Series Directed by: Kevin Tancharoen
Mortal Kombat was one of the most controversial video games ever released. The 1995 feature film based on the video game, while entertaining during my childhood, was missing something. The mixture of a PG-13 rating and characters that weren’t fleshed out besides the three main characters had something to do with it. Mortal Kombat: Legacy is a love letter to the fans of the game series and instead of just rehashing the story told in the games, we are given fleshed out characters that have unique background and stories. Some fans dislike changes, but I’m all for it if it enhances the storyline.
Season 1 of the show was primarily set-up introducing us to characters like Jax, Sonya, Cano, Johnny Cage, Raiden, Sub-Zero, Stryker, Scorpion, Shang Tsung, Sindel, Kitano, Mileena, Shao Kahn and the two Cyborg’s. Season 2 Kung Lao, Liu Kang and Kenshi are introduced to us, but unlike the previous season characters interact and battle with each other, along with the expected fatalities. Some segments were better then others and sometimes I felt that they should feel more connected. Hopefully all this build-up is leading towards the creation of a feature film that video game fans can finally be proud of.
Is Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2 deserving of a Flawless Victory?
- Engaging Backstories – Scorpion and Sub-Zero’s backstory is nothing short of awesome. Unlike the 1995 film, both of these characters are fleshed out and their rivalry is both tragic, because it is based upon a misunderstanding, and like those old samurai movies where loyalty is important above all. The conclusion of their battle is nothing short of epic. Liu Kang and Kung Lao, allies in the games, also have a great rivalry that builds throughout the season. The direction that Liu Kang is brought to, while I’m sure it will anger some fans, I found to be genius. It is both dark and makes a usual boring hero-prototype into a much more engaging character. Kenshi, however, seems pointless and could have been left out. He takes up two entire episodes!
- Great Fights And Fatalities – Kevin Tancharoen knows how to direct great fight scenes. Both seasons feature awesome fight choreography and cast their characters accordingly. Mortal Kombat fans expect, more than anything else, amazingly gory fatalities. There are three characters that meet their end during season 2 and they are all note-worthy. The most impressive of which involved a spine rip that was also seen in the video game, and ironically it was done to the character whose fatality it belonged to in the game. Once again more fan-service.
- Great Cinematography – This is especially surprising given the fact that this is a web series, but the cinematography and filming of this series is phenomenal. The characters outfit mixed with the backgrounds and the color palette used makes Mortal Kombat: Legacy a joy to watch. Scorpion in particular looked terrifying. I can only imagine what they could do with a bigger budget.
- Story Too Disjointed – While this was more of a problem during the first season, the second season has some episodes that have nothing to do with the rest of the show. Kenshi, the blind swordsman, seemed to be the most glaring example of this. In the video game he was a minor character at most and he seems just as insignificant here, yet he receives two episodes of characterization that easily could have been dropped. They lazily tried to have it lead into the Johnny Cage and Milena battle, but honestly they could have used anything to do that.
- Change Of Actors – Season 2 replaced several cast members including Johnny Cage, Stryker, Mileena and Raiden. While Casper Van Dien did a good job as Cage, the continuity of actors playing certain characters is important to a show of this kind. At the 2013 San Diego Comic Con, Tancharoen noted that they could not get Jeri Ryan back as Sonya Blade due to her busy schedule but hope to include her in Season 3. This trend could be a real detriment to this series.
- Too Short – The episodes are only about 10 minutes a piece and there are only ten episodes a season. The second season seems like it’s over before it even begins and we haven’t even seen the tournament start yet. So far the battles have only been random fights before the tournament so far. I can forgive this because of the fact that it’s only a web series, but I am greedy and want more. Give us one more season to get all the characters where they need to be and then give us a full-length frikkin’ movie!
Mortal Kombat: Legacy – Season 2 was a satisfying continuation of the first season that upped the violence and entertainment factor. The storylines that surrounded the relationships of characters like Scorpion and Sub-Zero, and Liu Kang and his mentor Kung Lao, kept me invested and wanting to see more. There were some episodes that could have been left out in favor of stretching out other more interesting stories, but overall the series was well-paced. Under the careful direction of Kevin Tancharoen, video game fans might finally have something movie-related to be proud of.
Mortal Kombat Legacy 2 didn’t receive a Flawless Victory, but still gets an impressive win.