Behind the scenes with MK Legacy 2.
And here it is. When Kevin Tancharoen first burst onto the MK scene with his revolutionary short, MK Rebirth, fans all over were hopeful that there would be a great resurgence in the franchise’s storytelling. In a way, that has certainly come to pass- the first web-series was well-received… at least, well enough to spawn a second season. Eventually, we expect a full movie, which hopefully will come within sight of the next actual GAME. Anyway, that’s still far into the future; the Second Season of Mortal Kombat Legacy, named Mortal Kombat Legacy II, is here now, released in its entirety online (at Machinima) on the first day of release. What can one expect from the sophomore outing of this subset of the MK mythos?
The first season was ten episodes long, and was composed mainly of single or two-episode character arcs, each one taking on one or two characters’ stories- such as Sonya and Jax, Raiden, Kitana and Mileena, Johnny Cage and so son. Each character arc was more or less a complete story, making the first season an anthology. The quality was overall good, in terms of production value it all looked slick and above your usual live-action fan flick. I even found myself really into the unusual treatment of some of the episodes, such as the quite disturbing episode starring Raiden, which put the thunder god in a mental institution where we all questioned his sanity. Some were by the numbers or expected, but it all came off as a good-natured, well-meaning MK romp. They were all prequels and served to enrich the existing mythology.
Now, MK Legacy II. The schtick here is, the second season is not an anthology anymore- all 10 episodes tell one linear story, and is set in the time of an actual, or in this series, the current MK Tournament. This IS the game, within this corner of the MK universe.
As expected, both the champions of Earth Realm and Outworld are being gathered- by Raiden (David Lee McInnis) and Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) respectively. Of the fighters, there are changes to the casting from Season 1, with key characters Sonya and Jax missing in action during the actual Tournament. The good guys include Johnny Cage (newly-casted Casper Van Diem), Kurtis Stryker, the New Sub-Zero and Kung Lao (Mark Dacascos). On the Outworld side are Kitana and Mileena, a demonic and feral Ermac, Scorpion (returning Ian Anthony Dale) and Lui Kang (Brian Tee).
More on MK Legacy 2′s Behind-the-scenes.
Yep, Lui Kang. Perhaps following the events in the game, MKL2′s Champion of Earth Realm is a disillusioned, bitter and violent, given to drinking and brawling. Oh, and he apparently works as a paid assassin. Not quite the thing expected of a supposed Hero and former member of the White Lotus. Well, having your fiancee murdered can expectedly change you. The scene though where the fiancee is apparently killed is pretty vague (how did it happen and why couldn’t Lui Kang stop it?). Given as well that Kung Lao and the White Lotus have become Jedi-like in their intolerance of human love and relationships, you perhaps can’t blame him totally.
There are sadly glaring problems in MKL2. The first being the cast seems full of holes and ragtag, with no one to really root for. Lui Kang has turned evil, while Kung Lao is so vapid and cold in his purity that he is borderline unlikable. Johnny Cage remains clueless until it’s too late, and Stryker is… well, Stryker and Sub-Zero… well, he’s spineless. Heheh.
Aside from that, it’s readily apparent that each of the episodes is short on content. At about eight or so minutes for most, an episode seems to contain one main scene, a tease of the next scene and that’s it. Add to this padding of recap footage from the previous episode, or one of the various pace-slowing flashbacks and the final ‘Next Episode’ teaser footage at the end and you have just a very bit of actual real time action to chew on per ep. I think that’s the main reason why they released every episode of Season 2 all at once- watching just one episode a week is too lacking in content and oomph. There’s actually basically just barely enough for a feature film before us, and even then, it finishes with the main fight that was being built up for the whole time STILL not happening. On the bright side, at least we get quite a few fatalities, even if the fights themselves (and the tournament as a whole) seemingly feeling and looking… small.
Still, the series looks great, with good fight scenes and decent to very good performances from most of the onscreen performers. At no point is it ever too slow or boring. But I just want more.
On the one side, I guess it’s good that the season leaves us wanting more and expectant of the next installment. Do we have to wait another year till Season 3? MAN. On the other, I hope that director Kevin T. returns to making the eps. each more substantial and perhaps less seemingly by the numbers. I’ve seen better from this franchise, and I hope it gets even better from here.