I can hear the pitch now. Couple of guys walk into Warner Bros. and layout their idea for a film based on the early 1990s video game MORTAL KOMBAT. “It’ll be great,” they tell the studio boss. ‘Every thirty year old with kids will want to take them to see a movie based on their favorite childhood video game. And, because we obviously don’t know that kids can’t readily see an “R” rated film, we’ll fill it with vulgar language and buckets of blood!” Mission accomplished.
The story in a nutshell: bad-ass bad guy kills bad-ass good guy and his family, but doesn’t know there is a baby hidden under the house. Centuries later, we meet Cole Young (Tan) who is, of course, an MMA fighter. That loses. A lot. An orphan (of course again) Cole has a family of his own, including a young daughter who is his corner-person when he fights. Sadly, despite her constant pleading, he won’t throw the uppercut, so he taps out a lot. But even though he’s a loser in the octagon, Cole has one thing the other fighters don’t. A strange dragon marking on his body. What could it mean?
Poorly written – I imagine the script was basically there to put a few minutes between fight scenes – and way over the top, MORTAL KOMBAT is exactly the kind of film I wouldn’t want my 37 year old son to take his kids to.
The dialogue, what there is, is very heavy handed, with words of wisdom that fall on deaf ears. Another issue with the dialogue is that some of the film is subtitled, with the subtitles telling you if the characters are speaking Japanese or Chinese. Later in the film they drop identifying the dialect. When one character speaks to Cole in, if we were paying attention, we know is Japanese we can’t help but hope for a subtitle that reads “I have no idea what you’re saying” (English).
While the fight scenes do liven up the film some, the violence is over the top. Yes, in the video game you killed your opponent in nasty ways. Usually your opponent would explode in a red burst and their bones would rain down. Violent, yes. But not like this. Here heads are crushed with a bloody splat, limbs hacked off and various blades are buried deep inside bodies, only to be removed in a geyser of blood. Heck, one character is split down the middle vertically with organs spilling out like quarters from a slot machine. Definitely not the MORTAL KOMBAT I remember playing.
A loud, rambling blood-fest, MORTAL KOMBAT is a great concept gone horribly wrong.
Get Over Here! Experience the explosive new movie MORTAL KOMBAT, which brings to life the intense action of the blockbuster video game franchise, opening in theaters and streaming on HBO Max on April 23rd. Visit https://tinyurl.com/MKBOS to enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to see it in theaters from Warner Bros. Pictures inspired by New Line Cinema’s MORTAL KOMBAT! Make sure you put down MediaMikes.com for where it asks you got this link from!
Release Date: April 23, 2021 in theaters and on HBO Max
Rating: R, for strong bloody violence and language throughout, and some crude references.
From New Line Cinema comes the explosive new cinematic adventure “Mortal Kombat,” inspired by the blockbuster video game franchise, which most recently enjoyed the most successful video game launch in its history, Mortal Kombat 11. The film is helmed by award-winning Australian commercial filmmaker Simon McQuoid, marking his feature directorial debut, and produced by James Wan (“The Conjuring” universe films, “Aquaman,”), Todd Garner (“Into the Storm,” “Tag”), McQuoid and E. Bennett Walsh (“Men in Black: International,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”).
In “Mortal Kombat,” MMA fighter Cole Young, accustomed to taking a beating for money, is unaware of his heritage—or why Outworld’s Emperor Shang Tsung has sent his best warrior, Sub-Zero, an otherworldly Cryomancer, to hunt Cole down. Fearing for his family’s safety, Cole goes in search of Sonya Blade at the direction of Jax, a Special Forces Major who bears the same strange dragon marking Cole was born with. Soon, he finds himself at the temple of Lord Raiden, an Elder God and the protector of Earthrealm, who grants sanctuary to those who bear the mark. Here, Cole trains with experienced warriors Liu Kang, Kung Lao and rogue mercenary Kano, as he prepares to stand with Earth’s greatest champions against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe. But will Cole be pushed hard enough to unlock his arcana—the immense power from within his soul—in time to save not only his family, but to stop Outworld once and for all?
The diverse international cast reflects the global nature of the brand, with talent spanning the worlds of film, television and martial arts. The ensemble includes Lewis Tan (“Deadpool 2,” Netflix’s “Wu Assassins”) as Cole Young; Jessica McNamee (“The Meg”) as Sonya Blade; Josh Lawson (“Bombshell”) as Kano; Tadanobu Asano (“Midway”) as Lord Raiden; Mehcad Brooks (TV’s “Supergirl”) as Jackson “Jax” Bridges; Ludi Lin (“Aquaman”) as Liu Kang; with Chin Han (“Skyscraper”) as Shang Tsung; Joe Taslim (“Star Trek Beyond”) as Bi-Han and Sub-Zero; and Hiroyuki Sanada (“Skyscraper”) as Hanzo Hasashi and Scorpion. Also featured are Max Huang as Kung Lao; Sisi Stringer as Mileena; Matilda Kimber as Emily Young; and Laura Brent as Allison Young.
McQuoid directed from a screenplay by Greg Russo and Dave Callaham (“Wonder Woman 1984”), from a story by Oren Uziel (“Mortal Kombat: Rebirth”) and Russo, based on the videogame created by Ed Boon and John Tobias. Richard Brener, Dave Neustadter, Victoria Palmeri, Michael Clear, Jeremy Stein and Larry Kasanoff served as executive producers.
Bringing the hugely popular property to the big screen, McQuoid led a team of Australian and U.S. filmmakers, including director of photography Germain McMicking (“True Detective,” “Top of the Lake: China Girl”), production designer Naaman Marshall (“Underwater,” “Servant”), editors Dan Lebental (“Spider-Man: Far From Home”) and Scott Gray (“Top of the Lake,” “Daffodils”), visual effect supervisor Chris Godfrey (“Hacksaw Ridge”) and costume designer Cappi Ireland (“Lion,” “The Rover”). The music is by Benjamin Wallfisch (“Blade Runner 2049,” the “IT” films).
New Line Cinema Presents an Atomic Monster/Broken Road Production, “Mortal Kombat.” The film is set for release nationwide on April 23, 2021 in theaters and will be available in the U.S.
(Los Angeles, CA, March 9, 2020) — As part of Record Store Day 2020, Varèse Sarabande Records will release five amazing soundtrack LPs: Hackers and Army of Darkness will be available as double LPs and Mortal Kombat and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance get the picture disc treatment, (Age of Resistance in two different variants), on April 18, 2020, at thousands of independent record stores. A list of participating stores can be found at recordstoreday.com and for more info about these special LPs visit VareseSarabande.com.
HACKERS – Various Artists (Double LP)
On vinyl for the first time, the definitive soundtrack to the film Hackers is being released in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the film. The double LP features never-before-released tracks including “Hackers Suite” performed by composer Simon Boswell, as well as two pieces by Guy Pratt, “One Combination” and “Grand Central Station” featuring David Gilmour.
“This was such a fun thing to do, had to quickly knock it up at home and then David swung by and did his inimitable thing in one take.” – Guy Pratt
Additionally, tracks that were not on the original soundtrack release in 1995, including “Protection” by Massive Attack, and “Open Up” by Leftfield, are part of this special album edition. The commemorative package includes two black vinyl LPs in a gatefold, new notes from director Iain Softley, and unreleased photos of the cast.
“Halcyon and On and On” Performed by Orbital
“Hackers Suite” Performed by Simon Boswell
“Open Up” Performed by Leftfield
“Cowgirl” Performed by Underworld
“Voodoo People” Performed by Prodigy
“Connected” Performed by Stereo MC’s
“Original Bedroom Rockers” Performed by Kruder & Dorfmeister
“One Love” Performed by The Prodigy
“Good Grief” Performed by Urban Dance Squad
“Protection” Performed by Massive Attack
“One Combination” Performed by Guy Pratt
“Grand Central Station” Performed by Guy Pratt, featuring David Gilmour
“Heaven Knows” Performed by Squeeze
ARMY OF DARKNESS – Joe LoDuca (Double LP)
This double LP soundtrack for Sam Raimi’s 1990’s classic Army of Darkness film (a continuation of Raimi’s Evil Dead series, which also starred Bruce Campbell as Ash) features the original cover graphics with new notes and images, and a newly remastered score by composer Joe LoDuca. Years later, LoDuca continued to score Evil Dead projects through the Starz series, Ash vs The Evil Dead. The latter series ran from 2015 – 2018. Army of Darkness is musically distinct, however, in having a secondary contributing composer: Danny Elfman’s (Batman, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, The Simpsons) killer theme “March of the Dead.”
“Building The Deathcoaster”
“Give Me Some Sugar / Bone’Anza”
“Ash In Chains”
“The Forest Of The Dead / Graveyard”
“God Save Us”
“March Of The Dead” Theme Composed by Danny Elfman
“Whites Of Their Skulls”
MORTAL KOMBAT – George S. Clinton (Picture Disc)
Originally released on CD only in 1995 and currently unavailable in any physical format, this score to the first film ever developed for the massive gaming franchise will get the LP treatment in conjunction with the film’s 25th anniversary. Side A of this two-sided picture disc features the iconic Mortal Kombat logo, while Side B features Goro, a fan favorite from the game and film who is generally considered by gamers to be one of the most memorable and difficult bosses in gaming culture. In fact, the four-armed fighter did not lose a battle for 500 years before a first-ever loss to Mortal Kombat hero, Johnny Cage. The music was composed by George S. Clinton with a heavy assist from the guitarist, Buckethead (Guns N’ Roses, Primus), who appears on 10 of the 26 tracks.
“Taste Of Things To Come”
“Liu Vs. Sub-Zero”
“It Has Begun”
“The Garden” featuring Buckethead
“Goro Vs. Art” featuring Buckethead
“Liu Vs. Katana”
“Liu’s Dream” featuring Buckethead
“Liu Vs. Reptile” featuring Buckethead
“Johnny Vs. Scorpion” featuring Buckethead
“Hand And Shadow” featuring Buckethead
“Scorpion And Sub-Zero” featuring Buckethead
“On The Beach”
“Johnny Cage” featuring Buckethead
“Goro Chase” featuring Buckethead
“Flawless Victory” featuring Buckethead
THE DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE, The Aureyal & The Crystal Chamber – Daniel Pemberton, Samuel Sim (Picture Discs)
Two truly special picture disc editions featuring imagery unavailable anywhere else! The Aureyal, a symbol representing the unity of the seven Gelfling Clans, presents itself in the visions of various important Gelfling characters and is formally identified as “the sigil of great power” by skekGra the Heretic. The Aureyal picture disc is complemented on the other side with the cover art from the Volume 1 CD and digital release. The Crystal Chamber disc depicts the floor of the Dark Crystal’s chamber; a circle of 18 arcane symbols, one for each of the urSkeks that came to Thra during the first Great Conjunction. The Crystal Chamber picture disc is complemented on the other side with the cover art from the Volume 2 CD and digital release. Consumers should note that the track selections on the two picture discs are completely different. Although available for individual purchase, they are thematically a set.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is a 10-episode prequel to the groundbreaking 1982 fan-favorite The Dark Crystal, and stars Taron Egerton, Star Wars’ Mark Hamill, Harry Potter’s Helena Bonham-Carter, Tomb Raider star Alicia Vikander and Outlander’s Caitriona Balfe. The show’s composer Daniel Pemberton reveals, “I wanted the music to be as magical as Thra itself – organic, imperfect, strange, mystical, otherworldly and wonderful. I wanted to create new sounds that felt like they came from the world itself, as well as using thematic largescale orchestral elements to bring an emotion to the journey of the characters.”
The Aureyal Picture Disc
“Dzenpo!” – Daniel Pemberton
“Remember Your Oath” – Samuel Sim
“Puppet Show” – Samuel Sim, Daniel Pemberton
“Song Of Thra” – Daniel Pemberton
“The Skeksis Arrive” – Samuel Sim
“Outcast” – Daniel Pemberton
“Outside Podling Wayhouse” – Daniel Pemberton
“An Old Story” – Daniel Pemberton
“The Three Brothers Rise” – Daniel Pemberton
“Attack Of The Arathim” – Samuel Sim, Daniel Pemberton
“Our Sister Is Gone” – Samuel Sim
“The Dark Crystal: End Credits” – Daniel Pemberton
“The Dark Crystal: The Age Of Hope” – Daniel Pemberton
The Crystal Chamber Picture Disc
“The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance” – Daniel Pemberton
“Another World, Another Time” – Daniel Pemberton
“Story Of The Dark Crystal” – Daniel Pemberton
“Rian + Mira Dreamfast” – Daniel Pemberton
“Aughra Awakes” – Daniel Pemberton
“The Crystal Chamber” – Daniel Pemberton
“Essence Draining” – Daniel Pemberton
“What Lies At The Dream’s End” – Daniel Pemberton
“Together We Fight” – Daniel Pemberton
“The Blue Flames Part 1” – Daniel Pemberton
“Deet In The Woods” – Samuel Sim
“Speak For The Dead” – Daniel Pemberton
“Brea And The Library” – Samuel Sim
“Her Light Faded” – Daniel Pemberton
ABOUT VARÈSE SARABANDE RECORDS
Founded in 1978, Varèse Sarabande is the most prolific producer of film music in the world, releasing the highest quality soundtracks from the world’s greatest composers. From current box office hits and top television series to the classics of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Varèse Sarabande’s catalog includes albums from practically every composer in every era, covering all of film history; from Bernard Herrmann, Alex North and Jerry Goldsmith to Alexandre Desplat, Michael Giacchino and Brian Tyler. Varèse Sarabande is a part of Concord.
Actors: Paolo Montalban, Daniel Bernhardt, Tracy Douglas, Bruce Locke, Kristanna Loken, Eva Mendes, Jamie Presley, Fabiana Udeni
Producers: Larry Kasanoff
Number of discs: 4
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: March 31, 2015
Run Time: 946 minutes
Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars
“Mortal Kombat: Conquest” is not the best thing to ever come out of the “Mortal Kombat” franchise. Also know as “Mortal Kombat: Konquest”, this show was quite cheesy and didn’t have the gory edge that the franchise is known for. I do have a soft spot for the show because it was filmed at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida…something that can sadly never happen anymore. It aired from 1998-1999 and only lasted 22 episodes. So it has been over 15 years, since I have last seen this show and it honestly hasn’t gotten any better. Still good for a laugh or two.
The show included some of today’s well-known names like Kristanna Loken, Eva Mendes, Jamie Presley and Fabiana Udenio. The main characters in the show focus around Kung Lao, Shang Tsung, Raiden and Shao Kahn. Other game characters that appear are Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Kitana, Noob Saibot, Quan Chi, Mileena, Rain, Reptile and lastly also Smoke and Goro but in CGI format. If you are die-hard Mortal Kombat fan, you are going to want to check this out.
Official Premise: In a dark and mythical re-telling of classic tale of good versus evil, the TV series ‘Mortal Kombat Conquest’ follows the fierce warrior Kung Lao and his comrades Taja and Siro on the their quest to protect the earth realm from falling under the control of the evil conqueror of realms Shao Kahn, ruler of the Outworld. Vital to the survival of mankind are warriors who can compete in Mortal Kombat. While combatants from Outworld have magic and darkness on their side, fighter from the Earth Realm have only their strength, both physical and mental, and belief that their cause is just and right. Will good triumph over evil?
This show has never been given a proper DVD release since it aired on TV. The UK released a few episodes and never finished it. Warner Bros is the savior of this campy-martial arts series. They are bringing the complete series to DVD for the first time ever. Audio and video are standard for DVD, nothing terrible and yet not outstanding either. Sadly there are no special features included to accompany these 22 episodes. But at least fans get the episodes that they were waiting were…they were waiting right? Hello?
To celebrate the release of “Mortal Kombat: Legacy II”:, Media Mikes is excited to giveaway one (1) copy of the film on Blu-ray to our readers. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of this prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite Mortal Kombat character. This giveaway will remain open until October 24th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to all of our Media Mikes readers worldwide. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.
Mortal Kombat: Legacy II, produced by Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, is the hit live action web series based on the legendary Mortal Kombat video game franchise, co-created by Ed Boon, developed by NetherRealm Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Originally debuting exclusively on Machinima in September 2013, the web series became an instant favorite with more than 19 million views.
The second season of Mortal Kombat: Legacy uncovers the rivalries and histories of fierce warriors as Raiden and his recruits clash against the dark forces of Outworld. Chronicling the tournament and the interweaving storylines of the most beloved Kombatants, the series also explores the complex relationship between Liu Kang and Kung Lao and revisits the complicated family dynamic of Kitana and Mileena. Directed by Kevin Tancharoen (Mortal Kombat: Rebirth) and starring Casper Van Dien, Brian Tee, Ian Anthony Dale, and Cary Tagawa, the series also won over critics, receiving a 2014 Streamy Award for Best Choreography (Garrett Warren and Larnell Stovall).
Brian Tee worked on projects like “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” and TV like “Grimm” and has a busy year a head of him. He is playing the role of Liu Kang “Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2” and Noburo Mori in “The Wolverine”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Brian about his roles and what we can expect.
Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you ended up taking on the role of Liu Kang “Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2”? Brian Tee: I heard about “Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2,” while I was shooting “The Wolverine” in Australia. I knew of the Series through one of my best bro’s Ian Anthony Dale. He plays Scorpion in the “Mortal Kombat: Rebirth” Trailer and in Season 1 & 2… he’s a brilliant actor and crushes it as the Scorpion. He’s perfect for the role. So I called him and asked about his experience on the shoot and working with Kevin Tancharoen. He had such high praise and I was already a huge fan of Kev’s work, so I had to be a part of it. BUT, I have to admit, at first I was like “hell no, I won’t play Liu Kang!” to be honest, as a kid popping quarters in the MK video game, I hated playing Liu. He just seemed to me to be a caricature of the stereotypical kung-fu guy. So when the role was brought up, I was the first person to think I wasn’t right for the role… I love playing characters with depth and complexities that at first glance, Liu never had… UNTIL, I read the script and talked to Kevin about it. The script blew me away and completely transformed Liu into something I’d love to sink my teeth into. And as we spoke, Kevin and I were on the same page, with what we wanted and didn’t want Kang to be. So with Kev’s genius vision we created this now anti-Hero character and took Liu to a completely new image and darker place, with the grounded visceral justice that this version of Liu Kang deserves.
MG: How did you prepare to play such an epic and important character? BT: Pleasantly surprised, this character really pushed me as an actor in so many ways, both emotionally and physically. Because you’re right, Liu Kang is an already iconic figure, so it’s harder for fans to relate to him. And that was my focus… I worked on connecting to the being, not the figure. I really wanted to delve deep within the soul of the man, not the image of character… Not to get too “actor-e,” I wanted to bring a grounded reality and create the person, not the persona… so that fan’s can connect to him as I did. Physically, I knew there were huge shoes to fill playing this epic character. I know I had to step up my game in order to successfully pull off what I wanted to withLiu, in the series. I was pretty adamant that I wanted to try to do the majority of the stunts the character demanded… but that respect is earned, not given. So I knew I had to prove myself. You don’t just go up to the greatest stunt coordinator in the game, Garrett Warren, and say “yeah, I can do that”… you have to work for it. So with the help of Garrett, the amazing stunt choreography Larnell Stovall created, my stunt double Kim Do training me personally, and along with some of the best stunt guys in the business… I had the good fortune to work my way into the fights, and be worthy enough to do the majority of them… which inevitably helped me embody Liu even more. I’m really proud of the Liu we created… and hope the fans enjoy him as much as I do!
MG: What can we expect from your episode in the web series? BT: I am actually in quite a few episodes throughout the series, but I’m really looking forward to episode 1. It’s the first of this season and sets the series off… so there is a lot riding on it. I know there are a lot of expectations from the fans out there considering how awesome Season 1 was. But I got gotta tell ya, I can’t wait for the fans to see whats in store this season. Episode 1 establishes Liu Kang like you have never seen him. I think it will go beyond the expectations they might be used to with Kang… because we completely turn this character upside down. And not to mention, the fight scene is just jaw dropping! This episode moves you in ways fan’s won’t soon forget and I hope will keep them wanting to come back for more!… because that’s just the beginning!
MG: What is your favorite move or fatality for the character? BT: My favorite Liu Kang fatality has to be the “double flip kick into the uppercut”… I’m old school.
MG: You’ve done films like “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” and TV like “Grimm”; how does a web-series compare? BT: This Web-Series was pretty much shot like a feature film, so in comparison there is no difference. Though it was a much smaller budget compared to other mediums, what Kevin, the cast and crew did with the limitations, is unbelievable. It looks and feels like a major studio feature separated into episodes for the web.
MG: Do you think we will be seeing more of you as Liu Kang, perhaps in the upcoming feature film? BT: I hope so. Though nothing is set in stone, I think if the fan’s come out to watch the Series, they’ll be the judge.
MG: Tell us about your role Noburo Mori in “The Wolverine”? BT: Noburo Mori is the character I play in “The Wolverine.” He is a politician that I feel, rides the line between good and evil, and will do whatever it take for political gain… But I guess that’s most politicians. 😉 Without giving too much away, he is arranged to be married to Logan’s love interest, so you can imagine it won’t end pretty. But also… this installment of “The Wolverine” is epic! Fan’s are really going to enjoy James Mangold’s mastery in bringing a side of “The Wolverine” fans have never seen. Along with the unbelievable action at the biggest scale, James has brought new layers and a depth fans will appreciate and relate to. Logan is vulnerable both physically and emotionally, its a war against his own nature and he must finally embrace who he is. It’s actually not to dissimilar to our take on LiuKang… both have demons inside of them that they have to overcome in order to find their true self.
MG: What else do you have in the cards for 2013 and beyond? BT: Well, I just finished a new TV pilot called “Anatomy of Violence,” starring Skeet Ulrich, Amber Tamblyn and David Harewood, directed by Mark Pellington. Its from the creators of “Homeland,”… which I love, so it was great to work with the creatives and to be a part of this amazing cast and show. I’m also wrapping this incredible art house indie, called “The Beautiful Ones,” starring my good buddy Ross McCall and directed by Jesse V. Johnson. Ross is awesome in it and Jesse’s vision is remarkable. I’m also up for this dark suspense thriller with some legendary actors… fingers crossed. And of course, I’m looking forward to reprising the role of Liu Kang in the feature… but we’ll have to wait and see. In the mean, I’m pumped for the “Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2” Web-Series to come out and see the response of the fans!… maybe they’ll decide.
Casper Van Dien is known best for his role of Johnny Rico in “Starship Troopers”. He recently steals the show in the new gaming film “Noobz”, where he plays a comedic version of himself. Great movie, check it out! He also takes over the role of Johnny Cage in season two of “Mortal Kombat Legacy”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Casper on these roles and what we can expect.
Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you got involved playing yourself in “Noobz”? Casper Van Dien: I met Blake (Freeman) a couple years before and we hit it off. He told me he wanted to right me into one of his movies. So one day he calls me up and asked me to do a cameo in this gaming movie he was making. He told me he wanted me to just play myself. So I read it and I thought this is a friend of mine and this is what he thinks about me [laughs]. See the movie to understand why. I really think I need to get therapy and look into it if this is the way my friend sees me as. [laughs]. But I agreed and it was really fun.
MG: It’s not always easy play yourself [laughs]. CVD: I had to go to my acting coach cause I was afraid they might recast me [laughs]. I was warned several times but I guess my performance was good enough since they kept me on. So I guess I lucked out.
MG: Are you a gamer yourself? CVD: I think I used to consider myself a gamer until I met Blake and his friends. When I go over to hang out and talk shop, Blake and all his friends/business people are all playing online video game tournaments. We will do the meetings while they are playing. So I realized there is a difference between gamers and people that play video games. I also got to meet some of the really serious gamers that we had on “Noobz” with us that actually get paid for this. Robert Paz was in it and he became a friend of mine too. Those guys really know how to play video games and it is a art form to them. But overall, I have always loved video games and have since I was a little kid.
MG: Do you plan on working with Blake again? CVD: I also just did another movie with him called “Mucho Dinero”. It stars Blake, Eddie Griffin and myself. That one he wanted me to play someone completely different than in “Noobz”. Funny story though, one of the grips came up to me during filming and he said “You ruined ‘Starship Troops’ for me, I’ll never be able to watch it again” and walked away. I am not doing to give details, you have to see it to find out why. I don’t know man, I am either doing something really right or I am really screwing up [laughs]. I am thrilled to be working with Blake again. He is a good pal and I love his awful sense of humor about me and life in general.
MG: Tell us about playing such an iconic character like Johnny Cage in “Mortal Kombat: Legacy”? CVD: Yep, I just got to Johnny Cage in Kevin Tancharoen’s web series. There are several episodes this year that he is in. I think that Matt Mullins did a great job in the first season. I think he softened it up for me to do more as well. I don’t know what they are trying to say though, since Johnny Cage is a D-list actor, has a bit of an attiude and is a little conceded. So I am not sure why they wanted me and told me that I was perfect for it [laughs]. I had a blast doing this though. There are a lot of incredible marital artists. I fight a lot but nothing like these guys. Another thing is that my character gets into a girl fight. Johnny Cage in a girl fight. You have to see it man, it is very cool!
MG: Any plans you will be involved with the upcoming feature film also? CVD: You know I would love to be involved. It is up to the director. If he wants me then I would love to do it. If he wants to do something else, either way I will fully support it. I appreciate him wanting me in the web-series in the first place. I had a blast. So we will see what will happen.
MG: It’s been over 15 years since “Starship Troopers”; yet the series is still very alive with “Starship Troopers: Invasion”, which your executive produced. Why do you think this franchise resonates with fans? CVD: I get more tweets every day with quotes from that film on my Twitter page. I get dozens every day and then when it airs I get hundreds a day. It is just unbelievable how much fans love this movie. It is awesome to have been involved with a film that people quote you from. The film just has some many awesome quotes. Ed Neumeier is an incredible writer. Paul Verhoeven is an amazing director. This film has just had such an amazing life and so many fans.
MG: I love how active you are on Twitter and interacting with your fans. CVD: Yeah, I love it. I wasn’t announcing that I was playing Johnny Cage because I was asked not to. But one day I went on Twitter and someone wrote “Fucking Johnny Rico is Fucking Johnny Cage. Fucking Awesome”. It was one of the coolest tweets I got last year. I was super excited by that and that is how I found that Warner Bros had released the news.
MG: What else do you have planned for 2013? CVD: Well like I said I got the movie “Mucho Dinero”. It was a fun film to shoot and it is really funny as well. Blake wrote, produced and directed this one as well. I am going to shoot a film this weekend in Oklahoma, which is another action/thriller. I shot a Hallmark Christmas movie last year that that did really well called “Baby’s First Christmas”, so that was really cool. I have been doing this for 25 years and it just keeps getting better and better!
Eric Jacobus is the founder of The Stunt People with Ben Brown and Chelsea Steffensen in 2001. He released his film “Death Grip” in which he took on the role of Writer, Director, Lead/Stuntman, Choreographer and even Editor. He recently worked stunts in the upcoming “”A Good Day to Die Hard” and also took over the role of Stryker in “Mortal Kombat Legacy 2”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Eric about his role in Mortal Kombat Legacy 2″ and what else he has planned next.
Mike Gencarelli: Give us some background about how you got started in martial arts? Eric Jacobus: I was a late bloomer in martial arts. My small town of Redding, CA didn’t have many martial art schools, so I took to weightlifting. Martial arts may have helped with the bullies in school but I had a knack for talking my way out of everything, plus the weightlifting made me stronger than them anyway. I remember a kid was once pushing me around in the locker room, so I just grabbed his arms and pushed my foot against his chest and pulled until he dropped… Come to think of it I think that’s a Fatality move from Mortal Kombat. When I began producing action films in San Francisco around the age of 20, I wanted to exhibit the authenticity of a real martial artist, which made me seek out training. So I didn’t start training until I was 20. First I studied Tae Kwon Do under Andy Leung, and then Myung Jae Nam-style Hapkido under Dennis Ruel and Ray & Troy Carbonel. I’ve been doing Hapkido for eight years. Now the town I grew up in has either a mixed martial arts or trick martial arts school on every corner. Things have changed so much in just the last decade – everyone in America understands martial arts thanks to the widespread appeal of MMA, and you can see this paradigm shift influencing fight choreography in major Hollywood films.
MG: How did you end up replacing Tahmoh Penikett to play Stryker in “Mortal Kombat Legacy 2”? EJ: I don’t know the logistics behind the change itself. It could have been a schedule issue, who knows? These kinds of things happen all the time. But the kind of character I’m known for playing in films is the underdog tough guy who is always looking for a way out of a fight, using his head for the most part but able to throw down when necessary. Some people have even called me the “white Jackie Chan.” Stryker is
a human in a supernatural world, a Jack Burton with handcuffs, and he brings real human emotions like fear, confusion, and humor. These are emotions I’m comfortable playing, so when the choreographer Larnell Stovall told me I should play Stryker I knew it was the perfect part for me. Hell, minus the cop part I play this character on a daily basis.
MG: How did you research to play such a well-known character as Stryker? EJ: I played Mortal Kombat to the death as a kid at the local arcade. The funnier, underdog human characters like Stryker and Johnny Cage appealed the most to me because I could relate to them. Stryker’s also a riot cop. He protects the innocent, keeps the peace, and shoots to kill, a very black and white character (or black and blue). His gear is typical police equipment; gun, taser, mace, cuffs, and a baton, which I didn’t know how to use. This is where my stunt team The Stunt People comes into use. One of our members Yun Yang is a Kyokushin Karate practitioner, and he showed me how to use one. I also had a fair amount of on-set sidearm training with a firearms expert. But training in the art of police brutality itself was a non-issue – you could call that a personal character trait of mine. Protect the good guys, beat up the bad guys, no problem.
MG: What can you tell us about your episode this season? EJ: This season I team up with Johnny Cage and we have some good scenes together, plus I have a badass fight scene. I get to be in more than one episode, too. Beyond that I can’t reveal much else. Did I mention I have a badass fight scene?
MG: Tell us about your stunt work on “A Good Day to Die Hard”? EJ: I had just finished my martial arts action film Death Grip, and Chad Stahelski from 87Eleven Action Design took notice of the final knife fight from that film that I performed with Alvin Hsing. Chad brought me and Alvin to the 8711 gym where we choreographed a fight with J.J. Perry for A Good Day to Die Hard and filmed it, which is called a “pre-viz”. I got to pretend to be John McClane, toning down the flashy martial arts and playing more to his strengths, which again is the kind of character I’m most apt at playing. He’s vulnerable, faced with a superior opponent and always bringing the human element to the fight. He gets hurt, has to improvise, and avoids conflict whenever possible. It was a blast. Bruce Willis is another actor who inspired me to get into action film. If only I could’ve met the guy!
MG: Tell us about “Death Grip”, which you not only star but also direct, co-wrote, produce? EJ: “Death Grip” is a martial arts thriller about a criminal who sets his life straight by assuming care for his estranged, autistic brother, but the brother inadvertently gets them wrapped up in the theft of a priceless artifact, and to clear their names they have to recover it from a Satanic Cult. Virgin sacrifices, killer monks, and a maniacal cult leader played by Power Rangers star Johnny Yong Bosch all stand in their way. I produced Death Grip with co-star Rebecca Ahn, who helped me pull together a sizable budget. It allowed me and my stunt team The Stunt People to go all out in the fight scenes: we destroy a bathroom, do a fight in the dark where the audience can what the characters can’t, and pit me against 15 other evil monks ala Armor of God. It’s pure, Hong Kong-style martial arts action mixed with American sentiment that you don’t typically get from mainstream action films. Whereas Hollywood films often rush the fight scenes and rely too much on fast editing, shaky camerawork, and stunt doubles, we do all our own stunts and have full control over the camera and editing. We don’t hide anything, and the audience can actually see what the hell is going on. People like that, especially since America now understands martial arts better than ever due to the popularity of MMA. I’m now producing a new martial art film called Marine Core, written by Steve Carolan. Imagine “Ninja Scroll” starring Rambo. Keep your eyes peeled for it!
MG: Where can people check out this action-packed film? EJ: I’ll be at San Diego Comic-Con this year at Booth 4015 with other cast members, so stop by, get a Stryker autograph, and pick up Death Grip or any of my other films. You can always check out my YouTube channel, and you can always grab a copy of Death Grip on DVD or Blu Ray at our online store here.
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is an actor and martial artist that is known best for his role of Shang Tsung in 1995’s “Mortal Kombat”. This Fall, he joined the cast of ABC’s Revenge in the role of Satoshi Takeda replacing Hiroyuki Sanda, from the previous season. He is also reprising his role next year of Shang Tsung in the return of the wildy successful web series “Mortal Kombat Legacy 2”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Cary-Hiroyuki about those two projects and also his role as a healer.
Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you ended up replacing Hiroyuki Sanada this season as Satoshi Takeda in ABC’s “Revenge”? Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa: I got a call one day from my agent talking about the show. He was pretty excited. I personally had no idea about the show. I honestly do not watch television much. I have not actually been in one place in order to settle in for almost three years. When I got that call I was in Hawaii. So I sat down and watched the show. I thought it was a little bit complicated though if you haven’t watched from the beginning but I thought it was cool and plus it has Madeline Stowe. I was told that they were looking for a replacement for Hiroyuki Sanada. He and I actually recently worked on a film called “47 Ronin” and had a great experience. He is a fantastic Japanese action star. So I went back and watched a few of his episodes. I knew very clearly what the role entailed. It wasn’t anything deeply new and exciting but it was a standard role for an actor. Takeda is basically a good guy [laughs] and I have done many of those. But I am a good guy, so I figured I could do it.
MG: What was your biggest challenge for you stepping into the role this season? CHT: The challenge for me was to make him interesting. The dialogue doesn’t usually change much. But personally, I like to throw in ideas and change it up a bit. I have always had some input into every character that I have played. Nobody would stop me from playing out an idea that was interesting. But you have to come up with something pretty interesting. Dialogue is the easiest thing to change and doesn’t cost them any money. I always think about the audiences. They always keep on watching the same kind of junk. The bad guy is mean and nasty and by the end, we know he is going to lose. It is a pretty given sort of structure. But for me, I tried and find a way that I can make it more interesting for the audience and bring something different. You can scare the hell of our people, which I think I have done with different characters. That would get people’s attention. For this role, Sanada played it very straight and to the point. Since he was a lot smaller than I am and doesn’t look so mean, I had to try and gauge how mean I could look playing a good guy. One of the things that I was excited about is that people only saw him playing that character for one season and how I can make a difference. One thing that I wanted to do was bring a different persona, so that when Emily was being her arrogant self that she wouldn’t get away with it with me [laughs]. I wanted you to see that at least in my eyes that I was a lot more intimidating. They encouraged me to bring something new to it.
MG: What approach did you take to improve this character? What can we expect? CHT: I do not think that it would have been too difficult for them to at least explain that we weren’t the same person. I thought that it was sort of a rough transition for most of the fans. I could have been his mentor or uncle, something like that. I think there is still a lot more to discover for Takeda. It is just the matter of how long that I can hold my breath. I think there is an element the way that Sanada played him that did not account for a lot of mystery, in the very particularly nit-picky way that actors are taught to do. To be very specific, he played it very straight forward and with not a whole lot more intrigued for the character. I think that having played the bad guy so long helped me with this. I feel that bad guys are fighting something all the time. I think I am bringing a little more of that to the character and it leaves you wanting to know more about him. That is why in the way that I play him, I mix it up. At points, I speak with them more like an Uncle or Father and other times it will be different. I have tried to layer that in, given I have only been given three times this season so far to do it. I was intentionally from the beginning making that choice. The show is one break now but after the beginning of the year, I am not sure where the role is going to go. But I know it has only just begun.
MG: How did it come again with you reprising the role of Shang Tsung in the web series “Mortal Kombat Legacy 2”? CHT:After the first movie, all of the character had made deals for the sequel. Only two characters, Liu Kang and Kitana ended up in the movie. So it was a great disappointment, considering the success of the first one. This was just a confirmation to me for to reveal the truth of some particular people that were part of that team. It played itself out in much bigger problems. When I saw that person for one of the last times, I said “May you get what you deserve”. When that was all over with all I could do was resign to the fact that playing Shang Tsung in the first movie would have been enough. Then when I heard about the first series of “Mortal Kombat Legacy” but I was’t involved with the first season. Kevin (Tancharoen) and I connected over Twitter and offered me the role of Shang Tsung in the second sesaon. Twitter is changing politics. This guy is an amazing director and just such a humble guy. He is about to direct his direct movie for $50 million for the third “Mortal Kombat”.
MG: Any chance you will get to you play Shang Tsung again in that upcoming feature film? CHT: The difference between the time that I did that the first movie and where my career is in now is that I have some certain standards now. But it will all be up to the studio and the producers. I let them know from the beginning, I said I wanted to do it but I had a history of not being respected. I said told them I would leave it to them to be real and see how it goes. Let’s just say I am not doing the web series for the money. But just to be a part of the web series is great. I am excited about working with Kevin and I would like to work with him even away from “Mortal Kombat”. He seems to really understand actors, which is highly rare. He has a place in Hollywood. I actually met his father back on the film “Rising Sun”. In fact, I had actually met Kevin as well, when he was 5 or 6 and he told me that he has a picture of me from back then. But for right now, I am very excited about the web series and the possibility of being in the feature.
MG: Tell us about your role of a healer, in addition to acting? CHT: One thing that I have been enjoying talking about is that I am healer. You have probably never heard of an actor saying that…but I am a healer. I was a healer before I came to Hollywood. Hollywood is my day job and my greater purpose is to bring this particular system of healing to the world. It is something that I have been working on for over 30 years. I credit it to my father, who I didn’t know very well growing up. But I feel like when he passed, he passed on in spirit this healer gift. I consider it a gift and I am further developing it. So I want to dedicate this system to him. It comes from an understanding of breath. When you say breath, it is interesting to see people’s reaction since they start breathing deeper. It is funny and when I say posture, they sit up straight [laughs]. I have always been very observant of people’s behavior. Those are two things that should be second nature to us but our society has neglected it for so long. To bring this forward now, I know it is going to resonate with everyone that hears it. Then how far and deep they get into it after that obviously has yet to been seen. This is not based on any system that I have studied. The theories come from the principles martial arts, in terms of posture like the horse stance. There are others systems like Qigong that focuses on breathing. This particular form has nothing to do with fighting. I am calling it Martial Healing.
MG: Tell us about what can we expect from this system? CHT: There is a lot that we can do to keep us out of harm’s way and prevent the breakdown of the body. This system begins with teaching about breathing and how it can greatly aid in that process. This would focus on breathing and the principle of moments and how those two can affect the body. I have worked with athletes and martial artists also and have gotten great results. I am coming from a place of developing something rather than just taking knowledge of an ancient system and repeating it. It is a new understanding with a new system. I bet you didn’t expect that from the actor that played Shang Tsung [laughs]. You can find out more at ShangsArmy.com
Developed by: Kevin Tancharoen
Starring: Michael Jai White, Jeri Ryan, Darren Shahlavi, Matt Mullins, Sam Tjhia, Jolene Tran, Ryan Robbins, Ian Anthony Dale, Kevan Ohtsji, Shane Warren Jones, Peter Shinkoda
Distributed: Warner Premiere
Running Time: 104 minutes
Overall Score: 4 out of 5 stars
Finally they got it right…”Mortal Kombat” has been done the way it has been meant to. This series consists of nine episodes and explores an origin to the series’ most iconic characters in the “Mortal Kombat” universe. This series is gritty, violent and totally edgy. The prior attempts at this series failed to really capture the essence of “Mortal Kombat” but this one scores a flawless victory. The video on the release is fantastic especially on Blu-ray. Since this is a low budget web series, the picture is clear and really crisp. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is also fantastic. I wish this series ran longer than only nine episodes but I guess we will have to wait till Kevin Tancharoen gets a chance to turn this into a feature. You hear that Warner Brothers?!
The series has episodes which focus on the following characters “Jax, Sonya and Kano”, “Johnny Cage”, “Kitana & Mileena”, “Raiden”. “Scorpion and Sub Zero” and “Cyrax and Sektor”. Each episode focuses on the origin story for each character. It really expands the back stories to each character. With “Jax, Sonya and Kano”, we get a great two part episode kick off, which explores how Kano becomes his cyber-self. The episode is a dark and very gritty. “Johnny Cage” features a lot more comedy then the prior but definitely kicks some major ass. “Kitana & Mileena” is a two part episode which focuses on how Kitana discovers that she is the daughter of King Jerrod and Queen Sindel and was taken by Shao Kahn and that Mileena is a clone created by Shang Tsung. “Raiden” shows how the character became stranded on earth and needs to fight in the tournament. “Scorpion and Sub Zero” is another two part episode and easily the best in the series focuses on the real revenge story between the two. Lastly and the most CGI episode “Cyrax and Sektor” exposes the evolution of the two deadly cyborgs.
We all know that we can watch this series online, so why are we buying these on Blu-ray?…the answer is special features. Well I want to rave about it but it is a little lacking running only around 30 minutes total. I would have loved to see some commentary for each episode in the series. The first feature called “Fights”, which focuses on the fights and stunts throughout the web-series. “Fan Made” reveals Tancharoen’s passion and vision behind the series. “Expanding The Netherrealm” is easily the best feature and delves into the process of resurrecting this franchise. “Mysticism” focuses on the characters and their powers. “Gear” showcases the kick ass weapons used in this series. Overall this is definitely worth the $15 bucks for fans of this franchise!
“Mortal Kombat: Legacy” is a new web series created by Kevin Tancharoen. The series takes place before the events of the first game and dives into the back stories of several characters from the series. There will be 10 episodes in the series and each one runs between 9-12 minutes. The series is spawned from Kevin’s short film entitled “Mortal Kombat: Rebirth”, which was released last year. This web series will hopefully be the launching ground for a new film in the “Mortal Kombat” franchise.
“Mortal Kombat: Legacy” stars Michael Jai White as Detective Jackson “Jax” Briggs, Jeri Ryan as Lieutenant Sonya Blade, Darren Shahlavi as Kano, Tahmoh Penikett as Kurtis Stryker, Matt Mullins as Johnny Cage, Johnson Phan as Shang Tsung, Aleks Paunovic as Shao Kahn, Sam Tjhia as Kitana, Jolene Tran as Mileena, Beatrice Ilg, Fraser Aitcheson as Baraka, Shane Warren Jones as Cyrax, Ryan Robbins as Raiden, Ian Anthony Dale as Scorpion, Peter Shinkoda as Sektor, Kevan Ohtsji as Sub-Zero and Michael Rogers as Quan Chi.
Media Mikes has had a chance to chat with various cast members from this web series. If you are fan of the series, you NEED to check out this series and support the chance of this becoming a feature film.