By: John M Jerva
If you haven’t seen the new Mortal Kombat this weekend then read no further as I go into some spoilers for this post as something worth noting took place on social media. Be warned…
Alrighty then, if you’re still reading then you’ve already viewed the film or you may just not care which it totally fine but one of the biggest complaints of the reboot was the absence of fan favorite Johnny Cage from the movie. In the original version, the role of the conceited Hollywood action star turned savior of the earth realm was portrayed by veteran character actor Linden Ashby. Although he wasn’t a fight expert, Ashby still did a solid job in the role and brought the video game character to appropriate life and did a somewhat admirable job with the film’s fight sequences.
Let’s not even talk about Mortal Kombat: Annihilation as Johnny, who was now played by Chris Conrad, was unceremoniously killed within the first five minutes of the movie. If anything, I think that would piss off fans a lot more than not including him but I digress. Matt Mullins, who is a martial arts superstar, has probably done the best with the role having appeared in the web series from filmmaker Kevin Tancharoen that up to this point was the best interpretation of the best selling video game.
This newest version did solid box office over the weekend pulling in around $21 million at the cinemas and that’s even with the film streaming on HBOMAX at the same time. Hopefully this and more solid word of mouth will make the movie profitable enough to see the trilogy happen which co-writer Greg Russo teased last week before the film’s release in a recent interview.
With that in mind, I feel that this first entry is a solid albeit flawed opening salvo for the franchise and if we do get sequels, hopefully the filmmakers will listen to what people are saying and improve on the product. It wasn’t the greatest film but I had a lot of fun with it. You can check out my review here: https://wp.me/pb0Nye-5eP. In a nutshell, it was non-stop fisticuffs with a heaping dose of blood soaked fan service.
If you’ve seen the movie then you know that Johnny Cage is teased at the very end as Cole Young (Lewis Tan), our newest hero in this world of Mortal Kombat, is about to set out for Hollywood to hopefully recruit Cage for the battle that is yet to commence. Before the credits roll, the camera pans over to the wall of the locker room and we see a poster advertising Johnny Cage and of course his face is not shown as the role has not been cast yet.
So the question arises like a fiery dragon from the hands of champion Liu Kang as to who, if it happens, should don the sunglasses of the brash action star who is on a collision course with saving the world in the infamous tournament. I’m sure many of you out there already have a name in mind like action powerhouse Scott Adkins or maybe even martial arts star Alain Moussi from the Kickboxer flicks. Wonderful choices for sure but for me there’s only one answer.
This weekend on social media, one individual, who has never been accused for being humble, threw his name into contention for casting agents as a leading candidate to play Johnny Cage and that person is none other than WWE superstar Mike “The Miz” Mizanin. That’s right folks, The Miz himself posted a great tweet on Twitter along with a fantastic rendering of himself as the popular video game character to nail the point across. Check out his tweet below!
As soon as I saw it, I immediately agreed with The Miz as he would be the perfect choice for the role as his in the ring persona basically radiates and oozes Johnny Cage. When Mizanin is in the ring, that’s Johnny Cage, pure and simple. If you’ve ever seen The Miz in action, his personality is spot on for the role and when you see Mizanin during his in ring antics, there’s no denying that he’s Johnny Cage come to life. For proof, check out this video below of The Miz doing what he does best during many of his stellar past performances!
See what I mean. Look I’m all for giving Scott Adkins a shot as he deserves to be featured in bigger budgeted films and I’ve championed for years for that but Mizanin is basically the real life version of Cage come to vibrant life when he’s performing. He’s got the look, the moves, the charisma and the demeanor that just screams…”Hey! I’m Johnny Cage damn it!”
Another valid reason is that The Miz has already cut his teeth in multiple action films like The Marine franchise and he’s gotten ample opportunity to learn how to fight on camera as it is vastly different from what he and other superstars do in the ring. Most of his movie personalities like Jake Carter from The Marine have been tamer then his Miz persona but I’m sure without a doubt that he can turn on that good ‘ol fashioned charm when it’s called for. Check out these rousing fight sequences from The Marine movies to fully see what Mizanin is capable of. The first one has The Miz taking on the late, great Darren Shahlevi in one expertly down and dirty brawl.
With those clips, all you have to do is just insert Outworld warriors and presto! You have Mortal Kombat worthy fisticuffs and a showstopper who has it all. This post is practically writing itself.
Let me also mention that my friend and resident contributor Robb Antequera (AKA The Cinema Drunkie) brought up a good point that The Miz would need to learn some authentic MMA moves and I couldn’t agree more but with his resume, that would be simple and The Miz could definitely adapt to whatever fighting style they need from him to play Cage. After all, wresting is a legitimate part of MMA so The Miz would have no problem whatsoever learning more intricate and martial arts based finishing moves that would sell him for the role. It’s what he does for a living and he does it practically everyday of his life so I think rehearsals for a sequel would be airtight and you probably just have to tell him once what to do.
Let me also point out that I’m a little biased when it comes to Mr. Mizanin because he was born and raised in Parma, Ohio which is really close to Northeast Ohio and the city of Mentor where I’m from. I love the fact that Mizanin is from my neck of the woods and I think it would really be freakin’ cool to have the great state of Ohio represented in a Mortal Kombat flick. If you ever want to do an interview with another Ohioan for my little old website, I’m all ears Mike. Just saying.
So there you have it. Johnny Cage has always been my favorite character from the video game and films and it would be fantastic to see The Miz bring him to life in a Mortal Kombat sequel. A follow up has to happen though and hopefully it does and just like Mizanin stated in his tweet, he is “the special effects” and I can’t think of no one better than The Miz to bring Johnny Cage to life. This is my honest opinion of course. Feel free to disagree but I’ll fight to my last breath to prove you wrong. Just saying. After all, can’t you just hear The Miz yell “I’m Johnny Cage and I am awesome!” in a Mortal Kombat film? I sure as hell can.
With all that being said, I’m just gonna leave this here…
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