Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Web Series Review: Mortal Kombat: Legacy - Ep. 8: Scorpion and Sub Zero (Part 2)

Hanzo Hasashi has been lured into a trap.  As he and Sub Zero battle it out in a snow covered forest, his village and family are being assailed by intruders.  The whole situation has been orchestrated to manipulate Hanzo into an untenable position.  He will he be forced to compete in the Mortal Kombat tournament under the most tragic of circumstances?  

The sting of the scorpions tail and the chill of Sub Zero’s ice cold touch collide in “Scorpion and Sub Zero (Part 2).”  The epic battle promised by last week’s cliff hanger indeed takes place, though the Impact of the eight minute running time on the fisticuffs is very obvious.  This episode starts out where many of the others hope to end up, with the main event taking place right after the title screen.

The fighters are evenly matched, with both showing off their special abilities.  When Sub Zero calls upon his freezing power, there is a neat little effect that shows a mist emitting from his hands as the immediate air around them cools to a freezing temperature.  Scorpion is allowed to utter his beloved catch phrase as he lets his stinger fly.

Do I really need to add a caption for this?

The fight itself is a combination of street brawling and more refined techniques.  The punches are done bruiser style, with lots of wide swinging and haymakers.  The kicks seem a bit more precise and controlled.  Throughout the fight, the camera goes into rapid close-ups and pull-backs, with speed ramping included just before each blow makes contact.    The combination makes for a nice mix, and gives the confrontation an equal helping of both martial precision and flamboyant style.  My only complaint is that sometimes the fighters seem to anticipate each other’s movements too much.

Story-wise, Scorpion is given ample motivation.  He has a very complete backstory.  In that sense, I would argue that he is probably the only character that actually benefitted from having a two part episode.  His arch feels complete in a Grimm’s fairy tale sort of way.  The recap takes up 35 seconds of the running time, which may not seem like much until you consider that the episode only lasts eight minutes.  Those were valuable seconds that could have been devoted to the fight itself.  The ending did come as a bit of a shock in terms of who turns out to be behind it all. 

“Altogether, Scorpion vs. Sub Zero (Part 2)” is the most evenly paced and exciting episode of Mortal Kombat: Legacy thus far.  It’s arguably the only one that delivers on what was promised without letting any extraneous baggage get in the way.  The audience gets exactly as much story as is necessary.  It features the most colorful confrontation in the series to date.  One wishes that the series could have started out with this kind of momentum.

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