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Johnny Cage
Johnnycage-render
Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat (2011)
First appearance Mortal Kombat (1992)
Voice Actor Jeff Bennett (The Journey Begins)
Jeff Pilson (MK2011)
Portrayed by Daniel Pesina (MK, MKII)
Chris Alexander (MKT)
Linden Ashby (first film)
Chris Conrad (second film)
Jeff Durbin (Live Tour)
Matt Mullins (Rebirth and Legacy)
Origin Template:Flag, Earthrealm
Fighting-Styles
Jeet Kune Do (MK:DA)
Karate / Shōrin-ryū (MK:DA, MK:A)

Johnny Cage is a video game character from the Mortal Kombat series. The character, whose birth name is John Carlton, is a martial arts film actor who provides the comic relief of the franchise.

Introduced in the the original Mortal Kombat, Cage has been a staple of the series since, with critics commenting on his lighthearted personality and comedic signature moves. Infamously, he has been killed several times throughout the franchise's storyline, only to be resurrected in later installments; MK developers have referenced this in later titles as a sort of in-joke.

In video games

Johnny Cage introduced as a playable character in the first Mortal Kombat game. He enters into the titular tournament to prove he does not use special effects in the films he stars in. In the sequel Mortal Kombat II, Cage goes to another tournament in the realm of Outworld after allying with the warriors who wish to protect Earth led by the thunder god Raiden.

He does not reappear in the series until Mortal Kombat Trilogy, where he was killed by Shao Kahn's forces invading Earth. He is shortly revived to help his former comrades defeat Shao Kahn. In the next game, Mortal Kombat 4, Cage is allowed to continue his life after seeking Raiden's help to revive and joins friends once again to defeat the forces from the former god Shinnok who plans to initiate a war between the realms.

By Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Cage once again joins Raiden's group, in order to stop the menace from the alliance of sorcerers Quan Chi and Shang Tsung. However, Cage is killed alongside most of his comrades and he is resurrected by the Dragon King Onaga to use him as a slave. He is freed from his mind control by the ninja Ermac and Liu Kang's ghost, and returns in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon as a playable character, participating in the new tournament Armageddon that will decide mankind's fate. In the ensuing battle, Cage is decapitated by an unknown opponent.

He has also appeared in the spin off game Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks that reprises the events from Mortal Kombat II. Besides being a supporting character through the main game, he is also playable in the versus mode.

In the 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot, Cage is a star of the martial arts film Ninja Mime who joins Raiden's forces to save Earthrealm. He and Sonya Blade become the only Earthrealm warriors to survive the course of the game's plot.

Gameplay

Cage's projectiles usually travel in an arc, while his other signature moves are designed to punish opponents at close range. The Shadow Kick, which leaves a trail of green afterimages, helps Cage close in on enemies, and his infamous groin punch is a quick, disorienting attack.

Creation and design

The character was modeled after actor and martial artist Jean-Claude Van Damme.[1] Cage's appearance in the first game was loosely based on Van Damme's portrayal of Dux Ryu Ninjutsu founder Frank Dux in the 1988 movie Bloodsport, incorporating both Van Damme's appearance/outfit and his signature "leg split" move.[2] In the original concept art, the character was named Michael Grimm, described as "the current box-office champion and star of such movies as Dragon's Fist, Dragon's Fist II and the award-winning Sudden Violence."[3] He was the first character created for Mortal Kombat, and the test prototype of the original game had just two Johnnies fighting each other.[4]

Designed to be a Hollywood star, Cage is meant to be a comic relief character in contrast to more serious characters like Liu Kang and Raiden.[5] Johnny Cage's real name came from Midway Games artist John Carlton, who worked on the NBA Jam series.

In other media

Johnny Cage

Linden Ashby as Johnny Cage in the 1995 film Mortal Kombat

Johnny Cage is one of the main characters in the Mortal Kombat comic book series, where his portrayal in the comics is faithful to the games. He appears during the entire Blood & Thunder series, in which his most serious moment is when he, under Raiden's advice, decides to not seek the power of the Tao Te Zhan, since he felt it would be like "faking" his way through his films.[6] During the second issue of the Battlewave miniseries, he is seen resuming his acting career when Sonya, awaiting him in his dressing room, requests his assistance in an investigation into Goro's vicious attack on Jax. He initially refuses, but later reconsiders what's important and decides to follow Jax into Outworld. In the meantime, he assigns his massive bodyguard, Bo, to protect Liu Kang.

In the first Mortal Kombat film, Cage was played by Linden Ashby, whose portrayal was faithful to the games in keeping with the character's personality. Shang Tsung assumes the identity of Cage's sensei, Master Boyd, on the set of one of Cage's films in order to trick him into taking part in the Mortal Kombat tournament. Cage defeats both Scorpion and Goro, and, near the climax, is initially handpicked by Shang Tsung to fight him in final combat until Liu Kang intervenes and accepts the challenge.

Cage briefly appeared in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, and was played by Chris Conrad. In the opening scene, Shao Kahn takes Sonya hostage following a fight with Raiden. Cage attempts to save her with his Shadow Kick, but his attack is quickly snuffed out by Kahn, who then threatens to take Cage's life unless Raiden frees Kahn's generals, whom he had captured moments earlier in a standoff with Kahn. Raiden obliges, and Kahn capitalizes on his ruse by killing Cage on the spot.

Matt Mullins played Cage in Kevin Tancharoen's 2011 short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth as a faltering action star. To allow his talents to still be used, he became an undercover agent for Jackson Briggs. However, Alan Zane (Baraka) kills him in battle.[7] Mullins reprised his role as Cage in the third episode of Mortal Kombat: Legacy (which also featured brief appearances by The Electric Playground host Victor Lucas and Ed Boon), with the character revised as a flailing TV star whose career was on the downturn after Power Rangers, in which he had starred, went off the air. Cage unsuccessfully pitches a pair of reality show pilots, in which he was filmed engaging in acts of vigilantism by beating up various criminals, to two television executives. After they subsequently refuse to extend his development deal and he later overhears one of the executives backstage offering a new show to another actor by way of stealing Cage's ideas, Cage pummels the executive along with several security guards who had rushed to the man's aid. Cage is then approached by Shang Tsung with an offer to provide "a way out of everything."

Merchandise and reception

A six inch figure of Johnny Cage in MK2011 was released by Jazwares.[8] A number of other figures were also released earlier.

UGO Networks ranked Johnny Cage as fourth on their list of the top 11 Mortal Kombat characters, praising his role as the comic relief of the series.[9] In UGO's 2012 list of the top 50 Mortal Kombat characters, Cage placed as 23rd with a comment that "there's nothing better than kicking somebody's ass with a fighter that's supposed to be a joke."[10] He was also ninth in Game Revolution's list of top ten old school Mortal Kombat characters with praise on his special moves that made him stand out.[11] IGN listed him as a character they would like to see as downloadable content for Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, stating Johnny "remains a favorite among MK heroes, even though he's spent a good portion of the series' life in a coffin."[12] In 2008, Destructoid called him "easily the best character in a fighting game ever."[13]

In 2007, 1UP.com ranked him ninth in their feature covering the ten most notorious video game resurrections, noting that one of the most remarkable part of his character was that he was one of the few ones who died during the storyline.[14] GameDaily included him in their feature Top 25 Gaming Hunks, stating "If you can't marry Brad Pitt, you can always settle for Mortal Kombat's Johnny Cage."[15] In 2012, Complex ranked him as the 16th "most dominant" fighting game character for having "the greatest move in fighting games" in 1992, adding: "This dude embodies Hollywood's overpaid jerk persona perfectly."[16] According to the GameSpot review of Mortal Kombat (2011), Johnny's "arrogant personality and inordinate sexism make him something of a chore to listen to" in the story mode.[17]

Total 64 magazine described Cage is "the worst fighter" in Mortal Kombat Trilogy due to his special moves being difficult to aim and weak in effect.[18] Cage's infamous split-punch move hitting opponents in the groin (which at first could be performed only against male opponents, but later became gender-neutral) was featured in GamesRadar's article about "gaming’s most devastating genital attacks" with a comment that "it’s hardly Cage’s most impressive or most damaging move, but it’s inarguably his best."[19] In another article, the split-punch was listed as his signature move with notes that while it is performed in a "decidedly un-Street Fighter way", it was the first "silly" moment in the franchise.[20] In addition, his split-punch on Goro in the Mortal Kombat film was listed as one the top 11 Game Movie Moments by UGO.com in 2007.[21] His "And the Winner Is..." finishing move from the 2011 game, where he uses an Academy Award, was also ranked as the 11th craziest in the gaming by Complex in 2011.[22]

See also

References

  1. "Mortal Kombat". Gamemakers game review. G4TV. http://www.g4tv.com/gamemakers/episodes/3446/Mortal-Kombat.html. 
  2. "A New Battle For Mankind Begins in 'Mortal Kombat' Tourney, Redo in the Works". http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/news/18833. 
  3. More doodles from my ancient MK notebook. JohnnyCage B4 he wa... on Twitpic
  4. Mortal Kombat 20th Anniversary Retrospective - GameSpot.com
  5. Midway. Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Premium Edition. (Midway). Level/area: Johnny Cage bio card. (October 11, 2006)
  6. Blood & Thunder issue 4
  7. Young, Becky (2010-06-09). "Exclusive Interview with Mortal Kombat Actor". CraveOnline. http://www.craveonline.com/entertainment/film/article/exclusive-interview-with-mortal-kombat-actor-104127. Retrieved 2011-10-18. 
  8. Johnny Cage 6 Inch Figure | jazwares.com
  9. "Top 11 Mortal Kombat characters". UGO.com. http://www.ugo.com/games/mortal-kombat-characters/?cur=johnny-cage. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  10. UGO Team (2012-02-28). "Top 50 Mortal Kombat Characters - Mortal Kombat". UGO.com. http://www.ugo.com/games/mortal-kombat-characters?page=3. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  11. Jensen, K. Thor (2011-02-03). "Top 10 Old School Mortal Kombat Characters". Game Revolution. http://www.gamerevolution.com/features/top-10-old-school-mortal-kombat-characters. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  12. Schedeen, Jesse (2008-09-12). "DLC Player Wanted MK vs. DC". IGN. http://stars.ign.com/articles/909/909852p8.html. Retrieved 2008-12-24. 
  13. Brad Nicholson, Fatality: Mortal Kombat II disappears from PSN, Destructoid, 10.19.2008
  14. Sharkey, Scott (April 8, 2007). "They is Risen: Top 10 Videogame Deaths That Didn't Stick". 1UP.com. http://www.1up.com/do/feature?pager.offset=0&cId=3158550. Retrieved April 25, 2008. 
  15. Buffa, Chris. "Top 25 Gaming Hunks". GameDaily. AOL. http://www.gamedaily.com/articles/galleries/top-25-gaming-hunks/?icid=aimDBDL1_image-a&page=8&cp=4. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  16. Elton Jones, The 50 Most Dominant Fighting Game Characters, Complex.com, May 17, 2012
  17. Mortal Kombat Review - GameSpot.com
  18. Total 64 2/97, page 64
  19. Reparaz, Mikel. "Gaming’s most devastating genital attacks". GamesRadar. http://www.gamesradar.com/f/gamings-most-devastating-genital-attacks/a-20100730162610654085. Retrieved July 31, 2010. 
  20. "The history of Mortal Kombat". GamesRadar. http://www.gamesradar.com/f/the-history-of-mortal-kombat/a-20110413163333856033. Retrieved May 22, 2011. 
  21. Jensen, K. Thor (2007-12-21). "Top 11 Game Movie Moments". UGO.com. http://www.ugo.com/movies/top-11-game-movie-moments-goro-mortal-kombat. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  22. The 50 Craziest Video Game Fatalities | Complex

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