MORTAL KOMBAT! Admit it, the song is stuck in your head now. Retro techno beats aside, many moviegoers claim that the first Mortal Kombat film is one of the best video game adaptations ever made. Yes, it was hokey. Yes, it was ridiculously over the top. Yes, it was PG-13. But Mortal Kombat had some awesome action scenes and a cast of memorable characters that you couldn’t help but love. It wasn’t good per se, but it wasn’t exactly bad either. It was one of those films that would give you an awesome moment and then turn around and make you cringe until it hurt. Then there was Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; unlike its decent predecessor, this one was all cringe. Who can forget memorable lines like “Too bad you…..will die!” or the Hellspawn Scorpion shouting “Suckers!” *Shudder*
As we stated before, the cast is a big part of what makes these films so memorable. The characters felt like their video game counterparts come to life while also showing great chemistry and finding the perfect balance between serious and hammy. The idea of another MK film has been kicked around recently, which got us to thinking; who could play the characters in a modern-day adaptation of the video game franchise? In order to make this list, the character must have appeared in either Mortal Kombat or Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and played at least a minor role; we understand that there are numerous characters from the games that we are excluding, but we only have so much space! Without further ado, here is our answer to the question- What if Mortal Kombat was cast today?
16. Reptile- Toby Kebbell
Kicking off this list is everyone’s favorite cold-blooded killer, Reptile. Sometimes the green-clad ninja is depicted as just a regular guy who can spit acid, while in some games he is an actual reptile/human hybrid. Either way, this type of character requires someone who can pull off an extremely physical type of acting.
Toby Kebbell has proved that he can act without his voice. In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes he portrayed the vile Koba, an ape that tries to kill Caesar and starts a war with the humans. In the movie, Kebbell barely utters a word; instead, his facial expressions and body language say everything that needs to be said. If you don’t believe us, watch the scene again where Koba plays dumb when confronted by the humans in the alley. It’s seriously brilliant. If that wasn’t enough, Toby Kebbell also portrayed Durotan in the recent Warcraft movie. The actor definitely has the chops to pull off a believable Reptile.
15. Nightwolf- Rudy Youngblood
Nightwolf, an Apache warrior and shaman, uses his spiritual powers to fight for earth in the Mortal Kombat tournament. In his one and only film appearance he literally takes on the form of a wolf to fight against his enemies. On top of this, Nightwolf’s power as a shaman allows him to create weapons out of pure spirit energy; the character uses axes and bows and arrows made up of this energy to strike down all that oppose him.
Nightwolf is stoic, spiritual, and a hardened warrior. Rudy Youngblood, best known for his role as Jaguar Paw in Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, is the perfect choice for such a heavy role. For starters, Youngblood is actually Native American (we’re looking at you, Johnny Depp), which goes a long way in establishing the character’s legitimacy. The young man has proven himself as an actor; despite being snubbed by the Academy Awards, Youngblood put on a legendary performance in Apocalypto that would translate perfectly into Nightwolf.
14. Jax- Michael Jai White
The fan service is strong with this one, but it’s for a good reason! Michael Jai White (not to be confused with the Steve Urkel actor) has a long illustrious career as an actor and as a martial artist. Hell, he keeps himself in such great physical condition that he probably wouldn’t even have to work out for the role! Jax was the partner/boss of Sonya Blade in her military unit. He is the head of Earthrealm’s Outer World Investigation Agency, an organization that deals with threats from non-earthly entities. From Mortal Kombat III on he used a pair of bionic upgrades on his arms to lay the smack down on other fighters.
White has been a force to be reckoned with in Spawn and The Dark Knight. Most importantly, he’s already played the part! In the short-lived web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy, Michael Jai White donned the role with the metal arms and purple pants. The fact that he’s already been chosen once just further proves that he is perfect for the role. Just the thought of Spawn beating people to a pulp with giant metal arms is enough to make us giddy!
13. Sindel- Linda Hamilton
Sindel is one of the more powerful characters in Mortal Kombat in more ways than one. As the Queen of Edina she rules over her subjects with a compassion not often seen in the game’s lore. However, when the going gets tough, this character can throw down; harnessing the power of sound waves, Sindel can levitate and send supersonic attacks at anyone who stands in her way. She is also the mother of the princess Kitana.
This is an entry on this list that just seems like it’d be a match made in heaven. Kind and compassionate but also a badass warrior? Sounds like Linda Hamilton to us! The actress has already shown this kind of range in her role as Sarah Connor in the Terminator series. Hamilton also has a strong physical resemblance to the Edinian Queen, and is within the right age range to play the mother of Kitana (who we will mention later in this article). Even though she’s been out of acting for a while, we highly doubt Hamilton would be anywhere near as bad as what we got in Annihilation.
12. Goro- Vin Diesel
Everybody loves Goro. The four armed behemoth was the second-to-last boss in the original Mortal Kombat game and has been a fan favorite ever since. When the latest game in the series announced that the character was only available as an additional DLC purchase, fans were livid; that’s how much of a staple Goro is to this franchise. One of Outworld’s most ferocious warriors, his record as the champion of the Moral Kombat tournament lasted for over 500 years before he was displaced during the story of the first game.
Big, brutish guy with four arms and a deep voice? Vin Diesel it is! The Fast and the Furious star has one of the coolest voices in the industry as well as the physical stature needed to pull off Goro. Even if the character was completely CGI, Diesel is more than familiar with the motion capture and voice acting process. Not to mention, he’s one of the self-proclaimed biggest nerds in the acting world and would surely jump at the opportunity to play such a beloved character.
11. Jade- Elodie Yung
Jade, much like Sindel and Kitana, is a warrior from the realm of Edina. Unlike her childhood friend Kitana, Jade was completely loyal to the vile Emperor Shao Kahn. When Kitana and Sindel turned on Kahn, he hired Jade to hunt them down. In the end, the warrior chose friendship over political loyalty; she refused to kill her old friend and joined in the princess’s efforts to free her kingdom from the emperor.
Elodie Yung seems like the only choice for Jade. As Elektra in Marvel’s Daredevil, she basically already played the character. The Edinian is described as being sassy, sarcastic, and cocky with a strong drive for revenge. Yung was able to believably portray all this and more in her breakout role on the Netflix TV show. Likewise, Jade’s fighting style is much like Elektra’s in nature; she uses razor-sharp boomerangs and a mystical bow-staff in her ninjitsu-like fighting style. Perhaps it may be typecasting, but Yung and Jade seem to be cut from the same cloth.
10. Kano- Rory McCann
The leader of the Black Dragon Clan, Kano, has been around since the beginning. As a playable character in the first Mortal Kombat, he showed us just how ruthless he could be when he ripped the still-beating heart out of his enemy. In the original movie, he played the role of antagonist to Sonya Blade, the military agent tasked with taking down the Black Dragon Clan; they fight each other in the great tournament, which only ends when Blade snaps his neck. Kano is generally shown as cocky and sarcastic with a gleeful love of violence.
Rory McCann, the actor who portrays Sandor Clegane (The Hound) in the hit show Game of Thrones, would make an excellent Kano. He already looks the part- he’s large, buff, scruffy, and has many of the defining physical features of the character. Despite being one of the more brutal characters of Thrones, McCann plays The Hound as a sympathetic badass who is a product of the violent world he lives in. How awesome would it be to see McCann play someone who is just straight up evil? Also, there are no words to describe how cool the actor would look with Kano’s signature red eye.
9. Kitana- Jaimie Alexander
Daughter of Sindel and princess of Edenia, Kitana is one of the most important characters in the Mortal Kombat lore. She is a deadly warrior with her dual fan blades and knowledge of military tactics. Although she started out on the side of evil, Kitana eventually turned against and led numerous campaigns against her stepfather, Shao Kahn, in an effort to free her home realm. She is often portrayed as the beautiful but deadly love interest of series protagonist Liu Kang.
Jaimie Alexander has shown that she can hang with the tough guys of the industry with her roles in the Thor series and hit TV show Blindspot. As Lady Sif the actress fought alongside the God of Thunder as one of the “Warriors Three,” going blow for blow with Frost Giants and Rock Warriors in their many adventures. In Blindspot she gets her hands on the the political action angle that is required for a character such as Kitana.
8. Shao Kahn- Idris Elba
Shao Kahn is the main villain of the entire Mortal Kombat story. As the Emperor of Outworld he leads his massive armies throughout the different realms, conquering each as he goes. Kahn is also a powerful user of black magic, which he powers by stealing the souls of those he defeats. On numerous occasions he tried to conquer Earthrealm and been thwarted by the earth-based characters. He made a cameo in the original Mortal Kombat and served as the main villain of its sequel.
What isn’t Idris Elba in these days? The actor is definitely a hot commodity right now, and for good reason. Elba definitely has range, his roles have spanned stone cold detectives to protector of the realms to insidious tigers. No matter what the role, Idris Elba is often praised for his commanding and sometimes downright terrifying presence. The thought of Elba as Shao Kahn makes our blood curdle in fear. And that voice! Hearing Idris Elba’s voice coming from behind Kahn’s skull-like mask would be something to behold. Besides, the actor is no stranger to playing evil characters named Khan!
7. Sub Zero- Iko Uwais
Whenever people think of Mortal Kombat, chances are Sub-Zero is the first character they think of. Although the mantle has been held by two different characters, the gist was still the same- Sub-Zero is descended from an ancient race of Cryomancers (a race that could harness the power of ice) and a member of the Lin Kuei ninja clan. The original Sub-Zero was killed by Scorpion in the first tournament. His younger brother then took up the name and swore revenge on the hellspawn.
Iko Uwais needs a big break in American cinema, and this could be it. Yeah he had a very small role in Star Wars Episode VII and many cinemafiles know his name from the incredible The Raid: Redemption and its sequel, but the actor is still a relative unknown to the general public. No way would this be the case if he played one of the greatest video game characters of all time! Let’s also not forget about how brilliant of a martial artist Uwais is; The Raid is considered to have some of the coolest action scenes of all time, many of which involve the actor himself. He would need every one of these skills, especially since his main opponent would be…
6. Scorpion- Ray Park
Just to set the record straight, we know that Ray Park already had a small role in Mortal Kombat: Legacy and Mortal Kombat X: Generations as the gun-slinging Erron Black. But that was a bit part. We here at Screen Rant feel that Park deserves to be promoted to the role of everyone’s favorite yellow ninja, Scorpion. As a human Scorpion was part of the Shirai Ryu clan of assassins. When his entire clan was wiped out, he was resurrected as a sort of demon, complete with a flaming skull where his head should be and immeasurable demonic powers. Of course, everyone knows his iconic weapon- a long chain with a spear tip on its end that he uses to snare his enemies and bring them in closer for the kill.
Park is one of the greatest physical actors out there. He’s played Toad in X-Men, Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode I, and Snake Eyes in both G.I. Joe films. It would be incredible to see the kind of off-the-wall stunts Ray Park could do with Scorpion’s famous spear. He may not be the best actor as far as dialogue is concerned, but he doesn’t need to be! Scorpion doesn’t say much aside from the occasional “GET OVER HERE!”
5. Raiden- Patrick Wilson
The God of Thunder from the original Mortal Kombat movie was a character that was so hokey and over the top that he was amazing. We seriously were tempted to leave this one as Christopher Lambert, as his portrayal will always hold a special place in our heart. Raiden, a literal God and the protector of Earthrealm, uses his powers to fly, teleport, and conjure bursts of electricity. Unlike most characters in the game Raiden sees things from an eternal perspective, sometimes going against what the other heroes want because he can see that it’s for the greater good.
Enter Patrick Wilson. First off, the actor has the look down to a tee. Seriously, compare the two images and tell us it’s not a perfect fit! Wilson has more than proven himself as a summer blockbuster actor with his roles in Watchmen, The Conjuring films, and Insidious. He’s also shown that he can pull of drama through the likes of the TV series Fargo. Wilson is a great choice for the brooding and powerful yet caring Raiden (although Christopher Lambert is still #1 in our book!).
4. Shang Tsung- Ken Watanabe
Shang Tsung was the primary antagonist in both the first Mortal Kombat film and the first Mortal Kombat game. Throughout his life, the sorcerer has traveled from realm to realm, feeding off the souls of the innocent in order to keep himself alive. Although he takes the form of a human Shang Tsung is actually a shapeshifter who can transform into any creature in the universe. The villain formed an alliance with Emperor Shao Kahn, and is one of the more sophisticated and intelligent bad guys in the franchise.
Sophisticated and intelligent evil? Say no more- Ken Watanabe is your guy! Watanabe has done it all; he’s been in Superhero flicks, best picture nominees, movies about giant monsters fighting each other, and mindless big budget action flicks. He looks the part of Shang Tsung, and also has the gravitas and demeanor to make the character a truly terrifying threat to the heroes.
3. Sonya Blade- Emily Blunt
A general in the United States military, Sonya Blade commands a faction of the before-mentioned Outer Rim Investigation Agency. General Blade is a master of hand-to-hand combat and an expert in military technology. After a skirmish in which her partner was killed, she swore to take down Kano and the Black Dragons by any means necessary. Sonya is a professional partner of Jax and is sometimes portrayed as the love interest of Johnny Cage. When the tournament was set to be held, she was hand-picked by Raiden to help defend Earthrealm.
Emily Blunt is the only choice for Sonya Blade. She looks the part, sounds the part, and can definitely kick ass like the part. Although she got her big break in the comedy The Devil Wears Prada, Blunt has more than established herself as the go-to action actress with films like Sicario and Edge of Tomorrow. In both the aforementioned films she plays a hardened Special Forces operative sent on a next to impossible mission. What else could you ask for from an actress set to play Sonya?
2. Johnny Cage- Ryan Reynolds
The washed-up TV action star known as Johnny Cage entered the Mortal Kombat tournament as a way to prove to the world that he was a real action hero. Portrayed as somewhat of a selfish jerk, Johnny only did what he felt suited his needs best with little regard for his actions. However, over time he came around and joined the rest of the heroes in order to defend his home. Johnny Cage is cocky, sarcastic, narcissistic, handsome, and self-absorbed.
Did someone say Ryan Reynolds? We’re kidding! Although Reynolds is one of the sweetest people around, we must admit that he plays the role of a cocky d-bag quite well. Seriously, look no further than Deadpool or Van Wilder for examples of how the actor would look as Johnny Cage. He may play that kind of role well, but Reynolds is far from a one-trick pony; he has given us some truly memorable dramatic roles in films like Buried and Safe House. Say what you will about the actor, but there’s little argument that he wouldn’t make an incredible Johnny.
1. Liu Kang- Jon Foo
Here we go, folks, the hero of the first four Mortal Kombat games and both movies. Liu Kang is the protagonist for good reason; he is the one who finally unseated Goro and his 500-year record for the title of Mortal Kombat champion. He is easily one of Earthrealm’s greatest fighters, with the power to shoot fireballs out of his hands and the ability to turn into a giant dragon on top of his perfectly-honed martial arts skills.
So why, you may ask, are we choosing a relative unknown for this role? Jon Foo is a highly-acclaimed martial artist who has some history with the fighting game genre. He played Jin Kazama in the live action Tekken film, and he had a role as Ryu in Street Fighter: Legacy. Foo is currently staring in CBS’s television adaptation of Rush Hour as Lee. Anyone who has seen any of these projects can vouch for Foo’s incredible skills as a martial artist. Now picture him going one on one against Ray Park or Iko Uwais. It would be a fight for the ages!
So, what do you think of this cast? Would you watch this version of Mortal Kombat? Who would you replace? Let us know in the comments!