Taking its cue from superhero films that dominate the movie market today, Mortal Kombat (2021) featured the fighters’ superpowers as a central part of the plot. Known as a fighter’s “arcana,” each character has a unique ability that allows them to integrate superpowered moves into their martial arts fighting style. However, not all special abilities are equally useful. Let’s highlight some of the coolest and most powerful ones featured in Mortal Kombat (2021).
Probably the character most concerned with his arcana’s coolness is Kano, the Black Dragon terrorist who provided much of the film’s bombastic humor. As a prisoner of Sonya Blade and foul-mouthed ruffian of the bunch, Kano begrudgingly allied with the heroes in their fight to protect Earthrealm. But when his arcana did not awaken to give him super abilities like the others, he discovered rage was his trigger.
Kano fired a precise beam of heat energy out of his left eye, cutting a path through anywhere his gaze passed. This made Kano a particularly deadly threat at range, as his laser passed through solid stone like a hot knife through butter. However, his weakness was with close combat, which puts his arcana — although one of the best — not in the top spot.
4. Kung Lao
Kano made fun of Kung Lao’s power during Mortal Kombat (2021), considering the Earthrealm champion’s ability to control his razor-sharp hat lame. Indeed, based on that description alone, it certainly seems lame, but with clever usage and the added teleporting ability, Kung Lao was one of the best parts of the film overall.
Kung Lao’s arcana is integrated into his fighting style in a visually stunning way, whereas Kano’s inexperience with his powers in combination with his fighting style proved his undoing. Kung Lao’s hat is deadly, shearing through stone or rotating like a buzzsaw to slice Nitara in half. Despite its disarming appearance, Kung Lao made lemonade out of lemons by mastering one of the film’s most intimidating and innovative powers.
Not every character in Mortal Kombat (2021) fought as a mortal champion of Earthrealm, but just because their abilities were not on full display in a fight scene does not mean they did not take the chance to show off. The perfect example of this is Raiden, the protector who assembled humanity’s defenders and coordinated them throughout the finale. It makes sense Raiden is one of the most powerful characters, considering he is a literal god.
Raiden’s command over lightning allowed for mass teleportation that proved particularly handy in planning and executing Earthrealm’s strategy. He even fired bolts of lightning as a devastating offense and erected a massive shield to defend from Shang Tsung’s forces. It’s possible that Raiden deserves the top spot, but fans will have to wait until a sequel for the thunder god to show off what he can really do.
2. Liu Kang
Kano may have ridiculed Kung Lao’s ability to control his hat, but even he admitted Liu Kang’s fireball throwing ability was cool. Liu Kang wielded his arcana every bit as expertly as his cousin Kung Lao. However, the heights he soared to with them proved even greater as the pyrotechnic display of martial arts afforded him equal effectiveness in range or melee.
Perhaps most stunning was Liu Kang’s ability to shape and control the flames, manifesting a massive fire dragon that consumed his opponent. And yet, even amidst his pyrokinetic abilities, Liu Kang still had room for his signature move — the bicycle kick. Seemingly unrelated to his fire-based arcana, Liu suspended himself in the air and released a rapid series of kicks that demolished his opponent.
The other fighters scored highly in different abilities based on their power, creativity, usefulness and the degree they showed them off in Mortal Kombat (2021). But taking the gold in all possible metrics was the film’s villain Bi-Han, otherwise known as Sub-Zero. The cryokinetic ninja froze the environment around him, his presence often preceded by frosty windowpanes and snowflakes falling through the air.
Sub-Zero was hands down the deadliest fighter in Mortal Kombat (2021), defeating virtually anyone he faced in a one-on-one with superior skill and raw power. He froze off his victims’ body parts or flash froze their entire bodies solid, often integrating ice projectiles with weapons he crafted at a moment’s notice for a melee attack. This power is precisely why it took multiple fighters to overpower Sub-Zero. No matter who won in the end, the action sequences make it pretty clear, there isn’t anyone cooler than Sub-Zero.