In 17th century Japan, Bi-Han, an assassin of the Lin Kuei clan, attacks and kills Hanzo Hasashi along with his family. The only survivor is Hanzo’s infant daughter who is taken away by the thunder god named Lord Raiden, the protector of Earthrealm.
In the present day, the forces of Outworld have won nine consecutive Mortal Kombat tournaments with just one more victory needed in the next tournament to conquer Earthrealm. Outworld sorcerer and second-in-command of Emperor Shao Kahn, Shang Tsung, orders his warriors Mileena, Reiko, Nitara, and Kabal to seek out and eliminate Earthrealm’s champions, who bear a dragon mark, in order to ensure that Earthrealm has no chance in the upcoming tournament.
Cole Young, a former MMA champion and a bearer of the dragon mark, is attacked by Bi-Han, now going by the codename Sub-Zero. Cole and his wife and daughter are rescued by Special Forces major Jax, who also has a dragon mark. Jax tells Cole to seek out his partner Sonya Blade while he stays behind to fend off Sub-Zero; in the process, Sub-Zero incapacitates Jax by shattering his arms.
Cole meets Sonya at her hideout where he finds out about the history of Mortal Kombat and learns that the dragon mark can be transferred by killing its bearer. Sonya has captured Kano, an Australian mercenary of the Black Dragon clan, who had previously killed a champion with the dragon mark, which had moved onto Kano’s body. Sonya, however, does not have the mark. The hideout is attacked by a reptilian creature which Kano kills by ripping its heart out.