Mortal Kombat is a 2021 American martial arts fantasy film directed by Simon McQuoid (in his feature directorial debut), from a screenplay by Greg Russo and Dave Callaham and a story by Russo and Oren Uziel. It is based on the video game franchise of the same name created by Ed Boon and John Tobias, serving as a reboot to the Mortal Kombat film series. The film stars Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, Chin Han, Joe Taslim, and Hiroyuki Sanada.
In 17th-century Japan, Lin Kuei assassins led by Bi-Han attack and kill members of the rival Shirai Ryu ninja clan and Hanzo Hasashi's wife and son. Hanzo kills the attackers before falling to Bi-Han and taken to the Netherrealm. Raiden, god of thunder, arrives and takes Hanzo's surviving infant daughter to safety.
In the present, the realm of Outworld has defeated Earthrealm in nine of ten deathmatch tournaments called "Mortal Kombat", intending to conquer it. However, an ancient prophecy is uncovered, stating that the "blood of Hanzo Hasashi" will unite a new generation of Earthrealm's champions to prevent Outworld's victory. Aware of this, soul-eating sorcerer Shang Tsung employs warriors to kill Earthrealm's champions, identified by a distinctive dragon mark, before the next tournament begins. Meanwhile, Cole Young, a former MMA champion, and his family are attacked by Bi-Han, now known as Sub-Zero. However, Special Forces Major Jackson "Jax" Briggs rescues the Youngs, directing them to safety and to seek out his partner, Sonya Blade, while he stays behind to fight off Sub-Zero, who freezes and shatters his arms.
Cole tracks Sonya to her hideout, where she is interrogating a captive mercenary named Kano. She reveals that she and Jax have been investigating Mortal Kombat's existence and that the dragon mark can be transferred to anyone who kills the original bearer. The hideout is attacked by Shang Tsung's assassin, Syzoth, but a reluctant Kano kills him with Cole and Sonya's help. They then travel to Raiden's temple and meet Earthrealm champions Liu Kang and Kung Lao before being brought to Raiden himself, who is critical of the newcomers. They are joined by Jax, who Raiden rescued and fitted with a set of mechanical arms. Shang Tsung attacks the temple alongside Sub-Zero and Mileena, but Raiden erects a shield to stave them off. While Sonya trains and encourages Jax to fight despite his condition, Cole and Kano train with Kang and Lao to unlock their "arcana", a special power unique to all dragon mark bearers.
During an argument with Lao, Kano awakens his arcana while Cole is unable to awaken his despite his persistence. Disappointed with his lack of progress, Raiden allows Cole to return to his family, revealing that he is a descendant of Hasashi. Shang Tsung gathers Sub-Zero, Mileena, Reiko, Nitara, Goro, and Kabal for another assault on the Temple. Learning that Kano is among Raiden's champions, Kabal convinces Kano to defect and remove the shield, allowing the Outworlders to attack, during which Lao battles and kills Nitara while Jax awakens his arcana. Concurrently, the Youngs are attacked by Goro, but Cole awakens his arcana and kills him before returning to the temple to help repel the attack. Shang Tsung and Sub-Zero are infuriated when Raiden discloses Cole's bloodline before he teleports most of the Earthrealm fighters to the Void, a safe space between realms. Lao, however, sacrifices himself defending Cole from Sub-Zero before Shang Tsung takes his soul.
After mourning Lao's death, Cole proposes a plan to force Outworld's champions into single combat with Earthrealm's champions before neutralizing Sub-Zero together, forcing the tournament Shang Tsung tried to prevent. Raiden agrees, giving Cole Hanzo's kunai before transporting him and his allies to their targets. Kang and Jax slay Kabal and Reiko while Sonya kills Kano and acquires his dragon mark and her own arcana, which she uses to help Cole kill Mileena. However, Sub-Zero appears, having abducted Cole's family to lure him into a one-on-one fight. Initially overpowered, Cole's blood ends up on the kunai, releasing Hanzo from the Netherrealm as the vengeful specter Scorpion. Recognizing Cole as his descendant, Scorpion helps him overpower Sub-Zero and free Cole's family before immolating Sub-Zero with hellfire. Thanking Cole for freeing him and requesting that he look after the Hasashi bloodline, Scorpion departs as Raiden and the other champions arrive.
Shang Tsung also arrives, vowing revenge as he sends his champions' corpses back to Outworld before Raiden banishes him. Raiden then declares he is creating a new list of warriors in preparation for the next tournament and assigns his current champions to recruit them. With this information, Cole departs for Los Angeles in search of Hollywood superstar Johnny Cage.