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Kung Lao

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Kung Lao
KungLao Cutout 001 copia
Real Name Kung Lao (功老)
Origin Earthrealm - China
Resides 1st Timeline: Earthrealm
2nd Timeline: Netherrealm
Species Human
Weapons Battle Axe (MKG)
Broadsword (MK:DA, MK:A)
Razor-Rimmed Hat (All Series)
Fighting Styles Mantis (MK:DA, MK:SM)
Shaolin Fist (MK:DA, MK:SM, MK:A)
Kenpo (MK:SM)
White Lotus (MK:SM)
Alignment 1st timeline: Good
2nd timeline: Unwillingly Evil (Formerly Good)
Games Mortal Kombat II
Mortal Kombat 3
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Ultimate Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat Advance
Mortal Kombat Trilogy
Mortal Kombat Gold
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
Mortal Kombat: Deception (cameo)
Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Mortal Kombat: Unchained (cameo)
Mortal Kombat (2011)
Portrayers Anthony Marquez (MKII, MK3, UMK3, MKT)
Paolo Montalban (Conquest)
Joshua Y. Tsui (MKG)
Jin Hyong (MK 2011)
Mark Dacascos (MKL)

Kunglao-mk2-fixKunglao mk3

 
 
For the Shaolin!
 

 

—Kung Lao's Mortal Kombat (2011) Battle Cry

Kung Lao (功老)[1] is a character in the Mortal Kombat series, and made his debut in Mortal Kombat II.

About Kung LaoEdit

Kung Lao is a former Shaolin monk and a member of the White Lotus Society. He stands in the shadow of his great ancestor, the Great Kung Lao, but unlike his great ancestor he has no desire to be champion and would rather live a life of peace. As well, he has sought counsel from master Bo' Rai Cho. Of the Earthrealm warriors, Kung Lao is the most outspoken pacifist, although he will not hesitate to severely punish those who attack him, Earthrealm, or his friends. His trademark is his Razor-Rimmed Hat, which he can employ quite powerfully and effectively in combat. Many of his fatalities involve the use of his hat to some extent.

According to MK co-creator John Tobias in a 1995 interview with EGM, Kung Lao's hat was inspired by the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger, in which a character named Oddjob threw his derby hat as a weapon.

Combat CharacteristicsEdit

Powers and AbilitiesEdit

Kung Lao possesses similar abilities to Liu Kang when it comes to strength, agility and martial arts. However, those are not his most deadly weapon. Kung Lao's preferred weapon of choice is the razor-edged hat that he wears all the time. The hat is usually utilized to instill fatal and amputating blows, mainly in decapitation. Kung Lao appears to have absolute control over the hat as he is able to throw whilst it moves in circular directions instead of straight ahead.The hat also appears to have supernatural properties: No matter how far he throws it or where it'll end up, the hat will always materialize back on Kung Lao's head like an instant boomerang. He appears to also have some degree of teleportation as well.

Signature MovesEdit

  • Wind Teleport: Kung Lao goes to the ground and reappears behind his opponent. It could be followed by multiple moves. In MK 2011 it is named Teleport and can be followed by a punch, throw, or kick. (MKII, MK3, UMK3, MKT, MKG, MK:SM, MK:A, MK 2011)
  • Double Pass Teleport: Kung Lao passes twice before appearing behind his opponent. (MKT, MKG, MK:SM)
  • Hat Throw: Kung Lao hurls his hat at the opponent. In MK 2011 this is called Hat Toss. His hat can also be directed upwards or downwards in MKII, MKT, and MK 2011. (MKII, MK3, UMK3, MKT, MKG, MK:DA, MK:SM, MK:A, MK 2011)
    • The enhanced version is called Ultimate Hat. Kung Lao throws the hat underhand and it slices into the opponent, spinning for a few seconds. This is the MK3/MKT version of his Hat Throw, & it can't be directed as the regular version can.
  • Ground Hat: Kung Lao throws his hat on the ground, causing it to spin towards the opponent. (MK 2011)
    • The enhanced version is called Grinding Hat. The hat will stay on the ground for a second before launching into the air.
  • Whirlwind Kick: Kung Lao flies towards his opponent spinning like a tornado, doing multiple kicks that knocks them down. (MK:DA, MK:A)
  • 3D Shield / Whirlwind Spin: Spinning like a tornado, Kung Lao knocks his opponent into the air. In Mortal Kombat Trilogy and Mortal Kombat Gold he could move while spinning. In MK 2011 this is called Spin, & it is now a major component of his gameplay as a launcher. (MKII, MK3, UMK3, MKT, MKG, MK:SM, MK 2011)
    • The enhanced version is called Cyclone. Kung Lao will spin forward instead of stationary.
  • Torpedo: A move taken from Raiden. Kung Lao flies towards the opponent and pushes them against the corner. Only the MK 2 version of Kung Lao in MK Trilogy can do this move.(MKT)
  • Dive Kick: Also called the Bullet Kick, Kung Lao dives down from the air and attacks his opponent. This move leaves him extremely vulnerable if blocked. (MKII, MK3, UMK3, MKT, MKG, MK:SM, MK:A, MK 2011)
    • The enhanced version is called Multi Kick.
  • X-Ray Move - Fist of Shaolin: Kung Lao performs a massive Spin. Upon connecting, he will grab his foe & deliver a hard chop to the neck, near the windpipe. As they are stunned, trying to recover, he then hits the back of their neck with a second chop, shattering their vertebrae. (MK 2011).

Other MovesEdit

  • Throw: Kung Lao grabs his opponent and Whirlwind Spin several times before slamming them to the ground. (MK 2011)
  • Throw: Early games have Kung Lao performing a very elaborate flip throw while shouting random gibberish, from the ground (MK2, MKT) & a jumping version (MK3, MKT). If performed too close to the wall, Kung Lao will do a simple overhead toss in MK2 only.
  • Hat Slice: Perhaps referencing to his infamous MK2 Fatality, Kung Lao chops downward with a very similar-looking overhead command attack. (MK2011)

FatalitiesEdit

  • Body Slice: Kung Lao brings his razor hat down, slicing the opponent vertically in half with a clean swipe. (MKII, MK:SM)
  • Hat Decapitation: Kung Lao throws his hat, which arcs upward suddenly, chopping his enemy's head off. (MKII, MKT, MKG)
  • Hat Boomerang: Kung Lao tosses his hat at an enemy, decapitating them. The hat then ricochets off the far wall of the screen and doubles back, cutting the enemy in half. A third ricochet slices the enemy off at the knees. (MK3, UMK3, MKT, MKG)
  • Tornado: Kung Lao executes his Cyclone Spin, and sucks the opponent into it, causing them to explode violently. This was changed to a Multality in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. (MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK:SM)
  • Hat Toss: Kung Lao throws his hat at the opponent, which gets lodged in their head. He then stomps on the opponent's stomach to retrieve his hat. In Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, he slams it into the opponent's head and then retrieves it when his opponent is on their knees. (MK:DA, MK:SM)
  • Mid-Air Slice: Kung Lao kicks the opponent into the air and then amputates his opponent's limbs and head with his hat. (MK:SM)
  • Arm Cutter: Kung Lao chops off the arms with his hat, and as his opponent attempts to run away, throws it, decapitating them. (MK:SM)
  • Friendly Rabbit: Kung Lao takes off his hat and pulls out a bunny, which his opponent waves at in rejection. He then proceeds to beat the opponent with it until they explode. (MK:SM)
  • Unfriendly Rabbit: Kung Lao once again pulls a bunny out of his hat and throws it at the opponent, they catch it and pet it before it proceeds to eat the opponent. The bunny eventually bites the opponent's head off. (MK:SM)
  • Head Toss: Kung Lao kicks the opponent in the gut. He then grabs them by the head, jumps over them and pulls off their head, throwing it away. (MK:SM)
  • Many Chops: Kung Lao takes off his hat and cuts off each limb one by one. As the opponent falls to the ground, Kung Lao walks over and slams his hat down on the opponent's neck, decapitating them. (MK:SM)
  • Razor's Edge: Kung Lao kicks his opponent to the ground, then takes off his hat and makes it roll continuously on the ground. He then drags his opponent through the buzzsaw groin first. In MK 2011, Kung Lao lifts up the victim by his/her legs rather than retrieving the hat. (MK:SM, MK 2011)
  • Hat Trick: Kung Lao throws his hat past his opponent. The hat comes back like a boomerang, decapitating the opponent. Kung Lao quickly catches his hat and vertically slices the opponent's body in half. (MK 2011)

Other FinishersEdit

  • Friendship #1: Bunny Trick: Kung Lao takes a bunny out of his hat. (MKII)
  • Friendship #2: Frisbee Hat: Kung Lao tosses his hat and a dog chases it off screen. The dog yelps loudly and Kung Lao cringes then shakes his head in regret. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
  • Animality: Ragin' Cheetah: Kung Lao turns into cheetah and mauls his dazed opponent. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
  • Multality: Hat Whirlwind: Kung Lao tosses his hat, which spins around, mutilating surrounding enemies. (MK:SM)
  • Multality #2: Tornado: Kung Lao spins at a high speed sucking up anyone close by, killing them. (MK:SM)
  • Brutality: Razor's Edge: Kung Lao takes off his hat in rage, running towards the opponent, slashing them with his trademark hat, slicing them for the final time, then decapitates them. (MK:SM)
  • Babality: Kung Lao throws his hat in baby form, which comes back with TaiGore following behind, trampling Kung Lao and making him cry. (MK 2011)

Appearances in Other MediaEdit

Mortal Kombat LegacyEdit

Kung Lao is portrayed by Mark Dacascos in Season 2 of Mortal Kombat: Legacy.

In the series, he was a close friend of Liu Kang's, as they were both members of the White Lotus temple. After Liu Kang won the Mortal Kombat tournament ten years ago, he chose to leave the temple and pursue a life with his girlfriend Molly. Though disappointed, Kung Lao respected his decision. Tragedy struck however, as Liu Kang returned to the temple one night, bloodied and despondent, informing Kung Lao of Molly's death. Kung Lao had already heard of her death and gives Liu Kang his condolences, admitting the reason he did not see him sooner was because he was unsure of his presence would have done more harm than good.

Seeing the blood covering Liu Kang is not his own, Kung Lao asks him what he has done. Liu Kang admits he has performed 'karma' on the men that killed Molly. Kung Lao harshly informs him that he is not a god and that karma is not his to deliver. Liu Kang argues that he has cleansed the world of filth and that what he did was no different than what he would have done in a tournament. Kung Lao reminds him he is a protector of Earthrealm, and that means he must protect its people and ideals.

Kung Lao then asks him if he thinks he is the first person to lose someone he has loved and that a stronger person would not have answered violence with violence, that it only creates a cycle of misery for the world. Kung Lao further informs him he should have upheld the value of sila, harmony and order, and that those who do not follow these ideals are no better than the inhabitants of Outworld.

Kung Lao tells him that those of White Lotus must follow this, but Liu Kang reminds him he is no longer White Lotus. Kung Lao then asks him why he is here, since he is not there for forgiveness. Liu Kang tells him he was hoping he would understand. Kung Lao again reminds him that because he chose to leave the order and live the life of a normal man, with joy comes pain and that he must follow it to its conclusion.

Kung Lao then unemotionally tells Liu Kang he is on his own, and to leave the temple and never return. Kung Lao begins to walk away, with Liu Kang pleading to him, but Kung Lao only gives him one last look before walking away.

Ten years later, Kung Lao finds Liu Kang in a bar Macau, having just brutally beaten several gangsters up and is being punched by the last. Kung Lao kindly offers not injure the thug any further if he lets Liu Kang go. When the thug refuses, Kung Lao knocks him out with a single toss of his hat, and easily catches it on the rebound. Liu Kang is shocked to see his former friend, and the two converse outside the bar.

Though confused by his former friend's sudden appearance, Kung Lao attempts to make peace with Liu Kang, but only receives slurred insults and belligerent remarks from the former Lotus. Though he had hoped Liu Kang wanted to see him, Kung Lao informs Liu Kang that the tournament starts tomorrow and that he wants them to make peace.

Liu Kang thinks he only wants to due to his conscience acting up, but Kung Lao tells him he does not seek forgiveness, once again reiterating Liu Kang's decisions to leave the temple and pursue a life with a woman, and then Liu Kang retorts that it was Kung Lao's decision to abandon him when he needed him most, still angry that he risked his life for 'ungrateful animals'. Kung Lao tells him he chose another path for his life, and while it disappointed him, he has respected his choices and asks that Liu Kang respect his.

Kung Lao then admits that he only wants that they understand each other, as this may be their last chance. Liu Kang only insults him further, saying that he does not need to understand him and Kung Lao will never understand him. When Kung Lao refuses to move out his way, Liu Kang punches him hard enough to make is nose bleed.

Disappointed, but refusing to be baited, Kung Lao dons his hat and leaves.

That night, Kung Lao takes part in a cleansing meditation before traveling to a deserted alleyway the next morning. Muttering incantations, Kung Lao vanishes, reappearing on an island, dressed for battle. Shortly after, he is followed by Kurtis Stryker, Johnny Cage, Sub-Zero and Kenshi, with the thunder god Raiden greeting them.

That night, Kung Lao sits among a campfire as Raiden explains on the island, their innate supernatural abilities will be freely expressed here, making them more powerful, pointing out to Kung Lao his ability to channel elements, a power Kung Lao has always known he had possessed.

The tournament begins, and Kung Lao spends the better part of the day wandering the island when he comes across Stryker and Johnny Cage having been defeated by a hooded fighter of Shang Tsung's. Kung Lao throws his hat to disarm the kombatant of Stryker's own gun and is shocked to realize it is Liu Kang.

Kung Lao asks him why he did not tell him the night before in Macau, and tries to remind Liu Kang that they were once like brothers, but Liu Kang merely brushes this off as "another life". Kung Lao reveals he thought Liu Kang had the strength to rise out of his misery and return, and tries to convince Liu Kang that there is still good in him. Liu Kang disagrees and Kung Lao questions him for following Shang Tsung, trying to remind him where the path he is on leads too.

Liu Kang admits to Kung Lao he has done things over the past ten years "that you would not believe" but that each time he confirmed the righteousness of his path was confirmed, calling the people of Earthrealm ungrateful and that Kung Lao is naive to think they are worth protecting.

Kung Lao admits humanity is not perfect but that their ideals are worth fighting for and protecting, Liu Kang then coldly asks him if he was aspiring to those ideals when he turned his back on him. Kung Lao makes it clear he will not fight him, and Liu Kang simply snarls he will die then. The season ends as the two stare each other down.

OtherEdit

  • Kung Lao made several appearances in Malibu Comics' MK series. His story is slightly altered, stating he is an exile in Outworld due to the failure of his ancestor, and the fall of his lineage. During the Blood & Thunder series he has a minor participation rescuing a near-death Liu Kang after he was stabbed by Kano. In the Battlewave series, he joins with Kitana, Baraka and Sub-Zero in an attempt to overthrow the Emperor Shao Kahn. During the comics, he shares a very close relation with Kitana, contradicting the games' official story about Liu Kang and Kitana's love relationship.
  • He was featured in his own one-shot issue from Malibu Comics in the summer of 1995. The comic, entitled Rising Son, showed his struggle against Shang Tsung and his shapeshifting mind tricks, using his friends' forms (Kitana, Baraka and Sub-Zero) as well as his ancestor's form to kill him. It would be the very last issue produced in Malibu's Mortal Kombat series.
  • Kung Lao was also the centerpiece of the non-canon 1995 Mortal Kombat novel written by Jeff Rovin. However, his description therein completely differed from that of the games; he was depicted as being tall, bald save for a queue of long black hair (similar to Goro), and wearing a long white robe.

Stage RelationshipsEdit

  • Shaolin Temple: One of the places where Kung Lao honed his training. (MKG)
  • Wu Shi Academy: Kung Lao wished to rebuild the White Lotus Society here after the Tarkatan invasion. (MK:DA)

QuotesEdit

  • "I am Liu Kang's Equal!" (to Raiden)
  • "Watch and see" (When Raiden tells him he needs to show he is Liu Kang's equal)
  • "I accept the challenge. Never mind the Lin Kuei, now you will face the Shaolin!" (to Scorpion)
  • "We must follow then" (To Raiden about the Tarkatans)
  • "A personality that is not at all like sanding paper." (When Johnny Cage asks what Raiden has that he doesn't)
  • "I hope your girlfriend is worth Lord Raiden's anger, Liu Kang." (Kung Lao teasing Liu Kang about Kitana)
  • "Be thankful that I choose not to spill your tainted blood." (after defeating Noob Saibot)
  • "Who are you? There is something familiar..." (to Noob Saibot)
  • "Do you need help? Four arms against two is hardly a fair fight." (to Liu Kang who's fighting Sheeva)
  • "You have had your match with Liu Kang. Now you will face me!" (to Goro)
  • "Now, if you have any honor left... you will tell us where Kitana is!" (after beating Goro)
  • "It is done!" (after beating Shang Tsung and Quan Chi)
  • "See, Raiden! Earthrealm is free-" (as Shao Kahn kills him)

TriviaEdit

  • He is the main character in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, and co-protagonist of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks.
  • Lao (老, "old") is possibly mistranslation. Since he and Liu Kang share the same ancestor, they might share the same surname. Lao is the Holonese (or Min-nanese) and Cantonese pronunciation of "劉", which is Liu in the Mandarin.
  • Kung Lao appears in the intro of Armageddon, fighting Baraka in mid-air using his sword.
  • Kung Lao can be seen using his Hat Throw and Teleport Techniques in the intro of Shaolin Monks, fighting Baraka, Goro and Scorpion separately.
  • Despite being a major character in the Mortal Kombat series, the modern Kung Lao was rarely established in most of the MK media including the two films, the live action MK Conquest tv show, or even the USA cartoon series though there are hints that he would star in the next season of MK Legacy.
  • Kung Lao's body can be seen in the introduction of Mortal Kombat: Deception, located on the stairs leading to the Soulnado chamber. He is also in Mortal Kombat: Deception's Konquest Mode, where he asks Shujinko to find Kai in Outworld.
  • In Deadly Alliance, Kung Lao has a joke image of himself having his own infomercial and selling swords for a limited time.
    • In Deadly Alliance and Armageddon, he and Quan Chi use the same weapon, except Kung Lao uses one sword while Quan Chi fights with two.
    • Also, in Deadly Alliance, Kung Lao has the same voice actor as Raiden, Hsu Hao, and Mokap.
  • In the first episode of Mortal Kombat: Conquest, the original Kung Lao is briefly seen wearing the modern-day Kung Lao's attire including his iconic hat prior to defeating Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat.
  • The White Lotus Society had meant for Kung Lao to be their champion in Mortal Kombat, but he refuses; only wanting peace and nothing to do with the dangerous and brutal tournament, so they sent Liu Kang instead.
    • However, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks retconned this, by stating that Liu Kang was chosen over him, and an arrogant and jealous Kung Lao went to the tournament in disguise as a Masked Guard. This was not considered canon, due to Shaolin Monks not being consistent with the series. In Mortal Kombat 2011 he entered in the tournament only to prove to Raiden that he was a worthy warrior, not to be the champion.
    • Though his Arcade ending in MK 2011 is non-canon, it is interesting that he is referred to as a reincarnation of The Great Kung Lao as well as a descendant. Whether this is true is unknown.
  • His Fatality in MK 2011, Razor's Edge, shares the same name as his Brutality in MK:SM.
  • In MK 2011, he seems to be oblivious to the fact that Goro killed his ancestor.
  • During certain X-Ray Moves, Kung Lao's hat will fall off. However, during certain Fatalities, the hat will stay on Kung Lao's head, even if his head is split in half. The hat will also split in half and remain attached to the halves of Kung Lao's head.
  • Kung Lao's Unfriendly Rabbit may be a reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Both of his Rabbit finishers may also be references to his Friendship in MKII.
  • In the opening cutscene of the MK 2011 Story Mode, Kung Lao is seen dead with the skeleton hands of Shinnok's clone wrapped around him, leading many to believe Shinnok's clone killed Kung Lao. Kung Lao's hat is also seen in between the split head of Baraka, leading many to believe Kung Lao killed Baraka.
  • In Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Kung Lao had his costume reversed: his alternate costume (with long hair) as the main costume and the primary costume (with his trademark hat) as the secondary costume.
  • Early on in the development of MK 2011, his X-Ray was listed as "Kick Of Shaolin", despite no kick ever taking place during the move. Perhaps it was a typo or in reference to an omitted move. It was fixed in later patches.
  • In the video game Saints Row IV, Pierce Washington dresses as Kung Lao when in his super form.[2]
  • Kung Lao's Hat decapation fatality was the only fatality in Mortal Kombat II where the player had to aim the hat unlike most finishers, which were triggered instantly.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Japanese manual of SNES version Mortal Kombat II)
  2. Super Pierce in Saints Row IV
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