Hiroyuki Sanada will portray Scorpion in the upcoming reboot of Mortal Kombat, but he’s well known for other roles too – here’s what they are.
Hiroyuki Sanada will be seen as Hanzo Hasashi AKA Scorpion in the upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot, but where have audiences seen the veteran actor before? A student of martial arts such as Shorinji Kempo and Kyokushin Karate, Sanada got his start in the film business as a child, appearing in the 1966 Japanese movie Game of Chance and reprising his role as Kenichi Endo for two sequels. Sanada later joined Sonny Chiba’s Japan Action Club at the age of 11 and would later work extensively in Hong Kong action films, with 1986’s Royal Warriors alongside Michelle Yeoh being just one example of many.
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Aside from his work in Japanese and Hong Kong movies, Sanada is maybe best known to Western viewers for his role in 2003’s The Last Samurai. The film saw Sanada in the role of the formidable samurai Ujio, whose rivalry with Tom Cruise’s Nathan Algren gradually transforms into a respectful alliance as the latter’s skill in combat improves. Sanada later appeared as Dogen on Lost and was also seen as the villainous Kenji opposite Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in Rush Hour 3, along with appearing as Mr. Musha in 2008’s Speed Racer.
Sanada’s work in television also includes shows such as Helix, The Last Ship, and Westworld. On top of these, Sanada has a significant theater background, which includes performances in King Lear with the Royal Shakespeare Company at the turn of the century. Sanada was later awarded an honorary MBE (Member of the British Empire) in 2002 for his performance.
Among Sanada’s more recent work includes appearing as the nefarious Shingen in 2013’s The Wolverine, with Sanada even donning samurai armor and wielding a katana and tanto for a fight scene with Hugh Jackman. That same year, Sanada was seen alongside Keanu Reeves in 47 Ronin, a historical samurai epic with heavy fantasy elements. Sanada would also make a brief appearance in Avengers: Endgame as Akihiko, who has a less-than-fortunate encounter with the blade of Clint Barton, who had transitioned from Hawkeye to Ronin by that point.
For Mortal Kombat, Sanada’s Scorpion has already been shown in his bitter rivalry with arch-enemy Bi-Han – AKA Sub-Zero – and Joe Taslim portrays his Lin Kuei adversary. The trailer shows Sanada wielding Scorpion’s spear like a pro in both his early life as Hanzo and after his subsequent transformation into Scorpion. The movie even reportedly will see the two in heated battle right from its opening while the preview also shows them fighting once more at the tournament itself, both in full command of their newfound supernatural abilities.
Alongside the release of Mortal Kombat this year, Sanada will also be seen in Zack Snyder’s zombie heist movie Army of the Dead, with Sanada portraying Hunter Bly. Arriving on Netflix on May 21st – just over a month after Mortal Kombat‘s April bow – Sanada will be at the center of one very action-packed corner of the year. Whether it’s battling Sub-Zero or blasting zombie heads off, fans of Hiroyuki Sanada have a lot to look forward to in 2021, and it all starts when Mortal Kombat commences on April 16th!
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- Mortal Kombat (2021)Release date: Apr 23, 2021
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