Super Mario Bros., Wing Commander, and Street Fighter. These movies are all terrible.
They are so bad in fact, that if you were to average their scores on IMDb, you would come up with a mean of 3.7 out of 10. That’s not good. It’s also not unusual for movies based on video games. Uwe Boll has directed six movies in the video game genre, those average out at a robust 3.0/10. And Mortal Kombat, one of the ’90s most popular video games, actually had two feature films, neither of which were very good.
Despite this, filmmakers just keep going back to the well again and again. These attempts have constantly been met with critical, and often commercial failure time and time again - Max Payne, Double Dragon, The Legend of Chun-Li, Tekken, Final Fantasy, Doom, HItman, etc. – the list goes on. Perhaps that is why it’s so impressive what Kevin Tancharoen has been able to do with his web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy. Though not feature film length, he has seemed to capture the spirit of what people loved about the story. With a fraction of the budget of any of these films, he made something that fans seem to genuinely enjoy.
It all started back in the spring of 2011 when Tancharoen released his short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, which would become the basis for Mortal Kombat: Legacy. When it hit the web it was surrounded by intrigue and misinformation, with many sites reporting it to be an extended trailer for an upcoming movie. In truth, it was his pitch to shoot a movie, but when studios (ignoring overwhelmingly positive internet reaction) all declined, it became a web series instead.
If you’ve not seen the 7-minute mini-masterpiece, check it out now. It features Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager) as Sonja Blade, Michael Jai White (Spawn, The Dark Knight) as Jax, and a number of skilled martial artists that Tancharoen worked in to the mythology brilliantly.
So that piece of brilliance was followed up by 10 more episodes, introducing several more of the most popular characters from the gaming franchise for the Machinima YouTube channel. You can check out the first episode below:
And now, more than two years later the popular web-series is returning…
The saga continues as Liu Kang and Ermac join the ranks of fighters introduced in the series’ first season, including Kenshi, Kung Lao, Kuai Lang, Stryker, Kitana, Mileena, Johnny Cage, Scortcheson and Sub- Zero. This new season uncovers the rivalries and histories of these fierce warriors as Raiden and his recruits clash against the dark forces of Outworld. Chronicling the tournament and the interweaving storylines of the most beloved Kombatants, ngorians also will learn of the complex relationship between Liu Kang and Kung Lao and revisit the complicated family dynamic of Kitana and Mileena. The epic battle for EarthRealm has finally begun!
So while the first season focused on the events that lead up to the original game, preceding the deadly tournament that game play was based on, this second season is rumored to feature the actual tourney. The first look at the followup season is online now, and despite lots of casting changes, it looks like it may have actually gotten better. Benefits of a larger budget no doubt.
The reported changes to cast include new actors in the roles of Stryker, Mileena, Raiden, Sub-Zero, Shang Tsung, and Johnny Cage, who will now be played by Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers, Femme Fatales). Normally casting changes aren’t a good sign, but given this medium, it’s likely not cause for concern. It’s also very interesting that they have the same actor from Mortal Kombat reprising his role as Shang Tsung.
Anyhow, check out the trailer for Mortal Kombat: Legacy II!
Looks to be pretty epic, and if we didn’t know better we’d say it looked movie quality too. Web-based media has really upped its game recently, and this is just another example of the great quality that can be found outside of the more conventional mediums.
As to the potential big screen adaptation Tancharoen has been working on, he gave a little update on that as well and how it relates to Mortal Kombat: Legacy II. SuperHeroHype reports:
“We’re still pushing through on that. The script is in a good place, we’re just kind of figuring out the budget and locations and that whole process is where we’re at,” he said.
“I think everyone’s intention is to start fresh because we want Legacy to live on its own possibly for multiple seasons, and when it comes to Mortal Kombat, it’s been around for 20+ years. We’re going to take the mythology and add another layer on it so it can live on for another 20 years, or more! I think this is a unique opportunity to set that ground work.”
The second season is set to be released on Machinima, September 26th.