Mortal Kombat: Legacy [Blu-Ray] Kevin Tancharoen

Mortal Kombat: Legacy [Blu-Ray] Kevin Tancharoen
Budding director Kevin Tancharoen's bid to revive the Mortal Kombat franchise as a cinematic endeavour with his self-financed Rebirth short has resulted in this nine-mini-episode web series. Tancharoen splits the difference between his attempts to ground the popular videogame franchise's wild mythology and satisfying the demands of a universe littered with magical powers and supernatural beings from other dimensions. Whenever it makes sense to explain a hyper-realistic element of the tale, like Jax's bionic arms, Kano's laser eye and bionic warriors Cyrax and Sektor, Legacy leans on science fiction, presenting the character's enhanced abilities in a more practical manner than the previous laughable abominations that made it to the big screen back in the '90s. Each episode, a couple of them two-parters, re-imagines the origins of a group of notable characters from the videogames. A few recognizable actors show up to give the series a little weight: Jerri Ryan (Star Trek Voyager) plays Sonja Blade; Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Gallatica, Dollhouse) is Lieutenant Stryker; and Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite) puts his ass-kicking skills to good use as Jax. From gritty cop action, with the aforementioned group, to reality TV lampooning with Johnny Cage, mystical martial artists, cyborg battles and a thunder god in a psych ward, Tancharoen deftly directs each story with style and vision. All of his shots are deliberately composed and even budget-saving tactics like integrating motion-comic sequences into the Kitana and Mileena saga works in its otherworldly context. This is still Mortal Kombat, so it's silly as hell, but if you can get past the constraints of the setup, it's easy to admire the calibre of work being done. In its brief run time, you still get a better sense of how these characters could be used in an interesting narrative than in any other iteration of the franchise. A strong collection of special features includes behind-the-scenes looks at how pre-visualization is used to help choreograph fight scenes and other challenges of shooting elaborate action, in-depth discussion on how to make the story work cinematically and a talk with Mortal Kombat creator Ed Boon on the inspiration for the original costumes and gadgets. Hearing both Boon and Tancharoen talk about their vision for the franchise, it's clear who has the superior insight into visual storytelling. Whether it's with a new Mortal Kombat feature or something else, Kevin Tancharoen has the skills to make some waves in the world of action filmmaking. (Warner)