At this point, I think we all know the history behind Mortal Kombat: Legacy, the web series that serves as a gritty, real-world reimagining of the Mortal Kombat univese, created originally by Midway Games, and later Warner Brothers Entertainment. If you want more info, you can click here or here.
So, there you have it. First impressions? It’s a bit of a letdown. It’s nowhere near as intense as the promo that debuted last year was. Secondly, other than the fact that it features characters named Jax, Sonya and Kano, there’s not really much there to make it feel like it’s even remotely related to the Mortal Kombat universe. Part of what made the original clip so intriguing was its ability to take the existing Kombat mythos and effectively insert it into a real-world scenario, while still staying true to the feeling of the games.
Rebirth’s episode one didn’t do any of that. It was just a bunch of cops and bad guys, with a karate fight in the middle of it. With that said, it was pretty damn impressive for a web series. It certainly captured the gritty feeling, and the actors did decent enough jobs (still cheesy as hell, but hey — it’s Mortal Kombat. Whaddaya want?). Michael Jai White continues to be one of the most intimidating motherfuckers out there, and the surprising appearance by Tahmoh Penikett (“Battlestar Galactica) as Stryker was a welcome addition. Jeri Ryan did a servicable job as Sonya Blade, and Darren Shahlavi was kind of blandly menacing as Kano.
Director Kevin Tancharoen has said that the episodes will tell a story, while also showing bits about the origins of each character, which I like. It’ll be interesting to see how he incorporates the supernatural elements into his retelling, but as of right now, there isn’t much to make the series relate to the Mortal Kombat rogues gallery.
In the end, Legacy suffered for no reason other than it didn’t feel like it made any connection to the Mortal Kombat universe. Well-designed sets, interesting weapon technology, testosterone-laden dialogue, well-edited and choreographed fight sequences? It had all of those things, for certain. Yet it was still lacking that unique MK vibe, something to separate it from being just another good vs. evil gun/fistfight. If the series is to ultimately succeed, it’ll need to reconnect itself to the heart of the games, and bring more of the games’ twisted, unique sensibility into its story.
That said, the recently released pictures of Sub-Zero and Baraka… have great potential.