Jax (Mortal Kombat)

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Jax
Mortal Kombat character
Mortal Kombat Jax.png
A concept art for Jax's alternate costume in the 2011 Mortal Kombat
First game Mortal Kombat II (1993)
Created by John Tobias (with brainstorming input from Ed Boon)
Designed by John Tobias (early games)
Voiced by Dorian Harewood (DotR)
Craig J. Harris (MK:SF, MK:DA, MK:A)
Dan Washington (MKvsDCU)
Gerald C. Rivers (MK2011)
Motion capture John Parrish (MKII, MK3)
Portrayed by Hakim Alston, Shah Alston, Tyrone Wiggins (Live Tour)
Gregory McKinney (first film)
Lynn "Red" Williams (Annihilation)
Michael Jai White (Rebirth, Legacy)
Fictional profile
Origin Earthrealm (United States)
Fighting styles Muay Thai (MK:DA, MK:A)
Judo (MK:DA)
Weapon Bionic Arms (all appearances apart from MKII)
Spiked Club (MK4, MKG)
Tonfa (MK:DA, MK:A)

Jackson "Jax" Briggs is a video game character from the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. Jax debuted in Mortal Kombat II in 1993 and has appeared as a playable character in every game in the main Mortal Kombat series since then.[note 1] He was also the protagonist of the action-adventure game Mortal Kombat: Special Forces, as well as one of the eleven characters representing the Mortal Kombat universe in the crossover game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.

Appearances[edit]

In video games[edit]

Jax is a United States Special Forces major who first appears in Mortal Kombat II to find and rescue his partner Sonya Blade from Outworld and bring Kano into custody, a mission he successfully completes, although Kano soon escapes. When Shao Kahn invades Earthrealm in Mortal Kombat 3, Jax prepares for battle by fitting his arms with bionic implants, and after helping foil Kahn's attempt to permanently claim Earth as his own, he and Sonya found the Outer World Investigation Agency (OIA), which specializes in exploring and mapping other realms, as well as the destruction of interdimensional portals that could lead to Earth. In Mortal Kombat 4, he joins the Earthrealm heroes and successfully stops Shinnok and his forces from entering Earth. After Shinnok's defeat, Jax witnesses Jarek trying to kill Sonya while the two are on the edge of the cliff. Jax catches up with Jarek, grabs him and drops him off the cliff. While returning to Earthrealm, Jax and Sonya find Cyrax malfunctioning in a desert; the two bring the cyborg back to the OIA headquarters, where they restore Cyrax's humanity.

In Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, the OIA's underground facility is destroyed by Hsu Hao, who reveals himself to be part of the Red Dragon clan. Jax has a score to settle with him while Hsu Hao was sent by Mavado to kill Shang Tsung. On his way to Tsung's palace, Jax finally catches up with Hsu Hao and kills him by ripping out his artificial heart implant. During the final attack against the Deadly Alliance, Jax and his allies are killed by the Alliance's Tarkatan warriors. After the Dragon King Onaga defeats Raiden and the Alliance, he resurrected Raiden and the dead Earthrealm heroes as his slaves, but Ermac and the spirit of Liu Kang later break his mind control. In Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Sonya sends Jax to lead a team of Special Forces to search for survivors after destroying Sektor's Tekunin Warship, but they later vanish and are captured by the Tekunin.

Jax's first chronological adventure was actually depicted in Mortal Kombat: Special Forces, in which he chases after the escaped Kano and several other Black Dragon members, aided by a fellow Special Forces operative Gemini.

As one of the many changes in canon the 2011 reboot Mortal Kombat game brought, Jax's human arms were obliterated psychically by Ermac in Outworld. He was then rushed back to Earthrealm by Sonya to be fitted with entire cybernetic arms instead of mere implants.

Design[edit]

The character was inspired by the American Ninja series character Kurtis Jackson, portrayed by Steve James.[1] Jax was originally conceived as a character prior to Sonya's creation and possessed her scenario for the first Mortal Kombat. However, since there were no female characters in the original roster at the time, Sonya was created and she inherited his story line of pursuing Kano and entrapment on Shang Tsung's island. His original name was going to be "Kurtis Stryker" and Midway later recycled that name to create a new character in Mortal Kombat 3.

Jax was also originally conceived as simply a kickboxer, but the idea was scrapped due to potential similarities to Balrog from the Street Fighter series.[2] Then he was given a yellow martial arts gi and metal arms from the elbow down.[3] However, the outfit concealed much of the impressive physique of actor/bodybuilder John Parrish, so he simply went shirtless with long black tights.[2] Game footage was actually shot with Jax wearing the yellow costume, and Parrish accidentally split the pants during filming. He had the bionic implants painted onto his arms for MK3.

In the very early screenshots of Deadly Alliance, Jax was seen in his classic MK3 attire; it was later decided to give Jax a new look. His alternate costume in Deadly Alliance and Armageddon confirmed that his implants were removable. However, the game programmers mistakenly outfitted Jax with a red beret instead of a green one; a red beret represents U.S. Army airborne units, whereas green is worn by the members of the Special Forces ("Green Berets").

Gameplay[edit]

Jax was widely seen as a top tier character of Mortal Kombat II. According to GamePro's strategy guide, he is the best overall fighter in this game, even as he is very difficult to win against Mileena.[4] According to CU Amiga, Jax is "the best all-round character" in MKII,[5] while Sega Visions named him as the game's second-best fighter after Mileena.[6] According to Total 64, in Mortal Kombat Trilogy Jax is "just the same as he was in MK3, which isn't a bad thing at all. A top fighter, that is equally good in the air as on the ground."[7]

Prima Games' official guide for Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, however, rated him overall only 6/10 as "a borderline low tier character type".[8] According to Prima's official guide for the 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot, Jax, who "has generally changed over the years from a defensive machine to an offensive powerhouse", displays no particular advantage over other characters, but is very disadvantaged when playing against Shang Tsung.[9]

In other media[edit]

In the Mortal Kombat comics series, Jax makes his first appearance in Goro: Prince of Pain #1. The comics' Jax has a tendency to make jokes and puns during fights, but remains mostly faithful to his game characterization. During Goro's miniseries, Jax sets out to find Sonya, eventually reuniting with her and capturing Kano. During the miniseries Battlewave, Jax is attacked by Goro and left in a coma. He later foils Jade and Smoke's attempt on his life and joins Johnny Cage in Outworld after Sonya went missing while investigating Shang Tsung's island. In the epilogue, Jax's arms are injured by Baraka, which set up the plot for his receiving his cybernetic implants. Jax, alongside Sonya and a team of exclusively-created Special Forces agents, was also featured in a two-issue miniseries entitled U.S. Special Forces, in which the team engages Black Dragon member Rojack in his attempt to get treasures from another dimension.

Jax (misspelled as "Jaxx") makes a brief appearance in the first Mortal Kombat film, in which he accompanies Sonya on the raid on Kano's club and unsuccessfully tries to stop her from boarding Shang Tsung's boat near the beginning of the movie. He was played by Gregory McKinney.

In Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Jax was played by former American Gladiators actor Lynn "Red" Williams. He fights alongside Sonya and her friends against Shao Kahn, and though his ambiguous cybernetic enhancements are explored to a small degree, he was overall a comic-relief and tough talking supporting character. During the film, Jax fights against Cyrax together with Sonya, and defeats Motaro.

Jax appears in the animated series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm as one of the leading characters, voiced by Dorian Harewood. He was portrayed as a cool-minded character and almost always in a friendly mood, despite occasional clashes with Raiden.

Michael Jai White played Jax in the short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth and the web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy. During the first and second episodes of Legacy, he leads a SWAT team in an assault on the Black Dragon warehouse to find and rescue Sonya. He confronts and fights Kano, during which he punches Kano forcefully enough to detach his right eye. One of Kano's thugs throws a grenade towards Jax and he is severely wounded. He does survive, however, but at the cost of his arms. Jai White said on his Twitter account that he would be back as Jax in a new film.

Reception[edit]

The character has was met with a mixed but mostly positive critical reception. Jax was ranked as seventh on the list of top old school Mortal Kombat characters by Game Revolution in 2003.[10] Game Rant ranked him tenth on the list of 10 most awesome Mortal Kombat characters, describing his "Gotcha Grab" and "Air Back Breaker" moves as two of the most satisfying moves from the original trilogy, but were not fond of his appearance in MKII where he looked like "a third tier WWE star in tight Lycra pants."[11] 411mania placed Jax as the seventh best Mortal Kombat character, adding "Jax looks like a real bad-ass."[12] In UGO Networks' 2012 list of the Top 50 Mortal Kombat Characters, Jax placed at 10th,[13] even as GameFront called him "a character no one cares about."[14] Cheat Code Central listed Jax as the eighth best Mortal Kombat character, who commented while not too special in MKII, he became awesome in MK3, when he got the metal arms.[15]

Jax's "Arm Rip" Fatality from MKII was voted by the readers of GamePro as the best Mortal Kombat finishing move yet in 1995,[16] and in 2006 the staff of IGN named it as the tenth best gore effect in the video game history.[17] His "Giant Jax" Fatality from MK3 was also included by IGN in their "unofficial" list of top ten Fatalities in 2010,[18] and, on the other hand, on GamePro's 2008 list of the 12 "lamest" Fatalities.[19] Game Rant ranked his "Three Points" Fatality from MK 2011 as the ninth best from that game, who was initially worried that his Fatality would be like Sheeva's "Jackhammer", but was no longer worried when he kicked the opponents head off.[20] In 2013, Complex included Jax among the greatest soldiers in video games,[21] also ranking his "Head Clap" in MKII as the 14th best finishing move in the Mortal Kombat series.[22]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In Mortal Kombat: Deception, he is only playable in the PSP port, known as Mortal Kombat: Unchained.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "John Tobias (@therealsaibot) on Twitter". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2014-01-14. 
  2. ^ a b GamePro 58 (May 1994), p.28.
  3. ^ Video Games The Ultimate Gaming Magazine 75 (April 1995) page 46.
  4. ^ Mortal Kombat II Pro Strategy Guide.
  5. ^ "Player's Guide: Mortal Kombat II". CU Amiga Magazine, February 1995, p.62.
  6. ^ "Sega Saturn Features: Mortal Kombat II". Sega Visions 21 (October/November 1994), p.25.
  7. ^ Total 64 2/97, page 64.
  8. ^ Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (Prima Official Game Guide), p. 176
  9. ^ Mortal Kombat: Prima Official Game Guide, page 90.
  10. ^ Severino, Anthony (2011-02-03). "Top 10 Old School Mortal Kombat Characters". Game Revolution. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  11. ^ "10 Most Awesome Mortal Kombat Characters". Game Rant. Retrieved 2011-12-21. 
  12. ^ "Games - The 10th Hour 04.22.11: Favorite Mortal Kombat Characters". 411mania.com. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  13. ^ UGO Team (2012-02-28). "Top 50 Mortal Kombat Characters - Mortal Kombat". UGO.com. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  14. ^ "The Convoluted, Blood-Spattered History of Mortal Kombat (Infographic)". GameFront. 2011-04-15. Retrieved 2014-01-14. 
  15. ^ "Top 10 Mortal Kombatants - Cheat Code Central". Cheatcc.com. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  16. ^ GamePro 68 (March 1995)
  17. ^ "Top 10 Tuesday: Best Gore Effects". IGN. April 4, 2006. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  18. ^ IGN's Unofficial Top 10 List of the Best Mortal Kombat Fatalities, IGN, November 30, 2010
  19. ^ The 12 LAMEST Fatalities, GamePro, November 25, 2008
  20. ^ "Top 10 Fatalities Of Mortal Kombat 9 (2011)". Game Rant. Retrieved 2011-12-21. 
  21. ^ Chad Hunter, Michael Rougeau, The 50 Greatest Soldiers In Video Games, Complex.com, May 25, 2013.
  22. ^ "14. Head Clap — The Best "Mortal Kombat" Finishing Moves in Video Game History". Complex. 2013-10-01. Retrieved 2014-01-14. 

External links[edit]