Sunday, 17 April 2011

Mortal Kombat: Legacy

Several months ago I stumbled across the promo trailer for “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” or “Mortal Komabt: Rebirth” as it was known then, which took the Mortal Kombat series and gave it a “Dark Knight” shot of realism, which created a result which honestly broke my jaw the first time I saw it, quickly leading me to spam the hell out of my like minded friends insisting that they watch it, despite the fact that no one seemed to know what exactly it was a promo for.

So time passed on and though it frequently came up in conversations with my friends who I’d shown it to, it had generally fallen off the radar. That was until last night when “Geeks Are Sexy” posted the first episode of the new web series which that promo has since evolved into and suddenly everything was put to one side as I sat down to watch the first episode of this latest attempt at adapting the popular games, which so far has spawned two films, an animated series and the guilty pleasure which is “Mortal Kombat: Conquest” which remains one of the best spin off’s which the games have inspired to date.
So here is the first episode of this latest incarnation which is to be released as a weekly web series by via youtube.

Spearheading the series is director Kevin Tancharoen who is probably best known for directing the “Fame” Remake and is certainly a surprising choice for rebooting / reimaging the franchise, but so far he has proven to be exactly what the series has needed as this latest addition to the franchise has proven with it’s first episode to be more than a glossy promo, for although this pilot episode only shows Sonya Blade, Jax and Kano rather than any of the more fantastical characters, it still moves at a breakneck pace and devotes a good chunk of the episode run time to some great action sequences including a great showdown between Jax and Kano.

The series has some great writing talent behind it, with Tancharoen being joined on writing duties by Ed Boon the creator of the Mortal Kombat series aswell as the memorable voice of Scorpion. Also on writing for the show are Todd and Aaron Helbing who more recently could be found writing for another great adaptation of an established classic with “Spartacus: Blood and Sand”. Although it is early days for the series the writing is still fresh and with a strong focus on action, rather than allowing the action to get too bogged down, with all the characters so far still proving as memorable as their video game versions.

The cast are largely unknowns with a couple of cult actors such as Michael Jai White finally giving us a decent version of Jax, while his martial arts skills are put to great effect here. The only other recognisable face here is Jeri Ryan who made a whole lot more people tune in for Star Trek Voyager and no doubt will have the same effect here as she takes on the role of the feisty Sonya Blade. However when it comes to their casting of Kano, whom for myself was truly nailed by Trevor Goddard who brought a cocky thug like quality to the character, rather than the more Triad esq gangster that Darren Shahlavi has chosen to play him like, but I’m interested to still to see how Kano is used in the latest adaptation, especially with another nine episodes to go in this brief initial run, though a strong foundation has been laid with the first episode especially when combined with the teaser, so hopefully Tancharoen has enough ideas to keep our interest, which if the cast list on IMDB is anything to go off it’s safe to say he has me curious as to how other characters will be introduced and how they will come across in his vision, but will he get close to the gory highlights of the source material? For the moment it is hard to say and while the other adaptations have generally skipped around it, so already I’m keen to see if Tancharoen will choose this safer path aswell or instead surprise us all further by reminding us all what exactly what the selling point of Mortal Kombat was in the first place.

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