The Video Game Fantasy Action Classic You Can Stream Now Without Netflix

By Zack Zagranis | Published

mortal kombat

Mortal Kombat (1995) might just be the first good video game adaptation. It’s certainly the first one that understood the assignment. Full of tongue-in-cheek one-liners and some of the best pre-Matrix fight choreography outside of Hong Kong, Mortal Kombat more than matches the excitement of an afternoon spent ripping your best friend’s spine out of their body at $.25 a pop. Well… almost.

It’s Only Flaw – It Should’ve Been R

If the original Mortal Kombat film has one major flaw, it’s that New Line Cinema decided to turn an R-rated game into a PG-13 movie. We’d be lying if we said that some sacrifices weren’t made.

In order for director Paul W. Anderson to keep the movie appropriate for kiddies, he had to sacrifice the majority of the game’s gnarly fatalities.

Still A Great Movie

mortal kombat

Despite the metaphorical neutering Mortal Kombat endured, the movie still manages to kick all kinds of butt.

From the Highlander himself, Christopher Lambert as Raiden, the thunder god protector of Earth Realm, to Goro—one of the most elaborate animatronics ever used in a movie—Mortal Kombat is a “Flawless Victory,” from beginning to end.

Yeah, we know we already said that the movie had a flaw, but it was too good of a reference to pass up.

The Tournament

mortal kombat

The plot of Mortal Kombat is extremely simple: a group of combatants meets on an uncharted island to compete in the Mortal Kombat tournament—a fighting competition where the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

The winner of the previous nine tournaments, an evil sorcerer named Shang Tsung, is poised to win his tenth victory. If he does, the evil emperor of Outworld will be able to invade and conquer Earthrealm—that’s where we live.

Each of the three main characters, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, and Sonya Blade, have a different motivation for entering the Mortal Kombat tournament.

Liu Kang (Robin Shou), a former Shaolin monk, wants to avenge his brother’s death at the hands of Shang Tsung. Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby), a famous action movie star, wants to prove that he can really fight.

Great Fights

mortal kombat

Meanwhile, special forces agent Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson) enters the tournament to get to her rival, underworld crime boss Kano (Trevor Goddard), and avenge her former partner, whom Kano murdered in cold blood.

Speaking of Kano, Trevor Goddard did such a good job portraying the scummy gangster that the creators of Mortal Kombat changed Kano’s persona in the video games to better match Goddard’s performance.

Originally written as a being born in Japan and adopted by an American, Kano’s nationality was forever changed to Australian thanks to Goddard’s performance.

All the characters from the first Mortal Kombat are represented—and even a couple from MKII. Scorpion and Sub-Zero, Mortal Kombat‘s infamous ninja duo, don’t get a whole lot to do storywise, but they each have at least one b*lls-to-the-wall fight scene.

Scorpion, in particular, has a fight against Johnny Cage that, aside from a bit of dodgy 1995 CGI, still looks awesome today.

Wonderful One-Liners

Perhaps one of the most surprising things about Mortal Kombat is how funny it is. Anderson knew that for a video game movie to be successful, it couldn’t take itself too seriously.

The movie is full of fun one-liners, many ad-libbed by the cast. Don’t worry, though; the film never goes full goofy like the similarly themed Street Fighter.

You’ll find no Shang Tsung dollars here.

Stream It Now


Mortal Kombat might not be Shakespeare, but it is a fun, action-packed romp that remains one of the best video game adaptations out there.

To this day, the soundtrack remains the only good techno album ever released—sorry, we don’t make the rules—and the title track is so infectious it will have you screaming “Mortal Kombat!” right along with it.

If you’ve never seen Mortal Kombat, or if reading this jogged your memory and you want to see if it holds up, we have good news! Mortal Kombat is streaming for free right now on Tubi.

No subscription needed? Toasty!