Online Series- Mortal Kombat Legacy

intothedark

Of any fighting game franchise, I can’t think of one that has a lore as rich and interesting as Mortal Kombat.

While other developers were pumping out loosely explained fighting tournaments between cartoonish cultural stereotypes, Midway Games Chicago created a dark and sinister fighting tournament in which combatants (or Kombatants) fight for the very livelyhood of their respective realm. The stakes were crucial and the battles were visceral.

 

Sidenote: is this REALLY what the Japanese think of Americans?! India gets a yoga bad-ass and we get a blonde Wayne Static

There have currently been two live-action feature films set in the Mortal Kombat, both of which amount to Blood Sport with monsters. They never focused on what was most interesting about the franchise: the characters. With its multitude of intriguing and mysterious fighters, it would be a sisyphus’ task to really do any of them justice in two hours, even four when you add in a sequel. But Mortal Kombat: Legacy is not a feature film, it’s a live action prologue series presented by Machinima, a youtube powerhouse that specializes in video game related content.

Coming from a youtube channel that originally specialized in comedy shorts enacted by Halo avatars, Mortal Kombat: Legacy is surprisingly well done and professional. With the help of action pros such as Michael Jai-White (of Black Dynamite fame) as Jax and Star Trek: Voyager’s Jeri Ryan as Sonya Blade, top level production, and well choreographed fight scenes, it’s really hard to believe that this was created to go straight to youtube. At the same time, it’s refreshing that it was. It’s good to see that someone out there can envision youtube as a venue for something other than rickrolls and cat videos.

brb, dreaming about lightening bolts. zzzzzzz

Instead of going over each and every episode, I’m going to focus on my favorites. First of which is the Raiden episode. The writer (and one of the creator of the series), Ed Boon took a rather daring a creative spin on the character’s past. In earlier incarnations, Lord Raiden was simply the god of thunder defending the earth realm and we are supposed to accept him like that. In Legacy his story is a bit different. In his episode, Raiden crashes down to earth in one of the most unfortunate places, the grounds of an Insane Asylum. Decked out in a white robe and claiming he’s the god of thunder, he understandably gets committed. Inside the asylum, he is powerless to escape it’s walls and to convince it’s staff that he is indeed the lord of thunder and is instead subjected to two lobotomies. Each procedure is tough to even watch. The whole episode is wonderful with it’s clinical creepiness, maturity, and sheer balls to take a gritty and realistic(ish?) direction with a previously cartoonish character.

 

pssssst!

And my favorite episode(s) of the series absolutely has to be the two parter focusing on Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Scorpion, an honorable samurai and family man wanting little more than to love his wife and raise his young son into an equally honorable young man, is duped into leaving his village and family vulnerable to attack by the ice cold (eh?) Sub-Zero.  The fight that ensues is beautifully shot and well choreographed. It’s very human, which is much different and delightful compared to the arbitary rivalry depicted in the movies. My only complaint? Why the hell is Scorpion wearing a somewhat traditional samurai face mask, while Sub-Zero is given a redonkulous respirator? It seems so out of place and breaks up what could very well be a believable portrayal of the characters.

If I need to do anymore to convince you to check this series out… well, it’s not like it’ll cost you any money to watch it and make up your mind. Here, I’ll even do the google work for you: here

Since I’m not allowed to rate things in increments of  Tony Danza’s, I’ll have to give it a solid 3.75 Zacherlies, nothing to sneeze at considering it being completely free to watch.

Rating: 3.75/5 ★★★¾☆ 

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About James

James Stroman studied digital art at Indiana University and is a graphic designer, video artist, and all around visual tinkerer. He is the graphic designer for Atomic Age Cinema!, and assistant designer for Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)

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