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|“||Fans think my moves are all wirework and special effects. Truth is... I am the special effects.||„|
|~ Johnny Cage, before fighting Kano.|
|“||I make this look easy!||„|
|~ Johnny Cage's Battle Cry in Mortal Kombat (2011).|
|“||Now, as I'm sure you're unaware, judging from the lack of gift cards, today's our teams six-week anniversary.||„|
|~ Johnny Cage to Cassie's team.|
|“||Funny...beautiful...saving the world—-my work here is done.||„|
|~ Johnny Cage, handing over Earthrealm Champion status to Cassie.|
Jonathan Carlton, better known as Johnny Cage, is a martial arts movie star and one of the two deuteragonists (alongside Raiden) of the Mortal Kombat series of fighting games. Being one of a very few comic relief characters, he at times provides much-needed hilarity and awakwardness to overall dark and gloomy surroundings of MK universe.
Johnny Cage has been performed and voiced by various actors:
Films and Motion Captures
- Linden Ashby - MK 1995
- Chris Conrad - MK: Annihilation
- Matt Mullins - MK: Rebirth, MK: Legacy (season 1)
- Casper van Dien - MK: Legacy (season 2)
- Daniel Pesina - MK1, MKII
- Robert Gatson - MK4
- Chris Alexander - MKT
- Colin Ryan - MK11
- Jeff Bennett - MK: Journey Begins
- Matt Chapman - MK: Shaolin Monks
- Ed Boon - MK4
- Jeff Pilson - MK2011
- Andrew Bowen - MKX, MK11
- Joel McHale - MK Legends: Scorpion's Revenge, MK Legends: Battle of the Realms
Johnny Cage is depicted as the typical American action movie star; bare muscular build with karate pants and his trademark sunglasses. In his debut, his clothing was modeled directly after Jean-Claude Van Damme's character in Bloodsport, consisting of black shorts with a red sash and black shoes. From MKII to MK4, he is depicted with black pants with blue accents.
In Deadly Alliance onwards, his design becomes a fusion of his first and familiar appearances, regaining the black shorts, but with a Cage emblem and blue belt tied at his waist. He goes barefoot with bandage straps.
In MK 2011, he has a similar outfit from MKII, but with slight changes: he keeps his sunglasses on all the time, his chest is tattooed with his own name, he has straps on his arms and hands, his pants' accents are blue, and his last name is on his belt.
In MKX, 20 years prior to the main events of the game, he sports a military vest and pants. His default form in the same game features him with a short sleeved hoodie, along with a grayish blue shirt that partially covers his name tattooed on his chest. He also has bandages wrapped around his wrists and black fingerless gloves.
|“||He is a hero, Liu Kang. Though he may not know it.||„|
|~ Raiden assessing Johnny Cage in MK 2011.|
Johnny Cage is shown to be an arrogant, cocky and egotistical action movie star with a wise-cracking sense of humor who enjoys being at the center of attention. Because of this, many initially find Cage to be nothing but an annoying nuisance. Cage's ego knows no bounds, as he disrespectfully greeted Raiden and Liu Kang.
His arrogance is so bloated that he refused to believe the sinister and supernatural elements occurring around the tournament and thought it was just another fighting tournament that can help him further his goals until much later. Despite this, Cage is also very determined and ambitious albeit his goals were initially of the selfish kind as he only joined the first Mortal Kombat tournament to prove to his movie critics that his incredible skills are real and not just mere stunt-work.
Cage however, shows his true heroic and selfless nature when he saved Sonya Blade from being killed by Kano. He eventually realized the true nature of the Mortal Kombat tournament and joined Raiden, Liu Kang, Sonya and the rest of the heroes on their quest to keep Earthrealm safe from the likes of Shang Tsung and Shao Kahn. Also, his sense of humor mitigates what is to be a bleak, dark overall surrounding of the series.
In his Armageddon ending Johnny Cage wants the power of Blaze to become a better fighter. Yet unlike the other kombatants while Johnny wanted his skills increased he doesn't want to use the power to become a god or to rule like most of the others. Johnny not only uses the power to improve his skills he uses Blaze's power to gain insight and decides to become a monk gain enlightenment. Even though Johnny Cage is arrogant, cocky, egotistical, annoying, self-centered and enjoys the spot light he really has good intentions at heart.
In Armageddon many kombatants want Blaze's power to rule with peace or to rule with force and fear. Some want the power to destroy, some to become a god, some to become champion and the best kombatant. Others wish to permanently get rid of all darkness or steal the powers from all the kombatatns. Johnny's wish is different from many of the others he wants to become a great fighter. But Blaze's power help him see things the way he has never seen things before, and when the power from Blaze becomes too much for him to bear, he simply gives up the power.
As he got older however, due to many harrowing and tragic ordeals he suffered in MK9 Johnny grew to be more mature and wiser, becoming a great father and raising his daughter Cassie while still making cheeky remarks to his friends and enemies alike. He truly loves the family he has as he managed to reconcile with Sonya after their divorce and is shown to be proud of his daughter for her valiant efforts and achievements.
During the events of Mortal Kombat 11, Johnny is even shown to be disdainful of his younger self for his annoying behavior when being with him in person (what the current Johnny could have been had it not been for events occurred in MK9) but understands that he'll learn maturity and wisdom later on.
Raiden once commented that Johnny Cage is a hero; though Johnny himself is not aware of it (at the time). 3 decades later, Raiden's evaluation of Johnny proved all too correct.
Powers and Abilities
Johnny Cage is an extremely skilled martial artist, thanks to his extensive training and despite being a human, he is not without a few supernatural powers. These powers specialize in shadow and he can use them to propel himself forward, increasing the strength of his blows and leaving green afterimages in his wake. Cage can increase the speed of these attacks, which instead leaves a red afterimage and can also throw a ball of shadow energy. He also has a move where he drops doing the splits and then punches the opponent in the groin, though this only works on male fighters. As his alternate weapon fighting style, Cage uses a set of nuchaku.
In MKX, it is revealed that Johnny is a descendant of now-forgotten super-warrior cult bred for gods.
- Cage's original name was going to be Michael Grimm, but this was changed during Mortal Kombat's preproduction.
- His "real name", Jonathan Carlton, comes from the Midway programmer, John Carlton, who worked on the NBA Jam series.
- Cage was the last of the original Mortal Kombat characters to get a fatality and before a last-minute idea by Ed Boon to make his fatality the Head Punch, he was instead going to toss his opponent across the screen.
- In the first game, Cage was modeled after the actor, Jean Claude Van Damme, who the creators had wanted to portray him in the first game, but was unable to do so because of his movie schedule. Cage's clothes in the game greatly resembled Van Damme's outfit in the last match of the movie, Bloodsport, and his split punch move is taken from one that he used in the movie.
- Cage once made a movie called Ninja Mime that is most likely based on the opening scenes of the action film, The Quest, where the hero, dressed as a mime, evaded the authorities using martial arts moves. The movie also starred Jean Claude Van Damme, who Cage was based on, in the starring role.
- In early arcade test versions of Mortal Kombat, the word "Otomix" appeared on Cage's pants, which were worn by the actor, Daniel Pesina, during filming, but this was omitted later. Otomix is a supplier of athletic and martial arts wear.
- He is the only character in the original Mortal Kombat not to have any connection with the other characters.
- Cage's Red Shadow Kick and Red Shadow Uppercut moves happened randomly in Mortal Kombat II. In Mortal Kombat 4, selecting Player 2's outfit would cause the moves to have red shadows.
- Cage was cut from the Game Boy version of Mortal Kombat because of memory constraints and the only member of the original MK cast never to appear in Jeff Rovin's 1995 novel.
- Cage's sprite was recreated for Mortal Kombat Trilogy due to the fact that Daniel Pesina, who portrayed him earlier got legal problems with Midway and leave them, thus leading Midway to get Chris Alexander to portrait Cage in Mortal Kombat Trilogy.
- Brandon Lee was originally going to portray Johnny Cage in the first Mortal Kombat movie. Also in the same movie, after Cage defeated Scorpion, a photo of him signed "to my greatest fan" lands in the debris, a reference to his friendship finisher in MKII.
- Some think that Cage defeated Goro in the first Mortal Kombat tournament, but in the video game storyline, it is was Liu Kang who defeated him. In Shaolin Monks, when Kang and Kung Lao fought Goro, Johnny Cage intervened and finished him.
- According to Deadly Alliance, Johnny has starred in Ninja Mime, Dragon Fist, Dragon Fist 2, Son of Dragon Fist, HWAAAAA!, Sudden Violence, Aquatic Assault, Exiting the Dragon of Death, 7 Poisons, Cage Match, The Gist of My Fist, 24 Karate Gold, Who's That?, Wu Shu (TV series), Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II, Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance, and Mortal Kombat: The Death of Johnny Cage. He also appeared on Celebrity SMASH TV.
- Cage is regarded as the comic relief character of Mortal Kombat.
- Though Mortal Kombat usually replaces "c" with "k" in the games, Johnny's last name is an exception. It is probably more than coincidence that the Japanese word, kage, means shadow.
- John Vogel was reported to dislike Cage's storyline from Mortal Kombat Trilogy and Mortal Kombat 4. His repeated death and revival is mocked by Mortal Kombat: The Death of Johnny Cage.
- In Unreal Tournament 2, Raiden will occasionally taunt his opponent by saiyng that they "fight like Johnny Cage"
- Cage's fatality in Shaolin Monks, where he punches the opponent repeatedly in the crotch then delivers a final punch that smashes off the opponent's legs, was voted third on Screwattack's Top 10 Mortal Kombat Fatalities list.
- On Screwattack's Top 10 Mortal Kombat Kharacters list, Cage was voted number 10.
- Johnny Cage destroying a brick on Mortal Kombat 9's Test Your Strike is a reference to Captain Frank Dux performing the same thing (albeit the bottom brick instead of the middle one) as seen in the 1988 film Bloodsport.