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NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Kabal (2021) from the Mortal Kombat (2021). The mainstream version can be found here: Kabal.
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Kabal is supporting antagonist in the 2021 live-action film Mortal Kombat.
He's portrayed by Daniel Nelson who performed the stunts and is voiced by Damon Herriman.
Kabal first appears in Outworld, with both him and Reiko being escorted by Mileena to Shang Tsung's throne. After making a remark about Nitara, he hears out Shang Tsung's intentions to attack Earthrealm's champions at Raiden's Temple but expresses concern over the lightning shield that blocks out all entries to the temple. Kabal offers to help, mentioning how he's familiar with one of the champions: Kano and is confident that he can turn him against the other champions.
After witnessing Goro's arrival with the rest of his allies, he travels to Raiden's Temple where he finds Kano. After exchanging several remarks to one another, Kabal expresses his disgust towards Kano's downfall and offers him a chance to join Outworld's champions, promising wealth and potential claim over the temple.
Upon convincing Kano to defect, he instructs him to destroy Raiden's staff, therefore shutting down the shield and allowing the Outworlders to enter the temple. Kabal arrives via. portal with Shang Tsung and the rest of the champions, attacking Kung Lao first before engaging Liu Kang; his superspeed being too overwhelming for the monk. As Raiden begins teleporting all of Earthrealm's champions to the Void, Kabal pins Liu Kang against a wall and turns his attention away from him upon hearing Kung Lao's cries for help. Realizing that Shang Tsung is stealing his soul, he taunts Liu Kang before being beaten, buying Liu Kang time to run away. Kabal chases after Liu Kang, at one point cornering him with Reiko, yet he still fails to catch him and kill him.
Kabal is later teleported alongside Mileena to a random arena, containing black quicksand and a statue of Shao Kahn. After the two notice Cole Young, Kabal turns around to notice Liu Kang. Mileena engages Cole while Kabal engages Liu Kang, utilizing his speed and hook swords like before, only this time Liu Kang proves to be more of a match then before. Liu Kang manages to score several hits, even causing Kabal to drop one of his hook swords. Liu Kang pins Kabal in an armlock, trying to burn him alive but Kabal breaks free, turning around and slashing Liu Kang's forearms. Kabal taunts Liu Kang before being overwhelmed by Liu Kang's bicycle kick which launches him into the black quicksand.
Kabal raises himself back up but notices that his legs are stuck; he cleaves at the quicksand with his hook sword, trying to free himself while Liu Kang plunges his flaming fist to the ground, forming a streak of fire that spreads towards Kabal. A flaming dragon emerges from the streak and stares down at Kabal. Kabal crosses his left arm with his hook sword at a last ditch effort to protect himself from the inevitable attack, as the dragon conjures up skeletal wings before plunging itself at him. The dragon bites down and sets Kabal a blaze. In his final moments of life, Kabal flails in pain and agony before succumbing to his wounds and collapsing into the quicksand.
As noticeable by his forearms, Kabal has third degree burns that he received from Kano at some point before the events of the movie. He wears a worn down gas mask, with filters distinct from each other and an extra metal piece nailed to the right side of the mask. He has a tube connected to his right mask filter that also connects to his respirator, along with bright red eyes. He wears a brown cloak that covers the back of his head and neck along with a police vest and piece of torn fabric tied to his waist that covers his right leg. His accessories including a wolf tooth necklace wrapped on his left shoulder and two police badges on his waist. His hook swords are also distinct from one another, his right hook-sword looks like the traditional weapon but with the blade being slightly chipped while the left hook-sword has a ring at the end instead of a sharpened tip with a tassel tied to it.
While not much is shown of Kabal's interactions with his allies, he seems to not care about them much or even be irritated by them but is still willing to cooperate if necessary. He's shown to not be fund of Nitara's screeches and is very resentful of Kano for getting him badly burnt and in need of a respirator. Much like Kano, he's very loud-mouthed and prone to insulting and swearing but unlike Kano who occasionally throws seemingly-playful jabs, Kabal prefers to taunt his opponents and does so in a very aggressive manner to put them on-edge, both instances proved to not go in his favor. Another contrast between the two Black Dragon members is that while Kano can have a light-hearted attitude while also being short-tempered; Kabal is shown to be a lot more serious and far more ruthless. Whether it was a taunt to Liu Kang or not, Kabal seems to take sadistic pleasure in watching Shang Tsung steal the souls of his victims, more specifically he likes the screams they give off before death.
Powers and Abilities
Kabal possesses superhuman speed, allowing him to overwhelm his opponents with his speed and agility. He also uses hook-swords as his main weapons.
Kabal during meeting in Outworld.
Kabal talking with Kano.
Kabal fighting with Liu Kang.
Kabal final moments.
Before Kano defected to Outworld's side, Kabal and Sub-Zero were the only Outworld champions who originated from Earthrealm.
Though not much backstory is given, Kabal's police vest indicates that this incarnation took heavy inspiration from Mortal Kombat 11's depiction of the character, where instead of a former Black Dragon thug becoming a cop to atone for his past as a criminal; he's a former corrupt cop who later joined the Black Dragon.
Kabal in film is depicted as having a New York accent, this is the only incarnation of the character to have the accent.
Kabal explained to Kano that he works with Shang Tsung because it has its "perks". What exact motivations he has to fight as one of the sorcerer's champions is unknown.
It is also unknown what Kabal planned to do with Kano after the raid at the temple was accomplished. He seemed spiteful of the condition his former ally left him in, it could be possible that Kabal was going to kill Kano after he's outlived his usefulness.
A massive difference between the movie's version of Kabal and the one from the games is that Kabal has been portrayed as a hero and one of Earthrealm's champions. The movie's version of Kabal was a fully-fledged villain.
Kabal's depiction in the film is also seemingly different to the one mentioned in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. The name drop from Rain indicated that Kabal was a heroic character, mentioning him as "Earth's best warrior" in a storyline that depicted Outworld's invasion of Earthrealm with no Earthrealmers siding with Shao Kahn.