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|“||For Kung Lao, the Shaolin and Earthrealm!||„|
|~ Liu Kang, before he delivers a killing blow to Shao Kahn.|
|“||Show me what you can do.||„|
|~ Liu Kang's Battle Cry in Mortal Kombat (2011)|
Liu Kang is a Shaolin monk that is a member of the White Lotus Society and a hero from the Mortal Kombat series of fighting games.
Liu Kang was selected by the White Lotus Society to take part in the Mortal Kombat Tournament and wanted to defeat the sorcerer Shang Tsung, so as to return control of the tournament to the Shaolin Order. Kang trained with the master, Bo' Rai Cho, where he learned the Flying Dragon Kick technique. After arriving to compete, he befriended his fellow competitors, Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, and eventually won the right to challenge Goro, current nine-time champion. Kang used the Shokan prince's overconfidence to his advantage and emerged the victor in their battle, becoming the Mortal Kombat champion. After this, Kang was challenged by Shang himself and defeated him after an epic battle.
Mortal Kombat IIReturning victorious from Shang Tsung's island, Liu Kang arrived at the temple to find many of his brethren slaughtered by Tarkata. Outraged at this, the monk decided to journey Outworld for revenge, aided by a fellow White Lotus member, Kung Lao, the thunder god Raiden, and the two Lin Kuei warriors, Sub-Zero and Smoke. Kang managed to arrive at Johnny Cage's location, just as he was being attacked by Tarkatans, and then joined forces with Sonya and her superior Jax. They then headed to Outworld where Shao Kahn was having his own Mortal Kombat tournament.
During the tournament, Kang met Princess Kitana, whom he began to have feelings for and later found out that the tournament's purpose was to get rid of him and the others who had defeated Outworld in the tournament, but still chose to compete. Kang had to fight against Shang again, this time with his youth restored and his powers renewed, and the Shokan general Kintaro, before finally facing Shao Kahn. Kang managed to overpower the emperor, who ordered his forces to destroy the Earthrealm warriors, forcing them to head back to Earth and await the coming threat.
Mortal Kombat 3Upon their return to Earth, Liu Kang and Kung Lao began training a new generation of Shaolin warriors, but this was interrupted when Shao Kahn's invasion of Earthrealm began. Kang soon found himself the main target of the emperor's extermination squads, however, Lao went up against Kahn, only to be blasted by a powerful spell, presumably killing him. In a rage about the loss of his friend, Kang challenged the emperor to battle and emerged the victor once more, driving him and his forces back into Outworld and freeing the captured souls of Earth. Just before things went completely back to normal, Kang was thanked by Kitana for saving both Earth and her realm of Edenia from Kahn.
Mortal Kombat 4Liu Kang went to the United States of America in search of new Shaolin warriors to train, where he met his old friend Kai. They traveled to China together, where Kang trained his friend in the ways of the Shaolin warrior. However, the fallen Elder God Shinnok made his return and took control of Edenia, capturing Kitana. Kang set out on his own to try and rescue her, but he failed and returned to Earth, so as to gather his allies to aid Raiden. He eventually faced off against Shinnok, and defeated him as well, saving the Earthrealm. Kang believed he had lost Kitana forever, but she appeared to him through a portal and thanked him for all he had done. She then offered the monk a chance to join her on the throne of Edenia, but due to his responsibilities as Mortal Kombat champion, Kang refused.
Mortal Kombat: Deadly AllianceLiu Kang enjoyed a time of peace for some time, however the Deadly Alliance came to Earth to take care of him. Shang Tsung posed as Kung Lao to get into the Shaolin Temple and came upon the monk while he was practicing his katas. Though the sorcerer had some trouble fighting Kang at first, Quan Chi managed to blast him in the back, allowing Shang to snap the monk's neck and absorb his soul. Lao found his mutilated body and he was laid to rest at the Wu Shi Academy, where a shrine was built in his honor.
Mortal Kombat: DeceptionAfter Raiden released his godly essence in an attempt to destroy Onaga, it destroyed Quan Chi and Shang Tsung as well. Liu Kang watched these events through Shang's eyes and with the sorcerer's destruction, his soul and the thousands of other souls imprisoned within Shang were released. However, Raiden, corrupted upon his return, reanimated Kang's body as a vicious zombie that he sent on a rampage, even killing some of Kang's fellow monks. The monk chose to stay in Outworld to help to fight Onaga but when he discovered what Raiden had done and the havoc his corpse was wreaking, he was horrified. Despite it not technically being his fault, Kang could not help but feel some responsibility for what his zombie was doing.
After hearing that his comrades had been enslaved by Onaga, the monk enlisted the aid of Ermac so as to free them. However when he met Shujinko, Kang was glad to teach him his techniques to help him fight Onaga, not knowing that Shujinko had been deceived by the Dragon King into bringing him the Kamidogu. Afterwards, the monk succeeded in freeing his friends and had a small reunion with them, before setting out to get his body under control.
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
However, Liu Kang did not apparently succeed in this mission and was later bonded to Kitana to keep his spirit energy intact until they could find a way to bond his soul and body back together. At the gathering of the Forces of Light, Nightwolf came across them and took up the job of acting as Kang's spirit anchor. In his ending, Kang's defeat of Blaze reunited his body and soul once more, now with the powers of a god. The monk reluctantly confronted his mentor Raiden and defeated him, becoming the protector of Earthrealm.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC UniverseAfter Shao Kahn's invasion of Earthrealm was stopped, Liu Kang returned to the Wu Shi Academy, but then his fellow monks began to disappear. Kitana appeared to tell him that her Edenian warriors had begun to disappear as well and they concluded that either the Black Dragon or the Lin Kuei were responsible. The two split up to investigate with Kang going after Sub-Zero, but the ice ninja attacked him, thinking that he was responsible for the disappearances of some of the Lin Kuei. However the monk told him of his innocence and of the own disappearances that the White Lotus was suffering. Scorpion appeared and Kang fought him off, while Sub-Zero made his escape, however the specter was surrounded by a flash of yellow energy and was replaced by the Flash. The monk fought him, believing that the superhero was Shang Tsung in disguise, but realized that he was not the sorcerer. Kang brought him to the temple to be examined by the masters, where the real Shang confronted him. The two fought and he tried to examine the Flash himself, but the energy transported him to Gotham City, where he confronted Batman.
Liu Kang became overcome by the combat rage and mistook the dark knight for Shang Tsung as well. They fought and the monk was knocked unconscious, then brought to the U.N. orbital space station, where he was rescued by Raiden. Kang then teamed up with Shang in the alliance with the other Mortal Kombat fighters to face off against the members of the DC universe. After journeying to the fusion of Outworld and Apokolips, Kang faced off against Green Lantern in the final battle with the DC fighters. When Raiden was consumed by rage, the monk attempted to calm him and eventually succeeded in doing so, allowing the thunder god and Superman to go face Dark Kahn.In his ending, Raiden discovered the secrets of the Rock of Eternity and used its power to transform Liu Kang into a Captain Marvel for the Mortal Kombat universe, infusing the monk with his power, as well as that of his fellow gods, such as Argus and Fujin. In order to transform into a being in possession of unbeatable power, Kang simply had to shout "Mortal Kombat!"
Mortal Kombat (2011)
Liu Kang is first seen interacting with Raiden, as he is preparing for the first Mortal Kombat tournament. He is alongside Raiden when they approach Johnny Cage, and is notably upset when Johnny Cage shows disrespect to Raiden. Liu Kang appears once again when Raiden explains the situation regarding the Mortal Kombat tournament to Sonya and Jax. He is shocked when he finds that Kung Lao has snuck into the tournament. Kung Lao loses to Scorpion and Liu Kang helps him up.
Liu Kang's first appearance fighting is when Ermac is revealed as "the latest creation of Shao Kahn". Even though Liu Kang was never shown to have fought in the tournament, Shang Tsung states that Liu Kang is the final Earthrealm warrior remaining. Liu Kang defeats Ermac, and is later shown training with Raiden. Raiden receives another message from his future self, and states that the "He must win" must be Liu Kang. After Raiden leaves, Liu Kang is approached by Kitana, who tries to kill him. Liu Kang manages to defeat her. When Kitana tells Liu Kang to kill her for her failure to assassinate him, he refuses, stating that their encounter never happened.
Liu Kang then faces Scorpion and Quan Chi in a two-on-one battle, and defeats them both. He is then led to face Goro in Goro's Lair. After defeating Goro, Liu Kang returns to Shang Tsung's Throne Room, where he faces Shang Tsung. After defeating Shang Tsung, Liu Kang is regarded as Earthrealm's savior, although Raiden notices his amulet has cracked even more.
A ceremony at the Wu Shi Academy is held in honor of Liu Kang's Mortal Kombat tournament victory. As night falls, a revitalized Shang Tsung and an army of Tarkatans assault the academy. Jax is knocked unconscious, and when he awakens, Liu Kang is among the Earthrealm warriors who explain the latest situation to him along with Sonya's capture. As Johnny Cage, Jax, and Raiden appear to continue the new Mortal Kombat tournament, it is revealed that Liu Kang along with Kung Lao has been sent to free their Shaolin masters.
Liu Kang later appears with Raiden, Johnny Cage, Smoke, and Kung Lao when they are approached by Jade. It is during the conversation that Liu Kang learns of Kitana's capture and imprisonment. After a brief argument with Raiden over what to do, Liu Kang and Kung Lao head to the Tower to try to find Kitana. There they discover Kitana has been moved, and are suddenly attacked by Sheeva and Noob Saibot. Liu Kang faces Sheeva, while Kung Lao faces Noob Saibot, and eventually Goro, who - after being defeated by Kung Lao - informs the two of them that Kitana has likely been executed in the coliseum. Furious, Liu Kang knocks Goro out. Kung Lao, however, believes that Kitana may still be alive, and they hurry to the coliseum.
Discovering that Kitana is indeed still alive, Liu Kang goes to release Kitana from her imprisonment. Meanwhile, Kung Lao steps up and takes on the role of "he must win". After Kung Lao defeats Shang Tsung and Quan Chi in a two-on-one battle, and Kintaro shortly after, Shao Kahn kills Kung Lao in cold blood, enraging Liu Kang. As a result, Liu Kang faces, defeats, and seemingly kills Shao Kahn with a fiery punch. Kahn, however, survives thanks to the help of Quan Chi's magic. Quan Chi later resurrects Kahn's dead wife Sindel on Earth, allowing Kahn to invade Earthrealm.
Liu Kang accompanies Raiden to see the Elder Gods. They try to convince the Elder Gods to stop Shao Kahn, but the Elder Gods refuse to intervene. Shortly after they return to Earthrealm, they find almost all of the Earthrealm warriors dead, and Nightwolf sacrificing himself to kill Queen Sindel. Liu Kang rushes to a mortally wounded Kitana's side, as she eventually dies from her wounds , dying wiling holding Liu Kangs hand. Liu Kang is visibly upset with Raiden following the deaths of the Earthrealm warriors. After Raiden's latest suggestion to ask Quan Chi for help, Liu Kang believes Raiden to have become mad and refuses to go with him to the Netherrealm.
When Raiden returns from the Netherrealm and reveals to Liu Kang that "He must win" actually refers to Shao Kahn, Liu Kang refuses to let Shao Kahn win. He fights with Raiden, but is defeated. Shortly afterward, Shao Kahn enters Earthrealm, and Liu Kang once more tries to stop him. Again, Raiden forbids him to do so by sending electricity bolts in front of him. Infuriated, Liu Kang throws a fiery punch at Raiden, who defends himself with a blast of lightning. The combination of Raiden's electricity and Liu Kang's own fire severely burn Liu Kang's body, causing him fatal injuries. A horrified Raiden begs the mortally wounded Liu Kang to forgive him. The final words spoken by Liu Kang are to Raiden: "You....have killed us....all." before he closes his eyes and passes on.
After Shao Kahn's final defeat at the hands of Raiden and the Elder Gods, Liu Kang's body is taken away by Raiden, Sonya, and Johnny Cage.
Mortal Kombat X
Liu Kang is featured briefly in Hanzo Hasashi's flashback to Shang Tsung's tournament, fighting Scorpion and Quan Chi at the same time.
It is later revealed a temple was erected in the fallen warrior's honor, called the Kang Shaolin Temple, and it is there the monks protect the Kamidogu of Chaosrealm for Raiden.
The revenant of Liu Kang appears in Netherrealm alongside his fallen Shaolin brother Kung Lao and the undead princess Kitana, questioning Quan Chi of their next course of action after Havik's failure to deliver them Shinnok's amulet. Ultimately, it is decided to use Shinnok's newest acolyte D'Vorah to wait for an opportune moment to claim the amulet to release the fallen Elder God.
Liu Kang's earliest appearance in the story mode chronologically takes place in Raiden's flashback to twenty-five years earlier during the time both he and Kung Lao were alive before Shao Kahn's tournament in Outworld. After the Wu Shi Academy was invaded, several monks were kidnapped by Baraka and his Tarkatan horde. Liu Kang sets off with both Raiden and Kung Lao to free the monks. The trio eventually discover the monks being loaded onto a ship under the command of D'Vorah. He engages the Tarkatan Horde alongside Kung Lao, while Raiden deals with both Baraka and D'Vorah. After defeating their enemies, they proceed to free the monks on the first ship. Raiden then tells Liu Kang that he must return for the tournament, leaving Liu Kang and Kung Lao to seek out and free the remaining monks on the second ship that has already departed. Liu Kang promises Raiden that he will not fail, to which Raiden replies that he knows with a smile.
In the present, Liu Kang is first seen in the Netherrealm, now an undead revenant servant of Quan Chi. He along with the undead revenant versions of Kung Lao, Kitana, and Sindel ride to Quan Chi's fortress to await D'Vorah's arrival with Shinnok's amulet. As they approach the fortress, Quan Chi and company are ambushed by the Special Forces led by Jax and Kenshi along with the aid of Sareena. As the other revenants are fighting off the Special Forces, Liu Kang fights his way out and escorts Quan Chi to safety. As they arrive at the fortress, they are followed by Jax who intends to take Quan Chi back to Earthrealm. Liu Kang tries to stop Jax, expressing his disdain at him for rejoining Raiden's side. Jax replies that Raiden did his best and that he saved Earthrealm, but Liu Kang retorts that Raiden murdered him and stole everything from him. The two fight, and Liu Kang is defeated, resulting in Quan Chi being captured.
Liu Kang later appears along with Kung Lao, Kitana, Sindel, and Smoke on Earthrealm after Shinnok is freed. He along with the other revenants pledge their allegiance to him. Liu Kang then informs Shinnok of the human presence in the Netherrealm, but Shinnok is unworried and says they will be neutralized later. Liu Kang and the other revenants then accompany Shinnok and D'Vorah, along with the captive Johnny Cage, to the Sky Temple, where Shinnok attacks Bo' Rai Cho with his amulet. Raiden soon arrives to stop Shinnok only to be surrounded by the revenants. Liu Kang asks if they can kill Raiden, but Shinnok orders them to let him live so that he could seal Raiden himself. As Shinnok leaves for the Jinsei, Liu Kang, along with the other revenants, taunt Raiden before the latter proceeds to engage them. Raiden successfully knocks out Sindel, Kitana, and Smoke with electricity, then defeats Kung Lao in kombat. He is then confronted by Liu Kang. Before their fight, Raiden tries to reach out to his former student by telling him that this is not his destiny. Liu Kang retorts by sarcastically asking Raiden if he still has visions of the future. He then reminds Raiden of his death at the latter's hands. Raiden claims it was an accident, but Liu Kang thanks Raiden for "freeing" him and declares that he will help Shinnok overthrow the Elder Gods. The two fight, and Liu Kang is defeated by his former mentor.
After Cassie Cage, Jacqueline Briggs, Takeda Takahashi, and Kung Jin arrive at the Sky Temple, they overhear Liu Kang, D'Vorah, Kitana, and Sindel discussing Shinnok's plans to conquer Earthrealm and invade the Heavens. Liu Kang leaves with Kung Lao and Smoke in order to find a way to access Raiden's portal to the Heavens. He then comes back with Kung Lao and Smoke after Cassie has defeated Sindel and Kitana. Takeda and Jacqui hold off Liu Kang and his undead comrades long enough for Cassie to defeat Shinnok. After Shinnok is defeated and the Jinsei restored, Liu Kang retreats back to the Netherrealm with the other revenants.
In the post-credit scene, Liu Kang and Kitana are now the rulers of the Netherrealm. Both he and Kitana are threatened by Raiden who throws them the severed, yet still living head of Shinnok. Raiden, who has become corrupted after cleansing the Jinsei, declares that he will no longer stand by and simply defend Earthrealm, and goes on to state that any who threaten Earthrealm will suffer "fates worse than death." Raiden then departs, leaving Liu Kang and Kitana to stare at Shinnok's head.
PowersLiu Kang is a highly skilled fighter as seen due to his victory in every Mortal Kombat tournament. He is an extremely skilled martial artist, possessing incredible acrobatic skills and agility and knowledge in a variety of techniques. Kang is able to perform a powerful flying kick attack, use a bicycle kick, and send out fireballs from his hands that take the shape of dragon heads. These fireballs are part of fire element theme to Kang, which also is involved with some of his fatalities. It also suggested that he regularly increases and maintains his strength through mediation and as champion of Mortal Kombat, he never ages.
Appearances in other media
Portrayed by Robin Shou, Liu Kang is the main hero in both Mortal Kombat movies (Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation), and it's there that his love interest with Kitana develops, and was later ported to the games.
In the first Mortal Kombat movie, Kang's brother was killed by Shang Tsung. The guilt of his brother's death provides Kang's primary motivation for competing in the Mortal Kombat tournament.
In the second movie Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Kang joins the Earthrealm warriors to stop Shao Kahn's menace.
TV appearanceLiu Kang also appeared in the animated cartoon series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, where the series relies on the group of protagonists instead of one hence, including Kang, who was the main protagonist in the Mortal Kombat series.
- Liu Kang is the only character to have a fatality that does not kill the opponent, his original one, which was done because he was supposed to be a pacifistic monk character.
- Upon him beating Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat II, the usual occurrence of Kahn's voice announcing him as winner is replaced with the monk giving off a small war cry.
- The hooked chains that are attached to Liu Kang's arms have been in much demand to be used as his weapon fighting style, especially after he used them in the intro to Armageddon to attack Shang Tsung. These were later revealed by Raiden's Armageddon bio to be enchanted shackles used by a group of necromancers to control their undead. The thunder god had used their spells to turn Kang's body into a zombie, which is why he put the chains on the corpse.
- He deals double damage to Onaga in Deception.
- Liu Kang's alternate costumes in Armageddon and Deception depict him as a human or at least his soul fused with his body.
- His name was originally going to be Minamoto Yoshitsune, a legendary Japanese mythological character, but John Tobias decided the name was too long to deal with.
- Liu Kang was portrayed by Ho Sung Pak in the first two games, the same actor who ironically portrayed Shang Tsung in the first game.
- The Human Tornado, a pro wrestler, uses a move called the Liu Kang Kick, in homage to the character.
- Liu Kang was intended to be a secret surprise character in Deception. He is the most difficult to unlock and was meant to shock fans that their hero had been brought back as such a corrupted being.
- In the Flash's ending in Mortal Kombat vs DC, he and Liu Kang form a psychic connection that allows them to warn each other if their worlds are threatened again, due to earlier events.
- Liu Kang is the only character that has his own voice file for every game he appeared in, consisting of "kiai," a shout that is said to maximize the force of the user's attacks. His voice in dialogue changed from a regular casual voice in Shaolin Monks to one with more of an Asian accent in Mortal Kombat vs. DC.
- Liu Kang's original fatality and his fatality from MK2, where he turned into an Asian style dragon to bite off top of his opponent's body, was voted second on Screwattack's Top 10 Lists of Worst Mortal Kombat and Best Mortal Kombat Fatalities respectively.