Mortal Kombat Annihilation: 38 Easter Eggs And References In This Amazingly Bad Movie
It's been almost 25 years since Mortal Kombat: Annihilation arrived in theaters, all but flat out murdering the potential film franchise with a movie that makes very little sense, is filled with bad visual effects, turns the video game's mythology into gibberish, and looks like it was made as quickly and cheaply as possible. And yet, still, it's a ridiculously fun movie to watch (and mock).
After looking back on the first Mortal Kombat movie, we couldn't help but take a look at the sequel one more time and see what we could pick out. From the onslaught of recastings to the long list of characters from the game that show up for roughly one scene and are then never heard from again, there's so much about this movie we should talk about and giggle over.
So come along as we head back to 1997 and test our might by finding all the best Easter eggs, references, and little fun facts you probably missed when you watched Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. At the very least, it should help you pass some time until the live-action movie reboot arrives.
1. The song is back
How else could you start a sequel to the Mortal Kombat movie than with the iconic techno theme song from the original? Test your might!
No, the world fatality isn't uttered during this movie, even though Shang Tsung said it in the first. However, the movie's subtitle, Annihilation, is displayed in a similar manner to how fatality is in the games. Is that intentional? Who knows?
3. Previously on Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation was released a mere two years after the original. Still, the film opens up by recapping the events of the first one. The only reason this makes sense is if you focus on how ridiculous Annihilation was and how far it strays from the first movie. Without that recap, you might assume this is a poorly made reboot.
What's more, the recap is very careful to include no footage of Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage. Why, you ask? Well...
4. Something's different about them
Oh look, entirely different people are playing Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. In the first movie, Linden Ashby played Cage, while Bridgette Wilson starred as Blade. In the sequel, however, Sandra Hess plays Sonya, while Chris Conrad appears as Johnny. Don't get used to new Johnny, though. He's quickly killed off.
5. Even you, Raiden?
That's not the only recasting. Christopher Lambert didn't return for the second movie to reprise his role as Raiden. Instead, James Remar (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) takes over the part.
6. Meet the new kids
Annihilation managed to somehow pack in far more game characters than the first movie, and it starts right from the beginning when we are introduced to Shao Khan's henchmen. The two monstrous-looking ones, Sheeva and Motaro, were first introduced in the game Mortal Kombat 3. The ninjas, Rain and Ermac, first appeared in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.
Of the four, Rain is the first to die. He's killed by Kahn after failing to kill Kabal and Stryker--two more characters from the games. They're only mentioned, though. Neither character is seen.
7. And their leader
Shao Kahn was first introduced in Mortal Kombat II and briefly appeared at the end of the original movie. He was credited as the Emperor and voiced by Frank Welker, the iconic voice actor behind Megatron in Transformers. In the second movie, he's played by Brian Thompson, whose first movie role was as a street punk in The Terminator.
8. Cool, more badly-costumed villains
The costumes in this movie range from just fine to terrible. Queen Sindel's is one of the terrible ones. This character, who is technically the resurrected corpse of Kitana's mother, first popped up in Mortal Kombat 3.
9. Shadow Charge
One of the very first things we see Shao Khan do in the film is one of his moves from the Mortal Kombat II game--the Shadow Charge. It's essentially a super-powered shoulder tackle.
10. He's not the only one with special moves
Annihilation is stuffed to the gills with signature moves from the games, whether it's Johnny Cage's kick, Sonya Blade's kiss of death, or any number of fireballs thrown.
11. Traveling by hamster ball
This isn't a nod to the games, it's just bizarre. The quickest way to travel is by using a superpowered hamster ball that travels through the earth's core.
12. Shao Khan's daddy issues
Early on we're introduced to the man behind Shao Khan, pulling the strings. It's his father Shinnok. His first game appearance was in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero. The idea that he is the father of Shao Kahn and Raiden was created for the film.
In the film, Smoke appears in his robotic form from Mortal Kombat 3. He first appeared as a hidden character in Mortal Kombat II with a look similar to Scorpion and Sub-Zero.
14. He's back, kind of
Speaking of Sub-Zero, he's back! Not really, though, as Sub-Zero was killed by Liu Kang in the first film. Instead, this is Sub-Zero's younger brother who has taken on his mantle. The original Sub-Zero unmaked in Mortal Kombat 3, revealing a scar over his eye similar to the one seen in the movie.
15. Where you've seen him before
While this is the first time this version of Sub-Zero is seen in the movies, the actor isn't new to the franchise. He played Reptile in the original Mortal Kombat movie.
16. Get over here
Of Course, Scorpion's here. And of course, he's uttering his iconic phrase. Unlike in the first MK movie, though, both Scorpion and Sub-Zero make only brief appearances in this film.
Jax, on the other hand, is a major character in Annihilation. It's certainly an upgrade from the first movie, in which he briefly appears--played by another actor--assisting Sonya Blade in a raid on Kano's club.
18. Another actor was originally cast as Jax--in both movies
While two different actors played Kano in these movies, neither was the first choice. Instead, it was actor Michael Jai White that was signed on to play the character in each movie, before he dropped out for other projects.
There is a happy ending for this story, though, as White ultimately played Jax in the Mortal Kombat: Rebirth short film and Mortal Kombat: Legacy web series.
Unlike Smoke, Cyrax is first introduced with his robotic form. The character was first ceen in Mortal Kombat 3 as one of a trio of cybernetic ninjas. The third is Sektor, who does not appear in the movie.
Nightwolf is another Mortal Kombat 3 character that makes a small appearance in the film. He taught Liu Kang how to access his animality power, which we'll talk about later.
Jade first appeared as an unplayable character in Mortal Kombat II. Interestingly, in her backstory, she was a childhood friend of Kitana.
Like Kitana, Mileena first appeared in Mortal Kombat II. It's revealed in the games that she's actually a clone of Kitana, though Annihilation doesn't make that connection. Instead, since she appears so briefly, Sonya merely mistakes her for Kitana before they fight.
23. This is mortal
Raiden sacrifices his immortality to help save his warriors. How does the movie show that? By giving him a haircut, of course.
24. A Saurian gang
A trio of Reptile-like ninjas appear in the Outworld to attack Liu Kang and his friends. Their species is known as the Saurian and they appear throughout Mortal Kombat lore. In the movie they are credited as Raptors.
25. The amazing disappearing ninja
While a trio of Saurians are shown at first, when it comes time for Raiden to fight them, one has disappeared. Where did the third go? We'll never know.
Yes, the Baraka mask worn in these scenes looks silly, gross, and not as intimidating as the character in the game. Still, it's exciting that this character is in the movie at all. Baraka first appeared in Mortal Kombat II and there are several of the creature shown in the film.
27. Another Liu Kang
In Liu Kang's fight with Baraka, Robin Shou was barely present due to a tight filming schedule. Instead, it was his double Tony Jaa doing the battling.
28. Give Baraka a hand
When Baraka is sent to his death in the same fiery pit Rain was thrown into earlier in the movie, a hand can be seen coming up to help cushion his fall. They didn't even bother trying to digitally remove it. And if you look close enough, it's not even Baraka falling in. This is an alternate angle of Rain being tossed into the fire.
29. Sheeva was supposed to have a bigger role
In the first movie, Goro was a major antagonist and the right-hand man of Shang Tsung. In the sequel, though, Sheeva--a similar creature to Goro, but female--has almost no screentime and a very minor role. That wasn't always the case, though.
Marjean Holden, who played the character in the film, said in an interview that originally Sheeva had more to do--including fight scenes. "Here was a character, that was one of the most popular in the video game--at least that's what I was told--and they killed her without even so much as a fight! Something I was not happy about at all," she explained. "That was one of the reasons I wanted to do the roll, was for the sheer fact that there were really great fights in the movie for this character, and they all got cut out."
30. American Gladiators battling to the death
Surprisingly, two of the stars of this movie were formerly on American Gladiators. Deron McBee, who played Motaro, appeared on the show as the gladiator Malibu. Lynn Williams, who starred as Jax, was a Gladiator named Sabre. Their time on the show didn't overlap.
31. Finish him
While we don't get anybody yelling "Fatality" in this movie, Shinnok does utter the iconic phrase, "Finish him." He says it to his son Shao Kahn, instructing him to kill his other son Raiden.
32. Jax reverts to his old self
At the beginning of Annihilation, we're introduced to Jax after he's had cybernetic enhancements added to his arms to make him stronger. By the end of the film, though, he recognizes the strength he already possesses and removes his robot arms cases. That leaves him in the state in which he's first introduced in Mortal Kombat II.
33. An animality attempt
After learning how to harness his animality power, Liu Kang transforms into a massive dragon in the final fight of Annihilation, much like he does in Mortal Kombat II.
34. Mortal Kombat 4 was almost part of the plot
There were reportedly scenes shot for the film that worked in the mythology of Mortal Kombat 4. However, they were ultimately dropped.
35. A different title overseas
While Americans know the film as Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, that's not its only name. In France, the film was billed as Mortal Kombat: Destruction Finale, while in Italy it was called Mortal Kombat: Distruzione Totale.
36. This movie had a surprising impact on the Resident Evil franchise
How is Mortal Kombat: Annihilation responsible for the Resident Evil movie franchise? Paul WS Anderson, who directed the first Mortal Kombat film, has gone on the record as saying he regrets choosing to make the cosmic horror film Event Horizon over MK Annihilation in 1997. That regret caused him to stick with the Resident Evil film series as writer on all six movies and director of four of them.
"It's one of the reasons why on a go-forward basis, when I became involved with Resident Evil, I felt if I'm going to do another one of these adaptations, this time I'm going to stay with it. I'm going to really stay with the franchise and shepherd it," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "Ironically, me not doing Mortal Kombat II is kind of the reason I've ended up doing Resident Evil one, two, three, four, five, six..."
37. The actor behind Darth Maul made his debut in this movie
Darth Maul in a Mortal Kombat movie? Sort of. Ray Park, who played the iconic Sith Lord in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, made his first on-screen appearance in Annihilation. What's more, he played two roles. He appeared as one of the Saurians, as well as one of the Barakas.
38. Noob Saibot
When Ermac splots in two during his fight with Sonya Blade, one half becomes Noob Saibot, who was introduced as a hidden character in the first Mortal Kombat game. The character, itself, is a bit of an Easter egg as the name Noob Saibot is simple the creator's names--Ed Boon and John Tobias--spelled backward.
Disclosure: ViacomCBS is GameSpot's parent company