It began as a rumor, spreading like wildfire: a high definition, professional-appearing Youtube video appearing to "reboot" the Mortal Kombat mythology into a new, darker territory the likes of which any Batman aficionado could get behind.
Within hours, websites across the interwebz proved fact from fiction — not only was this video real, but it's director, Kevin Tancharoen, was using it as a springboard to convince Warner Bros. to resurrect the long dead franchise (well movie-wise anyways) and allow him the opportunity to take it into a new direction.
Amongst some kinda famous faces, there was a definite zeal a lot of fans could feel from this 8-minute clip. Unlike its silver-screen predecessors, Mortal Kombat: Legacy is R-rated, dark clothed, and didn't come here to f**k around.
It may have taken 16 years to get here, but I'm damn glad it made it.
At the time of this writing, Legacy has presented 6 of its 9 episode premiere season exclusively on machinima.com and, for the most part, the response has been universally positive. Since the debut of the initial video in early 2010, Kevin has certainly been busy trying to meld the mythology of the MK franchise with the modern-day obsession with "reboot" tactics---in short, make it dark, and make it believable. As a result, Tancharoen took steps to ground several of the characters in as much realism as possible, but as the same time peppering each episode with small hints of the fantasy elements that made the MK series popular. I have been impressed at the lengths to which Kevin has gone to distance his series from other web series with his drive to make each episode distinct from the one before it. As the series begins in complete realism, he incorporates other visual means of story telling (read: graphic novel artistry) to make more mythology-oriented episodes stand apart from those taking place in our world. Moreover, his latest episode about Lord Raiden represents a perfect marriage of the R-rated elements MK has been lacking with the hints of fantasy that the series cannot exist without. While only one or two episodes miss the mark in terms of story telling or action set pieces (so far), the larger picture that's developing before us is a set up for a much more exciting second season that may (and don't get too excited here) be enough hype to jump into the TV scene and start turning some heads.
But despite a promising number of "likes" and tweets, the important factor underlying this series is what has already taken place---the grapevine. Though the series has endured a slight decline in viewership over the weeks, what cannot be denied is the quality of praise it has rightfully garnered. Wherever Kevin's mind may be, there is no argument that it's working. Since the disastrous sequel in 1997, Mortal Kombat has been long considered a taboo topic in the movie industry (if you don't believe me, look up the news regarding a 3rd movie). Fortunately, this web series has made the perfect steps in rescuing the franchise from the pits of mediocrity and has given it new life. Now it will take time for Legacy to get its pacing down, but if the first season is any indication, the potential is there, and that's what we should be truly happy about. I don't have to be a fan of fighting games to be a fan of Mortal Kombat. I have played through every iteration since my childhood, watched each movie several times (regretebly), and I'm certain this series is an excellent start in the proper direction. But it needs us fans to keep it going. We carry the same passion Kevin has for this franchise to make it on the silver screen, but he can't do it alone. The only way he can get this web series to traverse the long-cautioned rift of inter-medium development is with the help of us.
And I'll be DAMNED if this becomes another Street Fighter movie.
See you in the next level,