Mortal Kombat (film)

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German title Mortal Kombat
Original title Mortal Kombat
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1995
length 101 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Paul WS Anderson
script Kevin Droney
production Lawrence Kazanoff
music George S. Clinton
camera John R. Leonetti
cut Martin Hunter

Successor  →
Mortal Kombat 2 - Annihilation

Mortal Kombat is an action and fantasy film from 1995 based on the computer game of the same name from 1993. Directed by Paul WS Anderson , who later directed another computer game film, Resident Evil . The film opened in German cinemas on January 18, 1996.


The film begins with a dream sequence by the Shaolin monk Liu Kang , who lives in the United States . In this dream he sees the magician Shang Tsung defeating his brother Chan in a duel, killing him and stealing his soul. However, this actually happened, as he was told by telegram. Liu Kang, who blames himself for Chan's death because he was not there, has vowed revenge and is traveling back to his homeland to be blessed by his order to take part in Mortal Kombat. There he suspects the whereabouts of Chan's murderer. The elders reject this, however, as Mortal Kombat cannot be won through feelings of revenge. This annoys Liu Kang very much and a dispute ensues, which is interrupted by the god of thunder, Lord Raiden. Believing that Raiden is a simple beggar, Liu Kang attacks him and is easily defeated. Injured in his pride he leaves the Shaolin temple. The elders are concerned that Liu Kang is not ready for the Mortal Kombat in this state, but Raiden is forced to let him go his way as he is the only hope.

At the same time, the special unit in the form of Sonya Blade and her companion Jax storm a full disco in Hong Kong . Her target is the Australian gang boss Kano, who murdered Sonya's partner. In fact, Kano is in a VIP lounge talking to Shang Tsung. He demands that Sonya Blade be lured to the Hong Kong pier without damage, as she is supposed to take part in the Mortal Kombat. In the disco itself there is a shootout between Sonya and Kano's subordinates. However, he escapes, but not without leaving Sonya a hint of his next whereabouts.

Actor and martial arts fighter Johnny Cage is currently shooting a film in Los Angeles and is annoyed by incompetent extras. He leaves the set furious. Johnny notices a person sitting in his chair, which turns out to be Johnny's Sensei Master Boyd. Boyd sees how frustrated Johnny is when the media accuses him of being a fraud. Boyd can convince Johnny to take part in Mortal Kombat to show his critics that he is definitely a good fighter. What Johnny doesn't know is that Master Boyd is none other than Shang Tsung, who has just taken his form.

The invitation takes all participants to the Hong Kong pier, where they have to wait for a ship. In fact, a dragon boat appears out of the fog and picks up the fighters. At the last moment, Kano steps on board, knowing that Sonya Blade, who has been lying in wait at the pier, will follow him onto the boat. This then also happens. Sonya, Johnny and Liu Kang meet on the boat and are greeted by Shang Tsung. He incites the two ninja Sub-Zero and Scorpion on the three, which is prevented by Lord Raiden, since it is forbidden to attack the fighters of the earth empire before the start of the Mortal Kombat. Shang Tsung asks for forgiveness and withdraws.

Then Lord Raiden explains what this tournament is all about. Every 500 years there is a tournament between the earthly kingdom and the outside world. It is about the fate of the earth, because with ten tournaments won in a row, the outside world and its emperor could invade the earth kingdom and absorb it. The outside world already has nine victories and thus the fate of the earth would be sealed in the event of another defeat. Liu Kang, Johnny and Sonya are chosen to defend the earthly kingdom. During the crossing, Johnny gets to know the martial artist and fan art.

Some time later the boat docks on an island that is used as a battle site. Liu Kang, Sonya and Johnny decide to explore the island on their own. The three are led by Princess Kitana, the emperor's adopted daughter and rightful heir to the throne of the outside world, deep into the hidden caves, where they observe Shang Tsung, Kano and the four-armed general of the outside world and current champion Goro. However, if they are careless, they are noticed and attacked by Shang Tsung's guards. Although the three can hold their own against the first wave, they are quickly surrounded. Lord Raiden helps the group and points out that Mortal Kombat is about everything. The three have to face their greatest weaknesses: Sonya Blade has to realize that she, too, needs help; Johnny Cage has to overcome his ego and Liu Kang has to accept his fate, from which he fled to the USA. At the same time, Shang Tsung orders Reptile to watch Princess Kitana, as an alliance between her and the Earthlings turns out to be dangerous for him.

The next day the first fights begin. Liu Kang is victorious against his first opponent. After his victory, the losing fighter is deprived of his soul by Shang Tsung. Johnny Cage also wins his first fight against Scorpion. Sonya gets the opportunity to get revenge on Kano and kills him by breaking his neck. In his second fight, Liu Kang meets Kitana, whom he can incapacitate. Before making a decision, she advises him that he can only win his next fight with the help of the element that gives life. Shang Tsung is enraged by Kitana's interference. In the next fight, Liu Kang meets Sub-Zero, whose ice magic troubles him. Only when Kitana shows up and reminds him of the advice from their fight does Liu Kang realize that it can only be about water. While Sub-Zero prepares his strongest attack, Liu Kang throws a bucket of water, which was previously placed unnoticed by Lord Raiden, at Sub-Zero. The water freezes into an ice spear that pierces Sub-Zero and freezes it.

Now the champion Goro intervenes in the tournament and defeats one Erdenreich fighter after the other, including Art, who loses his soul to Shang Tsung, which makes Johnny Cage angry. In order to prevent his other friends, especially Sonya, for whom he now has romantic feelings, from suffering the same fate, he asks Shang Tsung to fight Goro. Shang Tsung agrees if the final battle of Mortal Kombat takes place at a time, place, and opponent of his choice, which Johnny Cage accepts. Lord Raiden tries to prevent this, but comes too late. He is nevertheless satisfied that Johnny Cage does not take up this fight out of revenge or his ego, but to protect those who mean something to him.

Thus the fight between Johnny Cage and Goro takes place and Johnny Cage actually manages to defeat the champion by throwing him into a bottomless room. This drives Shang Tsung into a corner and as a last resort he kidnaps Sonya and chooses her and the outside world as his opponent and the place where the final fight of the Mortal Kombat is to take place. The prospects are bad when Lord Raiden announces with regret that she has no chance against the wizard. To save them, Johnny and Liu Kang decide to follow them to Outworld. There they are attacked by Reptile, who is defeated by Liu Kang. After the fight, Kitana accompanies Liu Kang and Johnny and explains to the former what three tasks await him: he has to face his worst opponent, be able to recognize himself and face his greatest fear.

Meanwhile, Sonya was taken to a tower and tied to two pillars. Shang Tsung challenges her to Mortal Kombat, which Sonya refuses. However, this could mean that the earth kingdom automatically loses and thus falls to the outside world. Sonya is sure that her friends will come and free her, which has already happened. Shang Tsung orders the group to be captured, but Kitana withholds the guards and accuses Shang Tsung of treason. He then challenges Johnny Cage to Mortal Kombat, but this is prevented by Liu Kang, who in turn challenges Shang Tsung to Mortal Kombat, which Shang Tsung ultimately accepts.

Thus it comes to a fight of fate and both fighters show no nakedness. However, Shang Tsung proves his power by summoning five of the strongest warriors he has subjugated and inciting Liu Kang. This is where Liu Kang's first assignment comes into play, in which he faces his worst opponent. However, he manages to defeat every single one. The second task follows, Liu Kang must recognize himself. Shang Tsung looks into his soul and tells him that Liu Kang is being killed. However, he knows this is just a trick. The third test is also the most difficult. Shang Tsung transforms into Chan and leads Liu Kang to believe that he will forgive him. At the same time, he lets thorns grow out of the ground in order to throw Liu Kang into it after successful manipulation. This fails because Liu Kang realizes that Chan only followed his fate and describes Shang Tsung as the murderer of Chan. He reveals himself and uses the confusion to harm Liu Kang. But he can reflect on his fate and turn the tide. With one hard blow, Liu Kang puts Shang Tsung in the thorns, killing him and freeing the captured souls, including those of his brother. Liu Kang is the new Mortal Kombat champion.

In Liu Kang's Shaolin Temple, the mood is euphoric about the victory, Sonya and Johnny as well as Liu Kang and Kitana find their affection for each other. Then the emperor appears and destroys the temple. He announces that he is stealing the souls of the fighters, which Lord Raiden cannot allow. The fighters then get ready for their next fight.


"The martial film adaptation of an equally brutal fantasy video game, which is staged without imagination and carried by stencil-like actors, which propagates violence and killing as conflict resolution."


  • The film cost 18 million dollars and played worldwide 122.1 million.


  • Scorpion and Sub Zero , actually mortal enemies, fight side by side in the film under the power of Shang Tsung .
  • The film says that the protagonist Liu Kang is the descendant of Kung Lao . In the game series, it is another monk who is also called Kung Lao and is a friend and rival of Liu Kang .
  • Although Raiden has been a playable character in the game, he explains in the film that he cannot participate in Mortal Kombat.
  • Liu Kang's unnamed first opponent and Art Lean do not appear in the game.
  • Some elements only appear in the game series from the second part:
  1. the characters Jax (in the movie Jaxx ) and Kitana
  2. Liu Kang's "Bicycle Kick", which he uses against reptiles
  3. Reptiles ability to make themselves invisible
  4. the young Shang Tsung , in the first part he's an old man
  5. Sub-Zero's Fatality "Ice Granade"
  • Furthermore, some sentences known from the game are lost in the German translation:
  1. Shang Tsung says in the original, after he took the soul of Liu Kang's first opponent, the series characteristic expression "Fatality", which describes the deadly finishing moves at the end of a fight.
  2. When Goro had defeated Art and looked at Shang Tsung, he ordered "Finish him!"
  3. After Sub-Zero freezes and crushes his opponent, Shang Tsung says "Flawless Victory". This phrase appears in the game when someone wins a round of combat without being harmed.
  • In the Original Version you can hear Ed Boon's voice when Scorpion calls out "Come here". Ed Boon also gives the voice in the game Scorpion.
  • As Reptile transforms into his humanoid form, a voice can be heard in the background calling "Reptile". In the English version this is the voice of Shao Khan from the second Mortal Kombat game.
  • Some elements of the film were carried over into the later canons of the game series. So was z. B. after the death of the British actor Trevor Goddard, whose character Kano embodied in the film was both visually adapted to this and his nationality changed to that of Goddard. Furthermore, like in the film, Raiden became the protector of the earthly kingdom.
  • The soundtrack to the film with the Mortal Kombat theme by Techno Syndrome - with the sound sample from the advertising for the games - was released about a year earlier and was held in the typical dance of the 90s. Each fighter has a song, one for Goro and two variants of the song for all fighters, one of which was used in the film. The audio CD was not produced for the film, but as merchandise for the game.
  • The plot of the film has significant similarities to Bruce Lee movie Enter the Dragon (Enter The Dragon) up from the 1973rd


  • George S. Clinton won the BMI Film Music Award in 1996 .
  • Joanie Diener, responsible for the music editing, was nominated for the Golden Reel Award .


In 1997, Mortal Kombat 2 - Annihilation by John R. Leonetti was released . The film failed to match the success of the first installment and grossed $ 51.3 million at the box office.

The cartoon Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins appeared in 1995, followed by the series Mortal Kombat - Defenders of the Realm (1995) and Mortal Kombat: Conquest (1998-1999).

With Mortal Kombat Rebirth , director Kevin Tancharoen created a short film over 7 minutes in 2010, which is intended as an example for Warner Brothers (who carry the rights to a possible further Mortal Kombat film adaptation) in order to demonstrate his interpretation of the topic.

In 2011, the web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy was produced, in which actors like Michael Jai White and Jeri Ryan can be seen.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Mortal Kombat. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed February 15, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  2. Box Office Mojo - Mortal Kombat
  4. Box Office Mojo - Mortal Kombat: Annihilation