Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Web Series Review: Mortal Kombat: Legacy - Ep. 6 - Raiden


Raiden (Ryan Robbins), God of thunder, finds himself mysteriously stranded on earth.  His unconscious body is discovered on the grounds of a mental institution.  He is immediately taken into custody and admitted as a patient.  While in captivity, Raiden’s proclamations of his Godly status are dismissed as the ravings of a madman.  Desperate, he asks a fellow to aid him in his escape.

While every other episode has featured its title characters in their respective element, “Raiden” removes any connotation of godliness or power from its namesake.  It places him completely at the mercy of the lesser beings he has been charged with protecting. 

"Wait until they get a load of me."


The episode is preceded by a disclaimer that disarms the viewer right from the outset.  It is now becoming apparent that director Kevin Tancharoen has attempted to give each chapter its own unique mood and setting.  “Raiden” is easily the creepiest and most disquieting entry yet.  There are numerous excruciating close-ups of needles pierce flesh.  The methods used to treat Raiden’s perceived psychosis are downright archaic. 

Though this is ground has been tread before in numerous genre films, it is put to especially effective use here.  Many viewers will instantly draw comparisons to similar sequences from Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and with good reason.  There a couple of references to James Cameron’s classic sci-fi actioner that will be glaringly obvious to fans. Being trapped in a mental institution against ones will is a classic “nightmare” scenario.  Mortal Kombat: Legacy gives it a Thor like twist by making the victim an immortal.

A lobotomy is at hand.


The only real flaw is that the speed ramping is very apparent in the opening fight.  Raiden’s moves are not stylized.  There is an obvious but amusing moment when security guards use an especially ineffective means to try and incapacitate Raiden.  The payoff is telegraphed, but it still works.  It’s perfectly in keeping with his character.

“Raiden” is by far the best episode of the series yet.  It takes a potentially silly premise and enhances it, throwing the audience for a curve.  It also manages to elicit genuine squirms and discomfort without the use of gore or viscera.  Kevin Tancharoen shows a bit of skill here, and he has given my favorite Mortal Kombat character an suitably entertaining introduction.   

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