Mortal Kombat: Ranking the Movie’s Fatalities

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The Mortal Kombat movie wouldn’t be a Mortal Kombat film without its Fatalities, and as soon as we knew the movie would be rated R, we knew there’d be no holding back on the extravagant finishing kills. The film didn’t disappoint in that regard either with the characters dishing out some serious punishment to one another throughout different stages of the movie’s climax. Some of the Fatalities we got to see were familiar while others weren’t but still managed to fit right into the Mortal Kombat formula.

Spoiler Warning: Spoilers About the End of Mortal Kombat Are in This Article

If you’re here reading this, we’ll assume that you’ve either watched Mortal Kombat already or don’t plan to and just want to see what the fates of the characters are and how people feel about those Fatalities. If you don’t fit into either of those categories, you can either familiarize yourself with all the Fatalities in the movie by reading through our rundown of them, but if you don’t want things spoiled, it’s probably best you come back later after seeing them for yourself.

For those who have seen the movie, you’ve likely got your own ranking of the Fatalities based on a number of factors. We’re looking at style, impact on the story, and the most Mortal Kombat-ish factor of all, how brutal the Fatality was. For the purposes of this ranking, we’re considering all major kills in Mortal Kombat a Fatality even if it wasn’t the result of someone’s signature move. Read up on our discussion about the importance of Fatalities in Mortal Kombat first to see why they’re such a big deal in this reboot and then check out our rankings of the best Mortal Kombat Fatalities below.

#9: Liu Kang vs. Kabal

Liu Kang
(Photo: Warner Bros. / New Line Cinema)

No disrespect to Liu Kang at all – he’s the original Mortal Kombat protagonist before Cole Young’s cinematic takeover, and he’s cemented in the Mortal Kombat movie as a key part of Earthrealm’s success. He’s leagues ahead of where the other fighters are, and his Fatality inflicted upon Kabal shows it.

However, his Fatality was pretty well broadcasted long before the movie released. Unless the trailers that showed his fire dragon move were just showing him demonstrating his powers – an unlikely outcome given his dedication to the martial arts and his restraint others lack – it was evident he was going to use the flaming beast to devour someone. That someone happened to be Kabal, and while the effects of the kill were impressive, the state it left Kabal in was somewhat anticlimactic.

#8: Sonya vs. Kano

kano laser mortal kombat movie
(Photo: Warner Bros. / New Line Cinema)

This is one of those kills which wasn’t technically a Fatality if you’re looking for the killing moves in their purest forms, but that’s not really Sonya Blade’s fault. She didn’t have her powers yet whenever she had her final showdown with Kano, so she had to make do with what she had nearby. In this case, that meant using a garden gnome which was referenced earlier in the movie.

Because of her lack of powers, it wasn’t the most cinematic of kills, but that didn’t make it any less brutal. The fight moved so quickly that the kill wasn’t really telegraphed either, at least not until Sonya was scrambling on the ground outside of her home to find something to use against Kano. The gnome going through Kano’s laser eye was a nice touch, but it’s still hard to compare that one to others.

#7: Scorpion vs. Sub-Zero

Mortal Kombat Scorpion
(Photo: Warner Bros. / New Line Cinema)

The Scorpion vs. Sub-Zero fight was in a spot comparable to what we saw from Liu Kang vs. Kabal. Scorpion was noticeably absent for most of the movie which meant that we hadn’t seen his fire powers hardly at all, and considering how we saw them in the trailers, every minute that ticked away made it all the more likely we’d see those used against Sub-Zero to finish a fight.

That’s exactly what happened with Scorpion unmasking himself at the end of his quest for revenge to unleash the flames of Hell on Sub-Zero. The effect was impactful, but again, was expected. Scorpion had some pretty cheesy lines before about rising from Hell and inflicting revenge on Sub-Zero which also didn’t do the kill any favors.

#6: Sonya vs. Mileena

mortal kombat Jessica McNamee sonya blade
(Photo: Warner Bros. / New Line Cinema)

If you count her brawl against Kano, Sonya was the only character to have not one but two Fatalities in the Mortal Kombat movie. While her bout with Kano was longer than others, a fitting choice because of their feud that’d been escalating throughout the entire movie, the final fight against Mileena was short and sweet.

Mileena actually fought Cole Young, not Sonya, for most of her final moments. She had Cole on the ropes once she finally decided to use her, but Sonya showed up just in time after besting Kano to help. She blasted Mileena right through the stomach which didn’t have much of a build-up and happened with surprising swiftness, but the angle in which the camera showed our heroes while looking through the hole in Mileena was exactly the kind of style we look for in Fatalities.

#5: Shang Tsung vs. Kung Lao

Mortal Kombat Shang Tsung
(Photo: Warner Bros. / New Line Cinema)

Can it be called a Fatality if there wasn’t really a fight? Shang Tsung, the Outworld leader who never got the memo about not interfering in worldly affairs, took out his rage on Kung Lao by using his signature soul-stealing move to drain the warrior of his lifeforce.

This kill was a curious one – it happened so quickly and nonchalantly that it seemed for sure as though someone would step in to stop Shang Tsung from finishing the Fatality. That made it even more surprising to see that nobody would actually intervene in time which allowed Shang Tsung to follow through with his move.

While the setup wasn’t exactly there, this was an absolute gut punch of a Fatality. It makes sense that at least one Earthrealm champion would die so that it’s not a complete sweep, and when you think about it, it makes even more sense to inflict that death on the most charismatic of the Earthrealm veterans. The realization that this had actually happened and that there’s no reversing it (at least in this movie) supplied the emotional payoff to bump this one up in the ranks.

#4: Cole Young vs. Goro

goro mortal kombat trailer
(Photo: Warner Bros. / New Line Cinema)

As a new character, Cole Young had his work cut out for him. On top of getting a crash course in the history of the Mortal Kombat tournament and training with the best, he also had to make sure his finishing move could stand up to the classics we’ve come to expect from the other characters.

That may not have been his exact thought process, and his move may not have a name just yet like all the others do, but it was certainly a spectacle and couldn’t have happened against a more fitting opponent. After slicing off one of Goro’s arms and then slashing him across the stomach to spill everything out in true Mortal Kombat fashion, he jammed his blade right through Goro’s eye. It’s a universal Fatality that could be inflicted on anyone from the Mortal Kombat roster, and it was an excellent choice for Cole’s first kill.

#3: Jax vs. Reiko

(Photo: Warner Bros. / New Line Cinema)

If Liu Kang’s kill was predictable from the previews of the movie which lowered its appeal, logic would follow that Jax’s entire Fatality sequence against Reiko being revealed right before the movie’s wide release would push it to the bottom of the Fatality rankings. However, I’d like to put forth the argument that clapping someone’s head into a smoothie with mechanical arms is a fantastic Fatality regardless which completely overrides most grievances one could bring against it.

Jax’s fight against Reiko didn’t have quite as much setup as the Sonya vs. Kano brawl, but it had enough to make you root for Jax the whole time. His fight was brief, but once it became clear he’d won, it became even clearer what was going to happen. Each punch built tension until Jax spread his arms wide and clapped Reiko’s head clean off with a noise that probably echoed around Outworld. Jax can say whatever cheesy line he wants after that kill – he earned it.

#2: Kano vs. Reptile

kano mortal kombat movie
(Photo: Warner Bros. / New Line Cinema)

Through humor and viciousness alone, Kano stole much of the spotlight throughout Mortal Kombat. It was fitting then that he’d get the very first Fatality of the movie whenever the ragtag group of Earthrealm was attacked by the Outworld assassin Reptile.

Considering how Reptile has his stealth powers and superstrength and the trio of Cole, Sonya, and Kano had no such powers at the time, it’s not surprising that it took the three of them to best Reptile. Kano even had to join the fight late since he was strapped to a chair, and that was before he had a knife thrown through his leg. Even with those setbacks and without his laser eye, Kano proved why he was regarded as such a brutal mercenary. We knew the signature heart-rip Fatality was coming after seeing it in the red-band trailer and we knew that it’d be inflicted on Reptile, but it was still a shock to see it happen so early in the movie and from a powerless Kano, too.

#1: Kung Lao vs. Nitara

Kung Lau
(Photo: New Line Cinema / Warner Bros.)

It’s probably not a coincidence that Kung Lao’s loss stung the most and that his Fatality was the best out of all of them. Preferring typically to fight on the ground unless he’s teleporting, Kung Lao still had no qualms with fighting Nitara where she was strongest in the sky.

Those who main Kung Lao in the Mortal Kombat games probably had an idea of what was going to happen once he ditched his hat and started fighting Nitara without it, but the fight happened so quickly and franticly that it was easy for the setup go unnoticed. After he recalled his hat and it started whirring in the ground, Nitara’s fate was clear.

This Fatality was everything that Mortal Kombat’s famous kills are about: The setup was immaculate and sneaky, the gore was comparable only to Jax’s head clap, and the expressions on the characters’ faces whenever they knew what the outcome of the fight would be perfectly channeled the end of a Mortal Kombat match. A Flawless Victory, indeed.


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