Mortal Kombat: Annihilation was released in 1997 and served as the sequel to the surprisingly successful 1995 movie adaptation of the popular fighting video game of the same name, Mortal Kombat.
What was the movie about?
While the original movie centered around an unlikely band of heroes in their quest to defeat Shang Tsung and his otherworldly compatriots in a martial arts tournament, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation sees our band of warriors return to Earth, or “Earthrealm” as it’s called in the Kombat world, only to find movie big bad Shao Kahn has ignored the rules of the contest and decided to invade anyway.
While the original grossed over $100 million against a $20 million budget, the followup Mortal Kombat: Annihilation fell flat and finished the series with a gruesome fatality earning only $51 million against a $30 million dollar budget.
It was universally lambasted by critics and fans alike and received overwhelming negative reviews, earning it a spot as a strong contender for one of the worst movies ever made.
Why was it such a bad movie?
The acting performances were pitiful, the special effects were laughable, and the script writing was downright silly. In fact, one line, delivered with campy cliché villain affect by Musetta Vander, is often referred to as “the worst line in script writing history.”
Since screenings of the unfinished film tested well with audiences, New Line Cinema scrapped plans to polish and finalize the film and released it as is instead. However, the actors must have known something was amiss, as only two from the original movie returned to reprise their roles.
What is the cast of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation up to now? Read on and find out!
Robin Shou as ‘Liu Kang’
Robin Shou reprised his role as Liu Kang for Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, giving him the opportunity to become a gigantic, poorly animated CGI dragon at the end and face off against another equally awful-looking CGI dragon.
Shou would appear in a number of films following Annihilation including Beverly Hills Ninja, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li, and three Death Race film installments between 2008 and 2013.
In addition, Shou provided martial arts training to actors in other action movies. Most notably, he trained Milla Jovovich for her role in the Resident Evil movies.
Talisa Soto as ‘Kitana’
Talisa Soto joined Robin Shou as the only other actor foolhardy enough to reprise their role in the stinker of a sequel and portrayed Princess Kitana in Annihilation.
Soto would enjoy a plethora of plum roles and features throughout the ‘90s including Duan Juan DeMarco alongside Johnny Depp, an appearance in Marc Anthony’s music video for “I Need to Know”, and features in People, Sports Illustrated, and Maxim all lauding her beauty.
Soto remained an actress after Annihilation and appeared in films like Island of the Dead, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, and La Mission. In 2002, Soto starred in a film called Piñero. Having just divorced her first husband, actor Costas Mandylor, in 2000, Soto and co-star Benjamin Bratt began dating and were married in 2002.
The two would move to San Francisco and have two children together. Soto was uncredited but appeared in the film Elysium starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster in 2013. It would mark her last film and her official retirement from acting.
James Remar as ‘Raiden’
Remar played the electrifying deity Raiden in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, and would enjoy a number of roles following his appearance in the film.
In film, Remar has appeared in movies like What Lies Beneath, The Girl Next Door, 2 Fast 2 Furious, X-Men: First Class, Django Unchained, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Dead Reckoning to name a few.
Remar has an extensive career in TV as well, with notable roles including Richard Wright on Sex and the City between 2001 and 2004, Dexter’s father Harry Morgan on acclaimed series Dexter, Frank Gordon on Gotham, and most recently Peter Gambi in The CW’s superhero drama Black Lightning. He has done guest spots on innumerable shows ranging from The X-Files to Grey’s Anatomy to The Shannara Chronicles.
He has also lent his voice to characters on animated shows like The Legend of Korra, Pound Puppies, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, and Beware the Batman. Remar lends his voice to popular video games Destiny and Destiny 2 as well.
Remar remains active in the industry to this day.
Sandra Hess as ‘Sonya Blade’
Sandra Hess replaced Bridgette Wilson for Mortal Kombat’s sequel playing Special Ops officer Sonya Blade. Hess, a Swiss actress and model, would go on to enjoy a few more big screen roles in films such as Beach House, One Way, and Remarkable Power.
Hess would land some main cast and recurring roles on TV as well, including 1998’s Pensacola: Wings of Gold and General Hospital in 2008. Other guest appearances included Sliders, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The Young and the Restless, and NCIS.
Although Hess has not officially retired, her last TV appearance was on a single episode of CSI: NY in 2012.
Lynn ‘Red’ Williams as ‘Jax Briggs’
Williams replaced Gregory McKinney as Sonya Blade’s right hand man, Jax Briggs. Unfortunately, this role would become Wiliams’ defining role as an actor and not much would come after. He would appear as a guest on shows NightMan and Sons of Thunder before moving onto voicework on video games including Mortal Kombat: Federation of Martial Arts, Saints Row: The Third, and Saints Row IV in 2013. Since 2013, he has not worked in the industry.
Williams is a member of the Constitutional Rights Foundation and the Cancer II Foundation. Today, he spends most of his time as a public speaker and motivational speaker.
Brian Thompson as ‘Shao Kahn’
Thompson played the role of the resident Mortal Kombat baddie, Shao Kahn. Thompson would continue appearing in films including Joe Dirt, The Order, The Arcadian, The Extendables, Trafficked, Hoax, and The Tragedy of Macbeth.
On TV, Thompson appeared as a guest or infrequent recurring character on shows like The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, NCIS, Hawaii Five-0, and NCIS: Los Angeles. Thompson has appeared in a number of Star Trek series as well, including The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise, and Trek-inspired The Orville. Thompson remains an actor today.
Reiner Schöne as ‘Shinnok’
Schöne, a German actor, portrayed Shinnok in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, which introduced him as Shao Kahn and Raiden’s father despite them having no relation whatsoever in the game’s lore.
Schöne made some appearances in American TV and film after Annihilation, including roles on Babylon 5, Sliders, and in the 2011 movie Priest. However, most of his work would be German features including roles in Ice Planet, Der Minister, and A Heavy Heart.
Schöne also provided voices for German dubs of American films, including dubs in Atlantis: The Lost Empire, 2002’s Spider-Man dubbing over Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith as Darth Vader, and Optimus Prime for the German version of the Transformers movies between 2007 and 2018.
He remains active in acting, dubbing, and voice acting today.
Musetta Vander as ‘Sindel’
Musetta Vander wins the award for “worst line in script writing history” and it’s equal parts bad writing and bad delivery. A South African actress, model, and dancer, Vander portrayed Kitana’s presumed dead mother Sindel.
Vander would go on to appear in a number of other films including Wild, Wild West, O Brother Where Art Thou?, The Cell, Kicking & Screaming, Breaking Point, Under the Bed, and The Hatred.
She would appear as a guest on many popular TV shows including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Babylon 5, Pensacola: Wings of Gold, Xena: Warrior Princess, Stargate SG-1, Frasier, NCIS, and Hawaii Five-0.
Vander has appeared in movies, TV shows, commercials, music videos, and even video games including Dune 2000 and Emperor: Battle for Dune. Although her last film credits are in 2017, Vander has not officially retired from acting as of today.
Beyond acting, modeling, and dancing, Vander is a certified Master of Medical Qigong Therapy and Qigong Oncology. She provides workshops and instructional videos on her YouTube channel to those interested in learning more about qigong.
Irina Pantaeva as ‘Jade’
Pantaeva is a Russian model and actress who played Jade in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. While Pantaeva appeared in some film and TV after Annihilation, she was primarily a model and remained most prevalent in the fashion and modeling world.
On-screen appearances would include Zoolander, unsurprisingly, as well as 3rd Rock From the Sun, As Far as My Feet Will Carry Me, and People I Know.
She released an autobiography entitled Siberian Dream in 1998. Today, she continues working in fashion and designs her own jewelry line, “Irina.”
Deron McBee as ‘Motaro’
Deron McBee is an American actor and sportsman who played the mighty centaur Motaro in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Before Mortal Kombat he competed as ‘Malibu’ on American Gladiators. Following Mortal Kombat, he appeared intermittently in film and TV including Walker, Texas Ranger, Roswell, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Veronica Mars.
Although McBee has not officially retired from acting, he has not appeared in anything since 2013’s Black Dynamite Teaches a Hard Way!
He currently is involved in Christian ministry and pursues other artistic passions, namely painting.
Marjean Holden as ‘Sheeva’
Holden played the fierce four-armed femme fatale Sheeva in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Since, she has appeared in movies including Vampires, George of the Jungle 2, and Hostage. She has also appeared as a guest on TV shows including Pacific Blue, La Femme Nikita, and ER.
Holden would also go on to land main roles on shows like Crusade and BeastMaster. Most recently, she’s set to appear in the 2022 TV series Garrison 7. She also regularly hosts power mentorship seminars and provides a 4-week online course to assist individuals in discovering their true purpose in life.
Litefoot as ‘Nightwolf ‘
Litefoot, or Gary Paul Davis, is an American Cherokee business professional, actor, and musician who portrayed the Native American fighter Nightwolf in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. He appeared in several additional films between 1997 and 2002, including Kull the Conqueror, Angel on Fire, The Pearl, and Adaptation.
In addition, Litefoot released a whopping 11 hip-hop albums between 1998 and 2008, earning him six Native American Music Awards including Artist of the Year.
Outside of entertainment, Litefoot is an accomplished businessman whose resume includes acting as Executive Director of Native American Financial Services Association, CEO of the Davis Strategy Group, President, CEO, and board member of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, and Vice President of Native Affairs for the Triple Five Group whose assets include The Mall of America and the West Edmonton Mall. He also owns Native Style Clothing brand and a record label called Red Vinyl Records.
Given his extensive and impressive resume, Litefoot acts as a public speaker to inspire and educate student, tribal, and corporate audiences.
Chris Conrad as ‘Johnny Cage’
Original Johnny Cage actor Linden Ashby would have only needed to appear briefly in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation before getting killed off almost immediately, but he still said no and left the role to Chris Conrad instead.
Conrad didn’t get much screen time in Annihilation, and appeared in lesser-known films like The Promotion, Atila, and Option Zero. Conrad would have much better luck with TV, landing main cast roles on shows including 1998’s Young Hercules, 2015’s Patriot, and 2019’s Perpetual Grace, LTD.
In 2007, Conrad appeared on an episode of The Erotic Traveler, a Cinemax softcore television series following actresses Divini Rae and Kaylani Lei as the chronicle a journey through Greenriver, Utah with photography and intermittent sexual encounters.
Most recently, Conrad filmed nearly six episodes of HBO’s 2021 series Peacemaker alongside John Cena only to leave citing “creative differences.” Director James Gunn would replace Conrad with Freddie Stroma instead.