The newest Mortal Kombat film was released on HBO Max and in theaters last Friday (April 23rd,) marking the ultraviolent video game series’ first silver screen premiere in 24 years. To summarize, its plot is about Shang Tsung’s servant Sub-Zero hunting down Cole Young, who is a direct descendant of Hanzo Hasashi – aka Scorpion. Cole needs to team up with other chosen fighters to defend Earth from eternal enslavement. Regardless of the adaptation’s questionable quality, this is one thing the film got right for the fans: a full list of characters’ moves and “Fatalities.” Let’s dive into this fan service and check out each characters’ special move(s) from the Mortal Kombat HBO Max film.
Major spoilers below
Although the Fatality is inarguably the most notable element of the Mortal Kombat’s visceral combat, the special moves also assist in filling out each character’s individuality and fighting style. You can finish any Mortal Kombat game without performing a single Fatality, but you most likely can’t do it without the special moves. One may have never heard precisely of the Mortal Kombat lore or its gruesome fatalities, but I bet one knows that Subzero freezes people and Scorpion has the Rope Spear.
Scorpion (Hanzo Hasashi)
Speaking of which, whenever Scorpion is on the screen, we will most likely see his classic Rope Spear spinning around, cutting people and puncturing hearts and heads. Scorpion’s most iconic special move is basically one of the film’s most important symbols!
This yellow ninja fights only with his spear, sword, and his bare hands throughout the entire film, but at the end, he also casts Hell Flame to get rid of Subzero’s immobilizing ice.
The name is intentionally inside quotation marks because we can’t know for sure if the creature in the movie is Reptile or not. It seems like we are re-living the 1995 movie once again, where Reptile was not exactly… him. Anyway, the lizard creature (or Reptile, your call) uses Acid Spit to melt Sonya’s trailer roof and get inside, and then he becomes invisible with his most famous special move called Invisibility (believe me!). As you can see, if that is not Reptile himself, the character is surely based on our beloved green ninja.
The once upon a time Mortal Kombat’s protagonist was cast aside as just a guy in the group. However, if you are a Liu Kang fan you can relax and enjoy his Fireballs – you will have plenty of it. Liu Kang shoots fireballs on almost every fight he joins throughout the movie!
At the very end, during his last fight against Kabal, he varies his strategy a little by successfully knocking down the baddie with a Bicycle Kick.
Kano is the comic relief guy and also one of the main villains. He does his job pretty well though with funny lines, a bad-boy attitude, and a lot of charisma. In regards to his special moves, however, we can’t say there is much to celebrate because he barely uses any. The Headbutt is there, and although this move is not exactly a special one, it is like a character trademark. Kano is always headbutting everyone throughout the video game series including during some of his combos and brutalities.
Later in the movie, the humorous villain also uses his Laser Eye and even though we know his laser eye to be a fatality, he does not manage to kill anyone with it on the silver screen, so I prefer to list it as a special move only.
I know most of the fans were disappointed by Raiden’s role in this film and I get it (and I agree with it.) However, we can’t deny his Teleport is there, with all the lighting and style a Thunder God deserves. Sadly, that is everything he does during the entire film. I wished we could see him using Lightning Bolts and, especially, his Electric Fly. Watching a scene with Raiden flying with lightings around his body made with modern CGI would be awesome! Well, it is kind of noteworthy that he manages to cast something different for a change. He uses a type of mass teleportation to help his champions flee a certainly deadly fight.
Bi-Han, also known as Sub-Zero, is the main villain in this film, and his special moves state it pretty well on the silver screen. He is the best-developed character here, in terms of backstory, personality traits, fighting style and special moves.
First, he freezes Jax’s arms on a similar move he executed before while fighting the Batman on the 2008’s Mortal Kombat vs DC videogame. Second, he casts his classic Ice Ball against Liu Kang right after he breaks into Raiden’s temple, and against Cole later on a similar invasion. Finally, on the last (and stunning) fight against Scorpion and Cole, he uses Ground Freeze, Frost Barrier, Ice Statue and Death-Cycle Barrage. If you are a super Sub-Zero fan, this film may just be everything you wished for.
Even though Scorpion and Cole are the main protagonists in terms of the film’s narrative, Kung Lao is our guy when it comes to beat the villains’ asses off – well, at least until he dies.
He makes his entrance with style using his Teleport right after managing a Hat Toss special move to save Liu Kang from Subzero during the ninja’s first attempt to invade Raiden’s temple; then he uses Hat Toss again while training with Cole and, finally, one last time when fighting Nitara, a strange gargantuan creature who debuted on Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance game.
The most forgettable character in this film has nothing other than his hammer, the same weapon we kind of got used to in Mortal Kombat Armaggedon game. Nothing much to say here, he barely speaks a word, his moves are clumsy, and he dies before we can get the chance to know him.
Kabal also appears in the movie out of nowhere (as you can see, story and character development are not the movie’s strong points.) He has a few more lines than Reiko and he is responsible for turning Kano against the good guys.
However, when talking about special moves, he only uses one: his well-known Nomad Dash, where he just runs around stunning his opponents with incredible speed. Kabal does that a lot when fighting Liu Kang, trying to beat the former protagonist with his speed.
Teleport Kick is her absolute favorite here, although we don’t see the actual kick because she keeps jumping around with her teleport and never takes proper advantage of the situation. Right before she dies though, Mileena also tries a Leaping Neck Bite against Cole, but he manages to block her long enough for Sonya to blow a hole in her torso.
Speaking of which, Sonya manages to kill Mileena using her classic Energy Rings. I know, I know! It is just a special move in the games, but in this movie, she ends up instantly killing Mileena by blasting a huge hole in her torso with her special move.
I admit I missed her Leg Grab, especially because this is the special move she uses to kill Kano by breaking his neck on the first Mortal Kombat movie, from 1995.
None that I could catch.
However, he performs one of the most gruesome scenes with his Head Clap Fatality against Reiko. Jax appears early in the movie trying to recruit Cole to his quest to discover more about the legendary Mortal Kombat tournament.
Later, however, the character is forgotten by the screenplay and the direction, becoming nothing more than a pawn on other people’s plans. I wish we could see Jax’s Ground Pound and his Heat Missiles destroying everything around him, and, of course, more protagonism.
Some list, right?
Did you catch any special moves that I miss? Let me know by leaving a reply below in the comments section.
Mortal Kombat (2021) is available via HBO Max streaming and in selected theaters around the globe.