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The Scene In Mortal Kombat That Fans Are Losing It Over

Contains minor spoilers for "Mortal Kombat"

Everyone's favorite part of "Mortal Kombat" — both the video game series and the new movie — is the fatalities. The gory finishing moves where characters get their spines ripped out or their heads smashed like melons are the franchise's signature innovation. They couldn't be reproduced in a manner that was faithful to the games' over-the-top brutality in the PG-13-rated '90s movies, so the new "Mortal Kombat" — which almost got an NC-17 rating for violence, according to director Simon McQuoid — is the first time the fatalities have been cinematically rendered in a way that is true to the IP. 

In many ways, the movie is a loving tribute to its source material, made by fans for fans. It features lots of great fan-service, including classic lines ("Get over here!") and finishing moves that long-time players will recognize from the "Mortal Kombat" arcade and console games. Some famous fatalities from the games that were inserted into the movie include Shang Tsung (Chin Han) sucking somebody's soul out, and Kano (Josh Lawson) plunging his whole hand into Reptile's chest and tearing out his heart, which is still beating in Kano's hand when he quips, "Kano wins." 

The franchise's most famous fatality — Sub-Zero yanking his opponent's head off and taking their whole spine with it — isn't in the movie for some reason. Maybe Warner Bros. is saving it for the inevitable sequel. Even without it, there's still one fatality in the film that has "Mortal Kombat" fans losing their minds on social media. It's so extreme and over-the-top, that it really must be seen to be believed. For most viewers, the stunt alone probably merits a rewatch.

Flawless victory

The scene, of course, is when Kung Lao (Max Huang) cuts Nitara (Mel Jarnson) in half with his hat.

Kung Lao is one of the movie's good guys. He helps Earthrealm's champions unlock their "arcana" before getting his soul consumed by Shang Tsung. He has a metal hat with a razor-sharp brim that he can throw like a deadly frisbee or stick in the ground and use like a table saw — which is how he deploys it against the winged vampire, Nitara.

In the scene, Kung Lao flips onto Nitara's back while she's mid-flight. His hat magically flies out of a wall where it's stuck, and sticks into the ground blade-side up. It starts spinning like a buzzsaw. Kung Lao pilots Nitara face-first into the saw, which splits her all the way down the middle. Blood is spraying everywhere, covering Kung Lao from hatless head to booted toe. We see her get cut completely in half without any clever camera diversions. Then, Kung Lao backflips off of Nitara, and the hat flies out of the ground. He catches it, swoops it onto his head, and declares "flawless victory," which is what the game says when a player beats their opponent without taking any damage themselves.

Kung Lao actor Max Huang told CinemaBlend that the gruesome scene was achieved using a mix of practical effects and CGI, but the blood you see is real. "When we shot that fatality, it was coming at me and it was a mess," Huang said. "And then later on they worked around with the CGI to make it even look more outstanding, but yes, the majority of it was all real. It was certainly gratuitous to say the least. I think the finished product ended up looking really great. I think a lot of people felt sick, on set watching it."

Fans are loving this fatality

This is the moment in "Mortal Kombat" that's gotten the biggest reaction from fans on social media. People have been posting about it on Twitter and Reddit since the movie was released last week.

"mortal kombat movie gave me everything i wanted," @thunderblunder7 tweeted. "i got to see a guy kill someone w/ his hat and then say flawless victory what else do you want from this s—."

@MAKINGBOSSMOVES, meanwhile, had a borderline-controversial take on Kung Lao's magic hat: "Just finished watching #MortalKombat and I'm convinced that Kung Lao's hat is better than Captain America shield."

Bobik8 on Reddit had a dumb, but somehow spiritually accurate take on Kung Lao. "His arcana was hat," they wrote.

"His fatality was the best in the movie no cap," BoyishTheStrange wrote on Reddit. "Actually he did use his cap," MeAndMeAgree replied.

To the surprise of many, "Mortal Kombat" is turning out to be the 2021 film event that nobody knew we needed. It's bringing people together and giving them joy through campy dialogue and scenes of gratuitous violence. "Just got in a 25 minute conversation with my Boss about Mortal Kombat 2021 and after listening to her gush about watching Kung Lao chop someone in half with his hat with her kids all I can say is, life is good," @Kepryn_ wrote on Twitter.

"Mortal Kombat" is available to stream on HBO Max until May 23.