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Koming to a Konklusion on Mortal Kombat Legacy

April 29, 2011

NUMBER OF READERS: Sub-Zero. A ha.

Yesterday I mentioned in passing that spendthrifty Yank types had been paying $70 for the new Mortal Kombat game. “What nonsense,” I said, meekly, to myself, feverishly hoping no one would hear and pummel me senseless. “Surely there are better things to spend your money on than a game which, while encouragingly not-rubbish as far as the free demo allows me to perceive, is hardly the most exciting thing to stomp noisily across the gaming horizon this month?” Since I was speaking only nominally above a whisper at 4am in a house full of sleeping people and frightening moths, no one answered. I dashed off to an internet shop for those answers, and found this answer: for the price of a Mortal Kombat (€40, which, with the exchange rate, is about $160), I scroungingly (and thoroughly legally) obtained a copy of The Witcher 2, a novel, and a ticket to a Ham Sammich gig. Which is about as much validation as I can hope to achieve these days.

But! Even without purchasing the game, today has not been short on punching thrills, because leading up to, during, and following the game’s release (as if nudged by the bruising celestial knuckles of the CrossMedia-HyperGlobu-Promovertising Gods) the cunning folks at WB have been releasing ten minute internet shorts based on the franchise’s huge and baffling collection of backstories.  Three, so far, as a matter of fact. With real actors and everything! (Well, 7 of 9 from Voyager. And Michael Jai White, whose IMDB page I’ve been inspecting, and get a load of this: he’s not only played Spawn, and Mike Tyson – he also played “Military Police Man #2” in that episode of Saved By The Bell where AC Slater’s dad keeps trying to make him enlist for the Gulf War or something, AND he was in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze, playing “Audience Man”. What a career.) It’s almost guaranteed to be a delight for at least four of the five senses. LET’S WATCH.

A BATTLE FOR THRILLS AND/OR THE AGES.

EPISODE 1

Right. Well. Coming at this as someone who was, many moons ago, quite fond of the Mortal Kombat mythos, I was very much prepared to hate the “realistic, because, gritty” attitude this reboot was promising. And, for the most part, I really, really do. So for every moment I spend noticing little details like the Sektor mask floating around in a basket, there are another fifty I spend screaming at the director for taking the whole endeavour far too seriously as a proper action movie with its amber and teal colour schemes and its completely-accurate-in-Steven-Seagal’s-brain depiction of how police work gets done. (“Dammit, Briggs, there’s protocol to follow.” “Yeah, but I don’t wanna.” “VALID POINT LET’S SHOOT CRIMS.” Or, when surrounded by aforementioned crims, who are armed with extravagantly explosive slugs that melt entire humans and are in the process of decimating your entire squad in a devious ambush: “I’m going to get Sonya. You got this?” “Um.” “COVER ME.”)

It’s not all bad – I guess I can get on board with the whole Black Dragon smuggling FUTURE technology and Kano nabbing the Red Eye thingy for himself at some point, although they might have put just a little more thought into the name. (It’s red! It’s an eye! It’s Red Eye!) I suppose I chuckled briefly at the fact that ten years after putting her Borg character behind her, Jeri Ryan is still IN THE FUTURE WITH FUTURE TECHNOLOGY (you can tell it’s future technology because the text is green) coming out of her face or something. And. And…

No, it was mostly rubbish. Even the fighting -what little there actually was – was rubbish, all quick edits and awkward camera angles and irritating slow motion bits. Christ, the slow motion. I understand they only had ten minutes to tell even a moderately satisfying story (which they didn’t, but anyway) but don’t fill up those ten minutes with needless slow-motion shots of Jax spinning slightly in place to avoid a flurry of bullets before conquering a machine-gun toting crim by pointing the crim’s gun upwards. And, as the old saw goes, don’t spend the last few minutes on a slow motion sequence of Sonya falling on the floor, standing up, looking at a door, walking towards a door, opening the door, walking through the door, AND THEN CUT TO A “TO BE CONTINUED…” PLACARD, you cretinous jerks.

But hey! Maybe episode two will be better. We’ll do that tomorry, assuming I don’t fall from a balcony while imitating Ric Flair and impale myself painfully on a cello in the meantime.

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