tsung resurrects one of them to fight Kung Lao and is never mentioned again afterward.
    • The Lin Kuei tasking Smoke with killing Sub-Zero at the end of "The Serpent and the Ice".
    • Omegis reawakening Master Cho at the very end of "The Master". During her appearances in the finale, he isn't seen or mentioned.
  • Accidental Downer Ending: Thanks to the show never getting a second season, the show ends with Shao Kahn killing everyone.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Mileena. Inverted when she first appears; she's uglier than her game counterpart, since her ugliness isn't limited to her lower face. Played straight after she partly loses her Kitana disguise; she still looks beautiful, save for some long teeth, which aren't so prominent as in the game.
  • Adaptational Badass: Shadow Priests, to the point of being able to kill most characters.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: The series takes place in the time of the Great Kung Lao who was the original Earthrealm champion of Mortal Kombat. However, a number of characters are featured in the show despite their stories in the game not being relevant to the show's story such as Sub-Zero, Scorpion and Quan Chi.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Unlike the games, where in his best moments, Shao Kahn only viewed Kitana as a tool, this version of Shao Kahn did regret having Kitana killed in the Downer Ending, unlike the other deaths he ordered, where he rubbed Raiden's face in them.
  • Adaptational Weapon Swap: This version of Shao Kahn trades the Wrath Hammer he had in the games for a sword.
  • Amazon Brigade: Kreeya's army.
  • Badass Normal: Our main three. Played with as Kung Lao is able to No-Sell certain magics and has visions of impending doom.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The show ends with Shao Kahn killing everyone and gloating over a beaten, imprisoned Raiden, the only survivor.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Raiden catches Shao Kahn's sword this way in the finale, then uses lightning to throw him off-balance.
  • Bee People: The Kreeyans are an all-female race who have a queen. That queen mates with a male of a different species, who will often die as a result. Offspring mature in massive hives until they come out as adults.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Shang Tsung plots Kung Lao's demise from the Cobalt Mines, while Shao Kahn plots taking Earthrealm from his palace.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The Kreeyans are spawned in a giant insectoid hive that contains thousands of maturing fetuses. Each newborn Kreeyan matures into adult form within days (similar to bees), commanding hand-to-hand combat skills and weapons expertise. They are also immune to many human-borne diseases, are capable of healing the afflicted by mingling their blood and can live for up to thousands of years. The queen alone has the power to breed, although this power can be passed on to the First Born daughter after death.
  • Brought Down to Normal: In the finale, Shao Kahn bides his time and transports everyone to Outworld, causing Raiden to lose his powers and making him easy prey.
  • Canon Foreigner: Taja, Siro, Vorpax and a number of others.
  • Canon Immigrant: The Kreeyan people would later be mentioned in the official Mortal Kombat X comic, more or less making them canon to the games, though it's not mentioned if they were the same Kreeyans seen in this show (and considering the Kytinn were them in all but name, it'd be redundant anyway.)
    • The show is also the origin of the Lin Kuei insignia as it appears from Mortal Kombat 9 onwards.
  • Celibate Hero: Averted. As a monk Kung Lao should have been but he still flirted with lots of women and got some action with Mileena. Kung Lao was also engaged at the start of the series to a woman named Jen but she, sadly, becomes a Disposable FiancÚ.
  • Chickification: An overall trend for Taja throughout the series.
  • City of Adventure: The series is based inside the trade city of Zhu-Zin. This is apparently somewhere in China but is full of mixed races, peoples, and groups that form an Anachronism Stew. Raiden made this a Justified Trope since it is apparently on a border between dimensions and is a Weirdness Magnet.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Shao Kahn doesn't hesitate to kick Raiden while he's down and punch him while he's already choking him.
  • Composite Character: Qali combines elements of two Edenian game characters, Jade and Tanya. Like Jade, Qali is the Token Black Friend to Kitana and she also shows Tanya's penchant for betraying people, even her friends, for survival. Unlike Tanya, however, Qali is shown to regret her duplicity.
  • Cool Old Guy: Raiden
  • Deadpan Snarker: Raiden. In one example...
    Kung Lao: I have no friends!
    Raiden: Maybe that's because you're trying to kill them all.
  • Doomed by Canon: Even if we ignore the Everybody Dies Downer Ending, we cannot forget that Kung Lao's fate is to be defeated by Goro.
  • Early Adaptation Weirdness: The show has a bit of this, with the most notable probably being Noob Saibot. In the games, Noob is eventually revealed to be Bi-Han, aka Sub-Zero from the first game, brought back from the dead by Quan Chi. In Mortal Kombat: Conquest, he's some sort of Outworld assassin who seems to be unconnected to Sub-Zero or Quan Chi. He also seems to be made of oil, as opposed to the shadow powers that would be established later.
  • Elite Mooks: Exaggerated with Shadow Priests, they are generic enemies without nominal importance, but are capable of killing most of the characters.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: Shao Kahn literally kills every major character at the end of the season except Raiden, who is now his prisoner.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Most dialogue between men and women tends to suggest they want only one thing. Even Kung Lao is implied to have lost an old relic in a woman's house, and the woman is very happy to see him again. Exceptions are Kitana (though even she has Ship Tease with Kung Lao), Sub-Zero, and Scorpion (though Scorpion could be implied to have a healthy sex life since he has a girlfriend, until Sub-Zero kills her).
  • Expy: If you look at it in one way, the main trio are similar to the main heroic trio of the first Mortal Kombat game. Kung Lao has Liu Kang's The Hero mentality, Siro has Johnny Cage's cocky attitude, and Taja is similar to Sonya Blade in terms of Action Girl.
    • The one-shot character Tomas is pretty much a bland version of Johnny Cage, at least in appearancenote . He even uses his Nutcracker move at one point.
  • Fanservice Extra: Numerous extras wear revealing outfits. Kreeya's army are all wearing Chainmail Bikini.
  • Fights Like a Normal: The villains mostly rely on hand-to-hand combat despite having mystical abilities that give them an edge over the heroes. This is justified in Sub-Zero's case as using his ice powers drains his strength. Averted with the Shadow Priests in the finale.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: The vast majority of Raiden's advice to the three protagonists boils down to this. Justified because, being an immortal god, he is limited as to exactly how much he can help Earth Realm. Therefore, he wants the heroes to learn things on their own as much as possible, since he quite literally can't fight their battles for them. The few times he does NOT offer cryptic and unhelpful "advice" signifies that a Godzilla Threshold has been or is about to be crossed...
  • Financial Test of Friendship: A rare example of this trope being used as backstory rather than as a Status Quo Is God situation is when The Baron dies, Siro effectively loses his job as the Baron's bodyguard. Kung Lao lets Siro stay at the Trading Post to run the Trading Post with him and Taja, since the three of them became friends during the events of the first episode.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Unintentionally averted by being Cut Short. In the finale, the theoretically bullet-proof Contractual Immortality of a number of characters, including Shang Tsung, Kitana, and even protagonist Kung Lao (who should have been killed by Goro, or at least lived long enough to father a child) is violated.
  • An Ice Person: Sub-Zero.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Shao Kahn does this to Raiden in the series finale.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than the games. Then horrifyingly averted in the finale.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • When he hears of Kreeya's attacks, Shao Kahn is ready to wipe out her "nests" on Earth. When an aide points out that the Elder Gods forbid Kahn from attacking Earth, he relates that he's merely defending himself against Kreeya's aggression and if "part...or all..of Earth Realm is damages in the process, so be is an unfortunate loss."
    • Kung Lao and Shang Tsung are held prisoner by Kreeya. Remembering Raiden's words that "I cannot interfere because of rules," Kung Lao goads Shang into striking him, the champion of Mortal Kombat, before the next tournament. Cue Raiden showing up with a smirking "Uh oh, someone just broke a rule" to free them.
  • More than Mind Control: In one episode a spell was cast to bring out all of the main three's worst traits: Kung Lao becomes more arrogant and aggressive, Siro sinks into self-loathing and drinking and Taja embraces stealing from anyone for fun, not survival.
  • Mr. Fanservice: All of the men on the show are exceptionally handsome and show nearly as much skin as the women. This includes Shang Tsung who is still young and good looking.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Likewise, the women on the show are all very attractive with some of them being played by professional models and usually wearing outfits that show off their attractive figures. Omegis in particular takes the cake.
  • Neck Snap: A common way for kombatants to put down their opponents. Note that we mean put down as in "naptime," since it never seems to stop anyone from coming back later.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: A few examples, but the biggest is the stunt double they hired for Jaime Pressly as Mika. In addition to the obvious wig she's wearing, her face is even shown a few times.
  • Out with a Bang: It is common for men who sleep with the Kreeyan Queen to die suddenly afterwards. Known survivors include Reptile and Shang Tsung, the mates of Kreeya and Vorpax respectively.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: After Scorpion's girlfriend kills Sub-Zero's little sister, he freezes her to death.
  • Pervert Dad: In Episode 5: "The Essence," Kitana has to repeatedly remind Shao Kahn that she is his daughter, even if adopted against her will. She goes as far as to suggest he... "admire" the picture of her in her mother's room. His implications are explicit enough that it crosses into Villainous Incest. It does explain, however, why over the course of over 11 games Shao Kahn never has a "no daughter of mine is gonna dress like that" reaction to Kitana's Stripperiffic clothing.
    • Interestingly enough, Kitana then downplays their relationship in Episode 12, emphasizing that she's his stepdaughter and thus owes him no loyalty or obedience. Shao Kahn's intentions are even more explicit in that episode, with extra Squick coming from his reaction to Mileena's offer to do "anything" if he lets her keep Kitana's beautiful face, and from his interaction with Kitana at the beginning it almost seems like Shao Kahn ordered Kung Lao killed out of jealousy that Kitana favored Kung Lao over him.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • The trio soon learn to have those for any possible "allies" they meet.
    • This is basically Shao Kahn's feelings to the world.
    Shao Kahn: I expect betrayal. I suspect loyalty.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: From Shao Kahn to Raiden in the final episode's end:
    Shao Kahn: Let's see what gifts we have for our guests. a traitor...dead. Two sorcerers ...dead. A queen...dead. A daughter...dead. A bodyguard...dead. A thief...dead. A champion...dead. You... will... bow! To... Me.
  • Ship Tease: Taja and Siro had quite a few little moments where it seemed they might not be platonic.
    • Kung Lao and Kitana were teased as well during her appearances on the show, particularly Episode 12 when Kung Lao sleeps with Mileena under the impression that she's Kitana.
  • Shipper on Deck: Amusingly, Quan Chi and Mika were completely convinced that Taja and Siro were a couple. So much so that when they shapeshifted into the pair they spent the whole time flirting and having sex, and were actually surprised that Kung Lao was shocked at their behaviour.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Shao Kahn has a clear habit of this.
    • Quan Chi isn't far behind him and Shang Tsung can have his moments.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Qali was a female assassin who was a childhood friend of Kitana, much like Jade. In fact, she may have actually been Jade, using her real name. (Reptile had one too, so it's not a stretch to believe that had the series continued, Qali might have simply taken the name "Jade" as a nom de plume.)
    • Quan Chi's trio of female demon servants, Siann, Mika and Sora are this show's version of Sareena, Kia and Jataaka.
  • Shirtless Scene: Although it doesn't go near to balance out the amount of female characters in bikinis, there's still a fair few of these.
  • Stripperiffic: Every. Single. Female. Character.
  • Trickster Mentor: Raiden could tell the gang the answers but doesn't feel like it most of the time.
  • The Vamp: Vorpax.
  • Villain Episode: Shang Tsung gets one.
  • Villain of the Week: There's a lot of ninjas, sorcerers, and bandits around Zhu-Zin.
  • Wham Episode: "Kreeya": the title character is a major new threat, Vorpax has been working for her all alone and even Shao Kahn is rocked by a new war on his doorstep.
  • Wire Fu: Many of the fight scenes had this, along with slow motion.
  • You Have Failed Me: When a pair of ninjas from the Lin Kuei attempt to attack the heroes, they fail. To their credit, the ninjas return to their master, knowing the penalty for such failure is to be frozen solid by Sub-Zero. This is done before the others of the clan so they know the stakes.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Mortal Kombat


Shao Kahn in Conquest

Shao Kahn recounts to Rayden (sic) his many kills then knocking him out and seeing the Earthrealm being invaded with the intent of destroying every living soul on there.

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