Mortal Kombat: 10 Interesting Facts About Kung Lao | ScreenRant
Kung Lao is one of the oldest and most iconic characters of the Mortal Kombat video games series. A former member of the White Lotus Society, he is the brother of the game's protagonist Liu Kang. Fans might also know him because of his hat which he occasionally uses as a weapon too. Apart from regular features in the Midway Games and Capcom series, Kung Lao even got his own game, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks that features him and his brother as the lead characters.
If Kung Lao is one of your favorite Mortal Kombat characters too, here are ten interesting pieces of trivia that you need to know about him.
10 His hat was inspired by a James Bond character
As stated by one of the game creators John Tobias, Kung Lao's trademark hat was actually inspired by a character in the classic James Bond flick Goldfinger. The character Oddjob was a henchman to the titular villain Auric Goldfinger. Played by Japanese-American wrestler Harold Sakata, he has appeared in various James Bond video games too and been one of the most popular characters of the 007 franchise.
His classic weapon, much like Kung Lao, was his hat. His derby hat had sharpened sides that Oddjob could throw like a flying discus and cleanly slice his enemies.
9 A parody version called Kung Pao
Back in 2013, a 2D competitive fighting game debuted called Divekick. It is a hilarious parody-like take on reputed fighting games like Street Fighter, Tekken, and Mortal Kombat and is played using only two buttons, Dive (that's used for jumping) or Kick.
A female playable character is called Kung Pao, which is an obvious parody of Kung Lao. She even wears his hat but in terms of moves, she's also somewhat similar to another class Mortal Kombat character, Kitana Kahn.
8 Appearance in Malibu's comics was slightly altered
Kung Lao, despite all his popularity, has not got much of his share in the two Mortal Kombat films, DC tie-in games, and other associated media. However, he has a major role in the short-lived comic series by Malibu comics. This avatar of the character has several alternations though.
He is depicted as living in exile in the Outworld after the fall of his lineage. He's also given a significant romantic storyline with Kitana, which runs contrary to his brother Liu Kang's relationship with her.
7 Kung Lao has been played by a John Wick villain
Kung Lao got more backstory in popular media with an appearance in the web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy in which he's portrayed by martial artist and actor Mark Dacascos. Dacascos is a veteran having appeared in several martial arts-based roles such as Cradle 2 The Grave, American Samurai, and more recently in the Netflix series Wu Assassins.
Viewers might most popularly know him as Zero, a ninja and the chief antagonist in John Wick 3: Parabellum who is obsessed with taking down John Wick.
6 Sword infomercials
As special features and gags, certain Mortal Kombat characters have humorous elements in games once in a while. For instance, in one Mortal Kombat game, the barbaric Scorpion is a chef who makes pastries and slices vegetables.
Similarly, in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Kung Lao has a funny image of himself as he has his own infomercial in which he sells swords for a limited time on the 'MK Shopping Channel.'
5 The hat sticks to his head even if you split it
Kung Lao's hat is like a boomerang. No matter how far he throws it to decapitate his adversaries, it rests back on his head. His hat is no less than a part of his body as there are moments during Fatality moves when it sticks on his head even if his head is sliced into two.
In these situations, the hat also splits in half and sticks on both halves of his head. However, during certain X-Ray moves (super moves introduced in 2011's Mortal Kombat that show the enemy's bones being crushed in an X-ray sequence), his hat can fall off.
4 His costume was featured in a Saints Row game
In the crime action-adventure game Saints Row IV, there's a subtle Easter Egg related to Kung Lao. In a few bonus scenes appearing as his super form and in a 'dance party' at the end of the game, one of the main characters Pierce Washington is dressed up as Kung Lao.
It is a brighter and more vibrant take on the costume and the hat, ditching the dark tones for more purplish hues.
3 A possibly mistranslated name
Kung Lao and Liu Kang are siblings but their names seem to be mistranslated. In the mythos of the game, both have the same ancestor, and ideally they should be sharing the same surname too.
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Further, Kung Lao seems to be a name that would suit Cantonese pronunciation while Liu Kang seems to have Mandarin origins. This means that both brothers might even share the same name but with a different pronunciation.
2 Kung Lao's hat makes a cameo in Injustice
In the DC fighting game Injustice 2, a few Mortal Kombat characters are playable like Scorpion and Raiden. Even if Kung Lao doesn't make an appearance, one can spot his name while customizing Raiden's gear, and more significantly his hat.
Raiden himself is another popular Mortal Kombat character who is known for his hat although it's not as lethal a weapon as Kung Lao's. Apart from the 'Sorrowful Hat of Kung Lao's Memory,' 'Liu Kang's Memorial Tunic' is also featured as a part of Raiden's gear.
1 A Jackie Chan stuntman is going to play him in the future
Shooting for a Mortal Kombat reboot (that will hopefully be less campy than the previous two films in the '90s) was to commence in Australia for a 2021 release. However, with the global pandemic, it's uncertain when this reboot will actually hit theatres.
For the role of Kung Lao, Max Huang is the stuntman and actor chosen. Huang's background includes his work as a part of Jackie Chan's Stuntmen Association, a group of martial artists who work alongside the legendary actor. His major stunt credits include films like Kingsman and Hitman: Agent 47.