After watching the original Mortal Kombat movie for the umpteenth time and, for the umpteenth time remarking on how spindly and unbelievably un-athletic Bridgett Wilson's Sonya Blade is I asked myself, "Who would be an ideal actress to portray Sonya Blade?" It didn't take long for one to dawn on me and then I asked myself, "What about the other characters? If I had free reign of the movie industry, who would I cast in a MK1 movie?" I spent some time handpicking my favorite martial artists / martial arts actors in terms of actual martial arts ability (very important) and how much I felt they fit their chosen part. What follows is that list.
Ronda Rousey as Sonya Blade
Undefeated MMA champion, Rhonda Rousey has only faced 3 opponents that took her longer than 1 minute to beat. She's blonde, American, and without a doubt the toughest chick on the planet. A fact solidified by her appearing in the newest Expendables movie.
Jason Chambers as Johnny Cage
Mixed martial artist with an impressive record, instructor of Jeet Kune Do, TV actor, and host of the "Human Weapon" Jason Chambers embodies the bachelor/actor/martial artist that is the Johnny Cage persona.
Tony Jaa as Liu Kang
You've seen him in the Ong Bak franchise and as the star of The Protector (one of my favorite martial arts movies of all time). Tony Jaa to me represents the new generation of martial arts actors. He's an all around good guy. Who better to portray the legendary Mortal Kombat champion?
Jason Statham as Kano
Sonya Blade's arch nemesis should be played by someone who can brawl on screen, talk with an English/Australian accent, and be ruthless. Star of the Transporter franchise, fellow Expendables co-star, and fully certified butt-kicker Jason Statham is just the man for the job.
Ray Park as Scorpion
Having portrayed Darth Maul in Star Wars, Toad in the X-Men, Snake Eyes in G.I. Joe, as well as Agent Ross in Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (a widely panned film, yet a favorite of mine), Scottish martial artist Ray Park has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt he has the juice to portray one of the most iconic characters of the MK Universe.
Vincent Zhao as Sub-Zero
Born in China to a martial artist and a professional sprinter, trained in various Wushu techniques and a master of T'ai Chi Ch'uan, with multiple national titles and gold medals to his name Vincent Zhao is one of few people in the world I feel are qualified to play the legendary Lin Kuei Grandmaster.
Chow Yun Fat as Raiden
The person playing the protector of Earthrealm, mentor to the forces of light, god of thunder, and a warrior of supernatural caliber has to have some serious martial arts film cred. Chow Yun Fat, star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Replacement Killers, The Corruptor, and others is just that.
Donnie Yen as Reptile
Serving as Shang Tsung's personal protector who remained hidden in he shadows, Reptile probably had very little exposure during the events of MKI and MKII. However, it is my opinion that his otherworldly abilities as a warrior are the reason for the truce between Scorpion and Sub-Zero seen in the old film. The star of films Iron Monkey, and Ip Man, son of a martial arts grandmaster, black belt in Tae Kwon Do, Judo, and purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, seemed to be the most natural choice to portray such a character.
Dalip Singh as Goro
Also known as The Great Khali, the 7'1" 347 pound star of WWE, The Longest Yard remake, and who also happens to be a former police officer and powerlifter, is pretty much the only person in my mind who is qualified to play the Shokan Prince and 500 year reigning champion of Mortal Kombat.
Jet Li as Shang Tsung
There's no need (and not enough space) to list Jet Li's impressive resume of kicking butt on and off the screen. Let it suffice to say that the only downside to picking my favorite living martial artist to play one of the coolest bad guys ever conceived, is that he eventually loses.
Lucy Liu as Kitana
The heir to the throne of Outowrld and Princess of Edenia, who also happens to be one of the Emperor's three personal assassins, Kitana is a rare combination of skill, poise, and beauty. I feel Lucy Liu would do her justice.
Jean Claude Van Damme as Master Boyd
Since Master Boyd is a character in the original movie, and since his character (Johnny Cage's mentor) is necessary, I felt he had to be in my ideal movie. I picked JCVD to portray him as an homage to the fact that Johnny Cage's character was originally based on Van Damme. There really is no better fit in my opinion.
Terry Crews as Art Lean
An ancillary character at best, Art Lean's true function in the old movie was to be a good guy who could be killed off without upsetting the storyline. If it were up to me, he'd have a much bigger and more important part. One of the very few people and even fewer fighters that Johnny Cage views as his equal deserves that at the very least. Terry Crews, an actor I like a great deal, fit the bill.