Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Feeling Kombative

While channel-surfing across HBO recently, I happened to catch Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, last year's misbegotten attempt to reinvent the video game favorite as a more "serious" film franchise that would (they hoped) consign the craptastic Jean-Claude Van Damme version from 1994 to the circle file in much the same way Nolan's Batman films have done with Schumacher's.

But let's be honest, Batman Begins this wasn't.  The Legend of Chun-Li (starring Smallville's Kristen Kreuk in the title role, and poor, poor Neal McDonough as the main baddie), starts out as just sort of run-of-the-mill mediocre, but it's elevated to a whole new plateau of legendary badness when Chris Klein (of Rollerball infamy) makes his entrance as "tough guy" detective Charlie Nash.  Really, I don't even have the words.

Why do I bring this up?  Because it looks like Mortal Kombat, that other big fighting game from the '90s, may get the "so serious it's hilarious" treatment as well.  You might (or, more realistically, might not) remember that the game was previously adapted to the big screen in two mediocre-to-bad offerings in '95 and '97, but director Kevin Tancharoen is hoping that this demo reel he filmed will drum up studio interest in another Kombat flick (and why's it spelled with a "K" anyway?):



Y'know, I was never a big video game fan, so I sort of missed out on the MK fandom that gripped most of my fellow adolescents during that era, but I'm familiar enough with the brand to feel like this approach, while very polished, still seems wildly disproportionate with the subject matter, which last time I checked still revolved around a bunch of primary colored ninja-types ripping each others' spinal columns out.

To watch Michael Jai White grimace and glower, you'd think he thinks he's in Heat II. In addition to White (who, if you don't remember him from Spawn, you probably know as crimelord Gamble in The Dark Knight), Star Trek: Voyager's Jeri Ryan is in there too, and based on the amount of play this has gotten all over the web, I wouldn't be surprised to see this thing actually make it to theaters (where it will then promptly flop).

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