Mortal Kombat: Biggest Changes the Movie Makes to the Games


The “Arcana” Explanation

Why do characters in the Mortal Kombat games have special powers? The storyline explanations vary. Some were born with those powers, while others acquired them through mechanical enhancements or gifts from the gods. Mostly, though, giving characters powers was just a way to spice up the original arcade game’s special moves. 

In one of the biggest departures from the games, the MK movie suggests that Earthrealm’s warriors have to unlock the “Arcana” ability within them. We’re going to cover a couple of the more specific instances of this explanation deviating from the games in a big way, but it’s worth highlighting the fact that this idea of Earthrealm warriors needing to unlock the Arcana within them was never really mentioned in the games. It’s a very “Midi-chlorian” way to approach the whole idea.

Sonya Blade’s Powers

Again, we could spend quite a bit of time talking about the many ways the Arcana concept changes the video game versions of Mortal Kombat‘s biggest characters, but Sonya Blade is one of the most interesting and notable examples of such a deviation. As those who saw the MK movie know, Sonya gets her powers when she kills Kano, becomes one of the tournament’s chosen fighters, and unlocks her Acana ability.

How did she get those abilities in the game? It’s a little muddy in the beginning, but later entries in the series suggest that her abilities are based on mechanical creations rather than an inherent power. The idea of Sonya having a device attached to her arms that allows her to shoot projectiles really seemed to be part of an effort to help explain her otherwise unexplainable abilities in the original games, but it was a pretty effective way to do just that. 

Kano’s Eye

The origin of Kano’s “laser eye” in the Mortal Kombat games is really pretty simple. Kano suffered massive damage to his eye in a battle against Jax and had a mechanical plate and enhanced eye grafted on to cover the affected area. That eye so happened to grant Kano the ability to fire a laser beam as well as access several enhanced modes of vision. 

The Mortal Kombat movie not only suggests that Kano’s physical trauma was caused by Reptile (more on that in a bit) but that Kano’s ability to shoot a laser from his eye is part of his Arcana ability. It’s an…interesting deviation that is arguably the most unnecessary of all the Arcana plot points as Kano’s eye was one of those pieces of lore that was explained in the games fairly early on and has since become one of the character’s defining physical qualities.

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