Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lost to the Internet: Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins

Don't stop! Believing!

 I was telling my sister how plugging my King of Fighters Review in this Joystiq article about the Mortal Kombat movies on Blu ray had given me views beyond my wildest dreams. But because I talk really garbled, she missunderstood me and heard me say Mortal Kombat Anihilation was the worst Mortal Kombat movie ever. Which is, of course, not true.

You do a double take. Can any movie be worst than the maligned sequel to 1995s moderate sleeper hit? Or am I confusing MK: Defenders of the Realm or MK: Conquest with movies.?

No the worst of the movies was in fact, a promotional mail order vid called Mortal Kombat:The Journey Begins.  Released in 1995 to coincede with and therefore hype, the 3rd Game and the first movie, It is the Animatrix to Mortal Kombat's Matrix Reloaded. That is, if Matrix Reloaded was a cheesy actioneer with then impressive graphics and Animatrix  was a training video for a Mortal Kombat inspired cult.

I saw this sometimes at my local Blockbuster. It challenged me. No one else ever talked about it or seemed to have seen it. Years ago I looked it up in the old Youtube. I fear curiosity truly killed the cat in me.

The film opens up with a warning that codes to the game await us! Then some pretty darn bad computer graphics of a ship in the water. The water couldn't pass mustard as an N64 alpha. Brief horrible  scenes flash onscreen. The movie knows not to waste your time with promises of good visuals. Abandon hope all ye who watch further.

 On the boat, bad traditional animation versions of Liu Kang, Johny Cage, and Sonya Blade(voiced by Jennifer Hale in full Cold Bitch Mode) loiter around deck. Sonya wants to speak to the Captain and Cage wants to be a douche and vomit.

Sonya tries to talk to the ship's captain so she can use the ships radio to call. She's looking for a fugitive, and she seemingly wandered into a boat, waited for it to be overseas, and then decided to be a bitch to everyone. The ship's security, namely the Ice Ninja Sub Zero(voiced by Jim Cummins, if your highly paid celebs can't sing just give him a call!), does not allow her  into the Captain's Chamber, but he does allow Sonya to freeze her arm on his shoulder.
I kinda screwed up romancing Reptile...

Shang Tsung apears. He's also voiced by Jim Cummins. He tells Sonya that they set it all up so that she'd be here and participate in their tournament, and she can't do nothing about it. I slowly realized this was a retarded
  toned down version of the movie.

Shang Tsung tell Sub Zero that he should kill Sonya, Jonny Cage, and Liu Kang before they can enter the tournament. When Subzero takes off, he tells Scorpion he should  kill them as well, because if Subzero gets killed by them, he can't kill Subzero, and then he can't return to life. Which I guess, might explain why Scorpion would join a tournament with two sides on the side of the guy he's trying to off. But it's still stupid on it's own merits.

This 2 vs 3 handicap match almost kills our heroes, but Raiden shows up to save the day. He says that Shang Tsung is cheating and that he doesn't like it. Shang Tsung, though, just sasses Raiden. Then goes away.  Raiden zaps Johny Cage  cuz he's  annoying for no reason.

Look, I don't know about these eons old rules. Shao Kahn breaks them and Breaks them and Breaks them again, and the Elder Gods don't just shut him down. What's the point? If there is no consequence to breaking a rule, then the rule doesn't exist.

So Raiden explains that it's a big old team Kumite between Outword and our world and the winner gets to still have a dimension. If Outworld wins ten tournaments in a row they win earth. If Earth wins ten in a row...they never say. When the hell did we make this crappy deal?

A flashback throws us at the classic fight between Shang Tsung and a generic monk. Let' s call him "Sum Monk".  The animation and models are some of the worst things I've seen. They look like bad chinatown knockoff toys fighting. Theis faces are stuck in place. Tsung's is grimmacing, I think.
Shoobydoo! SHOobydobydobydoo!

Tsung wins and steals the monk's texture soul. Our heroes continue to wander the Island being regaled by Raiden's tales. It's a thrilling combination of bad cells, blocky 3d models and boring narration, that is only interrupted to show more bad CG fights: On that has Sub Zero and Scorpion and another between Goro and Durak, his brother. This fights  make Battle Arena Toshiden look like  a Pixar film.

Finally our heroes arrive at Shang Tsung's castle, where we meet the  participants who where not cool enough to be featured in the games. And if you had any doubts why earth has lost this thing 9 times, here's  the reason: We're getting sloppy with our selection process. They have a 4 armed monster prince? We have...
...Mr Rudolph, Math teacher. He wanted to be an engineer, but gave up on his dreams...

...Max Bulgieri: Was promised money to fix his abnormal legs. His signature Applebee's cap/reading glasses/shoulder pad/bandolier/ponytail look  was suggested by his misteiorus Sensei "Mai Mom".
...Sneaks: Sneaks was promised he was going to hear poetry at the local book joint, so he put on his best black shirt and burgundy pants. But now that he's on a life or death tournament, he might as well pull trough it.
...Sekretary: Real name Jenny Cho.  She's trying to save enough to buy a used Toyota Tercel.

Our heroes walk into Tsung's Palace and it turns out, it's a trap again. I will show you the whole fight.

It's this. Forever.

Already one of the cheapest animated films in the western world, a seemingly endless fight with Shang Tsung's guys happens with more recycling than Captain Planet's daily chore list. Animations are repeated over and over . It goes like this for a while.

Eventually Raiden shows up to save our heroe's bacon. He points out to Shang Tsung that he's cheating at a sacred tournament set up by the gods that will decide the fate of all the human race. Shang Tsung stops short of grabbing his balls and going "Fuck, you, lighting boy!". Seriously, that's twice he's cheated, and nothing's happening. This tournament is overseen by a drunken referee god, or something. Impotent and angry, Raiden yells out   Shang Tsung's name in super slomo and the movie part of the movie ends.

It's simply horrible. If Mortal Kombat had a CDi game it would look like this, but with better computer graphics.It's not really a prequel to the first film because it's telling a bad version of the same story. It sits in a dark corner of the internet, waiting to be remembered. It's a meme bounty that I hope one day will be known.


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