The Mortal Kombat movie obviously can’t have the Earthrealm combatants fighting against themselves, so naturally, it had to assemble a team of Outworld fighters for them to square up against. That team of baddies consisted of some familiar faces that Mortal Kombat veterans and even more casual fans might’ve recognized, but there was one character, Reiko, who made an appearance in the movie as one of Outworld’s main fighters even though he hasn’t historically had a major presence in the games.
Spoiler Warning: MAJOR Spoilers for the Mortal Kombat Movie Are Found Below
When we first meet Reiko in the Mortal Kombat reboot, we’re appropriately in Outworld. Shang Tsung has called a huddle to brief his fighters on the plans to cheat Earthrealm out of a victory. We recognize Kabal immediately by his raspy voice and hookswords, and Mileena’s there, too, with her unmistakable mouth brimming with jagged teeth. Joining those two was … a guy with a hammer?
No disrespect to the Reiko mains out there who’ve enjoyed the character’s limited appearances since his introduction in Mortal Kombat 4, but it’d be totally understandable to not recognize Reiko right away. He’s appeared in far fewer games than most Mortal Kombat characters, especially if you only count the games he was playable in. Without as many defining features as the other Mortal Kombat fighters have, he simply doesn’t have as much going for him as someone like Liu Kang or Kano.
So, if he’s not a “main” character, who is he, and what’s he doing in the Mortal Kombat movie? When he was first introduced in Mortal Kombat 4 and in subsequent cameos, he was depicted as a somewhat older character befitting of his general status. His more important connection to the greater Mortal Kombat story is that he was a general under Shao Kahn, the powerful ruler of Outworld.
Even though he hasn’t historically had powers as interesting as Kung Lao’s sawblade hat or the control over the elements bestowed to Sub-Zero and Scorpion, his strength has always been great enough to rival the strongest of Mortal Kombat characters. Add the massive weapon he wields (officially dubbed the “Crude Hammer”) and you’ve got a recipe for a tough fighter to deal with.
But he didn’t look too tough in the Mortal Kombat movie. The imposing stature of actor Nathan Jones gave Reiko the physical form he needed to fit the character’s story, but after he bested an already battered Jax, Reiko was dispatched by the fighter’s mechanical arms with ease during their rematch. We saw Jax’s Fatality inflicted on Reiko before the movie even officially released, so that tells you what you need to know about where Reiko ranked among other characters in the movie.
Reiko’s limited screentime was expected given his infrequent appearances in the Mortal Kombat franchise, but it’s probably a good thing he made his rebooted debut and met his end here. It’s obvious from the movie’s ending that there are plans for sequels, and even though there are plenty of Mortal Kombat characters to pick from for those new movies, it doesn’t make sense to have all of the most popular ones in the first film. Otherwise, we’d be left with a film consisting only of C or D-tier Mortal Kombat characters after the main attractions fell to Fatalities, so Reiko’s quick sacrifice seems to be a worthwhile one in the long run. Given that he was a general in Shao Kahn’s army and Shao Kahn certainly exists in this rebooted universe, you can bet that the ruler won’t kindly embrace the fact that his go-to man was killed.