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Koming to a Konklusion on Mortal Kombat Legacy: Part Auuugggghh

May 25, 2011


East of the Pacific Ocean, west of London England, south of Mars and north of hell.


Episode Seven

I’m worried that there are people out there who are actually enjoying this series.

That’s a legitimate worry, right? It’s like if someone told you that their favourite movies was Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen – on one hand, you’re glad that there’s someone out there making all of those millions of dollars somehow worthwhile, but you want to punch them really hard in the face with the other hand, and scream a terrifying string of swear words at them and insist that they DO BETTER with their lives.

I’m even more worried that there are people out there making this series. Just look at Scorpion’s mask in that subtly treated screencap up above there. It looks about as intimidating as the cast of Baby Kabuki Theatre (although now that I’m actually picturing that, Baby Kabuki Theatre would be horrifying, and I never ever want to see that). I get that they were going for the old Japanese War Mask look, but it ended up somewhere between a really terrible Noh mask and Peter Criss from KISS. And while that’s certainly a mask you wouldn’t want to see coming towards you in a dark alley, that’s less because you’re afraid of a death-dealing ninja demon, and more because what the hell is wrong with this guy?

Simple point: if you can’t get Scorpion’s mask right, you have no business making a Mortal Kombat series. You can make Raiden into a mental patient who thinks he’s the god of thunder, you can make Shang Tsung some guy with the ability to stop time who likes to appear to failing Hollywood stars with odd propositions for no apparent reason, you can make Baraka some laughable melted remnant of a fire in the LOTR costume department, but if you can’t even get the visual of Scorpion right, something’s gone horribly wrong. Because what’s next? “Guys, I was thinking: Liu Kang’s red and black pants always looked pretty silly. When you have you ever seen a Shaolin warrior wear anything even resembling that? So, here’s what direction we’re taking with him: short shorts and a wifebeater. Bam: modern man’s monk.”

And I get that they were avoiding the more… um… “out there” aspects of Scorpion. He’s not some demon that shoots snakes out of his hands – he’s a loving father who’s pretty handy with a throwing knife, I guess, and he wears some yellow to blend in with the… snow… and trees. Problem with all this is that pretty much every aspect of Mortal Kombat makes absolutely no sense once you try to apply its fiction to real life, and it’s really embarrassing when this series tries to do it.

All that aside, I guess this whole episode stays true to most of the established Lin Kuei/Sub-Zero/Scorpion history. Family killing, Japanese names, it’s all in there somewhere, although this is just – gasp – part one of two. I eagerly await the second half revealing that Sub-Zero is just some guy who got lost on his way to a Tenchu convention.

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