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Koming to a Konklusion on Mortal Kombat Legacy: Part Three

May 2, 2011


Hello. Funny thing happened toda–(Wearingly long and rambling intro paragraph snipped due to time constraints)

If you’ve been following my ongoing series of Mortal Kombat: Legacy reviews, and you haven’t, then you’ll know how I feel about it at this point, two episodes in. For those who haven’t – and that means you, my precious no readers – then a quick recap: it has failed utterly to impress me. One might make some piffling argument about how the first two episodes were simply setting the scene for the rest of the season, but anyone who has any intention of watching the rest of the season after that two-part slice of nothing is a stupider man than I. Generally, when rebooting the televisual side of the franchise after the disastrous Annihilation and the chucklesomely rubbish Conquest, it’d be a good idea for a Mortal Kombat series to put its best foot forward, embed it in your ribcage, and then rip your head off and display your spinal column for the general assembly. This series has sprung forward to kick, tripped over its own bootlaces, and tumbled tragi-comically into a conveniently placed pit of spikes and human detritus. Oh no!

Ne’ertheless, let us remain undeterred and splendid, and proceed to episode three.

Om nom vom.

Episode 3

I had vague hopes yesterday that they’d bring some of Linden Ashby’s easy charm to Johnny Cage. They have not. Whether that’s down to the writing (probably) or the fact that they cast a former MMA fighter whose acting highlight so far has been in the excellently titled BLOODFIST 2050 (also likely, though he’s not as awful as you might imagine) (and it’s not like Linden Ashby’s non-MK resumé is the least bit impressive. Except for the terrifically fun Spy Game TV series, brutally cancelled before its time, damning Ashby to a career of daytime American soaps – “My mother’s dead!” “No, she’s not; I transplanted her brain into this perfectly healthy houseplant seconds before she perished from that mysterious illness. Just seconds after she admitted to murdering her twin sister, who was your real mother. You can ask her yourself once I find a good spot for this flowerpot.” – and a bit part in a Resident Evil sequel. What a world what a world) is up to you, but it’s definitely a mixture of both, so.

Whatever. It is, happily, less masonry-flingingly awful than the first two episodes, mostly because it seems to be relentlessly poking fun at its own rubbishness – Cage, an action star of decreasing repute, pitches a show to some execs, only to be told that “fighting doesn’t sell”. (Of course, the cruel irony is that fighting does sell – at the moment, UK charts have the new Mortal Kombat game sitting at #2, behind Portal 2, and ahead of hnnnggghhh CODBLOPS. Bad TV series don’t sell, unfortunately.) It’s also a cheeky jibe at the roaring, inexplicable success of things like Steven Seagal: Lawman. It’s also a joke that’s only funny once, and therein lies the problem.

You always hear that a story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. This story has a beginning, the beginning again, and an end. We’re introduced to Cage in a nicely-produced E!-style package, then we cut to Cage doing the pitch. Then, four minutes later, we get the same scene all over again with a very slightly different pitch. It feels like the writers just wanted to get in the DVD piracy gag, and then the Criminals Caged pun, but couldn’t be bothered working them both into the same show, which would have been spectacularly easy to do. But oh well.

Overall, it feels more like Mortal Kombat than the “Bad Seagal Movie featuring Jax & Sonya” we’ve seen previously – it’s silly, vacuous, blatantly underwritten, and a little bit mysterious at the end, and it isn’t 90% slow motion. So that’s nice. It’s just a nagging feeling that everything so far feels like four minute scenes from the movie they were hoping to make stretched out into ten minute webisodes.  I don’t relish the thoughts of watching ep 4.

I’d totally buy the DVD box-set of Spy Game though.

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