I tried my damnedest to keep up with Mortal Kombat: Legacy, but I tuned out along with many other fans when it ditched its one thinly interesting element of “realism” to cheaply visualize the mystical backstories of some characters. That said, even with a steep fall-off in viewership after the first episode, the web series has still rocked nearly 50 million views since it began in mid-April. After many months of foreplay (and one flopped 3D concert film from the director later) Warner Brothers has finally made the dubious decision to greenlight a franchise reboot helmed by Kevin Tancharoen.

I say dubious because the guy can’t go one interview (with the LA Times) without dropping the triumvirate of genre reboot buzzwords: “realistic” “gritty/edgy” and “Nolan.”

To be fair, the interviewer brought up Nolan, but Tancharoen doesn’t hesitate to credit Nolan for bringing the almighty realism to “these types of films” and affirming that “[his] sensibilities lean more toward realism as opposed to the more mythological stuff that Mortal Kombat automatically has. You can expect more of that instinct in the feature version. It will be more realistic and gritty than the last two movies, but also a very big story.”

I actually happen to think the first Mortal Kombat film struck a perfect tone that was just enough straightforward summer-movie confidence mixed with just enough DTV martial arts cheesiness to not disappear totally up its own ass. That said, even that moderately successful interpretation was very of its time and something different needs to be done with a Mortal Kombat movie made today. Even aside from the cheap effects and limited filmmaking of the web series that I can attribute to limited resources though, I don’t see this new sensibility or instinct for shallow cleverness empowering this franchise on the big screen.

Anybody out there stick with the web series and feel different? Any ideas on who could have brought this universe to life again?

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(Catching up with this via Dark Horizons)