What They Say:
Jax (Michael Jai White), Striker (Tamoh Pennikett), Sonya Blade (Jeri Ryan) and Kano (Darren Shahlavi) star in episode 1 of the all-new Mortal Kombat: Legacy live action series, presented exclusively by Machinima.com and Warner Brothers
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I can’t exactly say I’m a huge Mortal Kombat fan, but I grew up during the controversy of the original coin-op game when it came out, the way certain console systems then got the clean versions with unlocks and so forth. I’ve seen some of the movies, I’m familiar with the basics and I’ve played various incarnations of the games over the years, including the new demo that’s out as of this writing which is fun, but lacks anything to really make it stand out amongst today’s games. It’s riding on better graphics than before, but not by much, and the brand name.
But I’ll admit curiosity as to this new web series since it has some decent name stars, the types I expect to actually be on Dancing With The Stars, and I’m all for web series of known properties that can bring something neat to the table. But can it happen with Mortal Kombat? The story is fairly straightforward here at first as Sonya Blade gets caught while investigating something and has Kano being the one to work her over as she dangles there. Sonya’s being captured has Jax all set to run out, guns blazing, to rescue her, but Striker tries to keep him in line. For all of ten seconds before he literally says fuck it and joins him to do the rescue. Given the warehouse setting, having the usual SWAT style teams running through it searching them out and the expected basic gunplay battles are fairly standard issue material. It’s not great, but it’s not bad. It’s by the numbers.
Action essentially dominates the second half as the two sides face off with the grunt level stunt actors leaping about, getting shot and blown up. There’s the typical slow motion scenes, some of which work pretty nicely, and there aren’t any punches pulled to people getting killed and bloodied up. There was a rather good scene early on where Kano knocks his head hard into Sonya, so you know they’re not going to shy away from things. If you’ve seen the clip that was floating about, you’ve seen the bulk of the fight between Jax and Kano, and it’s decently choreographed but reduced in effectiveness by the numerous cuts and the jerky motion of it all. Can’t we please just get a straight on view and watch the ass kickings commence?
With the opening twelve minute episode, Mortal Kombat: Legacy is riding more on brand name than anything else. We’ve got the characters, and there are some decent similarities to their game incarnations, but we haven’t hit the crew that has the heavy costumes and Sonya hasn’t gotten down to the really tight outfits. So it’s a fairly straightforward semi-military/police/SWAT kind of gig here with a larger history if you know the characters. Nothing here will harm any of the actors careers, it might help a bit just because Warner will remember them helping out on a project, but this isn’t a series that will really go anywhere I suspect. It’s not a bad piece, but it lacks anything really strong to hook you with unless you’re a complete Mortal Kombat junkie and need all incarnations to devour. This really needed a much stronger hook to bring in the casual audience that might have checked it out otherwise.