Fun fact: My daughter is named after the Mortal Kombat character, Raiden. So, if there’s anybody looking forward to this new Mortal Kombat movie, which will be debuting in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously on April 16, 2021, it’s this guy. Luckily, we just got a new trailer that kicks ass. And with said trailer, we saw a whole slew of klassic Mortal Kombat characters who will be appearing in this brand-new movie.
Now, before I get into the characters who will definitely be in this film, as seen in the trailer, I just want to pour a 40 ounce (of blood) for all my favorite kombatants who don’t look like they’ll be making an appearance, unless, of course, they’re a secret. So, in no particular order: Johnny Cage, Kitana (How?), Ermac, Nightwolf, Cyrax, Sektor, and Baraka don’t look to be making an appearance in this movie. But Kabal (Wow!) and Nitara (Seriously?), will apparently be in this film, even though they’re not present in the trailer. But enough sad talk, let’s get on to all the characters we do know will be in this film. Flawless victory.
Cole Young (Lewis Tan)
First off, I want to get the newcomer out of the way with Cole Young, who has never appeared in any of the games. Played by Deadpool 2’s Lewis Tan, Cole Young looks to be the protagonist of this movie, as the film centers around him entering the Mortal Kombat tournament. As we see in the trailer, he’s an MMA fighter who has a mysterious dragon mark on his chest—which he always just thought was a birthmark!—that is apparently an invitation to the tournament.
Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about Cole, but it might just be because I’m so attached to the first movie (let us never speak of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation). I know Liu Kang has sort of lost his lead character status over the years in the games, but I have a really hard time picturing anybody besides Liu Kang (played by Beverly Hills Ninja’s Robin Shou) being the protagonist in a live-action Mortal Kombat movie. But maybe Cole Young will surprise me. Fingers crossed!
Jax (Mehcad Brooks)
As we see in the trailer, the traditionally metal-armed Jax actually gets his metal arms because Sub-Zero rips his real arms off. That’s actually one of the first scenes in the red band trailer and it really sets the stage for how brutal this movie will be. We hear some of Jax’s voice in the trailer, and we also see him as 1 of the main kombatants who will be traveling with Cole throughout the movie, so that’s cool.
Jackson “Jax” Briggs debuted in the game Mortal Kombat II and his been a dominant character ever since. He’s Sonya Blade’s superior officer in the United States Special Forces, and he’s one of the very few characters to get his own game in Mortal Kombat: Special Forces. Which sucked. A lot of people have mentioned how Mehcad Brooks kind of looks like Steve Harvey and, yeah. They’re not wrong. But still! Jax is badass and I’m looking forward to him in this movie!
Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim)
Sub-Zero looks to be one of the main antagonists in the movie as we see him dismember Jax in the trailer. He’s played by Star Trek Beyond’s Joe Taslim and looks really scary, as Sub-Zero should.
Sub-Zero is actually an interesting character in the games as he’s usually portrayed as an anti-hero rather than a straight-up villain. His trademark is his ice freezing abilities. Plus, his spine-ripping fatality is one of the most infamous finishing moves in history, with some people even believing that it’s one of the main reasons that the ESRB was even created. He also had his own solo game in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, and that one’s pretty good.
Scorpion (Hirojuki Sanada)
We actually see Scorpion without his trademark mask in the trailer as he fights off some ninjas (so I’m guessing that’s a flashback scene) as well as with his yellow mask and flames in the trailer. We also see his famous spear as he utters, “Get over here!” Klassic.
This is also very interesting, since Scorpion is almost always depicted as the bad guy, but he appears to be either a good guy or neutral in this trailer. Depending on the game, he’s typically a hellspawn who’s come back from the dead to exact vengeance against Sub-Zero, since they’re bitter rivals. He’s probably the face of the franchise, and also had his own solo movie called, Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge, which is really good!
Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee)
We see quite a bit of Sonya Blade in the trailer, as she goes along with Cole and is one of the chosen fighters who will be accompanying him in Kombat. But aside from hearing her deliver some exposition, we don’t really learn much about her, besides her being fierce, and we already knew that.
Sonya Blade is an OG Mortal Kombat character, just like Scorpion and Sub-Zero, as she debuted in the first game. She’s a commanding officer in the United States Special Forces, and is lethal in both armed and unarmed combat. And I don’t mean unarmed like Jax (Sorry!)
Kano (Josh Lawson)
I had to watch the trailer a few times for Kano because… is he a… good guy in this movie? Kano has always been depicted as a villain, but he’s one of the “champions” in this trailer. Still not sure if he’s going to go rogue.
Scorpion : Sub-Zero :: Kano : Sonya Blade, and by that I mean Kano is Sonya’s sworn enemy in the games. He’s an Australian mercenary who works for the Black Dragon, which is a crime syndicate. That said, he’s dreamy, and he’ll steal your heart. Literally. True fans got that reference.
Liu Kang (Ludi Lin)
We don’t see much of Liu Kang’s character in the trailer, besides the fact that he is also one of the kombatants going along with Cole. We also see his fireball powers, as well as a gnarly dragon he makes out of flames. Bitchin’.
For a time, Liu Kang was the hero of the series. He’s a Shaolin Monk who entered the tournament to save Earth, but he died in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, and even came back as a reanimated corpse. I’m serious! Fun fact: The actor, Ludi Lin, who will be playing him in the movie, was also in the great Black Mirror episode, “Striking Vipers,” which had a game sort of like Mortal Kombat in it. Don’t I teach you such wonderful things?
Kung Lao (Max Huang)
We see Kung Lao for like two seconds in the trailer, but they’re a memorable two seconds. He’s wearing his trademark hat, and he even uses it for 1 awesome scene. But yeah, that’s about it. We’ve seen photos of him with Liu Kang, so at least that’s accurate to the games.
Kung Lao is one of my favorite characters, so I’m happy to see him in the movie. He’s a former member of the White Lotus Society and he has a wicked hat, which he can chop people in half with. He was also in the game Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks with Liu Kang, which is indisputably the best side-project Mortal Kombat title. So, that’s cool.
Raiden (Tadanobu Asano)
Raiden appears a couple of times in the trailer, mostly to show off his lightning abilities, but that’s about it. I’m sure he’ll play a prominent role in the film, though, given his importance to the series.
Played by Highlander’s Christopher Lambert in the 1995 movie, I’m happy to see more diverse casting this time around. In the games, Raiden is the god of thunder. He protects Earthrealm and has been around since the first MK, so he’s Mortal Kombat royalty, and a must in every movie. An absolute must!
Mileena (Sisi Stringer)
We get to see Mileena from the back with her sais in tow in one scene, and then we also get to see her lick said sais. There’s also one more shot of her behind Shang Tsung alongside Sub-Zero, so it’s abundantly clear that she’s one of the baddies in this movie, and I couldn’t be more excited! Mileena is awesome. But… where’s Kitana?
I ask that question since Mileena is Kitana’s evil twin in the games. She’s also part of the Tarkatan race, so she’s supposed to have these knife-sharp teeth beneath her mask. We don’t really see that in the trailer, though. She just has normal teeth. Bummer.
Shang Tsung (Ng Chin Han)
The Dark Knight’s Ng Chin Han plays Shang Tsung in this movie. We hear him talking about how no matter how many people the champions put in the ground, he will still win. Okay. We also get to see a Shao Khan statue in the background in one scene, so maybe Shang Tsung is not the ultimate big bad in this movie. We shall see.
Shang Tsung is a shapeshifting warlock who was the main boss of the first MK game. He’s Liu Kang’s greatest adversary, and is a fan favorite since he can transform into any character in the game for a few seconds and pull off their moves. Who doesn’t love Shang Tsung?
So, obviously, I’m saving the best for last. Up to this point, we weren’t entirely sure whether Goro would be in this movie, but now, as we see in the trailer, he’s confirmed. Goro is coming to freaking Mortal Kombat!
In the games, Goro is a member of the Shokan, which is a race of warriors with four arms. He’s the boss before Shang Tsung in the first game and one of the toughest characters to beat in the entire series. I’m more pumped than ever now that I know he’s in the movie.
There is also a brief scene with a ninja character in a cloud of billowing smoke. Now, while this might just be either Sub-Zero or Scorpion making some grand, elaborate entrance, might it actually be the cloudy ninja, Smoke?
Smoke first appeared in Mortal Kombat II as a palate swap for Scorpion. He later appeared in Mortal Kombat III as a robot. Whether or not this is Smoke is up in the air, but... wait, up in the air? Smoke? Pun totally not intended, but I'm keeping it now. We'll just have to wait and see if any other ninjas also make it into the final product.
I was on the fence about this film until I saw this trailer, but now I’m all in. But what do you think? Are you looking forward to the Mortal Kombat movie? What about its characters? Which character are you most looking forward to seeing in the film? Sound off in the poll or in the comments section down below.
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.