The transcript below is from the video “Mortal Kombat (1995) cast. THEN and NOW 2022 | How They Changed” by THEN and NOW.


Christopher Lambert as Raiden

‘God of Thunder and Protector of Earthrealm’ who guides the warriors on their journey. He desires to aid the heroes in defending Earthrealm, but as he himself is not mortal, he is not permitted to participate in the tournament and may only advise them and act to prevent cheating. He is depicted as the god of thunder who possesses control over lightning. He fulfills his duty by selecting and training the warriors who defend Earthrealm from various threats, while also participating directly in the realm’s defense. Raiden generally serves as a mentor figure to the franchise’s heroes, although he sometimes assumes a darker role in the story, which sees him become more ruthless in his protection of the realm.

Director Paul W.S. Anderson credits Christopher Lambert for smoothing over his first job on a big movie. Lambert, a veteran of several Hollywood blockbusters, never got overwhelmed by the large scale of the production, and his laid-back attitude positively influenced the other, less-experienced people on the set. Even Ed Boon, co-creator of the original video game, admitted that Lambert did a great job, despite not being Asian like the character’s depiction in the game. Since Lambert was the most expensive actor on set, the production could only afford him for a few weeks of close-ups in an LA studio; a stand-in would be used for the wide shots filmed in Thailand. However, Lambert believed that the movie would be better if it was him all the time, so he came to Thailand for no extra charge (no doubt to the chagrin of his agent and managers). He even paid for the wrap party afterwards.

Lord Rayden: I have looked into their souls… and yours. One of you three will determine the outcome of the tournament. The fate of billions depends upon you. Heh, heh, heh!


Lord Rayden: Sorry.


Robin Shou as Liu Kang

Former Shaolin monk who enters the tournament to avenge his brother’s death. Depicted as Earthrealm’s greatest warrior and champion, he is generally the main hero of the series. He is among the first who notice Kitana’s sympathy towards Earthrealm. Liu Kang is the main protagonist.

The 1973 film Enter the Dragon was a major influence in Liu Kang’s story. According to Mortal Kombat creator Tobias Tobias, whose favourite character in the series is Liu Kang, he “was originally going to be a traditional monk – bald and in robes – but he wound up resembling Bruce Lee.” The name Liu Kang was inspired by Gordon Liu, an actor famous for the film The 36th Chamber of Shaolin.

This was Robin Shou’s second American film, as his first American role was in 1990, the made-for-television film Forbidden Nights.

Liu Kang: [At Grandfather] I had enough of this. I’m going to find my brother’s killer at the tournament, with or without your consent.

Grandfather: [At Lord Rayden] He isn’t ready, my lord, and we lost so much time. Rayden: I know, but there’s no one else.


Bridgette Wilson as Sonya Blade

An American Special Forces officer pursuing Kano after he kills her partner. Sonya becomes involved with the eponymous Mortal Kombat tournament through pursuit of her archenemy, the criminal leader Kano. She subsequently joins the warriors defending Earthrealm and establishes a government agency dedicated to battling otherworldly threats. The series also depicts her as the love interest to martial arts actor Johnny Cage and the mother of their daughter Cassie.

Wilson, who was jokingly nicknamed “RoboBabe” during production by director Paul W. S. Anderson, performed all her own stunts, including fight scenes. Sonya Blade is inspired by martial artist Cynthia Rothrock.

Jax: Trust me, Sonya!

Sonya Blade: I only trust one person, Jax, and you’re talking to her.


Linden Ashby as Johnny Cage

A Hollywood superstar who enters the tournament to prove to the world that his martial arts skills are legitimate. Cage is one of the primary heroes defending Earthrealm from various threats, as well as the comic foil. Cage is also the love interest to Special Forces officer Sonya Blade and the father of their daughter Cassie. He enters the Shaolin Tournament to prove that he does not rely on special effects in his films. Additionally, he is the only character who does not share a past history with the other characters. He is tricked into entering the tournament by the sorcerer Shang Tsung, believing it would prove his skills are real and improve his marketability. Upon arriving at the tournament, however, he learns the truth from the thunder god Raiden and aligns himself with the Earthrealm warriors.

Ashby trained in karate, tae kwon do, and kung fu especially for this film. Johnny Cage is inspired by martial arts star Jean-Claude Van Damme, particularly Van Damme’s character in the 1988 film Bloodsport.

Johnny Cage: [while fighting Goro] Those were $500 sunglasses, asshole.


Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Shang Tsung

A powerful sorcerer and the host of the tournament. He is principally defined by his abilities to shapeshift into other characters and to absorb the souls of defeated warriors. Shang Tsung is usually portrayed as the right-hand man of Outworld emperor Shao Kahn and the archenemy of Shaolin monk Liu Kang.

Tagawa was the filmmakers’ first and only choice for the role; he was instantly selected after he came to his audition in costume and read his lines while standing on a chair. Tagawa was allowed to play a younger version of Shang Tsung in order to avoid the excessive makeup that would have been required to duplicate the character’s aged appearance in the first game.

Shang Tsung: Your soul is mine…


Shang Tsung: Fatality.


Talisa Soto as Kitana

The Outworld emperor’s adopted daughter who decides to help the Earth warriors. She is attracted to Liu Kang, who reciprocates and takes her advice to go further. She is a royal from the realm of Edenia. Her primary weapon is a pair of steel fans, which she uses for most of her special attacks. She is introduced as the daughter of Outworld emperor Shao Kahn until she learns her true father was murdered by Shao Kahn when he conquered Edenia. Kitana subsequently becomes a primary hero in the series, joining forces with the Earthrealm warriors as she fights to ensure her realm’s liberation. She is also the love interest of Mortal Kombat hero Liu Kang.

Soto had previously appeared alongside Tagawa in Licence to Kill.

Princess Kitana: If I did not believe in you Liu Kang, I would not have helped you. In the Black Tower, you will face three challenges. You must face your enemy. You must face yourself. And you must face your worst fear.


Trevor Goddard as Kano [Died: June 7th, 2003.]

An underworld crime boss who joins forces with Shang Tsung. He is the leader of the Black Dragon, a criminal organization. Kano is distinguished by his cybernetic eye, which he has used as a laser in later installments. As one of the series’ recurring villains, he often aligns himself with the forces threatening Earthrealm. He is also the archenemy of Special Forces officer Sonya Blade, who seeks to bring him to justice.

Goddard portrayed the character as Cockney English, but due to his accent being misinterpreted, later games would retcon Kano from being an expediate American to Australian.

Kano: Hello baby. Did you miss me?


Chris Casamassa as Scorpion

An undead warrior under Shang Tsung’s control. He is principally defined by his quest to avenge the deaths of himself, his family, and his clan. His primary weapon is a kunai spear, which he uses to harpoon opponents.

Chris Casamassa was hired to work as a stunt ninja. At the audition the producers were so impressed that he got the part of Scorpion. During the Johnny Cage v Scorpion fight, during the 2nd part on the platform…..Johnny Cage swings from an overhead bar and comes back to kick Scorpion in the face, Scorpion reacts to this in a manner reminiscent of the way he does in the first Mortal Kombat (1992) game. High into the air backwards, the legs then shoot up and he comes down hard on his back. Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon voiced the character.

Scorpion: Get over here!


Keith Cooke as Reptile

A creature who serves Shang Tsung. As implied by his name, he is a Zaterran, a species of reptilian humanoids. One of the last remaining members of his race, he aligns himself with the series’ primary villains in the hope that his service will lead to the Zaterrans’ revival.

Cooke portrayed the character’s human form, while his lizard form was computer generated. Reptile’s vocal effects were provided by Frank Welker. Reptile was originally not included in the movie, but was added in response to focus groups being unimpressed with the amount of fighting in the film. Robin Shou and Paul W.S. Anderson noted that neither knew what Reptile’s lizard form would look like until after filming, making the pre-fight sequence difficult to shoot.


François Petit as Sub-Zero

A cryomancer warrior under Shang Tsung’s control. A warrior from the Lin Kuei clan, the character is principally defined by his ability to control ice in many forms.

The coined phrase “Flawless Victory” (a match where the victor sustains no attacks from their opponent) was used regarding four matches in the film. However only two of the matches meet the criteria: Sub-Zero’s first match against a henchmen and Johnny Cage’s match against Goro. François Petit was heavily involved in the production of this movie since the early 90’s. It was only because they couldn’t find an actor for Sub-Zero, that Petit got the role for himself. Because of his involvement behind the camera, Sub-Zero’s screen time had to be limited.


Kevin Michael Richardson as Goro

A Shokan, a half-human, half-dragon race distinguished by their four arms and enormous size. The reigning Mortal Kombat champion, a title he has held for 500 years. He is generally depicted in a villainous role, fighting for the Outworld against the Earthrealm’s warriors.

Physically portrayed by Tom Woodruff, Jr. and voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson, both of whom were uncredited.

Kano: What I wanna know… if this Shang Tsung guy’s so great, how come he’s got such a crummy-looking boat? Ah, anyway, guy gives me the creeps.

[mimicking Shang Tsung]

Kano: “Treasure… these… moments!”

Goro: That was his intention. Shang Tsung is a great sorcerer. The wise cultivate his favor. Those who challenge his power become his slaves.

Kano: Yeah? Well, I haven’t seen any of them around.

Goro: You fool. You know nothing. He enslaves souls. He learned the black arts from The Emperor himself.

Kano: You’re some kind of royalty, too, right?

Goro: I am Goro! General of the armies of Outworld and Prince of the subterranean realm of Shokan.

Kano: Subterranean? What’s that, something like underground?

Goro: Yes… something like that.

Kano: [trying not to appear intimidated by Goro] Yeah? Well, I’m kind of an underworld boss! Well, I mean, back home.

Goro: How lucky for them… back home!

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