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Mortal Kombat Fans Make It Clear How They Really Feel About Cole

"Mortal Kombat" is one of the biggest fighting franchises in the medium of video gaming. Though the series came from humble beginnings in the early '90s, its popularity exploded quickly in the wake of controversy surrounding the violence it contained (via BBC). Naturally, as soon as a political entity tells kids they shouldn't watch or play something, the item in question immediately skyrockets in sales. "Mortal Kombat" was no exception.

With this surge of success came a "Mortal Kombat" film adaptation in 1995. While fans were largely satisfied with the movie, a disappointing sequel put the kibosh on any new "Mortal Kombat" pictures for over two decades. That was until the popular "Mortal Kombat: Legacy" web series — and new hit video games — stirred up enough hype for the franchise to garner the interest of Warner Bros. Pictures in making another movie. While the latest "Mortal Kombat" did well enough to justify an upcoming sequel for itself, there's one element of the story that didn't quite sit well with fans of the franchise.

Fans were underwhelmed with Cole Young

On the r/movies subreddit, u/121jigawatts posted a review thread for the film so fans could discuss what they thought, and one through line was that viewers were pretty underwhelmed with lead character Cole Young (Lewis Tan). "Liu Kang should've been the main protagonist," said u/SengalBoy in the top comment. The character served as the central warrior in the original 1995 version of the film. u/MigsKicks agreed with the sentiment. "I thought the main character (Cole? I cannot even remember his name), was really boring," they said. u/juniperleafes went even further, saying: "Your main defining trait being how much of a loser you are doesn't make for a very compelling hero."

Admittedly, Cole's storyline of being a struggling MMA fighter isn't exactly a standout in "Mortal Kombat." Though the character does have an arc, which follows him learning to both believe in himself and protect his family, it doesn't exactly justify his addition to the already crowded franchise. u/WhoStoleMyBicycle was most succinct in their criticism of the character. "I wasn't opposed to a brand new character made just for this movie, but Cole was not the character they should have created," the user observed. "He was as generic as any straight-to-DVD action movie protagonist."

A new protagonist could make a sequel more compelling

Of course, if you've seen the film and happen to be a fan of the game series it was based on, you couldn't help noticing the tease that "Mortal Kombat" ended on. As the movie wraps up, Cole Young is heading off to recruit the latest warrior joining Earth Realm in the fight against Outworld, Hollywood actor Johnny Cage.

A fan favorite in both the video game series and the original 1995 film, Johnny Cage is famed for his signature shades and groin-busting punch maneuver. As his name suggests, he was partially inspired by real-life actors Nicholas Cage and Jean Claude Van-Damme, who was actually meant to play the character in the first game (via Games Radar).

Though Cole Young survived the events of the 2021 "Mortal Kombat" film and will no doubt be returning for the upcoming sequel, the fact that Johnny Cage is joining the roster as well will certainly help to make things a bit more entertaining this time around. Maybe he can even make Cole's storyline in the sequel a bit more exciting.