Directed Kevin Tancharoen
April 11, 2011
NetherRealm Studios, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and Warner Premiere Digital
Based on Mortal Kombat by Ed Boon and John Tobias
This is the story of the days before the tenth Mortal Kombat Tournament and why those involved chose to participate.
I went into viewing this rather blind on not only the mythology of the games (it has been decades since I played it) and what to expect in this show. I had heard about this web series but never viewed any of it until recently thanks to a fortuitous Dollar Tree purchase. I assumed this was a story that would be done by the time I was through the disk but not so much.
Mortal Kombat: Legacy-Season One is surprisingly well produced for being what it is. I went into this not expecting too much. I thought I would get some crappy costumes and adequate acting, but this thing is filled with decent production values along with fine acting by everyone involved. The dialogue is smooth and natural and despite some of it being set in a fantasy realm not clunky.
Where this falls short is that nothing gets resolved by the end of the first season. All of season one is pure set up. You need set up in a TV show even if your target audience already knows the backstory. You need to bring newbies up to speed and alert the long-term fans to any alterations you may have made. But there is no payoff by the time of the final episode. I don’t mind hanging plot threads at the end of a season even if I eventually learn that the one season I have viewed is the only season but every plot thread is left hanging.
Characters that made one or two episode appearances and were implied to be important just vanish from the narrative. By the end of season one they are not even talked about by anybody or really listed as a factor in the story. Kano, Sonya Blade, Jax (admittedly he was injured) and others just go “Poof!”
And we have a good cast here. Michael Jai White, Jeri Ryan, Ryan Robbins, and Tahmoh Penikett have all done plenty of gene work (and done it well) in the past and this is no different. I cannot really complain about any of them. But their characters go nowhere. I wanted more but there was absolutely no pay off by the final episode. You do need to leave the audience wanting more but you still need to give them something.
Despite at its flaws there is a lot of good here. Videogame adaptions tend to lack drama or adequate characterization. Not so here. We do get a good understanding for the characters that are involved and who they are. There is tension and excitement.
Having said that they could have cut out a few characters (I understand that is a tough choice) and had season one clear finale of sorts. Who to cut I would leave that up to the creative minds.
This project started out as a fan film by director Kevin Tancharoen that was reportedly devoid of the fantasy elements of the game. He had hoped to use it to convince Warner Bros. to greenlight a film that he would direct. Instead they went with a web series.
Mortal Kombat: Legacy-Season One is not a bad web series but because of a lack of a finale it just falls a little short. This is an if you want.