Mortal Kombat Legacy and Rebirth Review
The Mortal Kombat Rebirth trailer, created by director Kevin Tancharoen, was the adrenaline shot that the Mortal Kombat franchise desperately needed. Mortal Kombat Rebirth brought a new perspective and the potential for deeper character development through its gritty, realistic approach that departed from the original Mortal Kombat video games.
However, CineMax, LaughingMan, and STAR feel that the official Mortal Kombat webseries, Mortal Kombat Legacy, has sacrificed the substance and unique story-telling direction -seen in Mortal Kombat Rebirth- for impressive action sequences and style. So join CineMax (Mockbuster Mockeries), LaughingMan (Cheshire Cat Studios), and STAR (Silver Screen Podcast) in this hilarious and witty roundtable video podcast review as they give their impressions, concerns, and critiques of Mortal Kombat Legacy.
**The song ‘Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows’ plays to a compilation of gruesome and violent Mortal Kombat 9 fatalities.**
CINEMAX: Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. We’re so glad that you can attend. Come inside, come inside. Good evening ladies and gentlemen, my name is CineMax, and welcome to the first edition of the Official Cheshire Cat Studios Podcast…. thingy. Now, as some of you might have already known, for the last couple of months, we at Cheshire Cat Studios have been keeping a close eye to Kevin Tancharoen’s latest internet web series, ‘Mortal Kombat Legacy’. And, since a couple of weeks ago, the show (or the First Season if Wikipedia is to be believed) has come to and end, we have decided to get together and discuss what each of us thought of the series as a whole. So please welcome me, amateur film critic and creator of Mockbuster Mockeries; LaughingMan, the immortal founder of CheshireCatStudios.com and co-creator of Dante VS Rau; and STAR, the indispensable hostess of Star’s Silver Screen Podcast, as we discuss (what else?) Mortal Kombat Legacy. Enjoy!
WHAT WAS YOUR INITIAL REACTION TO THE MORTAL KOMBAT REBIRTH TRAILER?
LAUGHINGMAN: I guess we can start of by asking what did we think of the Mortal Kombat Rebirth trailer. Not Mortal Kombat Legacy, Mortal Kombat Rebirth.
CINEMAX: That’s what I wrote.
LAUGHINGMAN: I know, that’s what I’m going off of.
STAR: I loved it. I first found it on YouTube because a friend had it uploaded, and like I said in the forums with this discussion, normally I’m more anal about them keeping to the original, whatever, but I didn’t mind the more realistic approach that Kevin was doing to this and it was very interesting and I was curious to see what was going to happen. Had it been a film release I would have definitely gone to see it if nothing else than to see how he made that realistic.
LAUGHINGMAN: Well… calling it ‘realistic’ is a bit of a misnomer or something because you still have Baraka with blades coming out of his arms, so, you know, it’s not exactly realistic, it’s grittier. It’s gritty but not necessarily realistic. But, you know, i still like the direction that they’re going with it because, I’ve been following Mortal Kombat ever since it first game out, you know, 15 years ago I became a Mortal Kombat nut and I haven’t stopped. And, the essential story behind the first Mortal Kombat, at least, is almost a rip off of Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon”. There’s not a whole lot of story in hardly any of the Mortal Kombats to date, so taking this entire thing in a whole new direction… the door was open for this kind of thing, and I was interested in seeing Kevin T (I can’t pronounce his last name so you’ll have to excuse me) but I totally wanted to see what [Kevin Tancharoen’s] version of Mortal Kombat would be, and just as long as it wasn’t a rehash of the 1995 movie, then I was all for it.
CINEMAX: So I guess it’s my turn?
CINEMAX: Alright, so in my case I first discovered Mortal Kombat Rebirth around last June when every major entertainment related media website was buzzing about this new mysterious short Mortal Kombat film and how it took this basic premise of Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon” the Mortal Kombat game series was based on, and took it into a completely new, never before seen direction. And I gotta say, I absolutely loved it. In my opinion, Mortal Kombat Rebirth did what no previous live action Mortal Kombat adaptation could hope to achieve, and that’s giving Mortal Kombat some actual depth. And that’s why I absolutely loved Mortal Kombat Rebirth.
WHAT WAS YOUR OPINION OF LEGACY THEN?
CINEMAX: Moving on to Mortal Kombat Legacy, well of course I was excited when I learned that they were going to make a continuation, but let’s not give away my final thoughts right now.
LAUGHINGMAN: Agreed…. Well, actually this is the right time to start discussing Mortal Kombat Legacy. I’m not trying to undermine you or anything, but that’s where we’re leading into with this. Our first impression of Mortal Kombat Rebirth is pretty unanimous. It was new, it was gritty, and it was cool, so now we need to discuss what we got out of it, which was, apparently, not a whole lot.
STAR: No, in comparison to Mortal Kombat Rebirth, we bashed in the forums that Mortal Kombat Legacy is not what we expected. And a little disappointing in my opinion.
CINEMAX: Only a ‘little’ disappointing?
LAUGHINGMAN: Yeah, only a ‘little’. hahaha. You know, the thing with Mortal Kombat Rebirth is that in the 10 minutes it had, it told a short story and aside from the Johnny Cage episode, Episode 3, and the Raiden episode, Episode 6 I believe, none of the other episodes accomplished that at all.
STAR: It’s a sin because I was so hyped with Mortal Kombat Rebirth, and then Mortal Kombat Legacy came out and I was thinking, originally, was that he was going to continue from the Mortal Kombat Rebirth trailer we were given, especially when I saw Michael Jae White, the guy who played Spawn, and that chick Jeri Ryan as Sonya, and I was like “oh cool so he’s giving us a bit of an intro, and then we’re going to get back to the trailer, and then we’re going to do the whole Scorpion and Sub-Zero thing.”
CINEMAX: Same here. I’m still mystified as to why he didn’t just continue the Scorpion versus Sub-Zero fight from Mortal Kombat Rebirth.
LAUGHINGMAN: Right. But during K.T.’s interview with… I think it was Crash, or Crush, or something… Collider.com, he won me over on his unique vision of Mortal Kombat because he really laid out the groundwork for what I wanted to see in a Mortal Kombat movie. He made a lot of comparisons between the last two Matrix movies and how the first Matrix movie was great because it kept the fantasy elements to a minimum and stuck to telling a story. And that in his Mortal Kombat series he was going to keep things like fireballs and characters like Sektor and Cyrax out of his new series…
LAUGHINGMAN: … Because they didn’t feel realistic enough. And, of course, that got shot to hell after the first friggin’ Mortal Kombat Legacy trailer.
WHAT WAS YOUR OPINION OF LEGACY THEN?
LAUGHINGMAN: I think that if anything ruined this series, it was the 12 minute time frame that they had to make these short Mortal Kombat Legacy videos in.
STAR: Yeah because they’re about 8 to 12 minute long episodes.
LAUGHINGMAN: Right. And it’s not enough time to tell decent stories. The only exception was the Johnny Cage episode because the Johnny Cage (Matt Mullins) episode, Episode 3 of Mortal Kombat Legacy, was a self-contained story. And, it’s about a movie star being down on his luck and keeps getting screwed over by his producers, and agents and stuff, and people can easily relate to that and see what the story is about. And it was interesting because it was a complete twist on the official Johnny Cage Mortal Kombat storyline cannon because, if you ever played the new Mortal Kombat 9 (2011) game, Johnny cage is a prick. Video from Mortal Kombat 2011 with Johnny Cage’s story mode Johnny Cage: That old geezer is the final challenge. They might as well give me the belt right now. I mean, he is a total and utter CUNT. He is an egotistical maniac, the equivalent of Jean Claude Van Damme with a massive ego. Video from Mortal Kombat 2011 with Johnny Cage’s story mode Johnny Cage: Oh yeah, I’m so pretty! And I’m taking you down, and I’m taking you down. I’m taking you out, and I’m taking you out, and I’m taking you out… (to Sonya Blade) for dinner. But in Episode 3 of Mortal Kombat Legacy, Johnny Cage (Matt Mullins) is downtrodden, he’s on the end of his rope, and he’s funding $50,000 out of his own pocket, kind of mirroring Kevin Tancharoen’s own investment of $7000 for his Mortal Kombat Rebirth trailer. But Johnny cage is investing $50,000 out of his own pocket, and the studios keep screwing him over, screwing him over, screwing him over, and that was just NEW. And that’s what Mortal Kombat Legacy… err, Mortal Kombat Rebirth was all about: Being something new that we haven’t seen before. Taking 2-dimensional characters (not literally as in 2d sprites) but really cut and dry stereotypes (like Liu Kang is a Bruce Lee knock off, etc) taking 2D characters and giving them, you know, giving them LIFE. That is what film is all about and I dont’ feel that Mortal Kombat Legacy really came close to accomplishing half of this. I mean, the only exceptions are Johnny Cage and Raiden.
STAR: I think that everybody was just so wrapped up with Mortal Kombat Rebirth that that’s what we were expecting, and that’s what we were wanting that, that it gets broken into that.
LAUGHINGMAN: Right, but not everybody was really wanting Mortal Kombat Rebirth, because the fan out lash on “Rasta Baraka” was… ummm… pretty intense. But, you know, Mortal Kombat Rebirth was just something new. I mean making Reptile a cannibal with massive birth disfigurements was, I don’t want to say realistic, but it was new and it was gritty and it was something that took Mortal Kombat in a new direction.
STAR: That’s why I called it realism, because it wasn’t a ninja from another dimension, and it wasn’t an alien, it was technically supposed to be a real human, who just had a birth defect and happens to eat people. Hahaha. They were up in the air on how they were going to make Raiden, for lack of a better term, realistic, with the lightning and thunder thing.
LAUGHINGMAN: Right, the Raiden (Ryan Robbins) episode isn’t that realistic in that, like Cinemax, or Max, said that it mirrored a lot of a Thor comic about Thor falling to earth and gets sent to a mental asylum, because he was the self-proclaimed God of Thunder. But to me that episode had a lot more substance than the Jax, Sonya and Kano episode, which frustrated me to the point that… they didn’t even even introduce the character of Kurtis Stryker by name until Episode 2.
STAR: I had no idea who it was until you guys pointed it out.
LAUGHINGMAN: I know, he (Tahmoh Penikett) could have been credited as fucking Commissioner Gordon for all we fucking knew. And we never would have known the difference until until Episode 2 of the Jax, Sonya and Kano episode when Jax (Michael Jai White) shouts “Hey Stryker come shoot this asshole” and it’s was like “Oh, you’re Stryker?! Okay.” It’s just this level of absolutely horrible story telling. I mean, they don’t introduce the characters to people who have no fucking clue what Mortal Kombat is. They don’t give characters motivations. I mean, if you ever watched the original Mortal Kombat movie, Sonya has a fucking one-track mind. Sonya wants to kill Kano, and that’s it. But the Mortal Kombat Legacy Sonya, what is she doing? She spies on Kano, and that’s everything she does. There’s no drive for the characters, and there’s nothing that makes you want to either root for characters, or want see the shit get beat out of them, or anything.
STAR: Well as far as introducing these characters and explaining who they are, I theorize that you have the hard core Mortal Kombat fan following and these are the people who know who these characters are, their history and their background. So based on that assumption there is no need to introduce these characters.
CINEMAX: Yes, but it’s a different universe. It’s like the Tancharoen-verse or call it whatever you want, so some introduction would be nice.
LAUGHINGMAN: Agreed. But like I keep saying about the Stryker thing, no body knew who he was until Episode 2 of the Jax, Sonya and Kano episode, and it’s like ‘Throw us a bone here’ and at least call people by their names in the first episode. It’s just… I dunno, where Mortal Kombat Rebirth had a good direction and it had the makings of a really good first episode as far as story goes, with some characters and that kind of thing… I mean you knew who Scorpion was, well not immediately, but you got an idea of how dangerous he was, and his affiliation with being an assassin. And the handcuff thing in Rebirth –
STAR: That was AWESOME!
LAUGHINGMAN: The handcuff thing was kinda cliche, but it was still awesome. But as far as Mortal Kombat Legacy goes, it was just absolutely…
LAUGHINGMAN: Exactly. There was no way to tell Character A’s motivation and whatnot. It was horrible.
WHAT WENT WRONG WITH LEGACY?
STAR: So the question was, do you think that the number of views went down because everyone was expecting Mortal Kombat Rebirth, and when they found out that Legacy wasn’t doing that they lost interest, or do you think that they’re viewing it like Cheshire Cat Studios has been, and is looking at story, characters, editing, fighting, etc etc?
CINEMAX: Well if you ask me it’s probably both of these factors, because while I’m sure that some people were just simply disappointed that Mortal Kombat Legacy was no where near as complex or engaging as Mortal Kombat Rebirth, I’ve also seen comments of people berating the creators for half-assed writing, you know like how the Kitana and Mileena episode of Mortal Kombat Legacy did an absolutely craptastic job at introducing all of the supernatural elements, or like how the second half of the Scorpion vs Sub-Zero fight turned into a Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon without so much as a warning.
LAUGHINGMAN: Yeah, I agree. But one of the major problems is, like the web series “The Dirty DoGooders”, they have a couple-thousand views for their first episode, and then it kind of trails down from there, and I think that’s just normal for a web series to have a lot of initial views, and then people just trickle out. So I think that might have been a factor, but I think that a lot of it is the fact that people didn’t exactly get what they expected with Mortal Kombat Legacy. I mean, I guess people just didn’t like what they saw. There’s no other explanation about going from one and a half million views down to a couple-hundred thousand in the next week, and it just keeps going down from there.
STAR: I’m also curious about how many people bothered to watch Mortal Kombat Legacy on their own, or if they were just going off of reviews.
CINEMAX: Well I remember at the start of the first two Mortal Kombat Legacy episodes they were plugged to death by video game websites like Destructoid and Kotaku, but then they just stopped bothering so there was a lot of people who just watched Mortal Kombat Legacy just because it was popular, not because they really cared.
LAUGHINGMAN: HYPE! Good catch there Max! Because that makes total sense: They hyped up the first episode and everybody and their mother saw it because it was so widely advertised on these websites, and then after that did they ever bother publicly releasing, or announcing episodes 2, 3, 4, or any of those?
STAR: I only found out about the new episodes when you guys posted them in the CCS Forums. Haha. But wasn’t it Kenny Farino who said that he just forgot about the whole series?
LAUGHINGMAN: I think that was all of us. Hahaha.
CINEMAX: No, he said that he dropped out somewhere around episodes 4 and 5, once again the nefarious Mileena and Kitana story.
LAUGHINGMAN: Yeah I remember Ramin, um ‘Zimes’ posted that picture of Spiderman standing triumphantly on the rooftops.
CINEMAX: AND NOT A SINGLE FUCK WAS GIVEN THAT DAY.
STAR: Or the whole waiting a month for the last episode, too, and he was like ‘oh I completely forgot about it’ until you brought it up.
LAUGHINGMAN: The worst thing about the whole last episode is that they waited a whole fucking month the release the stupid thing just so they can plug Mortal Kombat Legacy at Comic Con. I can understand the marketing tactics that they’re trying to use, but it was still just a damn long wait for a web series that people were just starting to not give a shit about.
STAR: It was just disappointing because this episode just wasn’t worth waiting for.
LAUGHINGMAN: Well had cool effects so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt, and the fighting was good, but the reason that he stalled it was just so that he could sell DVDs. I mean, that’s what the month long wait and the Comic Con thing was about, and announcing a Season Two is coming out and selling the Mortal Kombat Legacy DVDs, which I don’t see how that could ever fly because you can watch them on YouTube for free and unless they add scenes that explain everything, it’s not going to be worth $20.
STAR: I don’t know if they’re going to do a Season Two, I’m not noticing anything about it or a continued series.
LAUGHINGMAN: I’ve heard that they were going to, yes.
STAR: Wow, this has been going on since April 2011. April 11th was the first episode. It looks like he was doing them about every week, and then the last one was May 30th, and then we had to wait until July 24th for the Sexter- I mean Cyrax and Sector!-
LAUGHINGMAN AND CINEMAX: Sexter?
STAR: I was staring at the title and I saw both of them! It just merged.
LAUGHINGMAN: *Robot voice* I am Sexter! I’m going to use my special ‘you-know-what’ on you!
STAR: I’m sure there’s Mortal Kombat Porn somewhere.
LAUGHINGMAN: Sexter… Yeah ‘it’ is 5 horse power and has a pullstart. Vrumm vrumm vrumm! FATALITY!
LAUGHINGMAN, STAR, CINEMAX: *LOL*
CINEMAX: Remember how this was supposed to be a serious discussion?
LAUGHINGMAN: F that… Hahaha, seriously if we don’t have some fun with this video podcast review people won’t want to watch it.
ANY PREDICTIONS FOR A SECOND SEASON OF MORTAL KOMBAT LEGACY OR A NEW MORTAL KOMBAT MOVIE?
STAR: *Indistinct mumbling about Warner Brothers and a Second Season of Mortal Kombat Legacy* He [Kevin Tancharoen] is stating that he is always working on Mortal Kombat stories and he would like to stay with the current Mortal Kombat Legacy cast and crew, and that Season Two would concern the tenth Mortal Kombat tournament as was portrayed in the original video game, but with a different story up to the first scene of the Mortal Kombat game and the first Mortal Kombat film. Also concerning Mortal Kombat Legacy Season Two he talked about the prospects of characters such as Goro and the method of which he could be portrayed believably.
CINEMAX: Oh yeah… Believably…
LAUGHINGMAN: Yeah, it’ll be two midgets standing on each others shoulders.
LAUGHINGMAN, STAR, CINEMAX: *LOL*
LAUGHINGMAN: Four arms! RWARR!
STAR: The introduction of Kabal was also raised. Kevin Tancharoen still has hopes for a Mortal Kombat movie, which he has, quote: ‘a very detailed treatment that plots out the entire story line’, end quote. Regarding a third Mortal Kombat Movie, Kevin Tancharoen told IGN.com that he would not focus on including as many franchise characters as possible the way that Mortal Kombat: Annihilation did.
LAUGHINGMAN: THANK GOD!
STAR: Warner Brothers premier general, muted television as a possible medium on which the series could continue. WHY DO THEY KEEP BASHING THIS DOWN?! Why don’t they just let him make the fucking movie?
LAUGHINGMAN: Maybe Warner Brothers just knows that a hard R-rated Mortal Kombat movie would never do good in the box office, because you’re already eliminating all of the 12 to 18 year old who play the M-rated Mortal Kombat games, regardless of their age. They’re eliminating an entire bracket of people who have disposable income, the movie watchers. Teens and kids spend a hell of a lot of money on movies, so to make a hard R-rated Mortal Kombat movie, there’s no way that they can make that fly, so maybe it’s more profitable to put Mortal Kombat Legacy on HBO like they did with the Dexter Series?
STAR: I love Dexter… But I call bullshit on the whole rating system. It’s like my Little Cookie Theory: You tell a three-year old that you cannot have this cookie. That little bastard is going to do everything he can to get that fucking cookie, just because you said he can’t have it. It’s the same thing with film, kids are like ‘Ooh, an R rated film. I might get in trouble if I watch it so I have to see what the big deal is’. THEY’RE STILL GOING TO SEE THE DAMN MOVIE!
CINEMAX: My ears are bleeding…
STAR:Sorry, but I say that they go back to Mortal Kombat Rebirth and let him make the damn movie and call it a day.
LAUGHINGMAN: But I think that we’ve reached that point where there’s no going back from Mortal Kombat Legacy. I mean, if he wants to keep going with this, he’s going to need to take the existing Mortal Kombat Legacy series and find some way to tie it into the next season or a new Mortal Kombat movie, or whatever. A Mortal Kombat TV show or whatever. And then the end quote. “QUALITY” of the Mortal Kombat Legacy series is going to cripple the project. It’s like when you try to plow around a rock: it’s hard to get the lines straight again.
STAR:So do you think that even after Mortal Kombat Legacy, that it’s too late for Kevin Tancharoen to go back and to what Mortal Kombat Rebirth was, and have the tournament and be like that, or keep the fantasy in it?
LAUGHINGMAN: I think that the only way that Kevin Tancharoen and Warner Brothers can save a future Mortal Kombat movie, series, or tv show is to go back and add more to Mortal Kombat Legacy. You know, turn these 10 minute episodes into 30 minute episodes, re shoot with the actors and characters, and add to the series, and MAYBE they can bridge the gap between Legacy and Rebirth, because it’s gonna be a hell of a wide gap.
STAR: Are you guys going to bother with Mortal Kombat Legacy Season Two, or are you not going to bother with it? I’d like to believe that I’ll check it out, just to see what the hell he decides to do, but if I had to pick absolutely right now… eh, it can go either way.
CINEMAX: Same here. Right now it is hit or miss. Unless he says there’s going to be the tournament, and that it’s somehow going to tie in with Rebirth, then I might give it a look. But if it continues with this, back story after back story after back story, then not so much…
LAUGHINGMAN: Yeah, well I’m a Mortal Kombat Nerd and this stuff is my crack. I know it’s bad for me, but I’ll watch it any ways. But one thing that we didn’t really touch up on, well I guess STAR started touching up on it, but if you noticed that each character arc Kevin Tancharoen has made in this 9 episode Mortal Kombat mini-series, each arc has its own unique look and feel. One’s all action, which is the Jax, Sonya, and Kano episode, and Johnny Cage’s was more like a documentary style, and then Kitana and Mileena’s episodes are fantasy beyond all likeability. And then Scorpion and Sub-Zero’s episodes turn into an old Akira Kur- (Akira Kurosawa)… goddamnit.
CINEMAX: Ask ONOE, he knows.
LAUGHINGMAN: Yeah, I’ll ask ONOE… But it looks like an old samurai epic, like The Seven Samurai. And it has that flavor, until you get to the magic bullshit, but it has that samurai epic atmosphere, which is cool. And then Sektor and Cyrax’s episode is just Transformers, it’s all action and no substance.
STAR: What was Raiden’s episode like?
LAUGHINGMAN: Oh shit, we keep forgetting about Raiden.
CINEMAX: Kind of like a modern superhero film I suppose.
LAUGHINGMAN: Yeah, I was going to say that the Mortal Kombat Legacy Raiden episode is like a The Dark Knight take on the Mortal Kombat universe. It’s edgy, gritty, a little psycho…
CINEMAX: More relatable to Thor, maybe?
LAUGHINGMAN: Yeah, definitely that, but it looks like Kevin Tancharoen’s trying to experiment on different styles and film genres to see which one people like the most.
STAR: Or maybe Kevin Tancharoen felt that those genres fit better with those characters?
CINEMAX: But he would still eventually have to put all of these characters into the same room together. And if all of them come from different genres, and different styles, and different looks and maybe even different universes, who knows? It’s going to be like a… I don’t know… kind of a cluster-fuck.
LAUGHINGMAN: That’s exactly what I was going to say! Eventually they’re going to need to bring all of these genres into the same room, which I guess the Mortal Kombat games sort of do, but then again Mortal Kombat doesn’t have a hell of a story, either. They’re just not movie material. But to make a decent movie or even a decent mini-series with all of these genres, he’s gotta pick one.
STAR: Well it seemed that all of the episodes were plausible to be all in the same world, except for the Mileena and Kitana episodes, because that literally took place on another, so everything else seems plausible that it is in the same universe.
CINEMAX: More or less…
LAUGHINGMAN: Yeah but the Scorpion and Sub-Zero episode of Mortal Kombat Legacy was pretty low-tech compared to say Jax, Cyrax, and the rest of those guys.
CINEMAX: Yeah but it was in the past.
LAUGHINGMAN: Was it?
STAR: Yeah, I would have assumed anyway, with the way that they were living, and the lifestyle, the clothing; it screamed ‘past’ to me.
LAUGHINGMAN: Well, Scorpion is obviously dead and he’s a specter coming back to get revenge, but how in the hell does Sub-Zero live for 400 years?
CINEMAX: Well, remember that still shot of Sub-Zero in the Mortal Kombat Rebirth trailer, where Sub-Zero has a cryo-suit or something? So maybe he lives on through cybernetics or something?
LAUGHINGMAN: Kind of like being in a refrigerated state, like how you stick an apple in the fridge and it won’t rot quite as fast. That might work. It’s a decent angle, it’s better than what we got so far.
STAR: But if it’s the past, then where the fuck does he get that technology from back then?
LAUGHINGMAN: Oh you know, in the 1800’s he had this steam-punk looking thing going on. You know, like The Wild Wild West. He’s beating Will Smith up and shit on a giant mechanical spider. You don’t see that happening?
LAUGHINGMAN, STAR, CINEMAX: *LOL*
STAR: That’s bad… getting Wild Wild West up in there… hahaha.
LAUGHINGMAN’S MORTAL KOMBAT LEGACY REVIEW: Where Kevin Tancharoen dropped the ball is in failing to realize that the purpose of giving video games life in a movie is to come up with imaginative ways to give depth to characters who are only iconic for ripping out each others’ spines. One of the very appealing things about the Mortal Kombat: Rebirth trailer was the potential to reinvent and expand on the histories of each of the Kombatants: Baraka was a failed doctor, Reptile was a serial killer with birth defects, and Sonya (Jeri Ryan) and Jax (Michael Jai White) were cops in a precinct? Holy crap, that’s something new and interesting. Not only that, but it’s compelling because there’s the enormous potential for character development, are a lot of cool story arches that could be explored!
But no, outside of some flashy gunfights, and some very cool hand-to-hand combat, I’ve essentially seen 9 episodes of nothing Mortal Kombat fans don’t already know, and presented in poorly developed stories that don’t bring a non-Mortal Kombat players up to speed. You know what? I take that back… I’ve seen 6 episodes of nothing that Mortal Kombat fans don’t already know, and 3 episodes that really kicked my ass and impressed me at the same time. The Johnny Cage (Matt Mullins) episode was the most complete storyline of all 9 episodes because it chronicled the tragic but ultimately satisfying rise and fall of an action movie icon akin to stars like Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal. Raiden’s (Ryan Robbins) episode was an excellent short story about a god turned mortal, falling to earth, being persecuted, dying, and being resurrected; it’s like the Mortal Kombat equivalent of the life of Jesus Christ. The first episode of the Scorpion vs Sub-Zero episodes was amazing in an Akira Kurosawa sort of way, but then it fucked up by turning Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon in episode 2. Jax (Michael Jai White), Sonya (Jeri Ryan), and Kano’s (Darren Shahlavi) episodes are cool to watch but they don’t explain shit about the characters, while Kitana and Mileena’s episodes are Kill Bill clusterfucks with the most non-intimidating Shao Kahn I’ve ever seen. Finally, Kevin T completely missed the chance to make the story of Sektor and Cyrax a tale of losing one’s identity in exchange for some incredible fight scenes and special effects.
As much as I want to blame the 12-minute episode lengths for the lack of proper storytelling, there’s also jarring fantasy elements, like the Sub-Zero and Scorpion episode, which, despite Kevin T’s promises of making magic and super powers tasteful, are still ill-utilized in comparison to Mortal Kombat Rebirth. Kevin T is phenomenal with fight choreography and he has the ability to tell a captivating short story, as seen with Mortal Kombat Rebirth, but when Warner Brothers (the current owners of the Mortal Kombat franchise) got involved, it’s like Kevin T’s unique vision and his better judgment was completely hijacked due to the WB wanting to protect their IP.
STAR’S MORTAL KOMBAT LEGACY REVIEW: What did I think of Mortal Kombat Legacy overall? Well, it’s entertaining, but Mortal Kombat Rebirth set the bar so high that what Mortal Kombat Legacy gave us was really no where near it. And it’s beating a dead horse at this moment, but I really wish that Kevin had just continued Mortal Kombat Rebirth. I wanted to see where that story went, where that plot went, and where those characters went. Mortal Kombat Legacy, again, still entertaining, but depending on your point of view, depending on if you criticize plot, story and characters, it may not be that entertaining to you. If you’re a little more humble or simple about it. Was the fighting great? Yes. Were the different types of stories he was telling entertaining? Yeah, it was different, like animation for one story, a reality television show for another, and an action blower-upper for another. And am I gonna see the continuation if it gets to do that? Yes. Not necessarily because it’s my crack like LaughingMan, but because I am curious to see what’s going to happen. Is Kevin going to be more of what we think he wants to go with Mortal Kombat Legacy, or is it going to be what we think was going to go on and the studio took control and told him what he can and can not do. I can’t bash Mortal Kombat Legacy completely, but like I said before, Mortal Kombat Rebirth just set the bar so high and it was a different take on Mortal kombat that it was just epic. So, out of five stars, Id give Mortal Kombat Legacy a 2.5 or 3. Mortal Kombat Rebirth had a 4.5 or 5 hands down. It’s not like I regret watching the series, at least i can say that much, but maybe next time around maybe we can get a little more similar to Mortal Kombat Rebirth than with the current Mortal Kombat Legacy.
CINEMAX’S MORTAL KOMBAT LEGACY REVIEW: I believe if there’s one thing this whole ‘Mortal Kombat: Legacy’ fiasco has taught us, it’s that should never – and I repeat – never sacrifice your own, artistic vision for something a lot more lackluster and mundane, ‘cos trust me, no matter how sweet those fifteen minutes of fame might feel, you and everyone else who shared the aforementioned unique vision will never be able to get rid of the unsettling, overwhelming sensation that you could’ve done a lot, lot more. Last year, young aspiring film director Kevin Tancharoen took the world by surprise with his gritty, never before seen take on the Mortal Kombat game series. The original ‘Mortal Kombat: Rebirth’ trailer might’ve been only seven minutes long, yes, but in that short time, not only did it manage to tell a compelling story and reinvent the entire Mortal Kombat mythology, but it also got people like me, who previously couldn’t give any less shit about anything even remotely related to Mortal Kombat, interested in that world, its history, and characters. Unfortunately, despite Mortal Kombat: Rebirth’s phenomenal success on YouTube and massive support from the die-hard fans who’d been waiting for a serious and grown-up take on their beloved game series for ages, Warner Brothers – in their eternal wisdom – decided that Kevin Tancharoen’s vision was way off message, and told him to cut out all the interesting character arcs and subplots, and basically dumb the whole thing down to something that’s guaranteed to cater to the tasteless, simple-minded twelve-year olds who make up most of Mortal Kombat’s current fanbase. Whether or not Kevin Tancharoen fought ’till the end for his beloved creation or if he was ready to disown from his own vision from the moment go as long as the price was right doesn’t really matter, though, ‘cos even if the man was forced into this project (as evidenced by the prologue text in the beginning of episode six), it still doesn’t change the fact that ‘Mortal Kombat: Legacy’ was just not very good. One of the major things ‘Mortal Kombat Legacy’ gets flack for is its piss-poor characterization, and I tend to agree. Outside of the Johnny Cage (Matt Mullins) and Raiden (Ryan Robbins) episodes that not only properly introduced the said characters, their back-stories and motivations, but also gave you a clear idea of their role in the grand scheme of things, none of these nine episodes actually bothered to explain what the hell is actually going on, and how are all of these people connected to each other. I mean, honestly: If you hadn’t known who all of the characters are, would you have ever guessed that, say, the Jax (Michael Jai White), Sonya (Jeri Ryan) & Kano (Darren Shahlavi) episode is supposed to take place in the same universe as the Scorpion & Sub-Zero one? My point exactly. The Mortal Kombat Legacy series is just so disjointed, that it’s virtually impossible for a non-Mortal Kombat fan to make heads of tails of the whole thing. So, no over-arching story, piss-poor characterization, and some of the most clichéd writing I’ve seen in a while – add all that up, and what do you get? A half-assed web series that not only fails to live up to the legacy of its progenitor, but also serves as nothing more than mere fanwank. A spectacular fanwank with some impressive fight scenes and scenery, mind, but fanwank nonetheless. One more thing. Mr. Tancharoen, if you’re listening to this, please know that we Rebirth fans are still waiting for the promised proper follow up to the original trailer. Oh, and before you say anything… WE’LL GET OUR GODDAMN MOVIE ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, PAL! *On Camera* Nah, I’m just messing with you. I mean, it’s already been over a month since we originally recorded that discussion, and, well, guess what? So far, we haven’t done jack shit. Still, you’ve got to admit: I did sound kind of badass back there, didn’t I? Yes, yes, you’re right. You’re absolutely right: It’s time to wrap this up and call it good. So, thanks for watching; we sincerely hope that you enjoyed this little modest presentation of ours. Stay tuned for any possible future installments, I guess. So, yeah… See ya!
Why does mortal kombat legacy suck?
Why isn’t mortal kombat legacy like mortal kombat rebirth?
Mortal Kombat Legacy review. Mortal Kombat Rebirth review. Mortal Kombat Legacy and Rebirth comparison.