Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Web Series Review: Mortal Kombat: Legacy - Episode 4 “Kitana & Mileena (Part 1)”

The Realm of Edenia has known peace for many years.  That tranquility is shattered after its warriors lose ten consecutive Mortal Kombat tournaments.  Edenia is then invaded by the hordes of Outworld.  Outworld emperor Shao Khan (Aleks Paunovic) drives out King Jerrod (Kirby Morrow) and takes Queen Sindel (Beatrice Ilg) as his bride. 

Fearful of what will happen when Jerrod’s daughter Kitana (Samantha Tjhia) matures and learns the truth, Shao devises a plan.  He orders Shang Tsung (Johnson Phan) to create a clone of the child.  The clone, Mileena (Jolene tran), is part Tarkatan.  As such, she finds it hard to suppress her blood lust.  Under the tutelage of Shao Khan, both young ladies become exceptional warriors.   

Kitana and Mileena.

“Kitana and Mileena” is the first episode of Mortal Kombat: Legacy to delve headlong into the fantasy world envisioned in the games.  The tone is noticeably different from the preceding three episodes.  The voice over narration by Karin Inghammer adds the air of a dark fairy tale.  Those who do not have familiarity with the games might find this change jarring, but it is necessary to introduce the idea of a mystical high stakes tournament lorded over by supernatural forces.

Similar to Kill Bill Volume 1, this episode incorporates somewhat crude but effective animation to tell key parts of the story.  The landscape depicted during the opening moments looks like an animated water color painting.  The swaying fields of grass give the image an eerie quality, as if it’s being viewed through the haze of distortion.  Some of the more violent moments are also rendered in this fashion. 

The living landscape

The audience also gets its first look at Tarkatan general Baraka, who is unfortunately not being played by Lateef Crowder this time out.  The character design resembles that of the Orcs from the Lord of the Rings films.  I guess that’s appropriate, since the Tarkatans are depicted as a horde of bloodthirsty, marauding mutants.  

An animated Tarkatan

As with the first and third episodes, “Kitana and Mileena” is a bit uneven.  Some elements work very well while others don’t.  The animation is a nice touch, but the creature makeup leaves something to be desired.  Again, one can feel a certain level of forced restraint, as if the series is waiting for the opportune moment to cut loose and really get down to business.  Now that the fantasy elements have finally been introduced, it’s time for Mortal Kombat: Legacy to do just that.  The fans want blood.  

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