Kano Is The Bad Guy You Can’t Help But Love In The New ‘Mortal Kombat’ Movie

I hope Joshua Lawson's back is okay after carrying this entire film.

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Twenty six years after its first film adaptation, the new Mortal Kombat dropped last week — and I give it a big *chef’s kiss*. The gory ’90s video game coming to the big screen for the second time was exactly what I didn’t know I needed in 2021.

Directed by Simon McQuoid, the film is packed with the brutal and bloody violence you’d expect from a movie based on an R-rated video game with all the classic fight moves and memorable phrases — “get over here” gave me actual goosebumps — fans were hoping for. The movie had an astonishing cast, including Jessica McNamee (Sonya Blade), Joe Taslim (Sub Zero), and Hiroyuki Sanada (Scorpion), and new addition Lewis Tan (Cole Young). But out of the whole colourful team, my all-time favourite character was Kano, played by the goat himself, Josh Lawson.

As someone who played Mortal Kombat growing up, I’ve never liked Kano as a character, but in the film — which was, at times, a little dull — Lawson carried the narrative with every filthy line that came of out of his mouth. He was a complete ass to every character, but I couldn’t help but root for the mercenary. (Is there something wrong with me?) I have a lot to say about Kano but first, let’s talk about the movie.

Warning: This story includes spoilers!

Here’s What You Need To Know About The Movie

The film’s storyline centres on a prophecy in which a relative of Hanzo Hasashi — aka Scorpion — will bring together the greatest fighters from Earthrealm to defeat Outworld in the 10th Mortal Kombat tournament. Ultimately, it’s a story about good versus evil.

We first meet Hanzo in the 17th Century in hand-to-hand combat with Bi-Han, after the frosty villain killed his family and tribe. This sets up the movie, where we meet a descendent of Hanzo, Cole Young, who is a rusty MMA fighter being tracked down by Sub Zero, sent by Shang Tsung (Chin Han) to rig the tournament — because bad guys are douches.

Cole then finds Sonya Cage and Kano, which has got to be one of my favourite scenes, when a lizard creature attacks, bringing MK‘s fatalities into play, as Kano punches the lizard’s chest in, pulling its heart out screaming one of his catchphrases: “Kano wins!” It had me and the rest of the audience screaming too.

Who Is Kano, Anyway?

Kano was one of the original classic character from the ’90s Mortal Kombat game. He’s always been ruthless, and might remind you of every d-head bogan you know with his thick ocker accent and crude remarks — he truly does make the MK world a little more entertaining. He’s vulgar and a dirty fighter, but you can’t help but appreciate his dry humour during serious moments. It’s common to see him slugging down a beer, taking a piss whenever he likes, and being downright disgusting. That said, the main characteristic of Kano has got to be his laser beam eye. In the game he’s portrayed with a metal plate covering a bit of his face and eye — a result of a clash with Jax.

Kano is a character who couldn’t have been played by just anyone. With such a strong personality, the wrong casting could have been a huge let down. So, to quote one of Kano’s catchphrases: It’s a bloody ripper Josh Lawson was cast. If there was ever an award for strongest back in the world; give this man the title because he carried the entire movie.

But How Does It Compare To The ’90s Original?

Let’s take a dive into the two Mortal Kombat movies — the 1995 film directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, which people have described as ‘so bad it’s good’, and the 2021 new release. The two movies have similar plots in which Earthrealm is trying to stop outworld invaders.

Anderson’s Mortal Kombat is a classic —  you got to respect the OG. The movie won’t let you forget the title as the theme song practically screams it out in techno music. The two movies have similar plot points where Earthrealm is trying to stop outworld invaders.

In the 1995 film we follow Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage, and Lui Kang, as we’re introduced to the secret world of magic, creatures, and Elder Gods. The 2021 movie focuses on a new character, Cole Young. He is destined to bring warriors from Earthrealm to stop the sorcerer Shang Tsung and his gang of baddies. The main differences between the movies is that the ’95 version shows the tournament, and the ’21 does not — bugger! But the biggest highlight of the remake is — spoiler! — a fight that we’ve all been waiting for: Scorpion rising from hell to burn Sub Zero to a crisp. Now that was an amazing fight.

I left the cinema last week feeling pretty satisfied with the latest adaption (despite some minor questions). For a movie I thought was going to be all blood and guts, I didn’t expect to be laughing like an idiot most of the movie — mainly thanks to Kano.

If you need more convincing, check out the Mortal Kombat trailer below: