The movie begins with a fight between Shang Tsung and Liu Kang's younger brother Chan at the Temple of Light, Chan's first two attacks are dodged and blocked, his third attack, a punch, is blocked then he is put into an arm lock when Shang Tsung strikes him with the back of his fist, twice, and sends a low kick to the back of Chan's knee putting Chan on his knees. Chan begs for Shang to stop and Shang lets go of his arm and delivers an inward crescent kick to Chan's face. He lands face down and the smirking Shang Tsung drives his heel into the lower part of Chan's spine, Chan screams and Shang Tsung lifts Chan by his hair and says, pointing "Your brother's soul is mine" and Chan cries out "LIU!". Shang Tsung then says "You will be next" and he drops Chan, the camera zooms in and Shang Tsung's face looks like that of a zombie.
Liu darts upward sitting upright after he awakes from his nightmare, the room lit by a green glow, Liu then gets out of bed, walks toward his dresser and picks up a letter stating that his brother has died and Liu must return home to the Temple of light Sonya Blade and her partner Jax are in a Hong Kong night club armed with shotguns and searching for Kano. Kano is expecting Sonya and is talking with Shang Tsung. As Sonya moves through the crowd she shoots a man armed with a sub machine gun and she interrogates him as he lies dying on the floor.
Johnny Cage enters a warehouse in L.A, he walks forward to four men standing in front of a black car, each man pulls out a weapon, and they all proceed to fight Johnny. Johnny defeats the first three with ease but the last won't fall down, and it is revealed that Johnny is working on his latest movie. Johnny refuses to finish the movie and walks away, as he walks he is met by a stagehand and is informed of a visitor, who appears to be Master Boyd, Johnny's teacher. Master Boyd informs Johnny of a way to regain his acting and martial arts glory by entering the Mortal Kombat tournament. as Master Boyd walks away it is revealed that it was merely Shang Tsung in disguise.
Liu has arrived at the Temple of Light in China and is greeted by his grand father, the two discuss Chan and the tournament. Liu is then taken to get the consent from the elders to represent the temple at the tournament. as they are discussing this Raiden walks out and taunts Liu, Liu then proceeds to attack Raiden, but Raiden flips him onto the ground and Liu storms off.
At Chai Wan Bay the boat arrives and Liu, Johnny, and Sonya board. The three meet abroad the ship and Sonya proceeds to search for Kano, she is met by Shang Tsung, Johnny and Liu step up behind her, and Scorpion and Sub-Zero step ahead of Shang Tsung. Sub-Zero freezes Sonya's gun and Scorpion threatens Johnny with the snake-like animal concealed within his palm. Raiden comes out and attacks both sub-zero and Scorpion, he then accuses Shang Tsung of attempting to harm his fighters. Raiden then explains the tournament in further detail, speaking of the consequences if they lose the tournament.