The hat is used in almost all of Kung Lao's Fatalities. It has many abilities, such as teleporting back to the Shaolin warrior Kung Lao, the ability to hold a rabbit in it, and boomerang and ricochet abilities. It is known to be used to slice foes in half or into bits, and decapitate them, yet it stangely almost never draws blood onto itself. When it does, it is simply flicked off with just a spin of Kung Lao.
Kung Lao does not have his hat on during his mini-mission in Mortal Kombat: Deception, but he does in every other game if not using his alternate costume in MK:DA and MK:A where he wears his hat on his back.
Appearances in Other Media
In the pilot episode "Warrior Eternal" of the original live-action film's prequel series Mortal Kombat: Conquest, which follows the Great Kung Lao, a scene is briefly shown of the Great Kung Lao with the hat, but for the first time ever, it was not bladed, and was much smaller than usually depicted.
The hat appears with the character in Mortal Kombat: Legacy, a web series following various characters. Here, Kung Lao s depicted as a traditional monk, with orange and yellow robes and a shaved bald head. His hat is once again not bladed, but is depicted as more like Raiden's hat, in that it is made from wicker and straw in a very wide-brimmed style, but instead of being conical in shape, it's shaped like his traditional hat.
In the 2021 film Mortal Kombat, Kung Lao can remotely control his hat, possibly using his Arcana. It retains the chin strap of the original games, as much like the earlier games, the character is portrayed using a live actor rather than a 3D model, making it necessary to have a strap to keep the hat secured to his head. In the film, he's also shown to occasionally use the hat as a shield. This is first shown when Kano accidentally shoots his eye laser for the first time at Kung Lao. The pair were arguing with each over various topics at the same time in a fit of rage, mainly about an egg roll. Kano asked for one, mistakenly believing Kung Lao to be called "Kung Pow," a sign of his lack of listening skills during training. Kung Lao eats it himself, and calls Kano a fat lazy pig of a failure with no fighting skills. Kano stands up, gives a speech about his life as a criminal kingpin, demands an egg roll, and accidentally fires a laser from his damaged right eye, causing Kung Lao to block the shot with his hat, deflecting it out the window.
- In the earlier games, the hat also had a chin-strap used to secure it to the head of actor Anthony Marquez, which was retained for Kung Lao's appearance in Mortal Kombat Gold due to reusing the Mortal Kombat 3 design. After the shift from digital actors to full 3D models, the chin strap was rendered unnecessary and removed from all subsequent redesigns of Kung Lao.