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Michael Jai White, Jeri Ryan, Johnson Phan, Darren Shahlavi, Kevan Ohtsji, Samantha Jo, Aleks Paunovic, Ian Anthony Dale
Writing Credits:
Ed Boon (video games), Various

Tear into the origins of the legendary tournament that pits the world's greatest warriors against the forces of Outworld in the fight to save our planet. Discover never-before-revelead storylines that deepen the mythology of the Mortal Kombat multiverse and the backstories of your favorite characters, including Jax, Sonya, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Raiden, Johnny Cage, and more! This is kombat taken to a whole new level, more gritty and raw than anything you've ever seen before. FIGHT!

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 104 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 11/8/2011

• “Expanding the Netherrealm” Featurette
• “Fight” Featurette
• “Fan Made” Featurette
• “Gear” Featurette
• “Mysticism” Featurette


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Mortal Kombat: Legacy [Blu-Ray] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 1, 2011)

Although it’ll likely never approach its commercial peak in the mid-1990s, the Mortal Kombat franchise has enjoyed a bit of a resurgence in recent years. It even made a reappearance as a live-action program via a webseries called Mortal Kombat: Legacy.

This Blu-ray gathers nine episodes:

Jax, Sonya and Kano Part 1 (12:18);

Jax, Sonya and Kano Part 2 (9:02);

Johnny Cage (11:41);

Kitana and Mileena Part 1 (9:09);

Kitana and Mileena Part 2 (8:17);

Raiden (12:39);

Scorpion and Sub Zero Part 1 (10:33);

Scorpion and Sub Zero Part 2 (7:55);

Cyrax and Sektor (10:20).

While I maintain a nostalgic soft spot for the original 1990s games, I muster much less affection for the era’s two Kombat movies. The first one stunk and the second one was even worse. They didn’t set a high bar for any future live-action efforts.

The existence of Legacy as a web series also failed to encourage optimism. When I hear “web series”, I assume I’ll find crummy production values and a list of no-names/no-talents involved.

To my pleasant surprise, Legacy boasts much better work than expected. No, there’s not a lot of “star value” on display, as other than Michael Jai White and Jeri Ryan – who appear in the first two episodes as Jax and Sonya, respectively – you’re unlikely to recognize any of the folks involved.

Nonetheless, Legacy consistently looks quite good. Despite the occasional dodgy effects shot, the episodes boast a nice level of professionalism. They certainly don’t look cheap and crude like I expected.

Based on the titles, I thought the various episodes would offer mini-“origin stories” for the various characters – and that’s what I got, though the shows don’t always feel that way. The episodes tell the character backgrounds fairly efficiently and only occasionally telegraph their existence as “origin stories”.

They do vary in quality, as I think the best ones are the episodes that seem the most stylistically ambitious. “Cage” starts with a clever tabloid-TV style look at its character and becomes probably the most fun of the bunch. “Raiden” is also unusual in the way it treats its lead; that helps make it more memorable than most.

All work pretty well, however, and they use a mix of styles to ensure the series never becomes monotonous. From episode to episode, you never know quite what to expect, and that keeps things interesting.

While not as overtly violent and gory as the video games, Legacy does offer “R”-rated material. That’s a logical change from the “PG-13” movies and will be welcomed by fans. The fight scenes vary in quality but usually offer good staging and impact.

I don’t know what diehard fans think of the web series, but I’d imagine the Mortal Kombat partisans dig it. While it branches off into some creative interpretations, it feels fairly true to its source and delivers a solid action experience.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

Mortal Kombat: Legacy appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. I thought the Blu-ray provided consistently satisfying visuals.

Sharpness was generally very positive. A smidgen of softness appeared at times, but those instances were minor. Instead, the program demonstrated nice clarity and accuracy the vast majority of the time. I witnessed no instances of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement appeared minimal. Source flaws also failed to interfere.

Colors stayed fairly subdued for the most part. The stylized settings didn’t favor a dynamic palette, but the hues looked reasonably accurate and full. Blacks were acceptably dark and deep, while shadows showed generally positive delineation; some low-light shots seemed slightly murky, but not to an extreme. Overall, I found this to be a strong presentation.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it also offered solid material. The soundscape added a good sense of environment, and when the many action scenes materialized, those elements fleshed out the settings well. Various components seemed well-placed and they meshed together smoothly. The different effects used the sides and rears to good advantage, and the score filled out the track in a satisfying manner as well.

Of course, audio quality always satisfied. Music was warm and lush, while speech seemed crisp and distinctive. Effects boasted good clarity and range, along with solid bass response. Nothing here dazzled, but the mix satisfied.

In terms of extras, the disc includes five featurettes. These include “Expanding the Netherrealm” (10:03), “Fight” (15:33), “Fan Made” (5:09), “Gear” (4:12) and “Mysticism” (5:17). Across these, we hear from director Kevin Tancharoan, Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon, co-writers Aaron and Todd Helbing, fight coordinator/choreographer Larnell Stovall, and actors Jeri Ryan, Matt Mullins, and Michael Jai White. The shows look at story/character topics, camerawork and production design, stunts, fights and action, what Tancharoan brought to the project, weapons and costumes, and the characters’ special powers.

Taken collectively, these featurettes offer a good look at the series. We get a nice collection of notes about the appropriate topics and learn a fair amount along the way. It’s too bad we don’t get to see Mortal Kombat: Rebirth - Tancharoan’s “test reel” – in its entirety, but this is still a solid set of programs.

After many years away from the live-action screen, Mortal Kombat returns with a surprisingly good web series called Legacy. Though some fare better than others, all of its episodes have their merits and the series functions well as a whole. The Blu-ray comes with good picture and audio as well as some informative featurettes. I definitely recommend Legacy to Mortal Kombat fans.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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