—Sub-Zero to Shang Tsung, Mortal Kombat
Sub-Zero, once known as Bi-Han, is a Cryomancer in service as an assassin of the Lin Kuei clan. He serves at their command, his deadly training and cunning intelligence making him a ruthless opponent who cuts down those in his path with his ice attacks. At some point, he acted as a rival assassin to Hanzo Hasashi, "Scorpion," banishing him to the Netherrealm. Under the orders of Shang Tsung, he seeks to eliminate Cole Young before the upcoming fighter can discover his arcana and be trained in the ways of Mortal Kombat.
In Japan in 1617, Bi-Han and the other members of the Lin-Kuei clan invade the village of the Shirai Ryu. While the other Lin Kuei attack the village proper, Bi-Han makes his way to the Hanzo Hasashi Compound. Here, he slays Hanzo Hasashi's wife Harumi and son Satoshi by freezing their bodies with icicles. He then sits and waits for Hanzo to discover this and slay numerous other Lin Kuei warriors that come after him, before finally engaging him. The two speak to each other and though they cannot understand due to speaking different languages, their meaning is clear. They begin an intense battle and though Hanzo manages to badly wound Bi-Han, in the end, he emerges victorious. As Bi-Han delivers the coup de grace, Hanzo warns him to not forget his face. Bi-Han then declares in English "For the Lin Kuei," leaving Hanzo behind to die. Unknown to him, however, Hanzo's infant daughter survives, hidden away by Harumi. After he leaves the village, Lord Raiden, protector of Earthrealm, arrives and spirits her away.
In the present day, in Outworld, Shang Tsung speaks with Bi-Han, warning him that the prophecy is upon them and that they could lose the tenth tournament. He counters that there is no prophecy, that he killed Hanzo Hasashi centuries ago. Shang, however, replies that things cannot be left to chance, telling him "Go now and kill Earthrealm's champions, Bi-Han." The man replies "I am no longer Bi-Han. I am Sub-Zero."
Outside a restaurant in Chicago, Illinois, Sub-Zero launches an attack on Cole Young, a washed-up MMA figther, as well as his wife Allison and daughter Emily. However, before he can kill any of them, they are rescued by a man in truck named Jax Briggs, who tells Cole that he has been chosen to fight and must seek out Sonya Blade. Sub-Zero then engages Jax, who remains behind to fight him. He lures Jax into an abandoned warehouse, turning it into a palace of ice. He lures Jax to the high ground and attacks smoothly and quickly, freezing away Jax's shotgun. Jax taunts Sub-Zero with having done six tours in the Special Forces, but it quickly becomes clear that Jax is only buying Cole time. Sub-Zero pummels Jax to the ground then locks up his arms and freezes them before shattering them away. He then knocks him to the floor far below, leaving him for dead. Afterwards, however, Liu Kang discovers him and takes him away to Lord Raiden's temple in the hope he can be healed.
As the champions of Earthrealm gather, Sub-Zero invades Lord Raiden's temple. Liu Kang shoots a ball of fire at him, but he simply dodges it, the retaliates with his own blast of ice, knocking down the monk. He then rushes Kang and tries to freeze him, but Kung Lao knocks him away by attacking with his razor-brimmed hat. Sub-Zero is then joined by Shang Tsung and Mileena, with the sorcerer declaring that it is time to end things. Raiden, however, warns him that it is forbidden to declare victory before the tournament and erects and energy barrier to keep them all out. Before leaving, Sub-Zero stares at Raiden and also seems to show an interest in Cole.
The training of the champions begins, but things do not go well for Cole, who fails to unlock his arcana. Lord Raiden sends him home to his wife and family, but before doing so, he reveals that he is the descendant of Hanzo Hasashi, the man who was killed by Bi-Han, now known as Sub-Zero and the same man who attacked his family. Meanwhile, Sub-Zero stands with Nitara as the Outworld group hatches a plan to bring down the energy shield and Shang declares that they shall end the prophecy once and for all. With the help of the traitorous Earthrealm warrior Kano, they begin their invasion. During this initial stage of the fight, Sub-Zero stays largely out of the action, instead standing by Shang Tsung while the other warriors of Outworld attack. However, Raiden eventually returns Cole to the temple, who is victorious in his fight against the warrior sent against him, Goro. He declares that Cole has found his arcana and that the Hasashi bloodline lives on, stunning Sub-Zero. He then tries to transport Cole away but Shang shouts to stop him and Sub-Zero blasts Cole to the ground. He then moves to attack, but Kung Lao appears and knocks him away. In retaliation, Shang sucks out Lao's soul.
Lord Raiden then transports the remaining Earthrealm warriors into the Void, a safe place. There, Cole devises a plan by which they will fight the Outworld warriors individually before teaming up to all fight Sub-Zero together. Sub-Zero, however, negates this plan. While these other battles are happening, he pays a visit to Cole's home, turning it into another palace of ice and trapping Cole's wife and daughter. He then appears after Cole and Sonya Blade are victorious against Mileena, showing Cole a lock of his daughter's hair, then freezing and shattering it. Cole, shocked, is tricked into following him through his black portal, back to his home. There, Sub-Zero declares that the Hasashi bloodline will end and quickly gains the upper-hand by repeatedly encasing Cole in ice and blasting him away. Cole, however, fights using the blade of Hanzo given to him by Raiden and, to Sub-Zero's shock, Hanzo Hasashi himself appears, declaring himself to have risen from Hell to kill him. An epic battle begins, Sub-Zero wielding a blade of ice, but Hanzo manages to bring him to the ground. He then removes his mask, asking him if he remembers his face and declaring himself to be Scorpion.
The two continue their battle, Cole joining the fight, having left off from trying to free his wife and daughter. Giving everything they have, they back Sub-Zero into a corner and he removes some of his armor in order to gain more mobility. He manages to immobilize Scorpion, leaving Cole to fight him one-on-one, but Cole manages to down him on his own. Scorpion then demonstrates a new-found fire power, freeing both himself and Cole's wife and daughter. Sub-Zero, badly bloodied, completely removes his helmet, showing the face of Bi-Han once more and declaring once more "for the Lin Kuei." Scorpion, however, downs him with chains, leaving him even worse off before. He tells Cole to leave the cryomancer to him and though Cole does not understand his words, his meaning is clear. Scorpion once more takes off his mask, saying that he anticipated that his adversary hoped he would burn in the fires of hell, but instead he learned to control them. He then breathes fire all over Sub-Zero, incinerating him.
Behind the scenes
- Sub-Zero's actor, Joe Taslim, stated that he found his character's motivation during online research, discovering the phrase "No one leaves the Lin Kuei" and realizing that his character's attitude is that his actions are never personally motivated, that "It's not my fault."
- The original design concept for Bi-Han featured long hair, which it was determined did not suit Taslim, thus resulting in the actor's hair being cut short. As Sub-Zero, he wore icy blue contact lenses.
- Joe Taslim is himself an award-winning mixed martial artist. In the HBO Max documentary "Kombat Evolution," Mortal Kombat director Simon McQuoid describes Joe Taslim as faster than the other cast of the film, Jax Briggs actor Mehcad Brooks continuing that he was so fast that they had to ask him to slow it down for the camera.
- Mortal Kombat - Official Production Notes. Pop Culture Fun (April 4, 2021). Retrieved on April 18, 2021.
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