Johnny Cage has always been one of the more memorable characters to exist within the Mortal Kombat cast, so much so that in the recent Mortal Kombat (2009) director Ed Boon even retconned his earlier death. However, his tongue in cheek nature as a parody of the typical early 90s action movie star, was not the original intention of Boon and Tobias. In fact, both directors were originally in talks with martial arts star Jean Claude Van-Damme to create a movie tie-in. This proposed tie-in would see Van-Damme play a digitised version of himself, much in the same way the other characters were generated in the iconic fighter.
This inevitably wasn’t meant to be, as Van-Damme was already in negotiations with another company for a game that never saw the light of day. Nevertheless, Boon and Tobias pressed forward with their competitor to Street Fighter II, with the aim of truly reinventing the way people viewed violence in video games. Furthermore, within this Van-Damme’s character was remodelled into the highly vain and egotistical movie star Johnny Cage. A character who somewhat acts as a parody of Van-Damme. This is especially seen within Cage’s iconic punch to the groin move, as this is seemingly inspired by a scene within the film Bloodsport. A film in which Van-Damme’s character even shares the ‘JC’ initials with Johnny Cage.
Most ironic is the fact that a digitised version of Van-Damme did go on to appear in his own video game, a game based on a movie, that was based on Mortal Kombat’s greatest rival – Street Fighter II (hope you followed that!). However, based on the both that film and the atrocious game that came of it, Van-Damme would have certainly been better of appearing in Mortal Kombat over the game adaption of the 1994 Street Fighter: The Movie. Heck he’d have even been better off appearing Paul W. S. Anderson’s 1995 Mortal Kombat movie.