Mortal Kombat: Legacy. Part 1

Today I start another on-going series of reviews like last seasons LXD reviews. This time I’m looking at the online web series Mortal Kombat Legacy.

MORTAL KOMBAT LEGACY: PART 1

While I’m not the biggest fan of the games but I’m actually a very big fan of the story behind the universe, especially the original games before everything went a little bit crazy. One thing you can say is that Mortal Kombat is certainly inventive with its characters back stories and avoids the cheesy clichés that we’re generally used to.

MORTAL KOMBAT REBIRTH

Now a quick history lesson; the reason behind Legacy’s existence is because of an original short film made as a pitch for a new movie by Kevin Tancharoen. It was supposed to be uploaded privately on you tube to gauge reactions of producers but accidentally got made public and became an overnight sensation. The 9 minute film, Mortal Kombat Rebirth, was purely based in reality with no mystical elements.

It was seen by Ed Boon (the creator of Mortal Kombat) as a fantastic representation of Mortal Kombat but perhaps crossed the line in terms of pushing the boundaries of the series. Warner Brothers loved the short as well but only green lit Tancharoen to make a web series and not a full movie (A movie has since been funded after the conclusion of season 1). Anyway let’s look at the first 3rd of season 1.

EPISODES 1 & 2 (JAX, SONIA, KANO AND STRIKER)

The opening to the series is a 2 parter (along with every other episode) introducing Jax Briggs (Michael Jai White) , Sonia Blade (Jeri Ryan), Kurtis Striker(Tahmoh Penikett) and Kano(Daren Shahlavi). Specifically before Jax and Kano have cybernetic implants and replacements.

Sonia spies on Kano as he oversees the creation of robot parts for the Cyber Initiative (what turns Sector and Cryax into cyborgs) . She sends a message to Jax and Striker asking for backup to raid the factory. Back at the station Jax persuades Striker to lead a team to take Kano in.

Its revealed however that Sonia was captured and the recording delayed, the factory is now empty and Kano has set a trap for Jax and co. Opening fire on them when they arrive, the squad is quickly scattered by the trap. While Striker tries to rescue Sonia he’s kept back being out gunned. Jax goes after Kano and the two fight.

The first part ends when a gun Kano and Jax are fighting over fires off a grenade. The two run from the blast which goes off, separating the two while the force of the blast frees Sonia from her shackles.

Part 2 directly follows on from the first like nothing has changed and provides no real plot additions instead focusing on action. Sonia goes on to help flank the troops firing on Striker while Jax fights Kano hand to hand. Eventually leading to an overly dramatic punch from Jax that knocks Kano’s right eye flying from its socket.

With Kano defeated a soldier runs in to shoot Jax, however Sonia saves the day shooting the guard before he’s gets to Jax but still drops a grenade round. Everyone is caught in the blast and the scene ends.

Waking up in hospital Sonia is informed that Jax saved her buy getting between her and the blast but lots his arms in the process, though he’s been transferred somewhere that can help while Kano got away. Kano is shown having a bionic eye implanted as the episode ends.

— In Review —

The opening episodes of of legacy pretty much strives to appeal to fans of the series, Jax and Sonia return, Jax notably had been the focus of Tancharoen’s original video and returns as the lead here. However Michael Jai White is wasted as a martial artist, though Jax himself isn’t a martial artist, being more of a brawler so I suppose his portrayal fits the character and he does have a commanding presence throughout.

Fans of Doll House hoping to see Tahmoh Penikett dealing some nice fighting as Striker are going to go disappointed as his character is relegated to the background for the duration of the arc. Sonia doesn’t do much herself and really the same can be said for Kano, there isn’t much development for Striker either but his standing in the service is notably higher then how the MK universe portrays him.

Its pretty good for an opening arc, it has the token violence expected of an MK piece while possibly a bit too much gun play overall for my liking. However it’s a solid start to the series and sets up the kind of action we have to look forward to in the future.

EPISODE 3 (JOHNNY CAGE)

This episode purely focuses on Johnny Cage, opening on an entertainment TV show talking about his past career. In this universe he’s shown to be a former teen star who’s been unable to make it big time and is struggling for work.

After an introductory fight scene to the character that’s shown to be a pitch for a new TV show. He’s turned down and told to re shoot to make it more gritty and less cheesy. Cage accepts and sets about making a new pitch.

Once again he finds himself turned down, while his idea is shunned he over hears a meeting between his executives as they pitch his idea to someone else. Flying into a mad rage he assaults various people around the studio, however suddenly freezes and a man (Shane Tsung) walks in and offers him through salvation through a martial arts tournament.

— In Review —

Now there isn’t that much that actually happens in this episode, however for in what it sets out to do it succeeds spectacularly; making a Johnny Cage a character that your really empathise with. Once again Matt Mullins returns to play him from Rebirth but this universe’s version of Cage is damaged and not the cocky movie star that we all know. (in rebirth he was working for Jax as a secret agent when his movie work died down)

Shunned from the media for a belief that his ability is faked and following jail time after various anger problems he’s desperate to hit the big time. While his ideas aren’t actually that bad its made quite clear that the TV executives have no love for him, leading them to steal his idea. You’re left generally feeling bad for him as before Tsung’s intervention his was looking at serious jail time not too mention possibly killing someone… and yet we’d still have understood it if the episode had left on that note.

The fights, while shown to be fake and choreographed are expertly done. Mullins is a world class martial artist and it shown here. These fights are the stand out of the whole series when it comes to raw skill with no special effects. Also in a loving nod to the original character he still gets to do his trademark split punch to the groin.

While the first episodes shown us the gore of Mortal Kombat its here that were really shown the story and we really get a feel for a character; and given Johnny Cage was one of the most arrogant characters in the games and other media its a true achievement of what they’ve managed to turn him into!

I really wanted to see more of him but alas this episode was standalone so we move on in part 2 to Kitana, Raiden and the other Outworld characters.

Ryatta

About Ryatta

So about me... Well when I'm not reviewing things I'm a technical animator working in one of the UKs biggest game studios!

Posted on 03/20/2012, in Other, Text Reviews/Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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