When it comes to anything related to Mortal Kombat, there is a high expectation for violence. Hell, it’s right there in the name. The video game was created with the premise of having two characters try to beat each other to death in creative and gory ways, and it’s a formula that has worked for nearly three decades now. As such, fans definitely went into the new blockbuster adaptation from director Simon McQuoid anticipating some hardcore destruction and dismemberment, and in that realm the movie definitely doesn’t disappoint.
Mortal Kombat doesn’t waste any time getting to the bloody violence, as plenty of the red stuff is spilled in the first sequence alone, but there are definitely certain moments that stand out more than others – the standouts being seven specific kills that fans will remember for a long time. We’ve chronicled them all here, and it should be stressed that we didn’t include every death scene made the cut here; it’s just of the best.
Kung Lao Saws Nitara In Half With His Hat
It feels right to start with what is unquestionably the best scene in Mortal Kombat for gorehounds. Kung Lao pulling off the “Razor's Edge” was introduced to the games in 2005’s Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, but it’s a very different thing seeing it play out in live-action versus on a console. It’s a quick sequence in the movie that starts with Shao Tsung summoning Nitara to attack the Earthrealm fighter, but his senses are too strong for her to sneak up on him, so when she does swoop in he’s able to set her up to go face first into his magically spinning razor-trimmed hat. Flawless victory indeed.
Liu Kang Summons His Fire Dragon To Eat Kabal
Liu Kang pulls off a number of memorable moments from the video game in Mortal Kombat, from pulling the cheap move of repeatedly tripping Kano in training, to his badass flying bicycle kick, but the character’s shining moment comes when he has the chance to finish Kabal off by summoning a giant fire dragon to eat the Outworld killer. Kabal winds up being at least partially responsible for the death of Liu Kang’s best friend (that will be a subject of discussion later in this piece), so it’s a solid revenge element in a movie where just about all of the animus between all of the main players is based solely on the heroes of Earthrealm trying to stop Shao Tsung and his forces from invading.
Jax Smashes Reiko’s Head
Jax definitely has a rough go of it through most of Mortal Kombat, first violently losing in combat when facing off against Sub-Zero, and then getting his arms replaced with metal prosthetics – but he most definitely gets redemption by the end of the film by pulling off one of the nastier kills. When the good guys all split up to face off against Shao Tsung’s agents, Jax goes toe-to-toe with Reiko, and while the hammer-wielding Outworlder gets in some shots, his final moments are brutal ones, as Jax uses his arcana-enhanced metal arms to first punch in his face, and then smash his skull into pulp.
Kano Rips Out Reptile’s Heart
If we’re being candid, there is no character in Mortal Kombat whose interpretation for the film is weaker than Reptile’s, as the green-clad ninja deserved more than being a poorly rendered CGI creation only featured in one scene – but what does slightly make up for it is the fact that he at least gets an epic exit courtesy of Kano’s classic fatality. Following a quick bout with the heroes that sees them caught off guard by his special invisibility skill, the lizard-like assassin sees his efforts to help Shao Tsung foiled as the leader of the Black Dragon clan full-on reaches into his chest and pulls out his still beating heart. It wouldn’t have felt right if the Australian character had gone the entire movie without pulling off his most famous move, and it’s one of the best early examples of fan-service in the blockbuster.
Shao Tsung Sucks Out Kung Lao’s Soul
Fans don’t get to see all of Shao Tsung’s abilities on display in Mortal Kombat (for example, we don’t see him shape-shift into other characters), but his most important skill is fully on display in the movie when he grabs Kung Lao by the neck and sucks out his soul. Initially it looks like Tsung is going to successfully kill Cole Young, but his fellow Earthrealmer sacrifices himself by knocking the protagonist out of the way – and Cole and Liu Kang can only watch while their friend is killed. Assuming that Kung Lao doesn’t make a full-on return in a future movie, could this at least open the door to the villain pretending to be the hero in a potential sequel? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Scorpion Burns Sub-Zero
The very first sequence in Mortal Kombat sees Bi-han (a.k.a. Sub-Zero) kill Hanzo Hasashi (a.k.a. Scorpion), and while that winds up establishing firm anticipation for a rematch at the end of the movie, it doesn’t diminish the impact of seeing the blade-throwing warrior get payback against the man who sent him to hell. Known as the “Toasty!” fatality from the game, Scorpion takes off his mask, revealing a semi-skull face underneath, and unleashes a stream of hellfire that burns his opponent to the ground. It’s a gnarly way for the ice-centric villain to die, but also perfectly fitting.
Cole Dices Up, Stabs, And Eviscerates Goro
While all of the other big kills mentioned in this feature were directly inspired by Mortal Kombat fatalities in the video game, that’s an advantage that the filmmakers didn’t have with Cole Young, who is a character specifically created as the protagonist for the Mortal Kombat movie. That being said, when it comes time in the blockbuster for him to pull off his big move, it’s pretty damn easy to appreciate. Cole finally gets his arcana while he is in the midst of protecting his family from an attack by Goro, and the special armor and weapons allow him to tear the four-armed monster to shreds – first cutting off hands, then slicing open his guts, and finally jamming a blade through his eye.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.