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Most of Earth's defenders-- our friends-- were killed.


—Johnny Cage describing the events of the previous game

John Carlton, better known as Johnny Cage, is an action movie star and martial artist in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. He is one of the seven original characters, debuting in the first Mortal Kombat arcade game, and remains one of the most popular characters in the franchise.

About Johnny Cage

Johnny Cage was a struggling Hollywood action movie star who wanted to get his fame back. Originally, he entered the Mortal Kombat tournament to display his fighting skills and prove himself to skeptical movie critics and the movie-viewing public, as they believed Cage was nothing more than an actor who relied too much on stunts and camera work and was not really a proficient fighter. Eventually, he became one of the most important defenders of Earth. Despite his materialism, airheadedness, and occasional immaturity, Johnny Cage has always been a brave and loyal warrior for Earthrealm, although his antics frequently annoy his allies.

Johnny Cage matures considerably by the time of MKX, losing much of his earlier arrogance and airheadedness. In the process, he becomes a more rounded and serious character, although his penchant for humor remains mostly intact.


Johnny Cage is depicted as the typical American action movie star; bare muscular build with karate pants and his trademark sunglasses. In his debut, his clothing was modeled directly after Jean-Claude Van Damme's character in Bloodsport, consisting of black shorts with a red sash and black shoes. From MKII to MK4, he is depicted with black pants with blue accents.

In Deadly Alliance onwards, his design becomes a fusion of his first and familiar appearances, regaining the black shorts, but with a Cage emblem and blue belt tied at his waist. He goes barefoot with bandage straps. Interestingly, he has dyed his hair blond.

In MK 2011, he has a similar outfit from MKII, but with slight changes: he keeps his sunglasses on all the time, his chest is tattooed with his own name, he has straps on his arms and hands, his pants' accents are blue, and his last name is on his belt.

In MKX, 20 years prior to the main events of the game, he sports a military vest and pants. His default form in the same game features him with a short sleeved hoodie, along with a grayish blue shirt that partially covers his name tattooed on his chest. He also has bandages wrapped around his wrists and black fingerless gloves.

Combat characteristics


Despite his air-headed and superficial demeanor, Johnny Cage is a strong and agile warrior, showing an excellent fighting technique during battle. After long periods of training with various masters of martial arts, Cage himself has acquired mastery of several fighting styles, such as the famous Karate.

Although Johnny Cage is a human being, he possesses superhuman powers. According to MK 2011, Johnny descended from a Mediterranean cult that bred warriors for the gods: warriors with special abilities. One of these is the ability to propel himself forward and increase the strength of his blows. When Cage uses this power, afterimages of a green color are produced. Cage can augment the power of these shadow attacks, which are represented by afterimages of a red color. In addition to these physical shadow abilities, Cage also has the ability to launch blasts of energy.

As shown in Mortal Kombat X, Johnny Cage can also harness this energy and encase his body with it, strong enough to withstand a death blow from Shinnok without receiving any injury to his person. This energy was also potent enough to allow him to fight on equal terms with the Elder God. Raiden theorized that this power can only come about when the want arises to protect a loved one from imminent danger.

Signature moves

  • Green Shadow Kick: Cage slides across the floor with one foot at a steady speed, followed by a green-colored afterimage and connects with a kick to the torso of his opponent with the other one. In MK 2011 and MKX the move is called Shadow Kick, however, he keeps the green trail. Also in MKX, it's one of the few moves his Stunt Doubles can perform. (MKMKII, MKT, MK4, MKG, MK:SM, MK:DA, MK:TE, MK:A, MK 2011, MKX)
    • In MKX the enhanced version is called Eclipse Kick, just like in MK 2011, but keeps its green trail. It is executed faster, covers the whole screen, has armor and increased damage.
  • Flashy Shadow Kick: An alternate version of Johnny's regular Shadow Kick that allows him to charge it and cancel out of the charge with a dash or run. The longer this move is charged, the more damage it will inflict and the farther it will travel across the screen. The move is also boosted during Red Shadow Mode. This replaces Shadow Kick in Cage's A-List variation. (MKX - A-List Variation)
    • This move's enhanced version is still Eclipse Kick and is unchanged.
  • Red Shadow Kick: The more powerful incarnation of the Green Shadow Kick, which leaves a red trail. This is the enhanced version of the Shadow Kick in MK 2011 and is called Eclipse Kick, the range and damage of this technique is augmented, and Johnny Cage is armored while performing the kick. After the move is done, Johnny sometimes says "You got Caged!" or "Watch this!". In MKX, this can be performed during the Red Shadow Mode, which is the boosted version of the regular Shadow Kick. (MKT, MK4, MKG, MK 2011, MKX)
  • Plasmic Bolt: Cage throws a green orb of energy at the enemy. In MKII and onwards, the bolt is curved upwards. In Deadly Alliance the screen shakes if the projectile hits the opponent, while in Armageddon the screen will not shake. In MK 2011 and MKX this is called Low Forceball. Also in MKX, this is one of Cage's specials that are boosted during Red Shadow Mode. (MKMKII, MKT, MK4, MKG, MK:DA, MK:TE, MK:SM, MK:A, MK 2011, MKX)
    • The enhanced version in MK 2011 is Double Low Ball and in MKX it is Double Low Forceball. In both games, Johnny fires a second ball in a straight direction.
  • High Green Orb: A higher version of the curved energy bolt. Called High Forceball in MK 2011 and MKX. (MKII, MKT, MK4, MKG, MK 2011, MKX)
    • The enhanced version in MK 2011 is Double High Ball and in MKX it is Double High Forceball. In both games, Johnny fires a second ball in a straight direction.
  • Straight Forceball: Johnny shoots a Forceball in a straight direction at his opponent. This replaces his Low Forceball in the Stunt Double variation. (MKX - Stunt Double Variation)
    • The enhanced version is called Double Straight Forceball and has Johnny shoot two Straight Forceballs in a row.
  • Triple Green Orb: Johnny shoots 3 low green orbs one after another. (MK:SM)
  • Split Punch: One of Cage's most memorable moves where he does a split and punches the opponent in the groin. This previously only worked on male fighters -- against women, instead of punching, he would simply do a split and stand back up. Available in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat (2011) and Mortal Kombat X, it can be performed on both male fighters and female fighters. In MK 2011 and MKX it is called Nut Punch. In MKX this move is also boosted during Red Shadow Mode. In the mobile version of MKX, the move is simply called the Kracker. (MK, MKII, MK4, MKG, MK:SM, MK 2011, MKX)
    • The enhanced version is called Nutcracker both in MK 2011 and MKX. In MK 2011 it turns Cage's fist green with energy, increasing its damage. In MKX, Johnny will follow up with an uppercut, leaving his foe vulnerable to a juggle.
  • Nut Breaker: A different version of Nut Punch that allows Johnny Cage to charge up the attack, making his fist glow with green energy and increasing the damage of the attack. The move is also boosted during Red Shadow Mode. This move replaces Nut Punch in the A-List variation. (MKX - A-List Variation)
    • The enhanced version is still Nutcracker and remains unchanged.
    • Johnny Cage may also choose to enhance this move to add the launching uppercut after connecting with the first hit of Nut Breaker.
    • Once the Nut Breaker is fully charges, it can not longer be enhanced after it deals damage.
  • Green Shadow Uppercut: Cage would leap and deliver an uppercut with his elbow which launched his foe into the air, leaving a green trail. In MK 2011 Cage uses this move as his Breaker attack. In MKX it's called Rising Shadow and replaces his Flipkick in the Stunt Double variation, being also one of the few moves his Stunt Doubles can perform. (MKII, MKT, MK4, MKG, MK 2011, MKX - Stunt Double Variation)
    • The enhanced version is called Shadow Dropkick. It's armored and adds two overhead kicks after the uppercut, knocking the enemy down. If performed by a Stunt Double, it will land one kick instead of two, but will bounce the opponent off the floor, allowing for a juggle.
  • Red Shadow Uppercut: A faster version of the move, which leaves a red trail. In MK 2011, this move is done after the Ultra Flipkick and after performing this move he will say "Johnny Cage!". In MKX, this can be performed during the Red Shadow Mode, which is the boosted version of the regular Rising Shadow. (MKT, MK4, MKG, MK:SM, MK 2011, MKX - Stunt Double Variation)
  • Sliding Uppercut: Johnny Cage does the split and rises up quickly, delivering an uppercut to the opponent. This attack may resemble a combination of his Shadow Uppercut and Split Punch moves. (MK:DA, MK:TE, MK:A)
  • Flipkick: Cage does a somersault kick that launches his foe into the air, leaving a green trail. This move began as a command attack available in MK:DA. In MKX it's available in all variations but Stunt Double. It is also boosted during Red Shadow Mode. (MK 2011, MKX)
    • The enhanced version is called Ultra Flipkick both in MK 2011 and MKX. In MK 2011 it leaves a red trail, as well as following up with a Red Shadow Uppercut. In MKX, it has increased damage.
  • Rising Kick: An alternate version of Flipkick which allows Johnny Cage to charge it and cancel out of the charge with a dash or run. The longer this move is charged, the more damage it will inflict and the farther it will travel. This move is also boosted during Red Shadow Mode. This replaces Flipkick in the A-List variation. (MKX - A-List Variation)
    • Like Flipkick, this move's enhanced version is still Ultra Flipkick and remains unchanged.
  • Fist Bump: Johnny claps his fists together, which makes his brass knuckles sparkle and doubles the amount of block damage landed for a period, making him dangerous to opponents even when they're blocking. Activating this move also enables Johnny Cage to use his Red Shadow Mode Throw without necessarily being in Red Shadow Mode. (MKX - Fistcuffs Variation)
    • The ability can be enhanced to recover from it faster.
  • Mimic: Johnny creates two yellow shadows around him (his Stunt Doubles), and can send them to perform some specials in his place - namely the Shadow Kick and the Rising Shadow - while Cage himself can stand still and perform other attacks. The Stunt Doubles are also boosted during Red Shadow Mode, becoming red instead of yellow and doing more damage, but only if they're summoned when Cage has 5% health or less. (MKX - Stunt Double Variation)
  • X-Ray Move - Ball Buster: Cage taunts his opponent. If, during this time, they attack him, he parries them and performs a triple Split Punch in the opponent's groin area. As they double up, he jumps and then slams his elbow on their back, dealing damage to their spine. There was a glitch that allowed him to do this over and over again without any energy in the Super Meter by staying crouched while holding down the block button, but the glitch has since been patched. It is also one of the few X-Ray moves that allow the player to continue their combo after doing it; though conversely, it cannot be used to finish off any combos as it requires the enemy to attack. (MK 2011)
  • X-Ray Move - Kasting Kall: Cage stuns the opponent with an axe kick and then delivers a roundhouse to their head, snapping their jaw. Then, Cage proceeds to slam their head into his knee with such force that it shatters their skull. To end it, Cage then does a backflip kick, dislocating the foe's jaw entirely and launching them upwards. An extremely brief juggle is created at the end of the X-Ray. (MKX)

Other moves

  • Throw: In older games, Cage would perform a very standard fighting-game-fare body throw. (MK, MKII, MKT, MK4, MKG)
  • Throw: Cage punches his foe twice, drops a low chop to their genitals, forcing them to lean forward, then either smashing them in the face with a glowing fist (Forward) or sidestepping around to kick them to the curb (Backward). (MK 2011)
  • Throw: Cage grabs his foe's wrist to snap their elbow, then grabs their ankle to snap their knee and knocks them away with a palm to the rib cage. (MKX)
  • Throw (Red Shadow Mode): Cage punches the opponent in the nose, gut and jaw and knocks them across the arena with a roundhouse kick to the stomach. This is also more damaging than his regular throw move. (MKX)
    • This is also performed if his Fist Bump buff is active, ignoring the health requirement. (MKX - Fisticuffs Variation)
  • Knee Bash: Cage grabs his foe in a headlock and quickly slams them with a knee kick. (MK4, MKG)
  • Pop Up: Cage performs a brutal, lightning-fast snapkick, launching his foe into the air. (MKII, MK 2011, MKX)
  • Speed Bag: Cage lands a series of quick punches to his opponent with both arms. This can last as long as the player taps the two punch buttons, but the combo will only go as far as 9 hits before resetting. (MKX - Fistcuffs Variation)
  • Force Punch: Johnny delivers a powerful punch coated with green energy that knocks the opponent away. The attack can be charged for increased damage or run-cancelled before the attack connects. This replaces Strong Hand in the A-List variation. (MKX - A-List Variation)
    • Additionally, the attack has a slower activation and is no longer safe on block compared to Strong Hand.
  • Fatal Strike: Johnny performs two quick punches with the final slightly glowing green, knocking the opponent away. The final punch of the combo can be charged for increased damage or run-cancelled before it connects. When performed in the corner, it allows a short juggle; otherwise the opponent is knocked away. This replaces Cross-Kutting in the A-List variation. (MKX - A-List Variation)
    • This combo activates quicker and is safe on block compared to Cross-Kutting.
  • Entertainer: Johnny knees his opponent then kicks them away full-screen distance. The final blow of the combo can be charged for increased damage or run-cancelled before it connects. This replaces Kameo in the A-List variation. (MKX - A-List Variation)
    • Charging the final kick separates the combo into two moves. The full charged kick sends the opponent flying full screen much faster.
    • This combo is slower and much less safer compared to Kameo.
  • Red Shadow Mode: If Cage's health drops down to 5% or less, his specials and their enhanced versions will be boosted with more damage and leave behind red shadows instead of the regular green ones. Red shadow specials are used by Cage in many games, with MKX being the first one in which they can only be performed during this specific mode. While at this health level, his basic throw will be altered with more damage as stated above. (MKX)


  • Head Pop: Johnny Cage delivers a bloody and savage uppercut that tears his opponent's head off. A glitch allowed the Fatality to be performed multiple times in MK. In MK4, his fist glows with green energy when performing the Fatality. (MK, MKII, MKT, MK4, MKG, MK:SM, MKX)
    • Triple Punch Decapitation: A bizarre Fatality in which Cage performs his uppercut Fatality, only instead of one head, Cage knocks off three. Most likely done in parody of a glitch discovered in the first Mortal Kombat game, where Johnny Cage could knock off multiple heads in his Fatality. (MKII, MKT)
    • In MKX, this Fatality is renamed as Decap.
  • Torso Rip: Johnny Cage grabs his enemy around the torso and rips their torso off, and throws it to the ground. In Mortal Kombat 4, he twists the torso before ripping it off. This Fatality is also used as a finisher for the Kreate-A-Fatality in Armageddon. (MKII, MK4, MKG, MK:SM)
  • Torso Kick: Johnny Cage begins to smoke, right before he performs a Shadow Kick that tears a portion of the opponent's torso off. The remaining portion then falls on what remains of the enemy. Only available in the Nintendo 64 version of MK Trilogy. (MKT)
  • Atomic Backbreaker: Cage hoists his opponent over his head and then bends them over his shoulders causing them to explode into pieces. Only available in the CD versions of MK Trilogy. (MKT)
  • Brain Rip: Cage jabs the opponent's stomach, causing them to vomit blood. He then thrusts his hand into their head and rips out their brain. (MK:DA)
  • Forceful Shadow Kick: Cage performs a Shadow Kick strong enough for his foot to penetrate the enemy's flesh. Only available in the SNES version of Mortal Kombat. (MK, MK:SM)
    • In Shaolin Monks, Cage uses this Fatality to finish off Goro after Liu Kang and Kung Lao defeat him.
  • Super Split Punch: Cage performs his Split Punch move, but takes it a step further by continuing to pummel his opponent's genitals, finally striking them with such force that it severs their legs from their torso. (MK:SM)
  • Heads Up: This Fatality is a combination of the Head Pop and the Torso Rip Fatalities. Cage decapitates his opponent with an uppercut, then rips off their torso and slams it onto the ground, bouncing their severed head into the air. Cage catches it and holds it up. (MK 2011)
  • And The Winner Is...: Johnny Cage karate chops the opponent's head in half and takes out a trophy. He then says, "And the award goes to..." and plants the trophy in between the two chopped halves of the opponent's head. Then while the announcer claims Cage's victory, Johnny pushes the still-standing opponent to the ground with his finger. (MK 2011)
  • Here's Johnny: Cage turns his opponent around with a punch, then jabs his hands into their back and tears a hole through their torso. He peeks his head through the opening and says, "Heeeere's Johnny!" He then stands back, allowing the victim to fall to the floor. (MKX)
  • Little Improv: Cage tosses his opponent onto the ground, then seizes the back of the opponent's head and proceeds to violently and repeatedly smash their face against the ground (using his Shadow powers to enhance the speed), reducing it to mush. (MKX)

Other finishers

  • Friendship: Autograph: Johnny Cage signs a photo of himself stating: "TO MY BEST FAN! Cage". He also does this for his victory pose in Mortal Kombat X, adding "I'd frame that." to the downed opponent. (MKII, MKT)
  • Animality: Hyper Kangaroo Kick: Cage turns into a kangaroo and kicks his opponent off screen. (MKT)
  • Babality: Johnny Cage takes a pencil and paper and draws on it. The wind then blows the paper away, making it land on the screen, showing the player a poorly-drawn picture of Cage (in the style of pictures painted by small children) and a few words saying, "To My Best Fan! Johnny Cage." which is most likely a homage to his Friendship in earlier games (see above). (MK 2011)
  • Brutality #1 - Eye Popping: Johnny performs a Nut Punch, punching his opponent's groin so hard that their head comes off. Alternatively, if a Nutcracker (the enhanced version) is performed, their eyes will pop out of the sockets. (MKX)
  • Brutality #2 - Blood Spurt: Johnny delivers a Take Two combo to his opponent, which ends in a side kick that decapitates them. The head then flies into the screen. (MKX)
  • Brutality #3 - Wow Out: Johnny delivers a Speed Bag combo that is powerful enough to remove the opponent's face, with the final hit as an uppercut breaking the opponent's neck. Still upright, Johnny seemingly winds up a final punch, but stops and ends up pushing them over with his finger with a wry chuckle. (MKX - Fistcuffs Variation)
  • Brutality #4 - Fall Guy: Johnny's Stunt Double Shadow Kicks the opponent in half. The double strikes a pose just like Cage does as his victory is announced. (MKX - Stunt Double Variation)
  • Brutality #5 - Bring It On: Johnny delivers a devastating Rising Kick that obliterates the opponent's torso. (MKX - A-List Variation)
    • This will not be performed if the opponent is in the air when using Rising Kick.
  • Brutality #6 - Break a Leg: Johnny performs his Throw, but snaps the opponent's right arm and right leg clean off before sending them away with a palm strike. (MKXL - Secret)

Appearances in other media

Mortal Kombat

Johnny Cage was portrayed by Linden Ashby in the first Mortal Kombat movie. In the film, he is a Hollywood action movie star who is branded a fake by the media, and seeks to prove otherwise to the world. He is invited to compete in the Mortal Kombat tournament by his sensei, Master Boyd, who in reality was a disguised Shang Tsung, posing as Boyd to lure Cage into the tournament. He is chosen along with Liu Kang and Sonya Blade as representatives of Earthrealm in the tournament by Raiden. During the tournament, he fought Scorpion, and won, and later caused the demise of Goro, avenging the death of a fellow fighter named Art Lean, one of the few people who believed the authenticity of Cage's abilities. He accompanies Liu Kang and Kitana to Shao Kahn's castle in the Wastelands of Outworld to rescue an imprisoned Sonya, and witnesses the climatic battle between Liu Kang and Shang Tsung.

As a homage to his Friendship in MKII, he left behind an autographed picture of himself after he defeated Scorpion. The film also took a page from Malibu's 1994-1995 MK comic book series by starting his love interest with Sonya.

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

Johnny Cage appears during the opening sequence of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, played by Chris Conrad.

When Shao Kahn takes Sonya Blade hostage, Cage successfully saves her from certain death at the hands of Kahn, only to be intercepted and killed in Sonya's place soon thereafter when Kahn snaps his neck. His death leaves Sonya emotionally gulit-ridden.

Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins

Johnny Cage appears as one of the main characters opposite Liu Kang and Sonya Blade in the animated film Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins. The trio are guided by Raiden who explains to them the situation and the history of Mortal Kombat. Through the course of their journey, they encounter several adversaries, including Scorpion, the elder Sub-Zero, Goro, and a Tarkatan army, all of whom are aligned with Shang Tsung.

Mortal Kombat: Rebirth

Matt Mullins plays Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat: Rebirth. Similar to his game counterpart, he is a movie star whose career has gone dry. In the following events, he begins a career as a secret agent, and is hired by the Deacon City Police Department to gather information on Baraka for them. After a brutal fight, Johnny is defeated by Baraka who subsequently decapitates him.

Mortal Kombat: Legacy

Matt Mullins reprises the role of Johnny Cage for the third episode of the online series Mortal Kombat: Legacy.

A short bio expose reveals Johnny Cage was a small-screen martial arts actor who once starred in Power Rangers, but begin experiencing problems as his career hit trouble. He began picking fights at clubs and getting arrested and his career suffered as a result.

Desperate to regain his fame, Johnny pitches a pilot for a series where he hunts down people pirating DVDS, though the executives are less then pleased or enthusiastic with his pitch, despite Johnny giving them exactly what they asked for. After the executive Emile leaves, Lance tells Johnny that he doesn't think TV is the right move for him, and a frustrated Johnny asks what is, saying he hasn't worked since Power Rangers went off the air.

Johnny tells Lance he needs something big and is confidant his show can be a hit. Lance promises Johnny he'll try to get him something on one of their channels but tells him to re-shoot his pitch pilot, complaining that the fighting is clearly fake.

Three weeks later, Johnny shows Lance and Emile his new pilot, but Lance turns the pilot off before it's even finished. Lance then reveals to Johnny that the project won't get off the ground. A frustrated Johnny asks them if they know how much work and money it took for him to make that pilot, and Lance reveals that the network is not renewing his development deal. Johnny is shocked he's being dropped, and he also learns that nothing he pitches will be sold if he's attached to the project.

When Emile and Lance are called on to the set, Lance offers to walk Johnny out but a disillusioned Johnny only curses him and remains seated as they leave. Johnny then breaks his pitch pilot's DVD in half and gets up to leave. However, as he's leaving, Johnny overhears Lance and Emile talking with an actress and is shocked when they pitch his exact same proposed series to her.

Infuriated, Johnny bursts in and grabs Lance, throwing him onto the floor before proceeding to pummel him, mockingly asking, "Does that look fucking fake to you?!" Johnny throws Lance aside and gets jumped by two security guards but easily takes them out with his superior fighting skills. Once the fighting is over however, Johnny quickly realizes the consequences of his actions when he sees Emile recording him and a sobbing Lance throws slurred threats to further ruin his career at him.

Johnny quickly begins to leave when he notices everything and everyone has stopped moving, as if frozen in time. Confused, Johnny is suddenly approached by a mysterious man. Johnny asks who he is, and the man reveals himself to be Shang Tsung, and he offers Johnny a "way out of everything."

Casper Van Dien portrayed Cage in season 2 of Mortal Kombat: Legacy.

In between seasons, Johnny refused Shang Tsung's offer, and later got into a fight after crashing a movie premier, which ended in him being arrested once again. As he sits in a crowded holding cell, time stops once again and Johnny is approached by Raiden, god of thunder. Wary and concerned for his mental health, Johnny initially refuses to believe what he is seeing but agrees to hear Raiden out after the thunder god promises to leave him hallucination free if he is still uninterested. With nothing left to lose, Johnny agrees to hear him out.

Though not seen, Johnny agrees to join Raiden and decides to fight for Earthrealm.

A week later, Johnny is the third to arrive on the island hosting the Mortal Kombat tournament, being recognized by Kurtis Stryker, before Sub-Zero and Kenshi arrive.

That night as the kombatants sit around a campfire, Johnny asks Raiden how they're supposed to win the tournament, with Raiden cryptically replying, "By surviving." When the fire goes out, Raiden reignites it with a burst of lightning, shocking Johnny. Raiden then explains that each of them possesses a supernatural ability, and on the island, it will be empowered further before pointing out Johnny's incredible speed. Johnny disbelieves this, calling it "bullshit" but shuts up when Sub-Zero demonstrates his own ice powers to put the fire out.

The tournament begins and Johnny spends a portion of the next day wandering the island, cursing and wondering why he agreed to come here when he hears sounds of a battle. Investigating, he witnesses Kenshi and Ermac's battle, and is shocked when he sees Kenshi deliver a Fatality on the demon, causing it to release dozens of souls. Stepping back in shock, Johnny steps on a branch, alerting the nearby Mileena and Kitana to his presence. Intrigued by the sight of the two beautiful women, Johnny removes his sunglasses and prepares to greet them when Mileena screams at him, her mouth contorting to reveal her Tarkatan fangs before she throws one of her sais at him.

Wisely, Johnny turns tail and runs, screaming in fear with Mileena and Kitana in pursuit.

After some running, Johnny hides behind a tree in a meadow, pleading to himself that someone yell "Cut!" before Mileena appears, stabbing the tree and narrowly missing Johnny. Despite pleas that they just talk, Johnny switches from defensive fighting to offensive and manages to hold his own with Mileena for a while before she lands a kick to his groin ("That's my move!") and then impales him through the shoulder with one of her sai. Johnny is helpless as Mileena orders Kitana to finish him, but Kitana has a change of heart and battles her sister, sparing Johnny.

When it appears Mileena is going to finish Kitana, Johnny intervenes, stabbing her in the foot with one of her sai ("That's for my sunglasses, bitch!") allowing Kitana to deliver a Fatality on Mileena. Johnny doesn't stick around to talk and flees once again.

Later, Kurtis Stryker runs into the wounded Johnny on another part of the island. Stryker helps Johnny with his wound and Johnny tells him of Mileena and Kitana's fight. Before he and Stryker can head for the shore, they are attacked by Liu Kang, with both narrowly avoiding the fallen Shaolin warrior's fireballs. Liu Kang recognizes Johnny and admits he thought he had a stunt actor, with Johnny clarifying it was "All me". Liu Kang admits that he must be good for him to have been invited to the tournament before offering Johnny the choices of dying quickly on the dirt or for a chance on his feet. Johnny opts to go down fighting and engages Liu Kang in an even fight, with Liu Kang further complimenting his skill before swiftly defeating the arrogant Johnny.

Before Johnny can be killed, Stryker intervenes but is likewise swiftly defeated, but both are saved by Kung Lao. The season ends with Johnny unconscious as Liu Kang and Kung Lao face off.

Comic book appearances

Johnny Cage is one of the main characters in the Mortal Kombat comic book series, where his portrayal in the comics is faithful to the games. He appears during the whole Blood & Thunder series, most of the time alongside Sonya, with whom he shares a relationship in the comics. His most serious moment is when he, under Raiden's advice, decides to not seek the power of the Tao Te Zhan, since he felt it would be like faking his moves in his films. During the second series, Battlewave, he is seen resuming his acting career when Sonya asks him to help with an investigation. He initially refuses, but later reconsiders what's important and decides to follow with Jax into the Outworld. In the meantime, he sends his musclebound bodyguard, Bo, to protect Liu Kang.


Mortal Kombat (film)

  • "Let's dance" (starting his scene shoot)
  • "This is where you fall down." (to an actor who missed his cue)
  • "Where d'ya get these guys?! And the press says I don't know how to do this stuff?!" (complaining about the low quality of his co-stars)
  • "Huh, thank God I didn't ask him to park the car." (after Liu Kang drops his suitcase into the water)
  • "Alright, tough guy, you wanna get... rough?"
  • "We got a guy with things coming out of his hand, we got another guy who freezes stuff, and then there's a man, who as far as I can tell, is made out of electricity. I mean, how did he disappear like that? What is going on here? Who is this guy?" (discussing with Liu Kang and Sonya what they are getting themselves into)
  • "Do I look like your travel agent?" (after Sonya asks where they are, as soon as they arrive at Shang Tsung's island)
  • "Oh, great! Can't wait to see what the bathrooms look like." (seeing the island's facilities for the first time)
  • "Y'know, when a woman looks at you like that... it usually means something." (about Kitana, to Liu Kang)
  • "Come to a little tournament, he said. Be good for the career, he said. Yeah right..." (after witnessing Sub-Zero killing his opponent during his martial arts demonstration)
  • "You know, you gotta admire her... when she sets her mind on something... (about Sonya)
  • "Sonya, you go ahead. Find out what that was. Liu and I'll wait right here." (after seeing Goro projecting his shadow on the wall)
  • "Kitana went this way. I can smell her perfume." (covering up the fact they were walking in circles)
  • "You guys are lucky he stopped us." (after Raiden intervenes as dozens of guards are about to attack him, Liu Kang and Sonya)
  • "This is our tournament, remember? Mortal Kombat. We fight it." (asserting to Raiden his decision to fight Goro)
  • "Those were 500 dollar sunglasses, asshole." (taunting Goro)
  • "This is where you fall down." (to Goro)
  • "So, this is Outworld, huh? Well, I can see why they want a change of scenery."
  • "Liu, I hate this place. I do. I'm telling ya, I hate it. I'm in a hostile environment, I am completely unprepared. I'm surrounded by people who probably wanna kick my ass... it's like being back in high school!" (about Outworld)
  • "Nice dress." (about Sonya as Shang Tsung's prisoner)

Mortal Kombat: Legacy

  • "Growing up, I was shy, I was weak. I actually got my ass kicked a lot. But martial arts changed all that, and I was reborn. And that gave the world... Johnny Cage."
  • "Piracy, burning more than just DVD's."
  • "Well, no shit the fighting's fake. It's a fucking movie!"
  • "You're dropping me? After all the fucking money I made you?
  • "'Get over here, you son of a bitch!"
  • "Does that look fucking fake to you?!"
  • "This is for my sunglasses, bitch!" 

Mortal Kombat (2011)

  • "I make this look easy!" (Battle Cry)
  • "You got Caged!"
  • "Oh yeah!"
  • "Damn, I'm good!"
  • "Come on!"
  • "Johnny Cage!!"
  • "Watch this!"
  • "Hey beautiful, Johnny Cage." (to Sonya)
  • "What? 'Massive Strike?' 'Citizen Cage?' 'Ninja Mime?' None of those ring a bell?"
  • "Kano? Wasn't in that one."
  • "Heh, that old geezer's the final challenge? Might as well give me the belt right now. They do have belts right?" (talking about Shang Tsung)
  • "What, How did you-?" (to Shang Tsung)
  • "Heh, That's right, That's right, who's it gonna be?"
  • "Nice stunt! Who's your agent?" (to Reptile)
  • "Alright! It's showtime!" (beginning his match against Reptile)
  • "He got caged!" (after defeating Reptile)
  • "That's it, ha ha, oh yeah, I am so pretty! And I'm takin' you down. I'm takin' you down. I'm takin' you out. I'm takin' you out. And I'm takin' you out... for dinner." (to several kombatants & Sonya Blade)
  • "Okay, nice makeup. But is it really necessary?" (to Baraka)
  • "Man, I love those blades." (after beating Baraka)
  • "My producer has GOT to meet you. We're doing 'Tommy Scissorfists' and..." (after beating Baraka)
  • "Finish him? Heh. Yeah right." (To Shang Tsung)
  • "Woah, woah, woah, wait a second. I'm not gonna kill anyone." (after Shang Tsung tells him to kill Baraka)
  • "What that's it? Really? Now where'd that hottie go?"
  • "Thanks. Nice hat." (to Raiden)
  • "Now look. I don't know what kind of role playing you guys are into, but count me out." (to Raiden and Liu Kang)
  • "What are you talking about?" (to Liu Kang)
  • "Dun dun dun. Look guys, I'm an actor. I save the world for the cameras. If this emperor is really a threat, call the military. Me, I've got a date with a blonde. Ciao!" (to Raiden and Liu Kang)
  • "Need help? I specialize in rescuing damsels in distress." (to Sonya)
  • "Look baby, I can't let you run loose without an escort."
  • "Ha Haa! Not bad for a... girl" (after defeating Sonya)
  • "Fine, have it your way. I'll just leave you to your... problems" (to Sonya)
  • "Step away from the lady!" (to Kano)
  • "Fans think my moves are all wirework and special effects. Truth is... I am the special effect!" (to Kano)
  • "Throw that on your... barbie... shrimp!" (after beating Kano)
  • "I'm not worried, I bet you can win this thing no problem."
  • "What should we do, besides standing around looking pretty?"
  • "Ouch..." (After Scorpion shows everyone the burnt-out skull of Sub-Zero)
  • "Ready for your beat down, Sunshine? Here it comes!" (to Cyrax)
  • "What's a Goro?!"
  • "MVP, baby!" (after Liu Kang defeats Shang Tsung)
  • "The wrestler guy with a cow skull on his head? And why aren't the Kung Fu Twins here helping us?"
  • "So what's the deal with you and Sonya anyways? She's smokin' hot." (to Jax)
  • "He was busy hitting me in the face!" (to Sonya; about Jax)
  • "What are we? Chopped liver?" (to Raiden)
  • "Sure, let's ruin someone else's life." (after Raiden suggests that they turn Kitana against Shao Kahn)
  • "You couldn't have seen that in one of your hot flashes?" (to Raiden, after Kitana defeated both him and Smoke)
  • "'Lord'? I was with Smoke. I thought she was a bad guy. Girl. Guess he turned another one... What's Raiden got that I haven't got?" (about Jade)
  • "My head hurts just thinking about it."
  • "Liu Kang! Raiden! NO!" (when Raiden and Liu Kang are fighting)
  • "What did you do!?" (after Raiden has accidentally electrocuted Liu Kang)

Mortal Kombat X

Story Mode

  • "Damn, I'm good." (After catching Scorpion's kunai)
  • "I liked it better when we fought on the same side." (After defeating Sub Zero)
  • "Add them to the list of things Shinnok will answer for." (Referring to SF soldiers who died in the Netherrealm War)
  • "The real Jax wouldn't punch his best friend." (To the revenant Jax)
  • "Oh, sorry ma'am. Didn't see you there." (After knocking Shinnok over)
  • "She called me Johnny." (When Kenshi is talking to Johnny)
  • "Enjoy the new digs, gramps." (After Shinnok had been sealed inside his Amulet)
  • "At ease. You're all here because you deserve to be. You're beautiful and unique snowflakes." (To Cassie's team)
  • "Now, as I'm sure you're unaware, judging from the lack of gift cards, today's our teams six-week anniversary." (To Cassie's team)
  • "I'm guessing it's not your first time in cuffs. What's your safe word?" (To Quan Chi)
  • "Haven't I told you? He's a god." (To Sonya, describing Raiden's powers)
  • "Just like old times." (to Scorpion)
  • "Funny... Beautiful... Saving the world... My work here is done." (To Cassie after she is successful in defeating Shinnok)
  • "You should've seen Cass. Wiped the floor with Shinnok."
  • You hear that, Cass? She called me Johnny."


  • Though the Mortal Kombat franchise is notorious for replacing the letter "c" with "k," Cage is an exception. It's probably more than coincidence that Kage (影, pronounced "ka-ge") in Japanese means "shadow," and Johnny Cage is the master of many shadow move techniques.
  • The original name for Johnny Cage was Michael Grimm. It was changed during pre-production of the first MK.
  • Brandon Lee was originally cast as Johnny Cage for the first film, but he died before filming began.
  • Cage's "real name" came from Midway game programmer John Carlton, who worked on the popular NBA Jam arcade series, and shares his "stage name" with the famous composer John Cage (albeit modified).
    • The name John Carlton was briefly mentioned in Johnny Cage's song from the Mortal Kombat album by the techno group "The Immortals."
  • According to some of the extras in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, his official biographies, some of the endings, the official comics, the officially-released "Johnny Cage: In Your Face" and "Fight Dirty" videos, Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, and Mortal Kombat: Legacy, Johnny Cage has starred in the following movies: [1]
    • Ninja Mime
    • Dragon Fist
    • Dragon Fist 2
    • Son of Dragon Fist
    • HWAAAAA!!
    • Sudden Violence
    • Aquatic Assault
    • Exiting the Dragon of Death
    • 7 Poisons
    • Cage Match
    • The Gist of my Fist
    • 24 Karate Gold
    • Who's That?
    • Wu Shu (TV Series)
    • Mortal Kombat
    • Mortal Kombat II
    • Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
    • Mortal Kombat: The Death of Johnny Cage (Canceled)
    • Caged Rage
    • Every Dog Has Its Day
    • Massive Strike
    • Iron Claw
    • Time Smashers
    • Citizen Cage (a spoof of Citizen Kane)
    • Tommy Scissorfists (a spoof of Edward Scissorhands)
    • Fight Dirty
    • World's Most Wanted (a spoof of Wanted)
    • Fly High
    • Power Rangers (TV series presumably based on the real-life series produced by the Saban Capital Group)
    • You Got Caged
    • You Got Saved (He inspired it, at least)
    • Stryker: I Was Doing My Job (Canceled)
    • Breaknose Mountain (a spoof of Brokeback Mountain)
    • TV commercial for Cage Cologne
      • His MKII ending shows him battling Shao Kahn on the big screen, in the movie Mortal Kombat II.
      • He also appeared on Celebrity SMASH TV. He won the episode he was in, and donated his winnings to charity.
      • In Mortal Kombat X, Johnny Cage has an unlockable Ninja Mime skin that shows his outfit used in his movie of the same name.
  • Johnny Cage was the first character created for the first Mortal Kombat. The test prototype had two Johnny Cages fighting each other.
    • Despite this, he was ironically the last character to be given a Fatality in that game. Until a last-minute brainstorm by co-creator John Tobias that later evolved into the Head Pop Fatality, he was simply going to throw his opponent across the screen.
  • A glitch in the first Mortal Kombat makes Johnny Cage's Head Pop Fatality's uppercut, if performed quick enough, knock off a phantom head of the opponent, though this can only be done on Kano, Sub-Zero, and Scorpion.
    • This was later referenced in MKII, with it becoming an actual Fatality as a variation of the original Fatality, called Triple Punch Decapitation; this time, Johnny Cage uppercuts three heads off.
  • In the first game, Cage was modeled after the Belgian actor, Jean-Claude Van Damme. The creators wanted Van Damme to be Johnny Cage in the first Mortal Kombat, but Van Damme was unavailable due to his movie work.
    • Johnny Cage's clothes in the first Mortal Kombat are almost identical to the clothes Van Damme wore in the last match in the 1988 movie Bloodsport, his split punch is taken directly from a move done by Van Damme in said movie, and Cage's Nutcracker Split Punch and "Blood Spurt" Brutality were also inspired by the movie.
    • Johnny Cage's film "Ninja Mime" is most likely inspired by the opening scenes from the action film "The Quest" in which the hero, dressed like a mime, evades authorities using martial arts-like moves. The film stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, whom Johnny Cage is based upon, as the lead role.
      • Concept art for the Shrine in Mortal Kombat X shows a portrait of Johnny Cage's ancestor, who bears a strong resemblance to Van Damme.
  • Johnny Cage was cut from the Game Boy version of MK due to memory constraints.
    • There was, however, a cheat code that made him playable, but he uses Sonya's sprite.
  • In the first film, after Cage defeats Scorpion, a photo signed 'To my greatest fan' lands in the debris, a nod to his Friendship finishing move in Mortal Kombat II.
  • In early arcade test versions of MKII, the word "Otomix" appeared on Cage's pants, but was omitted in subsequent chip upgrades. Otomix is an established supplier of martial arts and athletic wear.
  • The Red Shadow Kick, and Red Shadow Uppercut special moves happened randomly in Mortal Kombat II. In Mortal Kombat 4 and Mortal Kombat Gold, selecting Player 2's outfit would cause the moves to have red shadows, rather than green. In MK 2011, the red shadow attacks return as powered up versions of Cage's original green shadow attacks, and in MKX, when Cage has below 5% health, his shadow attacks will turn red.
  • A tombstone entitled "CAGE" can be seen in the Graveyard arena for every game in appears in but MK (2011).
  • Cage's character model was exclusively recreated for Mortal Kombat Trilogy because (contrary to popular belief) Daniel Pesina parted ways with Midway due to a lawsuit over royalties. He was replaced by Chris Alexander.
    • This was the first instance of Cage wearing his sunglasses while fighting, whereas previously, he would only wear them during a victory pose, something that has persisted in all his appearances since then.
  • Reportedly, John Vogel did not like Cage's storyline in Mortal Kombat Trilogy or Mortal Kombat 4.
    • Furthermore, his Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance bio can be viewed as retconning this, with Mortal Kombat: The Death of Johnny Cage explaining (and mocking) his repeated death and revival during Trilogy and MK4.
  • Cage's body can be seen in the introduction of Mortal Kombat: Deception, located on the beginning of the stairway which leads to the Soulnado chamber.
  • The movie poster seen during Cage's ending in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance featured himself as the main character, with several other characters appearing as well, including Sonya Blade as his romantic interest, and Shang Tsung, Quan Chi, Scorpion, and Moloch as antagonists.
  • Originally, he used a variant of Mileena's X-Ray Move in MK 2011 before it was changed to his infamous "Split Punch".
  • Johnny Cage's official theme is titled "Prepare Yourself".
  • In MKX, during an interaction with Kano, he asks "Didn't you throw me off a bridge?", to which Kano will respond, "Guilty as charged.", a callback to the story of MK 2011; during Johnny's chapter, after defeating Sonya at the Pit, Kano arrives and throws Johnny off of the bridge into the Pit.
  • In MKX, Johnny Cage makes several references to other franchises in the film department:
    • During a mirror match interaction, one Johnny will ask "How many of us are there?", to which the second Johnny will respond, "There can be only one!", a reference to the film Highlander.
    • During an interaction with Kung Lao, Johnny tells him "Zorro's mom wants her hat back", a clear reference to the character Zorro.
    • During an interaction with Jax, he calls him "Tin Man", a reference to the character from the film The Wizard of Oz.
    • During an interaction with Kitana, he says "Hello, nurse!", a reference to the character Hello Nurse from the animated series Animaniacs.
    • During an interaction with Ermac, he says "The Mummy Returns", referencing the the movie of the same name.
      • Ermac later received a Pharaoh alternate costume as downloadable content.
      • Another interaction with Ermac has Johnny call him "Mac", a possible reference to the character from the film Mac and Me.
    • During an interaction with Ferra/Torr, he calls the pair "Master Blaster", a reference to the pair of villains from the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
    • During an interaction with Goro, he asks "Don't you owe me some sunglasses?", a reference to the 1995 film, in which Goro taunts Johnny by destroying his sunglasses before their fight.
    • During an interaction with Alien, he will say "It's game over, man!". This is a reference to the Alien's namesake film, in which the character Hudson shouts this line during the film.
      • Coincidentally enough, Johnny's voice actor from MKX, Andrew Bowen, also voiced Hudson in the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines.
    • His Here's Johnny Fatality is a homage to the 1980 horror film, The Shining, namely the scene where Jack Torrance, one of the main characters, tears a crack through a door with an axe, then peeks his face through the crack, uttering the same words.
    • In the character select screen, if the player chooses Johnny Cage's Commando outfit and Jax's Carl Weathers outfit, after selecting a level, Johnny will say "You son of a bitch!" and shake Jax's hand. This is a recreation of the handshake scene between the characters Dillon and Dutch from the movie Predator.
  • Johnny Cage is one of only three playable characters in Mortal Kombat X to have two throws; his second throw can only be used if Johnny is below 5% maximum health, with Red Shadow active, or if Fist Bump is active in his Fisticuffs variation. The other characters with two throws are Ferra/Torr and Jason Voorhees.
  • Johnny Cage is the only one of the original 7 characters from MK to not make a playable appearance in MKvsDCU.
  • In a Top 10 list hosted by, Johnny Cage's Super Split Punch Fatality was placed at the 3rd best Mortal Kombat Fatality.
  • In a Top 10 list hosted by, Johnny Cage was placed at #9 of the P.A.B. ("Pussy Ass Bitch") characters in gaming history, due to his nut punch attack.
  • In Unreal Championship 2, Raiden will occasionally taunt his opponent by stating that they "fight like Johnny Cage!".
  • Johnny Cage has made a guest appearance on the NetherRealm Studios mobile fighting game, WWE Immortals.
    • His variations are "A-List" & "Mortal Kombat". The renders for the game are borrowed from the Mortal Kombat X mobile game. 
    • The glasses that Johnny wears in his "A-List" & "Mortal Kombat" renders have switched. The blood on his wrist tapes is also gone. 
    • His Finisher is his X-Ray attack from MKX, Kasting Kall.
  • Johnny Cage is mentioned in a dialogue between Sub-Zero and Green Lantern in Injustice 2.


Ashrah | Baraka | Bi-Han | Blaze | Bo' Rai Cho | Cassie Cage | Chameleon | Cyrax | D'Vorah | Daegon | Dairou | Darrius | Drahmin | Ermac | Erron Black | Ferra & Torr | Frost | Fujin | Goro | Havik | Hotaru | Hsu Hao | Jackson Briggs | Jacqui Briggs | Jade | Jarek | Johnny Cage | Kabal | Kai | Kano | Kenshi Takahashi | Khameleon | Kintaro | Kira | Kitana | Kobra | Kotal Kahn | Kuai Liang | Kung Jin | Kung Lao | Kurtis Stryker | Li Mei | Liu Kang | Mavado | Meat | Mileena | Mokap | Moloch | Motaro | Nightwolf | Nitara | Onaga | Quan Chi | Raiden | Rain | Reiko | Reptile | Sareena | Scorpion | Sektor | Shang Tsung | Shao Kahn | Sheeva | Shinnok | Shujinko | Sindel | Skarlet | Smoke | Sonya Blade | Takeda Takahashi | Tanya | Taven | Tremor | Triborg

Alien | Freddy Krueger | Jason Voorhees | Kratos | Leatherface | Predator
Batman | Captain Marvel | Catwoman | Dark Kahn | Darkseid | Deathstroke | The Flash | Green Lantern | The Joker | Lex Luthor | Superman | Wonder Woman