Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm Vol 1 - Kombat Begins Again

In 1996, Film Roman, in association with Threshold Entertainment, created a new cartoon series based on the popular Mortal Kombat video game series. It's an interesting alternative universe where it serves as a sequel to the first movie, yet also bridges the gap between 3 and the upcoming 4 video games. In this cartoon, The Kombatants are less individuals, more akin to GI Joe. This was one of the reasons why the show failed.

The first volume, entitled Kombat Begins Again, was released via Digital Video Dreams in the early 2000s. They were budget releases here in the UK and were commonly found in budget and discount stores. The cover shows Liu Kang and Kitana from the series, with the dragon statue in the background. The DVD has 4 episodes on it and they're all out of order.

Episode 1, Kombat Begins Again, picks up after the movie and shows the Kombatants facing off against Cyrax and Sektor, before being saved by Sub Zero. It flashes back to the movie, which is censored due to it being aimed at kids, which shows the elder Sub-Zero being merely frozen by a bucket of water, not killed. The episode is taken direct from a VHS rip, so does show signs of blurring and degradation

Episode 10, the Swords of Ilkan. The early part of this episode is told via flashback, where Kitana is engaged in battle with an Amazon called Zara. She is after a pair of swords that can open portals to other dimensions. Kitana defeats her in combat and seals the swords away. Once again, taken from the VHS and features blurring and degradation.

Episode 6 is Familiar Red and features the only cartoon appearance of Kano, who is wearing his MK3 attire and Australian, modelled after Trevor Goddard's portrayal in the movie. Taken straight from the VHS.

Episode 12 is Abandoned. An episode that sees Jax quit the team because of the constant fighting. As well as an appearance by Ermac and a red ninja called Ruby, who resembles later fighter, Skarlet. Taken straight from the VHS. 

I picked this up for £1 from a second hand store. On the whole, the series is interesting, but the generic stories and lack of violence, as per the games is what ruins it. Also, the fact that the DVD episodes are taken direct from the VHS with no remastering or editing is bad and just feels cheap.