Review: Mortal Kombat Legacy Season 2
So here we are. After a so-so season one from director Kevin Tancharoen (Fame, Glee 3D), who also pitched the idea from his teaser trailer back in 2010 in the form of Mortal Kombat Rebirth, we find ourselves at season two of Mortal Kombat Legacy. Tancharoen had stated that season two would be all about the tournament, where as season one gave the characters some level of backstory. Unfortunately, only half of this is true, and this is mainly due to the new characters that make their first appearance in the series, and these are Lui Kang, Kung Lao, Shang Tsung, Kenshi and Ermac.
The series pays most of its attention to the two Monks, Lui Kang and Kung Lao, two former brothers of the Shaolin who have fallen out due to Kang’s new life as an ordinary man. The first time we see Kang, he is nothing more than a sorry soul in an Eastern bar, knocking back shots to the sound of bad Karaoke singing. Cue a bunch of mindless thugs to get the first action scene rolling. After one of the thugs tries his hand at singing, Kang asks him to stop. Of course, the thug doesn’t want anyone telling him what not to do in front of his fellow future inmates, and so a fight breaks out. Lui bests all but one of the thugs who manages to get one over on Kang, and punches him countless times while kang shouts, ”Come on! Hit me! Come on!”. Enter a mysterious figure who warns the thug that he should leave. The thug shrugs this off, and before you can say Odd Job, the man throws this hat towards the thug, knocking him out and saving the beaten up Lui Kang. Kung Lao officially makes his appearance with a nice nod to the games by catching his hat, placing it on his head, and slides his finger around the edge. Here we find out exactly why and how the two monks have become enemies, more so on Lui Kang’s side, and it’s a nice twist on the two characters who were traditionally friends throughout the Mortal Kombat game series, and it was Lao who was the reckless one, where as Lui was the dedicated Monk. But that’s one of the things that makes this and the previous series appealing, more so to the Mortal Kombat fans.
Each episode centres its attention of providing backstory to the characters, much as it did in season one. In this series, viewers will learn the stories of Lui Kang, Kung Lao, Kenshi, Ermac (kinda), Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Johnny Cage, Kitana and Mileena. My personal favourite would have to be Kenshi’s, a blind swordsman who eventually loses his eye sight but learns the ability to use telekinesis. It’s also in Kenshi’s story that we see a different take on Ermac, who in the games was a being comprised of countless souls of fallen warriors. Ermac has been given a drastic makeover for this series, and it’s here that a lot of fans have been very vocal in expressing their displeasure in his appearance, liking him to something that came out of The Lord of The Rings. I personally thought Ermac looked great. Yes, it’s not the Ermac we think of when the name is mentioned, but this is a different take on the Mortal Kombat universe after all.
A qualm that I do have is with the quality of the fight scenes. They either could have been better choreographed or lasted longer. The fight that every Mortal Kombat fan always wants is Scorpion versus Sub-Zero, and here, only manage to do an average job with it. The fight scene between the two in the first series was, in my mind ten times better. That, and Sub-Zero’s odd costume (and yes, this is a reimagining. I get that) was that of a cross between a Power Ranger and a hockey player.
Another little problem I had was with one of the backstories, and that was with Kitana and Mileena. We saw what was basically the same set-up with the first series, and didn’t need to be re-told. Not only that, but there really was no point in the fact that, even with the backstory, I found myself not really caring about any of them. The emotional involvement with these two characters is somewhat lacking.
But this series is not without its merit. There’s plenty to enjoy here, for MK fans or otherwise. The first episode had me hooked, and I could already see a bigger budget being used from the first few minutes. Even the little things made this an enjoyable ride like Shang Tsung saying ”Fatality” at the end of certain episodes where the fight ends in a death. The casting choices made for most of the new characters were well chosen, in particular, Lui Kang and Kenshi. The character development (for the most part) is done well, the locations are varied and interesting, the overall story is well told, and who can argue with the re-casting of Shang Tsung in the shape of Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. The man is Shang Tsung.
To sum up
Mortal Kombat Legacy season 2 isn’t perfect, but it’s an enjoyable watch for any Mortal Kombat fan. You’re never going to please everyone out there, but for me, I was happy enough. Yes there are some plot holes and some moments where you’re like, ”… What? Why?” (*cough* Striker *cough), but it’s certainly better than the last series. To any hard-core fan of the Mortal Kombat universe, I’d say, give it a go, most of you will enjoy it, some of you won’t. It just depends if you’re willing to accept the reimagining and let the little things go. As for Kevin Tancharoen, he has decided to part ways and persue other projects, which leaves us all wondering, are we ever going to get Mortal Kombat back on the big screen?
Mortal Kombat Legacy season 2 is an online episodic series and is available to buy on DVD and Blue-ray in selected online stores.