The first episode of Kevin Tancharoen’s online web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy -spawned from the 2010 viral video– premiered last week on Machinima.com . In the course of the week, that one 12 minute episode attained over 5 million YouTube hits. While 5 million people can’t be wrong (FYI 5 million is a lot for a web based series. like whole a lot). I did have my complaints. The story followed Sonja Blade (Jeri Ryan), Stryker (Tahmoh Penikett) and Jax (Michael Jai White) while they try and stop an evil crime ring run by Kano (Darren Shahlavi). At least, that’s what happens in the first 10 minutes. The episode didn’t really grab me. Too many guns for the beginning. It was a standard cop routine, impaired by pretty mediocre acting, even worse dialog. It didn’t feel like MK. I know Tancharoen’s intent is to put a real world spin on the fantastical elements and characters of the fighting based video game franchise, but the first episode was cliched; one of thousands of generic action movies we see all the time. To be fair, I paid money to watch the Mortal Kombat movies, (yes both of them) I got this for free. This is much better than those.
Now episode two is upon us. Which honestly, should be ep1 part 2. Titled Jax, Sonya and Kano (Part 2) it plays out the rest of the showdown set-up in part one. It’s only 9 minutes (while 6 if you cut out the the recap and credits), half the time as the first, yet twice as good. Huh? How does that work? Well, the direction, production, action, acting, dialogue and thematic elements and so on are simply done right this time around. Clean and concise. You’ll probably be too pissed at the mere 6 minutes of new material (which is a bit ridiculous to wait a week for) to take notice, but really, the difference is night and day. But I do agree, this is nothing they couldn’t have shoved into the 1st episode. It was kinda dumb having two episodes to tell this. Especially when there is only 9 episodes in the whole series. Regardless, Mortal Kombat: Legacy is getting better.
Watch episode 2 below, hit the jump for a newly released press release and don’t forget to share your thoughts on the series in the comments section.
“MORTAL KOMBAT: LEGACY” PREMIERES WITH OVER FIVE MILLION VIEWS ON YOUTUBE
NEXT HIGHLY ANTICIPATED EPISODE NOW AVAILABLE STARRING MICHAEL JAI WHITE, JERI RYAN AND DARREN SHAHLAVI
BURBANK, CALIF., April 19, 2011 – Warner Bros. Digital Distribution and Machinima.com today announced the original digital media series “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” premiered to over five million views since its debut last Tuesday making it one of the most watched films on YouTube over the past week. The next highly anticipated episode is now available to view at http://www.youtube.com/show/mortalkombatlegacy . Directed by Kevin Tancharoen (“Fame”), and starring Michael Jai White (“The Dark Knight”) as Major Jackson ‘Jax’ Briggs, Jeri Ryan (“Star Trek: Voyager”) as Sonya Blade and Darren Shahlavi (“300”) as Kano, this series produced by Warner Premiere takes gamers deep into the history of the warriors they know and revere.
The first of nine action-packed episodes of “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” entitled “Jax, Sonya and Kano Part 1” debuted on April 12 exclusively on Machinima’s YouTube channel, the dominant entertainment network for videogamers on YouTube (www.youtube.com/machinima). Episodes will be released weekly and feature popular characters from the franchise including Scorpion and Sub Zero, and culminate in an event featuring Cyrax and Sector to cap off the series.
“Kevin Tancharoen delivered an amazing production that millions of fans around the world are enjoying,” said Thomas Gewecke, President of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the reception it’s received. This is truly a testament to the quality of the series and the ongoing popularity of the Mortal Kombat characters and franchise.”
Machinima has grown rapidly to be among the top entertainment channels on YouTube, serving over 2.3 billion video views in 2010. Its core audience of males 18-34, heavily influenced by gaming and gaming culture, represent a new aesthetic and cultural shift in mainstream entertainment consumption. The network’s scale and ability to engage this hard to reach and influential audience segment create a compelling alternative to traditional online and offline distribution outlets.
“The global numbers we’re seeing on ‘Mortal Kombat: Legacy’ rival the viewership of most cable series,” said Allen DeBevoise, Chairman and CEO, Machinima, Inc. “The combination of Machinima’s strong network, Warner Bros.’ content and YouTube’s platform is part of the new era of video entertainment networks.”
“YouTube offers content owners the ability to reach the largest online video community on the planet,” said Chris Maxcy, Director of Content Partnerships at YouTube. “Machinima is among one of the most popular partners on YouTube because they understand how to engage this community. The impressive performance of the first episode of Mortal Kombat: Legacy reaching nearly two million views in a 24 hour period demonstrates the power of both Warner Bros.’ great content and Machinima’s impressive network.”
“Mortal Kombat: Legacy” is an anthology of nine live action episodes and brings to life the motivation behind each character’s participation in the Mortal Kombat tournament. Each episode will provide never-before-revealed insights into characters featured in the upcoming videogame as well as the game’s universe. Kevin Tancharoen, Aaron Helbing and Todd Helbing serve as writers.
The latest iteration of the award-winning videogame, “Mortal Kombat,” marks a triumphant return to the series’ mature presentation and a reinvention of its classic 2D fighting mechanic. Driven by an all new graphics engine, the fan favorite Fatality is back and presented in more gory detail than ever before. In addition, “Mortal Kombat” introduces a number of new game-play features including tag team and a deep story mode. “Mortal Kombat” was developed by NetherRealm Studios, led by “Mortal Kombat” creator and creative director Ed Boon.
MORTAL KOMBAT and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Machinima.com is the dominant video entertainment network for serious gamers around the world. The number one entertainment channel on YouTube, Machinima served over 2 billion video views in 2010 alone, reaches over 50 million gamers monthly, and delivers over 500 million videos a month, and growing. Machinima.com’s global content network features official publisher content, gameplay videos and original content, including over 20 original weekly shows, all aimed at the coveted 18 – 34 year old male demographic. Machinima.com is fast-becoming a global phenomenon with an ability to capture a cultural sensibility and awareness among a next generation of entertainment consumers and marketers alike. The company is backed by MK Capital and Redpoint Ventures, and is headquartered in Los Angeles, California.
About NetherRealm Studios
NetherRealm Studios, wholly owned by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, is a leader in the development of interactive entertainment as the creator of the billion dollar Mortal Kombat franchise. Mortal Kombat has spawned two theatrical films, multiple television series, and has sold over 28 million games to date. Located in Chicago, Illinois the award-winning NetherRealm team has been working and creating games together since 1992. Additional information about NetherRealm Studios can be found atwww.netherrealm.com
About Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, is a premier worldwide publisher, developer, licensor and distributor of entertainment content for the interactive space across all current and future platforms, including console, handheld and PC-based gaming for both internal and third party game titles.
About Warner Bros. Digital Distribution
Warner Bros. Digital Distribution (WBDD) oversees the electronic distribution of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group’s content through Video-On-Demand, Pay-Per-View, Electronic Sell-Through and Subscription Video-On-Demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels. WBDD also distributes content through third party digital retailers and licensees. A worldwide industry leader since its inception, WBDD also manages the Studio’s E-commerce sites that include WBShop.com and WarnerArchive.com. Twitter: @WBDigitalDist
About Warner Premiere
Warner Premiere, part of Warner Bros. Entertainment, specializes in the development and production of both features and digital content for home entertainment platforms. Past projects include Another Cinderella Story, Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins andBatman: Under the Red Hood, as well as the digital series Watchmen Motion Comics. Warner Premiere is at the creative forefront in the made-for-home entertainment marketplace, producing properties that exemplify the commitment to story, production and brand equity for which Warner Bros. is known.