Mortal Kombat Wouldn’t Exist Without the Most Iconic Jean-Claude Van Damme Movie in Hollywood History


When it first got here out in 1992, Mortal Kombat was the discuss of the city. Each child and their mom knew about it. Actually. The sheer violence and gore featured within the once-arcade recreation, had moms taking to information shops and politicians to get the sport banned. Fairly harking back to Kyle’s mother from South Park, one may say. Regardless of main censorship calls and aiding the start of the ESRB, Mortal Kombat flourished, thanks partly to the controversies surrounding it.

Infamy of its gore apart, the sport shortly grew to become widespread amongst gamers for its array of characters. The bottom roster nonetheless lives on within the trendy iterations of the combating recreation. Whether or not Liu Kang was your go-to or Thunder God Raiden, or maybe Scorpion, everybody had their favourite choose. However amongst the ninjas and Gods alike, one character stood out that didn’t fairly match this invoice… And that was Johnny Cage.

Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat 11
Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat 11

A Hollywood motion celebrity, Johnny Cage brings his martial arts expertise to his big-screen flicks. As gamers fiddled round with Johnny’s character extra, they started to note an eerie similarity to a real-life martial artist and motion film star: Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Mortal Kombat has Van Damme’s Bloodsport to thank

When co-creators Ed Boon and John Tobias (or Noob Saibot, for those who know) pitched an arcade ninja combating recreation to writer Halfway, they have been rejected as a result of it was deemed an unprofitable enterprise. Nonetheless, Halfway was eager on a recreation based mostly off of Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Van Damme was the recent subject of martial arts motion pictures and motion flicks within the 80s and 90s. So, it’s no shock that when Common Soldier took the field workplace by storm, Halfway wished a slice of that motion. Recognizing potential, the 4-member crew of the 1992 Mortal Kombat wished the Bloodsport hero to star in a licensed Van Damme recreation. Ed Boon stated that they dove into Bloodsport and re-purposed stills of Van Damme with their very own belongings to do a mock-up. (by way of Gamespot)

A still from BloodsportA still from Bloodsport
A nonetheless from Bloodsport

Whereas the pitch and thought by no means materialized with Van Damme, Halfway was nonetheless adamant on a Van Damme-like combating recreation (by way of Den Of Geek). Eager to be the “MTV Model of Road Fighter” in Boon’s phrases, Mortal Kombat began to take form. And the affect of Bloodsport was seen all through the sport. World event that includes off-beat characters? Battle sequences and gory motion? MK and Bloodsport go hand in hand. The place Mortal Kombat did set itself aside, nonetheless, was intricately weaving in components of magic/sorcery and mythology right into a violent combating recreation.

Nut Punch in MK 11Nut Punch in MK 11
A Van Damme signature transfer, the Nut Cracker| Mortal Kombat 11

The similarities don’t cease there, although. For anybody that’s spammed the low sweep transfer, you owe your gratitude to Van Damme himself for touchdown the function of Frank Dux after displaying off some sick kick strikes to a producer. The all too well-known Nut Punch? It’s not simply Johnny Cage’s transfer, Van Damme did it first. Even Johnny’s clothes was modeled after Van Damme’s apparel in Bloodsport (black shorts with a crimson sash and black footwear). So, if Van Damme did affect the sport a lot, why wasn’t he featured in it? Effectively, he’s now, years later!

JCVD skin in Mortal Kombat 1JCVD skin in Mortal Kombat 1
Right here’s… JCVD! | Mortal Kombat 1 (2023)

Who’s Johnny Cage?

Very similar to Van Damme, Johnny Cage is a Hollywood celebrity within the motion style, bringing his slick martial arts expertise to each function he performs. All his motion pictures naked heavy nods to Van Damme’s with over-the-top storylines and insane motion sequences carried out by the celebrities themselves. Johnny Cage’s story in Mortal Kombat has developed via the years. From being a womanizer and a cocky, potty-mouthed fighter to a loving and mellow Dad (nonetheless a champion of Earthrealm, thoughts you), Johnny has undergone main character development.

Johnny and CassieJohnny and Cassie
Johnny (R) consoles his daughter, Cassie (L), after the demise of her mom | Mortal Kombat 11 by way of YT

With all the main character development, Johnny’s combating fashion nonetheless resembles that of Van Damme’s intense hand at hand and close-range fight. Regardless of conflicting and inconsistent experiences on Van Damme himself not showing within the first recreation, NetherRealm Studios delighted outdated followers and new with the addition of a Van Damme skin for Johnny Cage in an replace to 2023’s Mortal Kombat 1. Including to the delight, the Muscular tissues from Brussels himself voiced this alternate pores and skin of Cage.

Mortal Kombat 1, obtainable on Steam.


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