Mortal Kombat: Legacy Season II Review
For those of you who do not know, the second season of Mortal Kombat Legacy has finally been released. Unlike its predecessor, this season has been released in its entirety as opposed to one episode a week. Now, the previous season has been met with much praise though it was far from flawless. Does the second season live up to the season before it or does it prove once and for all that web-series just does not do the original material justice?
The first season ended on a very high note when we were given a real, full-fledged fight involving Cyrax, Sektor, and Hydro. While the previous episodes had some blood, we weren’t really given a full-fledge fatality. The season finale, however, provided us with a beautiful decapitation that just set the tone for later episodes; and set the tone it did. This season of Mortal Kombat Legacy is a bit more gritty than the previous one with a lot more blood and full-one classic fatalities.
Season One did nothing more than set up the storylines for several key players. It did not really talk about the tournament except in small doses. It explained Shao Khan’s rule over Edenia, the origins of Kano, Cyrax, and Sektor, and the blood-feud between Scorpion and Sub-Zero. Season Two tried to balance both Origin Stories with the tournament itself. This meant that several episodes were actually cut into two parts which meant that we were not really shown as much as the tournament as we may have liked.
So this translates to three episodes dedicated to Liu Kang’s backstory, Two episodes for Kenshi (Backstory and his fight), and two episodes for Scorpion and Sub Zero (Backstory and Fight). Johnny Cage shares two episodes with Meleena and Kitana – both sharing backstories and a single fight scene. The final episode is probably the only one that surrounds a single fight for a majority of the clip.
Alright; all of this is fine and dandy but the biggest problem I had came in terms of the chapters’ length. The chapters are only 8 minutes in length which means we are not really given a lot of time to digest everything that is being presented to us. One chapter in particular that wasted this precious time was the Meleena and Kitana episode. Too much time was dedicated to replaying the fight from the episode prior. I kept telling my YouTube “Stop wasting time! We know what happens! Get on with it!”. It felt like a throw-away episode but luckily this was the only one.
The second issue I have with the series stems from the fact that it is never fully explained how characters from Feduel Japan are present in the modern era. In this version of the franchise storyline, Sub Zero and Kenshi are from Feudal Japan. This contrasts with the fact that they are both from modern times – just from secluded regions of EarthRealm. It is never really explained why they are fighting in this era’s tournament or why they are alive today. It is hinted that they were chosen by Raiden and that they were actually summoned to our era to participate in the tournament. If this is the case, then so be it; that’s fine. I just wish it was discussed a teensy bit more.
Finally comes the language and the look. I don’t mind the use of foul language in the show. In fact, it works very well with characters like Johnny Cage but hearing characters from Feudal Japan using the F-word is a bit odd. In terms of looks, on the other hand, everyone seems to be a faithful rendition of their video-game counterparts except for Sub-Zero and Ermac. Ermac was transformed from a ninja bound in leather to a strange orc-like beast. Sub-Zero on the other hand seems like he is wearing BMX armor and while I understand this could be due to a lower budget, it was still a bit distracting and while I can attribute the budget to Sub-Zero’s look, Ermac’s design was just flat out strange.
Alright! With the negatives out of the way, I can feel free to talk about what I loved about the season. First and foremost are the fight scenes. While they are rather short; they still maintain the brutality that Mortal Kombat is famous for. The fights are quick and vicious and each character that fights uses several of their trademark moves from the games. Liu Kang uses fireballs, Kung Lao throws his hat, Scorpion uses his spear and teleports, Sub-Zero throws Ice Balls and does his slide-kick, and even Curtis Strkyer uses his Taser and pistol.
On top of that, we are given some juicy fatalities. Without spoiling them, two of the three primary fatalities in this season were just beautiful to look at. I was very happy to see both blood and some gore in this season and it was very entertaining the watch.
The storyline was also very well written. While some things could use more embellishing, the overall storyline of fighters being summoned in order to save EarthRealm is spot on. Johnny Cage has a rather humorous plotline where he is unsure if he is going insane or not but the real show stealer is Liu Kang.
Unlike previous incarnations of Liu, this version of Liu Kang is that of an angry, bitter, drunk who is angry with the world. Without giving too much of the plot away, we discover that this is not the first time he has participated in Mortal Kombat and as such, his outlook on life is a lot darker than previously portrayed. It’s a fantastic twice to the original series’ storyline and it really helps in sucking me in.
Another interesting change is how the tournament itself is being held. Unlike the original movie that had characters fight off against one another in a tournament-like style battle, this one is more of a Battle Royale where the fighters actually hunt one another down. This added a sense of dread as not one character knew who would be hunting them down or when they'd be discovered.
I also enjoyed the characters chosen for this season. Sure, it was disappointing when I discovered that Jax, Sonya, Kano, Cyrax and Sektor were not going to be used, but I got over it quickly. I am sure they will return in the next season.
The final thing I would like to touch on is the cast. Johnny Cage and Raiden have both been replaced with new actors but it is acceptable as both handle their characters very well. The show-stealer, of course, is the return of Cary-Hiroyuki as Shang Tsung. His performance as the legendary soul-stealer is just flawless and every time he appears on screen I feel like I am watching the original movie all over again. I love him to death as shown by the picture below where I got to meet him.
Besides Cary, the actor who plays Liu is equally as good. While the other characters seem to have moments of awkward dialogue or expression, Liu Kang nails every line, every movement, every aspect of the character perfectly. Another show-stealer.
Mortal Kombat Legacy: Season II is not without its flaws. A majority of this stems from the fact that it is a low-budget made for Youtube micro-series. However, these mistakes are forgivable. I do wish they would make the episodes a little longer. Even ten minutes would be welcome.
I really enjoyed this season of Legacy and I look forward to season 3 (which is currently being filmed). I am curious to see how the series carries out and ends and I hope they continue providing fans with fast-paced action and glorious fatalities.
It has begun!
Totally worth it!
I am looking forward to watching this season. Great picture of you with Cary. How do you feel now that you have no soul?
*SPOILERS* It wasn't just that. He left the temple, which already caused big changes in him, to be with her. He was clearly VERY happy with her, and if you have ever experience happiness like that you know the fear of losing it. So when he did it was so horrifying and so jarring that he was completely open to darkness, just needed a push. So when Shang Tsung empathized with him he felt like EarthRealm wasn't what he thought it was, he felt like in the real world everyone was really a greedy unworthy demon. Naturally he felt conflicted and went to the only person and place he ever felt welcome in and belonging before, the temple. But when Kung Lao turned him away it was the final straw, he was all alone, all broken and abandoned, with nothing at all left for him to believe in...except his own power, the only thing that never left him.
Yeah mostly how I felt. I have to say I loved Liu's twist even though I usually hate stuff like that.
For me, the entire season was kind of ruined for me in the first couple episodes. The changes they made to Liu Kang were just.... so jarring and confusing to digest that I really just couldn't get past it. In the first episode, I was convinced that Liu Kang was actually Bo'Rai'Cho, and that would have been fine. But... Liu Kang has always been the pure-hearted warrior to contrast with the darkness of Shang Tsung and Shao Kahn. Now his fiancee-to-be gets shot during a robbery for no reason and so he turns his back on EarthRealm? That... just really bugged me. It felt forced and unnatural, all for the purpose of a "what a twist!" style moment that wasn't even saved for the end of the season. =/
Ok. So when Sub Zero died, I really hope that the previous scene of him talking to that old man has more significance. He said how the oni had a message for him of days he should avoid. Even though this is very unlikely, I hoped that his death, was more of the warning rather than his actual death.
Also, according to Larnell Stovall, the fight choreographer of Mortal Kombat Legacy I, Kevin told him that the budget was actually less than the previous season. Wouldn't that suck ass huh?
You managed to say everything I was going to say. Now I can pass on posting my own piece lol. I guess I'll throw in some of my 2 cents to this. SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1. Scorpion could easily be justified as being pulled into modern times due to him being a specter. I agree that Sub Zero's 2 different time frames is very strange. They showed in season 1 that the Lin Kuei operates in the modern day so I find it to be a little annoying that they couldn't just have Sub Zero's backstory rooting from the same. They could have also decided to make the original Sub Zero an ancestor the the younger, as opposed to brothers, and have Scorpion trying to kill off the descendant in the tournament. I did enjoy how they had the 2 referring to each other by their real names.
2. The Lin Kuei isn't mentioned at all, and none of the characters that associated (directly or indirectly) with them in the first season (sans Sub Zero) are even used in this season. Sony, Jax, Kano (as the episode involving them was hinting at dealings between Kano and the Lin Kuei), Cyrax and Sektor are all unmentioned in season 2.
3. Liu Kang being used the way he was made me so happy. I think the thought of giving a post-tournament character trying to get back into the world and dealing with other traumatizing events was a beautiful twist. The fact that they further this by using Kung Lao as a contrast to show what Liu was before this all started just worked very well. If you think about the older video games and movies, you'd know that Liu Kang was the only reason Earthrealm survived. That, quite simply, no longer applies in this series. The only thing I want to know now is how are they going to handle it in Season 3? Will Liu do some soul searching and go back to being a good guy? Will a new character step up to the plate to fill the shoes that he filled in the other universes? Will Raiden ultimately be that one? So many directions they could take it from here and I'm legitimately excited for it.
Cool, nice review. I watched the first couple episodes of the first season, and while I liked them, I had trouble getting into it for the long haul and never finished. With the release of the second, I kind of want to go back and try again. This review just pushed me a little bit closer to doing that.
That's about the same way I felt about the season.