Mortal Kombat: Legacy is a web series which premiered in April of 2011. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, it’s based on the popular Mortal Kombat video game series.
Well, if you really want to break it down, the web series is actually based off of a short film made by the same director, titled, Mortal Kombat Rebirth, which is based off of the game. I guess we should start there.
Mortal Kombat: Rebirth was an 8-minute short film from writer-director Kevin Tancharoen. It’s purpose was to show the potential in a near, more modern and realistic take on a Mortal Kombat adaptation – I don’t know if you’ve seen the movies, Mortal Kombat 1 & 2, but let me assure you, the depths of their respective suck-ages know no bounds. The film was so well-done and so low-budget that the concept was green-lit by Warner Bros for a web series. Which brings us to Mortal Kombat: Legacy.
Legacy is, by all accounts, a unique example of series-style storytelling. The 9-episode series is comprised of a various vignettes which depict the origin stories of all of our favorite Mortal Kombat characters, each in its own unique way. We are treated to cinematic styles ranging from your classic action film, to your traditional eastern martial arts film, to live action scenes juxtaposed with animation, and more.
My personal favorite episode was the take on Lord Raiden, god of thunder. Raiden shoots down to earth in a lightning bolt and unfortunately lands in the grounds of a mental facility. No one sees his spectacular entrance except for a patient, and he is quickly sedated. Understandably, no one believes him when he insists that he is the god of thunder come to earth to participate in a martial arts competition to save the world, and he is committed as patient. I’ll leave you to watch the rest, but I’ll say this: What follows will make you squirm, cheer, and laugh with triumphant nostalgia.
The level of creativity that has been poured into Mortal Kombat: Legacy makes it a true treat. By inter splicing fan-favorite elements of the game’s play mechanics and backstory with a gritty and realistic backdrop, Tancharoen creates an entirely believable world that’s tinged with just enough mysticism to keep us wondering just how far he’s willing to take the fantastical.
I couldn’t help but watch all nine episodes in a row. Each is only 10-12 minutes, and they’re all available on YouTube absolutely free. I was hooked the moment i saw the level of production value placed on this series. It’s no joke. Don’t under estimate it just because it’s on YouTube – This is clearly a professionally done series, and you may even recognize several of the actors.
All in all, as far as web series goes Mortal Kombat: Legacy definitely does not get the recognition it deserves. Whether you’re a fan of the games or not, this is a a series chalk full of innovative choreography, superb acting, and extremely competent direction, writing and cinematography. And there’s no better time to watch than now, as season two was just released onto YouTube. Come to think of it, that’s exactly what I’m off to watch now.
Written by: Richard Reitzfeld
Photo credit: Machinima