On the lightning and history of Mortal Kombat Legacy

The Mortal Kombat web-series has hit its seventh episode, and it’s coming along well, if a bit disjointed.

The show is a series of brief origin stories, rather than a coherent plot-line. Each character gets about 15-25 minutes of story (1-2 episodes), and each one is a bit of a tragedy. Of course, that’s part of the Mortal Kombat canon.

Each member of Earth’s fighting team is there because of some messed up event in their past, and while not all of them are spot on from the original video game stories, they’re certainly closer than the 1995 film (the sound track for which I still listen to regularly).

So far, the most interesting and skillfully crafted of the stories is Raiden, who is unluckly discovered by the orderlies at a psychiatric hospital when he arrives on earth.

Mortal Kombat Legacy seems to have the right production values. It’s no ‘big Hollywood’, of course, but it’s got primetime television level effects, and they suit just fine. I’m particularly impressed with the backdrops. Lots of green-screens, but it all feels right, and the sheer variety of scenery needed for all these stories was likely one of their biggest challenges.

Also impressive is the number of recognizable faces in the episodes. Most of them are from popular Sci-fi television shows. Ian Anthony Dale (The Event) is here as Scorpion, Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary) plays Raiden, Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica) is Stryker, and Jerri Ryan (Star Trek Voyager) is Sonya Blade.

Some episodes are a little slow, the Jonny Cage story in particular, but mostly the pace is well kept, and the story stays interesting.

There are also some basic plot and production errors (like showing Sonya with a dirty face after she’s been unconscious in a hospital for a week – those are some very inattentive nurses), but these few minor flaws only even show because the rest of the production values are so high compared to other such rapid-fire shows.

I’m looking forward to seeing where the show goes next, and judging from the YouTube views, the level of viewership might even be enough to warrant a cable show based on the Mortal Kombat canon.

The entire series is currently being produced by Machinima, and is available for free on their website, through YouTube. The next episode, the second half of Scorpion’s story, will be released next week.