Mortal Kombat is a 2021 American martial arts fantasy film based on the video game franchise of the same name and a reboot of the Mortal Kombat film series. The film stars Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, Chin Han, Joe Taslim, and Hiroyuki Sanada. It is directed by Simon McQuoid (in his feature directorial debut), from a screenplay by Greg Russo and Dave Callaham and a story by Russo and Oren Uziel.
In 17th-century Japan, Lin Kuei assassins led by Bi-Han kill the warriors of the rival Shirai Ryu ninja clan led by Hanzo Hasashi, including Hanzo’s wife and son. Hanzo kills the attackers before being killed by Bi-Han, resulting in his soul being condemned to the Netherrealm. Raiden, god of thunder, arrives and takes Hanzo’s surviving infant daughter to safety.
In the present, the realm of Outworld has defeated Earthrealm in nine of ten tournaments known as “Mortal Kombat”; if Earthrealm loses the tenth tournament, the rules state it will be conquered by Outworld. However, an ancient prophecy states that the “blood of Hanzo Hasashi” will unite a new generation of Earthrealm’s champions to prevent Outworld’s victory. Aware of this, soul-eating sorcerer Shang Tsung, who has overseen the last nine victories, sends his warriors to kill Earthrealm’s champions, identified by a dragon mark, before the next tournament begins. One such champion, a former professional MMA fighter named Cole Young, is attacked alongside his family by Bi-Han, who now calls himself Sub-Zero. However, Special Forces Major Jackson “Jax” Briggs rescues the Youngs, directing them to find his partner, Sonya Blade. Jax stays to battle Sub-Zero but loses his arms in the process.
Cole tracks Sonya to her hideout, where she is interrogating a captive Australian mercenary named Kano. She reveals that she and Jax have been investigating Mortal Kombat’s existence and that the dragon mark can be transferred to anyone who kills the original bearer. They are attacked by Shang Tsung’s assassin, Reptile, but Kano kills him with Cole and Sonya’s help. They travel to Raiden’s temple and meet current Earthrealm champions Liu Kang and Kung Lao before being brought to Raiden, who is critical of the newcomers. They are joined by Jax, who Raiden rescued and fitted with a set of mechanical arms. Shang Tsung attempts to attack the temple, but is stopped when Raiden erects a shield. While Sonya trains and encourages Jax, Cole and Kano train with Kang and Lao to unlock their “arcana”, a special power unique to all dragon mark bearers.
During an argument, Kano awakens his arcana, the ability to shoot a laser out of his right eye. Cole is unable to awaken his despite his persistence. Disappointed with Cole, Raiden send him back to his family, revealing that he is a descendant of Hasashi. Shang Tsung gathers his warriors, including Kano’s former ally Kabal, to attack the temple. Kabal convinces Kano to defect and sabotage the shield. During the fray, Jax awakens his arcana, granting him strength and upgraded arms. Concurrently, the Youngs are attacked by Goro. Cole rouses his arcana, giving him a suit of armor and a set of tonfas. He kills Goro and helps repel the attack on the temple. Shang Tsung and Sub-Zero are infuriated when Raiden discloses Cole’s bloodline before he teleports most of the Earthrealm fighters to the Void, a safe space between realms. Lao, however, sacrifices himself defending Cole.
Cole proposes a plan to force Outworld’s champions into single combat with Earthrealm’s champions before neutralizing Sub-Zero together, forcing the tournament Shang Tsung tried to prevent. Raiden agrees, giving Cole Hanzo’s kunai before transporting him and his allies to their targets. The Outworlders are defeated and Sonya kills Kano, acquiring his dragon mark and her own arcana, the ability to fire purple energy blasts. Sub-Zero abducts Cole’s family to lure him into a one-on-one fight. Initially overpowered, Cole’s blood touches the kunai, releasing Hanzo as the vengeful specter Scorpion. Recognizing Cole as his descendant, Scorpion helps him overpower Sub-Zero and free his family before immolating Sub-Zero with hellfire. Thanking Cole for freeing him and requesting that he look after the Hasashi bloodline, Scorpion departs as Raiden, the other champions, and Shang Tsung arrive.
Shang Tsung vows revenge as he sends his champions’ corpses back to Outworld before Raiden banishes him. Raiden declares his intention to train new warriors in preparation for the next tournament and assigns his current champions to recruit them. Cole departs for Los Angeles in search of Hollywood martial artist and movie star Johnny Cage.
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