Monday, April 25, 2011

Webseries Review: Mortal Kombat Legacy

Since it’s still going to be a little while before I review Mortal Kombat 9 (it’s coming, don’t worry!) let's talk about something else Mortal Kombat-related. In the demo itself I praised Mortal Kombat Rebirth, which was essentially a fan trailer.  I love this trailer, and so did a lot of other people. It portrayed a very realistic portrayal of Mortal Kombat, new and original ideas behind some characters, it had great fighting chorography, great music, great visuals, and Jeri Ryan. It came out of nowhere and blew me away.

It probably shouldn’t be a surprise that this trailer soon developed into a ten-episode webseries, retitled Mortal Kombat Legacy. If you haven’t watched it on Youtube yet, I strongly recommend doing so and then reading the review. There will be spoilers!

I know I’m probably going to get even more heat for saying this (it's probably because I’m a girl or something :)) but the actual webseries…is pretty good, but not spectacular. Don’t get me wrong-Mortal Kombat Legacy is good, but so far it is not the same quality as the trailer itself. 

The first two episodes basically revolve around Jax and Sonya who are trapped by Kano as they try to ambush him in an arms factory. And…yeah, that’s pretty much it. There are a lot of positives in this web series-they did get the original actors from the trailer back in the web series, such as Jeri Ryan. They also got Tahmoh Penikett (Helo from Battlestar Galactica) to cameo as Stryker. I also do like the guy cast as Kano as well.There are some decent action scenes (well mostly-I don't approve of how Kano kidnaps Sonya off-camera) and the music and visuals are still pretty good.

So why does this fail? Well, as I said this web series is good, but it’s not as fantastic as I was hoping it could be. We don’t learn anything new about the characters-Sonya is after Kano because he killed her partner (probably only two days from retirement). Jax is protective of Sonya, and Kano is an arms dealer. Three basic characters from Mortal Kombat are established, with a history we already know.

This would be fine if this was a longer web series and we had a lot of time to develop them-but we’re one fifth of the way done. I’ve also seen a new trailer for Mortal Kombat Legacy which kind of doesn’t help my opinion that this will show us anything new.  And before people ask me why I'm making such a big deal out of this, bare this in mind-Rebirth seemed to go out of its way to establish new backgrounds for the characters to make them more real-Baraka was a demented doctor who put blades in his arms, and Reptile had a weird genetic condition. Both of them apparently lived on Earth. And yet Legacy does a complete turnaround by stating that these people are from different worlds again.

Let me put it another way. This is Sub-Zero from the Rebirth Trailer:
And this is Sub-Zero from the Legacy Trailer:

Guess which one I want to see more? :) Also, I couldn't help but notice that the gore is somewhat reduced in the webseries. Probably because Warner Brothers got involved.

As I said, it's still early in the series. This is good entertainment, and will probably end up being something a lot better than the movies (well the second one anyway) and I applaud the fact that someone, somewhere can make a decent Mortal Kombat film. I really hope this can succeed. 

Or at least have a lot of Johnny Cage in it. :)


Chris Hewson said...

What are your thoughts on the Mortal Kombat movies?

Paul said...

Mortal Kombat - Rebirth was a user driven project made by one director to show how much he could achieve with a tiny budget (less than $1000)

Warner Brothers employed the director to make 'Rebirth' with the purpose of quickly engaging new audiences and giving them information and back stories about the characters in order for them to buy the new game.

It is unfair to compare the two as one was done by one director wanting to share his vision of the mortal kombat universe and the other is a corporate advertisement project.

You comparison should be, Look what can be achieved when you stay true to the universe with artistic and directorial freedom and look what falls short when big company funding and board room style rules and objectives constrain the directors ability.

Natasha Bennett said...

Hi Chris,

The first movie was good for it's time-it had good moments, awesome moments, and really cheesy moments. Better than average.

The second movie was just terrible. The only good thing about it was having so many of the characters, but several of them were undeveloped and killed off right away. Sub-zero was the only decent fighter and he disappeared off-camera for no good reason.

Hi Paul, and thanks for commenting!. I would love to see an article where Warner Brothers states that, if you have one (although I certainly don't doubt it).

This does raise an interesting argument though. Authors can be contracted into writing things they wouldn't typically write to get a decent paycheck-does that automatically mean that their quality of work goes down?