Game – TV/Web Series Review: Mortal Kombat: Legacy – Season One


The appeal in Mortal Kombat: Legacy is that it takes a well-known & well-loved fighting series & gives it an injection of modern life & a more realistic portrayal of the characters & events.

A live-action series, season 1 deals with the origins of several famous MK characters such as Sonya, Kano, Sub-Zero & Scorpion. Each episode is no more then 10 minutes long but manages to squeeze in a huge amount of content.

Episodes 1 & 2

In episode 1 & 2 we are introduced to Sonya Blade a police detective on the hunt for Kano the leader of the Order of the Black Dragon. She has infiltrated a warehouse were stolen robotic parts are being transferred by the Order (including a nifty infer-red eye that looks awfully familiar) & relays the information back to her HQ.

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Back there Jax & Stryker, both detectives, are arguing about going to back her up with Jax wanting to & Stryker unsure. Jax walks off determined to help her before Stryker follows with the rest of the team.

It then transpires that Sonya has been captured by Kano who waited 2 days to send her message so he could set up an ambush; Jax & Stryker are walking into a trap.

He promises to kill her & every one of her team & reminds her of what he did to her original partner (tying into the MK history nicely). He leaves her hanging up & goes to start the ambush. Cue a lengthy gun battle with explosive rounds & a martial arts fight between Jax & Kano, it’s a pretty cool set of events & looks very good. It’s all pretty brutal as well as Kano & Jax knock lumps out of each other.

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Meanwhile the explosions taking place above have loosen Sonya’s restraints enough fro her to escape. As the Jax & Kano fight reaches its climax Jax finds strength from Kano talking about how he enjoyed torturing Sonya & punches Kano so hard he pretty much destroys one side of his face. It’s pretty nasty looking but an explosion cuts his & Sonya reunion short knocking them both out. Sonja wakes up in hospital with Stryker telling her Jax took the brunt of the explosion by covering her with his body. His back is in a bad way but doctors are mostly worried about his arms.

She asks about Kano but it turns out he was grabbed by his people & they lost him. We then see Kano having surgery on his face & eye, its graphic & the end result is a zoom in on the Kano we know & love.

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I loved these opening episodes…

I don’t enjoy the Jax character of old. In the games he was my least favourite to play as being far too slow & limited while in the movie he was down-right irritating. The series Jax (Michael Jai White) though is a total bad-ass & I look forward to seeing more of him throughout. Sonya is cast really well (Jeri Ryan) & I love the hatred she has for Kano, she has that Sonya Blade sexiness mixed with the possibility of a broken neck if you tried anything. I also really liked the inclusion of Stryker being a bit of a good cop but eventually bowing to the wants of Jax.

However the star of these episodes is Kano. The actor (Darren Shahlavi) is unbelievable & while it was a surprise to hear Kano speak in an English accent, it made him so much more threatening. The way in which he ends up getting his infamous laser eye & metal arm is told so well & underlines the bitter hatred between him, Sonya & Jax.

The appeal in Mortal Kombat: Legacy is that it takes a well-known & well-loved fighting series & gives it an injection of modern life & a more realistic portrayal of the characters & events.

A live-action series, season 1 deals with the origins of several famous MK characters such as Sonya, Kano, Sub-Zero & Scorpion. Each episode is no more then less then 10 minutes long but manages to squeeze in a huge amount of content.

Episode 3

Episode 3 introduces us to Johnny Cage…the fallen actor. The episode opens with a documentary about the rise & fall of Johnny Cage the action star. Showcasing his early years in martial arts & worldwide fame, it also delves into his many arrests & problems using interviews with friends & associates.

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We then see Johnny Cage pitching his new show idea (You Got Caged where beats up random thugs) to 2 TV executives who are clearly not interested in what it has to offer & reject it. Their reasons being that nobody is interested in martial arts shows anymore. Cage insists that his show can work & sets about re-filming it to have a grittier & more realistic edge.

His second meeting with the executives goes even worse as they show little interest & stop it halfway. To make matters worse they decide to drop Johnny completely. Angry & upset Cage begins to walk off set but overhears the 2 executives pitching his own idea to a new female action star.

Cage goes into a rage & proceeds to beat up one of the executives & a number of bodyguards before realising what he is doing. He goes to walk off while the bloodied & battered executive screams that Johnny will never work again when time suddenly freezes.

A man steps forward (Shang Tsung) & offers Johnny ‘a way out of everything’.

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The 3rd episode is as impressive as the last 2 & the loved the documentary that opens the show. That Johnny’s major claim to fame was power rangers had me smiling as at its height that show was hugely popular.

The actor (Matt Mullins) does a great job of portraying the humiliated & rage-filled Johnny Cage. That infamous Cage banter may be missing but I much preferred this version of him.

While not as full as the Sonya & Jax episodes I felt like this one delved deeper into the character.

Episodes 4 & 5

Episodes 4 & 5 are quite a bit different from the 3 that came previously in that they don’t have the same level of gritty realism seen before. It focuses on the invasion of Edenia & the fall of its Royal Family after Outworld invaded.

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Told by a narrator & mixing animation with live-action scenes, Edenia lost 10 Mortal Kombat tournaments in a row allowing the Outworld armies known as Tarkatans & led by General Baraka (he also looks like he does in the game) to invade. Overseen by the Outworld Emperor Shao Kahn, the Tarkatans reduce the beautiful land of Edenia to a wasteland. Edenia’s King Jerrod reluctantly escapes leaving his wife Sindel & his baby daughter Kitana to be helped out by one of his many body doubles.

They are caught in their escape though by Baraka & the fake king is killed. Shao Kahn takes Sindel as his wife & Kitana as his child but is frustrated by the lack of love from Sindel. Worried that Kitana will grow to hate him he instructs Shang Tsung (his sorcerer) to make a double of Kitana that will love him, this second child becomes Melina. Half human & half Takatan she is raised as Kitana’s twin.

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Sindel, fearing for her daughter’s soul, takes her own life & merges her soul with Kitana’s to protect it.

The pair grows older & are constantly pitted against each other in battles to prove their strengths & skills to their father, Shao Kahn. Melina becomes increasingly bitter towards the affection Kahn shows Kitana & struggles to contain her Takatan side resulting in her taking her frustration out on a guard.

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Shao Kahn uses their skills to hunt down & kill any remnant of Edenia’s previous life. This includes the previous king & all of his body doubles. As they hunt them down Kitana begins to see a face she recognises in the doubles & when they eventually find King Jerrod he tells her that she looks like her mother. Melina kills him before he can say much more but his last words are that he is Kitana’s real father.

Now doubting what Shao Kahn has taught her she returns to the abandoned castle where the old King & Queen lived. Once there she is greeted with a vision from her mother’s souls showing her past. Armed with this knowledge she returns to Kahn all the while harbouring vengeance. The episode ends with both her & Melina bowing to Shao Kahn.

The creator of the series has stressed that it would have been very hard to tell this important plot of Mortal Kombat & keep it realistic. I agree & think considering how fantasy orientated & complicated the whole Outworld merger thing is these episodes do a really good job.

I didn’t love the animation though & much preferred it when it switched back to live-action. The cast involved all do a wonderful job (unsurprisingly) & I really loved how powerful Shao Kahn came across.

I also have to praise how messed up Baraka looked & the bit where he stabs the King imposter with his blades is brutal. Also although you mostly see Melina’s extended jaw & mouth in animation it occasionally opens up during the live-action scenes & is pretty freaky!

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On the whole this double episode sets up the future of Mortal Kombat nicely, showing the use of the tournament & what losing it 10 times means. It shows the strength of Outworld’s army & how devoted they are to Shao Kahn.

Not the best stuff of the series so far but for plot developments it was huge.

Episode 6

Episode 6 starts with a flash of lightening & an electrical storm that seems to teleport a man to earth with a crash. The next morning he is being woken up to find that he landed in the yard of a psychiatric institution. He vomits blue blood & is helped up by a female patient called Blue before 3 guards confront him & incapacitate him.

Over a time period of 3 months we see the man held in solitary confinement, treated with sedatives & often restrained in a strait jacket. His fury & frustration is seen thorough the lenses of security cameras.

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During interviews with the institutions Doctor the man claims to be Raiden, the god of thunder & protector of Earth. He insists he must be released so he can take part in Mortal Kombat & save Earth from Outworld. Naturally they don’t believe him & go so far as to lobotomize him in a pretty nasty scene.

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Blue is Raiden’s only ally in the institution & with her help he plans his escape. After causing some disruption Raiden gets attacked by guards with taser guns that inadvertently give him strength & power. He fights off the guards before the Doctor shoots him in the head with a strong sedative. He is then lobotomized again but after the Doctors finish Blue locks them out & unhappily stabs Raiden in the chest at his request.

He disappears in a flash of lightening & blue blood reappearing in a street in Chinatown. He is seen by a small Chinese man wearing a conical hat which Raiden takes & puts on his head completing that classic Raiden look.

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This is easily my favourite episode so far, it’s realistic with enough Mortal Kombat fantasy to keep the series on track. To see the origins of Raiden’s involvement in the tournament was excellent & I felt his frustrations during his incarceration. I fell in love with the actor (Ryan Robbins) who portrayed Raiden here & felt a rush of excitement when he began to get his own back on the guards holding him.

The episode feels really short but that more then likely because it is so enjoyable to watch & it is going to be fun to see how this Raiden character develops & if Blue has any future in the series.

Oh & the final hat scene left me with the silliest smile on my face!

Episodes 7 & 8

The final double part episodes of Mortal Kombat: Legacy covers 2 of the most important & fan favourite characters in the history of the series, Scorpion & Sub-Zero.

I was pretty stoked to have finally reached these episodes…

The story opens with a narrator talking about the Shirai Ryu clan, a once proud clan lead by General Hanzo Hasashi. He mastered the use of the weapon, Kunai & became known as The Scorpion. We are introduced to General Hanzo in a wintery forest as he is attacked from behind…by a young child.

Turns out this lad is his son & he wants to train in the ways of his father & become leader one day. Hazno is reluctant but agrees to start training his son soon.

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Later on we see Hanzo, his son & wife dining at their home. Hanzo’s wife wishes to know about the progress regarding the incoming arrival of the Shogun. She finds out that he is due tomorrow & that her son has not prepared a ceremonial song to sing to him. Hanzo asks his son to prepare a song & while he practices his wife insists she doesn’t want him to train to be a warrior.

Before they can get into it a knock at the door disturbs them. Messengers from Lord Ryuk have arrived to tell Hanzo that the Shogun is arriving early & his presence is needed immediately.

Hanzo agrees to go & dresses in his Ninja gear (the famed yellow suit of Scorpion) before leaving alone. As he makes the trek through the wintery wilderness we see he is being tracked by unknown ninjas.

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Eventually Hanzo comes across a man seated in the middle of the road dead & frozen solid; it is the Shogun, left so Hanzo would find him. Bi-Han, known as Sub-Zero of a rival clan attacks & admits to killing the Shogun so as to lead Hanzo away from his village leaving it defenceless.

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As they duel we see members of Sub-Zero’s clan entering Hanzo’s home & attacking his wife. Hanzo’s young son hides while contemplating attacking the men with one of his fathers Kunai.

Sub-Zero attempts to freeze Scorpion but fails allowing Scorpion to attack with his Kunai, impaling Sub-Zero in the shoulder & uttering the famous line (although not in English). He knocks Sub-Zero out & runs back to his village.

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When he arrives he finds the village slaughtered & the people frozen. His wife is a victim & Hanzo is distraught especially when he touches her hand & she begins to crack. When he sees his son also laying a distance away his grief is too much & he drops to his knees where-upon Sub-Zero stabs him through the back.

As Hanzo begins to freeze solid Sub-Zero taunts him by saying the Shirai Ryu clan is finished & his family will rot in hell.

Shang Tsung appears & asks Sub-Zero if Scorpion can be made to fight for them. Sub-Zero then morphs into Quan Chi who was impersonating him all along. He convinces Shang Tsung that his plan to make Scorpion desperate for vengeance on the man who killed his family will work. He then asks the frozen Hanzo if he will fight for Outworld in the upcoming Mortal Kombat tournament in return for life as a spectre & a chance at vengeance.

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With his new power Hanzo breaks out of the ice covered in fire & tells the 2 sorcerers that his name is not Hanzo, but Scorpion.

Whew…what a story huh?

Episode 9 – Finale

The final episode of the first series of Mortal Kombat: Legacy focuses on 2 lesser known but very popular robotic characters, Cyrax & Sektor.

The episode opens with 2 members of the ancient Lin Kuei in the back of the van. One (Cyrax) has been in a fight & is disputing the way of the life the Lin Kuei have & what the future holds. The other Lin Kuei (Sektor) disagrees & sees this as the only way forward.

The Lin Kuei train warriors & assassins by kidnapping children as new recruits, they are expected to submit completely to the Grand Master’s rule & disobedience is not tolerated.

They are on their way to a warehouse where the Grand Master’s new Cyber-Initiative is to start. Once there they are pitted against 2 random hence-men watched by Doctors, the Grand Master & pre-cyber eye Kano. The 2 Lin Kuei kill the hence-men easily & discover they were robots. Sektor shows his frustration by ripping the head off one of the robots & throwing it at a security camera much to Kano’s delight.

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The Grand Master gives the command for phase one to begin & the next time we see Sektor & Cyrax they are strapped down with electrical wiring sticking out of holes in their bodies. As well as being weaponized, strengthened & getting better protection the Doctors are trying to cut emotional connections to their memories & any future visceral images.

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Cyrax has trouble adapting & screams out in pain & frustration before Doctors knock him out.

Eventually the two men/robots are kitted out in robotic suits for phase 2 (the red & yellow suits). They are then pitted against a stronger model called Hydro who easily over-powers the duo. However when they work together, Sektor & Cyrax manage to beat him with Cyrax performing a fatality (computer calls it as such as well) by ripping the head off including the human inside.

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The Grand Master is pleased & gives the go-ahead for phase one to be rolled out for the entire clan.

So this is it for now…until series 2.

Not the 2 I would have chosen to focus on for the end but it was a surprisingly good & interesting end. The Lin Kuei are a fascinating clan & to see the lengths the Grand Master would to go to was great. Sektor & Cyrax looked amazing & there was this really nasty shot of Cyrax when hooked up to the machines. The camera pans out & all that is effectively left of him is his upper body!

The use of the word fatality was great & fitted perfectly!

I was happy to see my favourite, Kano back as well & liked how this episode tied beautifully into the very first 2. These robotics are exactly what Kano is shipping in the warehouse that Sonya infiltrates.

The fights that occur in this episode are so-so & more about showcasing how teamwork is better… as seen when Cyrax & Sektor work together to take down Hydro.

I can see future issues with Cyrax though as he was resistant to the change & also delivered the fatality to Hydro.

Roll on the next series!


Mortal Kombat: Legacy - Season One
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