This article is about the 2021 movie. For other uses of the word "Mortal Kombat", see the disambiguation page named Mortal Kombat.
Earthrealm is on the verge of catastrophe. Should it lose one more tournament, the savage realm of Outworld will invade. But an ancient prophecy foretells that a new group of champions will be united by the rise of Hanzo Hasashi's blood.
Mortal Kombat is a fantasy action movie based on the popular Mortal Kombat series of fighting games produced by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and serves as a reboot to Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.
The film is rated R.
In 17th century Japan, Bi-Han, an assassin of the Lin Kuei clan, attacks and kills Hanzo Hasashi of the Shirai Ryu along with his family. The only survivor is Hanzo's infant daughter, who is taken away by the Elder god Raiden, the protector of Earthrealm.
In the present day, the forces of Outworld have won nine consecutive Mortal Kombat tournaments with just one more victory needed in the next tournament to conquer Earthrealm. Outworld sorcerer and second-in-command of Emperor Shao Kahn, Shang Tsung, orders his warriors Mileena, Reiko, Nitara and Kabal to seek out and eliminate Earthrealm's champions, who bear a dragon mark, in order to ensure that Earthrealm has no chance in the upcoming tournament.
Cole Young, a financially struggling ex-MMA fighter and a bearer of the dragon mark, is attacked by Bi-Han, now going by the codename Sub-Zero. Cole and his supportive wife and daughter, Allison and Emily, are rescued by Special Forces major Jackson "Jax" Briggs, who also has a dragon mark. Jax tells Cole to seek out his partner Sonya Blade while he stays behind to fend off Sub-Zero; in the process, Sub-Zero incapacitates Jax by shattering his arms. Afterwards, Mileena reports incorrectly to Shang Tsung that Jax is dead.
Cole meets Sonya at her hideout where he finds out about the history of the Mortal Kombat and learns that the dragon mark can be transferred by killing its bearer. Sonya has captured Kano, an Australian mercenary of the Black Dragon clan, who had previously killed a champion with the dragon mark, which had moved onto Kano's body. Sonya, however, does not have the mark. The hideout is attacked by a reptilian creature which Kano kills by ripping its heart out.
Cole, Sonya, and Kano travel to Raiden's Temple, which has traditionally been the training ground for Earthrealm's warriors. They are met there by Shaolin warriors Liu Kang and his partner Kung Lao and also encounter Raiden himself. They also find Jax there, who now has a set of inadequate mechanical arms.
Raiden reveals to Cole that he is a descendant of Hanzo Hasashi, through Hanzo's daughter, and that he can use Hanzo's rope dart to reawaken the ancient ninja. Liu Kang and Kung Lao explain that every Earthrealm warrior with a dragon mark has a special power known as an "arcana", such as Liu Kang's ability to conjure fire. Therefore, the warriors at the Temple must find and awaken their arcanas if they are to stand a chance in Mortal Kombat. While Kano awakens his arcana, an eye laser, in a furious argument with the other warriors, Cole is unable to do so. Realizing that Cole would be vulnerable for Outworld's forces, Raiden sends him home to his wife and daughter, telling him a warrior without arcana power is a liability.
Shang Tsung and his warriors attempts to assault the temple but Raiden conjures an energy shield to keep them out. Kabal, being a former rival of Kano, persuades the latter to defect and lower the shield. Shang Tsung's warriors attack, killing Kung Lao after he kills Nitara and trapping Sonya under rubble. Jax's arcana awakens, powering up his arms, and giving him the opportunity to save Sonya.
Cole is attacked by Outworld champion Goro. When Cole's wife and daughter are threatened by the four-armed brute, his arcana awakens, giving him a suit of armor and a set of tonfas. With his newfound arcana, Cole kills Goro and rejoins the others at the temple. Raiden mocks Shang Tsung for giving Cole the opportunity to awake his arcana. In retaliation, Shang ensures Kung Lao and then sucks out his soul, killing him. Raiden then transports the remaining warriors to the Void, including a shattered Liu Kang, who insists that all is lost without Kung Lao.
Cole, unwilling to simply admit defeat, proposes splitting up Outworld's warriors and taking them out individually, then coming together to take on Sub-Zero as a team. Agreeing to the plan, Raiden transports Earthrealm's champions to each of Outworld's warriors, and Earthrealm's fighters kill their opponents in one-on-one battles; Sonya kills Kano during this process and gains his dragon mark, awakening her own arcana: the ability to fire purple energy blasts.
Outworld's remaining fighter, Sub-Zero, abducts Cole's family and goads him into a fight, negating the plan to fight him as a team. Cole is initially overpowered by Sub-Zero until his blood touches Hanzo's rope dart. Hanzo is resurrected as the undead ninja Scorpion and, with Cole's assistance, battles Sub-Zero and kills him. Scorpion then departs back to the Netherrealm, thanking Cole for bringing him back.
While the battle is won, Shang Tsung declares that he is undeterred by these setbacks and that the Mortal Kombat tournament will proceed as expected. Raiden orders Earthrealm's warriors to find more champions to fight in the tournament and help defend Earthrealm. Meanwhile, Cole sets off for Los Angeles to recruit Hollywood superstar Johnny Cage.
Visit here for our guide to catch-up on the characters of the new film.
The following Mortal Kombat characters appear in the film:
- Lewis Tan as Cole Young
- Jessica McNamee as Sonya Blade
- Josh Lawson as Kano
- Tadanobu Asano as Lord Raiden
- Mehcad Brooks as Jackson "Jax" Briggs
- Ludi Lin as Liu Kang
- Chin Han as Shang Tsung
- Joe Taslim as Bi-Han / Sub-Zero
- Hiroyuki Sanada as Hanzo Hasashi / Scorpion
- Max Huang as Kung Lao
- Sisi Stringer as Mileena
- Matilda Kimber as Emily Young
- Laura Brent as Allison Young
- Mel Jarnson as Nitara
- Nathan Jones as General Reiko
- Syzoth / Reptile (CGI effect)
- Angus Sampson as Goro (voice)
- Daniel Nelson as Kabal
- Damon Herriman as the voice of Kabal
Other credited cast in the film include:
- Ian Streetz as Ramirez
- Yukiko Shinohara as Harumi Hasashi
- Ren Miyagawa as Satoshi "Jubei" Hasashi
- Mia Hall as Hasashi's Baby
- David Field as Referee
- Kris McQuade as Cargo Plane Pilot
- Alice Nassery as Shang Tsung Elite Guard
Cybeart collaborated with Warner Bros. to release gaming chairs, as well as accessories including gaming mousepads and phone cases in advance of the release of the film. The film's official marketing campaign kicked off approximately two months from its release, with a series of posters showing off the film's major characters. On April 20, 2021, Warner Bros. released the first seven minutes of the film freely for viewing on YouTube.
The film was originally set to release on March 5, 2021, then moved to January 15, 2021, but in November 2020, Garner confirmed that the film would be delayed until theaters reopened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film was released in theaters and HBO Max in the United States on April 23, 2021. The film's earliest official release was in the countries of Croatia, South Korea, Russia, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan, all of which debuted the film on April 8, 2021.
A home video release for Blu-Ray and 4K Blu-ray was issued on July 13, 2021. The film was also released on DVD, however, the DVD does not include any special features besides deleted scenes.
As of the evening of May 10, 2021, the film has a 55% rotten score on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes with 278 reviews. The site's "Critics' Consensus" feature states that "Largely for fans of the source material but far from fatal(ity) flawed, Mortal Kombat revives the franchise in appropriately violent fashion." Johnny Oleksinski of the New York Post praised the film as "unrepentant fun," giving a score of 3/4, while Princess Weekes of The Mary Sue was slightly less positive, but nevertheless felt that the film left viewers "wanting more," being mainly disappointed that it was "over so quickly, giving the film a score of 3.5/5. On the reserve side, David Ehrlich of IndieWire graded the film a "D," stating that while the film is "more broadly watchable" than the 1995 film, he has a "dull sensation that video game movies are now playing us." Jeffrey Zhang of Strange Harbords, however, felt that the "janky cult classic" nature of the 1995 film reigns supreme over the new adaptation.. To date by that point, the film had earned an estimated $19.2 million in overseas markets, including $9.6 million in Russia. The film opened to $22.5 million in its opening weekend, nearly the same as its 1995 predecessor, but only somewhat less than half as much when adjusted for inflation. Despite this, the film was well over the pre-release estimate of an approximately $13 million haul. The film earned a B+ Cinemascore from viewers and faced heavy competition from Demon Slayer, another R-rated action fantasy film which also performed well above expectations and has already earned a record $400 million in Japan and $435 million overseas. As of the premiere of Mortal Kombat, only 55% of U.S. theaters have reopened and those that are open have limited capacity in accordance with local guidelines. Rotten Tomatoes featured the film on an episode of its regular podcast, "Rotten Tomatoes is Wrong," a break from the normal format of looking back on a film that is at least a few years old. In its second weekend, Mortal Kombat was reported to have been overtaken by Demon Slayer', with Demon Slayer earning $6.4 million as opposed to the $6.2 million of Mortal Kombat. Worldwide, Mortal Kombat was reported to have earned $66 million, the film reportedly having low international box office. In its third weekend, Forbes reported the film as having earned just $2.375 million, said to be playing as a "for fans only" video game adaptation.
- Johnny Cage does not appear in the film. A poster depicting the character from the waist down appears at the end of the film. Producer Todd Garner stated a pre-release interview that Cage was intentionally saved for a sequel, in large part because he's a big personality that needs his own space and would be difficult to pair with another big personality, Kano. He described having Cage for a potential sequel as being "a big stick and carrot that maybe they'll let me have." The film's original ending was scripted to depict Cole Young and Sonya Blade pulling up at the studio lot to see Cage, but this scene was scrapped due to the difficulties of filming during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Kung Lao's Arcana is never mentioned during the film, although it is presumed to be teleportation, as it is the only supernatural ability he is shown to possess.
Production began in South Australia on September 19, 2019, and concluded on December 13 in the same year. Regarding the film's creation, producer Todd Garner stated that "We didn’t want to remake the 1995 movie, we didn’t want to short-change the fans, but we needed an epic storyline that, even if you have never played the game, you could still become immersed in it." Star Lewis Tan (Cole Young) stated that while the film does contain R-rated gore, it is tasteful, that the director indicated that the film would be a "hard R, Try not to make it NC-17, but let’s take it all the way up until that point." He continued that "And that’s what we did. But I think he did it really tastefully."
- Jax mentioned Cole defeated "Eddy Tobias", a name apparently referenced to the creators of Mortal Kombat: Ed Boon and John Tobias. Their names are also used as anagrams to make Noob Saibot's name.
- While Sonya explains the appearance of the mark for Cole, a draft of Nightwolf and a photo of Kotal Kahn's statue are present in the scene.
- Reptile has his appearance mostly based on his Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance design, although without the clothes. Additionally, Shang Tsung refers to him by "Syzoth", his canon name revealed in Mortal Kombat X during an interaction with Raiden.
- Reptile uses Invisibility when ambushing the Earthrealm fighters and Acid Spit when salivating on the ceiling, which Kano uses to free himself from his cuffs.
- Kano uses his signature Heart Rip Fatality to finish off Reptile after he was sent to kill Cole and Sonya.
- Order of Light is located in Raiden's Temple, which is introduced in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.
- On the Order of Light's hideout, a painting of the Great Kung Lao defeating a young Shang Tsung and another one of Argus and Delia burying Taven, a replica of the amulet of Shinnok, one of Kitana's fans and a statue of Fujin facing a statue of Raiden can be seen.
- Various characters' projectile moves from Mortal Kombat games are referred as "Arcana" in the film, including Liu Kang's Dragon Fire, Sonya's Energy Rings, and Kano's Eye Laser. Most other non-projectile moves, such as Kano's Ball, Jax's Ground Pound, Kung Lao's Spin and Sonya's Upward Cartwheel, do not appear.
- Kano's Arcana is found in his right eye, which is a reference to his cybernetic eye being his right eye in the games. In addition, Reptile claws through part of the right side of Kano's head during their battle.
- Kung Lao eliminates Nitara with his Razor's Edge Fatality from Mortal Kombat (2011).
- Kung Lao was killed by surprise by Shang Tsung, referencing his death at the hands of Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat (2011).
- Shang Tsung uses his Soultaker Fatality to drain Kung Lao's soul while Kung Lao gradually becomes a shrunken corpse.
- Jax uses his Head Clap Fatality to kill Reiko.
- Reiko uses a hammer in kombat, referencing his weapon's appearance in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.
- Kabal calls Kano the reason why he is "living in an iron lung", referencing Kano's surgery which saved Kabal's life in both the original and current timelines.
- Liu Kang uses his Bicycle Kick in and ends the fight with the Enter the Dragon Fatal Blow from Mortal Kombat 11 to kill Kabal.
- Scorpion kills Sub-Zero with his Toasty! Fatality introduced in the first Mortal Kombat, however, instead of being reduced to a skeleton or pile of bones, Sub-Zero died as a charred corpse, a reference to the version of the Fatality in Mortal Kombat (2011).
- Several quotes from Mortal Kombat games is used in the film: Kano says "Kano Wins" after he kills Reptile; "Test Your Might" is said by Liu Kang before Cole and Kung Lao have a practice fight; "Flawless Victory" is said by Kung Lao after he kills Nitara; "Fatality!" is said by Liu Kang after he finishes Kabal; and "Get over here!" is said by Scorpion during the final battle with Sub-Zero.
- Wu Shi Academy is mentioned by Liu Kang.
- Shao Khan does not make an appearance in the film. Instead, his statue is shown, as well as a mural in Raiden's Temple, where he is seen poisoning Emperor Onaga. His appearance is nearly identical to the one in Mortal Kombat 11.
- Citizen Cage, a spoof of Citizen Kane, is previously mentioned in Johnny Cage's biography in the 2011 video game Mortal Kombat.
- The fight between Reiko and Jax takes place at The Pit.
The film's soundtrack was composed by Benjamin Wallfisch. The soundtrack is as follows:
- Techno Syndrome 2021 (Mortal Kombat)
- Hanzo Hasashi
- Lord Raiden
- Shang Tsung
- Cole Young
- Sonya Blade
- Kano v Reptile
- Liu Kang
- The Great Protector
- Kung Lao
- Jax Briggs
- The Void
- The Tournament
- Sub-Zero v Cole Young
- I Am Scorpion
- We Fight as One
- Get Over Here
- The new Mortal Kombat movie will be rated R, writer says
- "Mortal Kombat Movie Finds Its Sonya Blade, Kano (Exclusive)" - Hollywood Reporter
- "Mortal Kombat Movie Adds Fistful of Fighters (Exclusive)" - Hollywood Reporter
- "Ludi Li in Talks to Play Liu Kang in New Line's Mortal Kombat (EXCLUSIVE)" - Variety
- "Mortal Kombat Reboot Finds Its Shang Tsung and Scorpion (EXCLUSIVE)" - Variety
- "Mortal Kombat Movie Finds Its Sub-Zero (Exclusive)" - Hollywood Reporter
- Greg Russo (@WriterRusso) - Twitter
- "MORTAL KOMBAT: Max Huang To Play Kung Lao As Cameras Roll In South Australia" - Film Combat Syndicate
- "Young Matilda Kimber Added to the Cast of the Mortal Kombat Movie" - COGconnected
- "Mortal Kombat (2021)" - Warner Bros. Pictures
- Elissa Cadwell Will Play the Vampire Nitara in the James Wan-Produced ‘Mortal Kombat’ Movie
- Why Nitara from Mortal Kombat Looks So Familiar
- JOE TASLIM IS ‘SUB-ZERO’ IN MORTAL KOMBAT REBOOT. UPDATE: NATHAN JONES CONFIRMED
- Mortal Kombat Movie Confirms Kabal Actor
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSwna42XV30&t=4s (Video removed)
- Canadian Brand Cybeart collaborates with Warner Bros. to create Mortal Kombat Gaming Chairs & Accessories. Global Newswire (April 20, 2021). Retrieved on April 22, 2021.
- Fink, Richard (February 17, 2021). Mortal Kombat Posters Reveal Sub-Zero, Kano, Mileena, Kung Lao & Shang Tsung. Screen Rant. Retrieved on April 22, 2021.
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- Mendelson, Scott (April 18, 2021). Box Office: ‘Mortal Kombat’ Nears $20M Overseas As ‘Nobody’ Nears $35M Global. Forbes. Retrieved on April 19, 2021.
- Mendelson, Scott (April 25, 2021). Box Office: ‘Mortal Kombat’ Tops ‘Demon Slayer’ With Strong $22.5M Weekend. forbes. Retrieved on April 26, 2021.
- Rubin, Rebecca (April 25, 2021). Box Office: ‘Mortal Kombat’ Pulls Ahead of Surprisingly Strong ‘Demon Slayer’. Variety. Retrieved on April 26, 2021.
- "Rotten Tomatoes is Wrong" About... Mortal Kombat (2021) (April 29, 2021). Retrieved on April 30, 2021.
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- Goldman, Eric (March 17, 2021). How ‘Mortal Kombat’ Approached Gore, Fights, and Saving Johnny Cage for a Sequel. Fandom. Retrieved on April 26, 2021.
- Erao, Math (May 4, 2021). Mortal Kombat: How the Pandemic Changed the Johnny Cage Easter Egg. CBR. Retrieved on May 8, 2021.
- Chung, Julie (March 31, 2021). Mortal Kombat – A Journey Behind The Scenes. Snap Taste. Retrieved on April 16, 2021.
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