—Jax Briggs to Cole Young, Mortal Kombat
A Special Forces major, Jax Briggs bears the same dragon marking as Cole Young. He sends Young searching for Sonya Blade, which in turn ultimately leads him to the temple of Lord Raiden. A natural-born protector, Jax Briggs has been working for ages to uncover the truth behind the mystery of Mortal Kombat. In his military service, he has done six tours of duty. He gained his dragon marking by killing a wanted fugitive during a mission in Brazil alongside Sonya Blade, one who had superhuman abilities.
Jax Briggs shows up at one of Cole Young's MMA fights. He recognizes him as "the man that took the belt from Eddie Tobias," but Cole plays his championship days as having been a long time behind him. Jax tells him that he could have won today if he had controlled the cage. He then expresses interest in the dragon logo that Cole bears on his skin, asking where he got it from. Cole's daughter, Emily, replies that he was born with it and when Jax seems to express confusion clarifies "It's a birthmark." He gets Cole to show it to him, then leaves.
Later, Jax intercepts Cole and his family as they are being attacked by Sub-Zero. He has them pile into a truck, then wheels to somebody named "Blade" that he has them. He then tells Cole that the dragon logo is not a birthmark, that it means that he's been chosen to fight for something known as "Mortal Kombat." Cole tells him that he has the wrong person, but he warns that they will keep coming for him and his family so long as he bears the mark. He instructs Cole to get his family to safety, then get to Sonya Blade in Gary, Indiana. Cole offers to stay with him and fight, but Jax warns him that this would be a death sentence.
While Cole hurries to follow Jax's instructions, Jax remains behind to fight Sub-Zero. It quickly becomes clear that he is acting mainly just to buy Cole time. Sub-Zero freezes both of Jax's arms all the way up to the torso, then shatters them. He then kicks Jax from the heights where they are fighting, sending him plummeting and leaving him for dead.
Mileena then reports to Shang Tsung of Outworld that Jax Briggs is dead. This, however, turns out to be false, as when Sonya Blade arrives as the temple of Lord Raiden with Cole Young and Kano, she learns that Liu Kang found Jax and brought him to the temple. Sonya asks if he's going to live and Kang explains that the ice cauterized Jax's wounds and that they've sourced every realm to heal him. She asks what she can do and he tells her to be patient.
Sonya attempts to join the others in training for the Mortal Kombat Tournament, but is rebuffed due to not having a dragon marking. She therefore returns to Jax, who has now been fitted with crude bionic arms. She stands vigil over him and eventually he wakes up, breathing heavily. He demands to know what happened, but she tells him that it's okay and to just lie down. Eventually, he recovers some strength and tests out his new arms, but tells Sonya that they don't work, that they "aren't him." He despairs that he's useless, asking why he was even brought there. Sonya then tells a story of the time when she first joined his unit, how they had to run twenty miles and she thought she was going to die, that she wanted to quit. She continues that she only ever wanted to be accepted by him, that he told her you keep going by proving to yourself that you can do this or you regret it for the rest of your life. He asks if she's trying to tell him something and she replies point-blank "Get off your fucking ass, Major." He laughs, but clearly takes her point.
Jax joins the other champions who have been training for Mortal Kombat, which is not going well, as neither Cole nor Kano have managed to unlock their arcana. He joins the others in taunting Kano, who seems to be all talk and no talent, and Kano, in his anger, ends up unlocking his arcana. Cole, however, is eventually sent back home by Raiden due his failure to unlock his arcana. Shang's forces then invade Lord Raiden's temple, the group having been betrayed by Kano, who uses his super-power of shooting lasers from his eye to short out Raiden's protective energy shield. The fight does not go well for any of Earthrealm's champions, including Jax, who still has not unlocked his arcana. He attempts to fight Reiko, but Reiko easily slams him to the ground using his massive hammer. After the battle, however, Jax discovers Sonya Blade under a large pile of rubble, left for death by Kano. He struggles to shift the pile, shouting in deepest despair for help, and in so doing unlocks his arcana. His bionic arms gain new reinforcement and power, allowing him to easily shift the rocks and rescue Sonya.
Following this incident, the group is brought to the void by Lord Raiden, a safe area where Shang Tsung's forces cannot follow. He despairs at the low chance of defeating them, but Cole Young, having also now unlocked his arcana, declares that they must fight. He devises a plan by which, using Lord Raiden's power to teleport people anywhere within Earthrealm, they will each fight the forces of Outworld individually in order to prevent them from ganging up on them. They will then fight Sub-Zero, who is too powerful to be taken on alone. Jax asks Cole to give him Reiko, that he has a score to settle, and Cole agrees.
This time, Jax proves to be more than a match for Reiko. Using the new power of his bionic arms, he grabs Reiko's hammer, throwing it down and away. He then punches Reiko to the ground, finally taking him out by seizing his head and crushing it in a violent explosion of bloody gore. He then considers his new arms, declaring, "Yeah, these motherfuckers work." Following this, the plan for everyone to take down Sub-Zero together is stymied by Sub-Zero himself, who comes for Cole before they can come for him. After Cole is victorious against Sub-Zero, with much help from his ancestor, Scorpion, Raiden then brings the champions, minus Kung Lao, who was lost in the first fight, together. Cole introduces them all to his wife and daughter as his friends, Jax standing proudly beside Sonya. They watch and listen together as Raiden gives Cole an assignment to begin searching for the next generation of champions.
Behind the scenes
- Jax Briggs's actor, Mehcad Brooks, called it a "dream come true" to be able to play the character, having long been a fan of the franchise. In the documentary "From Game to Screen", Brook mentioned that he once dressed up as Scorpion for Halloween.
- Jax's outfit was designed as rugged and urban, but his real-life tattoos had to be covered up before a tattoo specially designed for the character could be applied.
- In HBO Max's "Meet the Kast" featurette, Brooks stated that the interesting thing about playing a video game character is that you have to walk the line between being larger than life also making the character real.
- Mortal Kombat - Official Production Notes. Pop Culture Fun (April 4, 2021). Retrieved on April 20, 2021.
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